my sanity saving cleaning schedule

Cleaning is easily the part of being a wife and mom that I despise like the least. When I worked full-time Shawn and I split the household cleaning at about 60/40, but that was still about 60% more than I enjoyed doing. It’s not that I don’t like things clean – it actually grates on my nerves to have things untidy or messy. It’s just that cleaning is so darn fruitless.

As soon as you mop the floors, the dog makes mud prints by the back door. The moment the laundry is done the basket begins filling up again. The floor no sooner gets a good vacuuming when crackers are spilled and crushed, and the surfaces are no sooner sparkling clean when they’re covered in crumbs from making lunch.

[photo credit]

The act of cleaning itself isn’t neat and tidy, and everything you do today just needs to be re-done tomorrow. If you’re not careful it can be overwhelming and one can just decide it’s easier to ignore the mess than to spend the entire day doing something that will be immediately un-done.

See? I really, really don’t enjoy cleaning. Besides all the reasons I mentioned above, cleaning the house is overwhelming to me because once I get started, I see five hundred other things that also need cleaned. I could start with wiping down the kitchen counters, but then I would see that our office station in the kitchen needs organized. Then I would notice the crumbs under the table need swept, which would lead me to see the crusted on applesauce from C. Bear’s lunch, which would remind me that I need to clean out the fridge. Then I’d unload the dishwasher, only to see peanut butter hand prints on the surface that need wiped. After wiping those down, I would throw the rag in the laundry only to realize that it was overflowing.

And so my entire day would be spent cleaning. Every day. And each day I’d get more and more frustrated that I was doing the same tasks every single day and the house still wasn’t staying clean. 

So I decided to do what tends to bring me sanity in every other area of my life and make a list. Lists are quite the cure-all, aren’t they? In this case, my list is a schedule and I gotta tell ya – my current level of [relative] sanity can be directly linked to this schedule. 

I started by writing down the things I wanted to accomplish to make sure my house stays clean and the home runs smoothly. Then I divided those up into a two week time period [there was too much on my list – plus the daily cleaning tasks and life to fit it all into one week], and voila – my weekly cleaning schedule was born! I do my best to spend about 15 minutes a day cleaning, which is typically enough to keep my house running smoothly [and cleanly!].

{I took a Dollar Store Frame and cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit. I used dry erase marker to write the list.}

Sunday: Our Laundry [mine and Shawn’s]

Monday: Half Bath, Boys’ Bath [sweep & mop floors, clean & disinfect toilets and sinks, clean mirrors, make sure toilet paper and linens are stocked]

Tuesday: Cloth Diapers [wash, dry, put away]

Wednesday: Sweep stairs, Sweep & Mop Downstairs [study & kitchen]

Thursday: Office, Toy Room, Vacuum Upstairs [organize and clean the office, clean toy room, vacuum office, toy room, hallway, and bedrooms]

Friday: Linen Laundry, Vacuum Downstairs [wash towels, blankets, sheets, dishrags, etc., vacuum living room & our bedroom]

Week Two:

Sunday: Kitchen [clean countertops, sweep & mop floors, clean the desk area, clean out fridge & wipe it down, organize pantry]

Monday: Master Bath [clean tub, scrub shower, clean & disinfect toilet and sinks, sweep & mop floor, stock toilet paper]

Tuesday: Cloth Diapers, Our Closet [wash cloth diapers, put away clothes in our closet & vacuum]

Wednesday: Boys’ Laundry, Boys’ Rooms [wash, dry, put away their laundry. Pick up their rooms, dust, vacuum, organize as needed]

Thursday: Living Room, Our Room [declutter, vacuum, dust]

I love this list. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t even have to spend a second thinking about what needs to be cleaned that day. I don’t have to look around and decide what I’ve let go the longest. I just look at the list and do. Even more, when I look at something and realize it’s getting gross, I don’t stress. I know it’ll be cleaned, and if it’s looking rough, I know it’s likely due to be cleaned soon.

Of course I still have a daily litany of things I do – washing dishes, picking up toys, wiping down the table and countertops, making the beds, picking up toys, cleaning crumbs, picking up toys. Picking up toys. Picking up toys.

But those things don’t bother me because in doing them I’m not starting down a rabbit trail of cleaning that’ll never get completed. Of course we do quick touch ups when we have guests or visitors, and sometimes my cleaning list has to rearranged for a busy season or sickness. But I can’t tell you what peace of mind this list brings me. Silly, isn’t it?

I also have a list of deep cleaning projects – one to tackle each month. Because I’m able to keep my house regularly cleaned, the deep cleaning projects tend to be more focused on organizing things that life just unorganizes:

Monthly Deep Cleaning List:

January: Kitchen [empty & scrub fridge, clean out & organize junk drawers, organize tupperware cabinets, organize cleaning supplies]

February: Bathrooms [organize closets and storage, scrub base boards, scrub tub/showers]

March: Garage [organize, sweep]

April: Windows, Floors

May: Boys’ Rooms, Toy Room [organize closets, rotate seasonal clothes, rotate out clothes/shoes that don’t fit, rotate toys]

June: Laundry Room [organize laundry supplies, organize “hippie” supplies, clean laundry machines]

July: Study [thoroughly dust book shelf, thoroughly vacuum and clean couch]

August: Office [organize files, organize closet, clean up Serwa Chic supplies]

September: Closets, Walls, Base boards [organize & clean out hall closet and linen closets, wipe down walls, wipe down & dust base boards]

October: Our Room, Our Closet [organize dresser drawers in our room, rotate seasonal clothes, organize closet]

November: Living Room, Vents, Fireplace [Organize living room, wipe down all vents in the house, clean inside of fireplace]

December: Take the month off. Wrap presents. Drink egg nog.

I know, it seems like a lot. The daily and monthly tasks of actually doing the things on my lists actually takes very little time. It did take me awhile to think through my list and organize it my day/month, but that’s why I’m sharing it with you. The time I put into creating my schedules comes back to me tenfold in quality time with my boys and peace of mind.

I still don’t know that I’d say I love cleaning, but I would say I no longer hate it. I might even occasionally semi-enjoy it.

 Cleaning and I have taken quite a large step forward in our relationship, which I didn’t think was possible.  That’s one powerful schedule. 

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One thought on “my sanity saving cleaning schedule

  1. Pingback: a clarification « jenny.erally : speak.ing

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