How To Establish Cleaning Routine
We’ve all been there – you start off with good intentions, determined to keep your home looking tidy, then several months later, life gets in the way and your house is a constant mess. You’re suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of washing up, laundry and vacuuming you’re faced with. Cleaning is one of those tasks that very few of us enjoy but it remains a necessity all the same. There’s no magic solution to keeping a house well-maintained, but one way to make your life a lot easier is to develop a schedule that will help you stay on top of your chores.
As with anything, it’s important to pick something from your to-do list and just start. Kicking the process off at any level, no matter how small the task at hand, will be the catalyst for working through everything else. After all, doing something is better (and more productive) than doing nothing at all. Beginning a cleaning routine is very similar to anything else – trying to do everything at once will leave your burned out but choosing one area of your home and working up from there will be easier to manage. Eventually, you’ll find that your cleaning routine pretty much runs itself with just a few simple steps each day. The following tips will help you develop a cleaning schedule that works for you and is easy to maintain, even around your job and social life.
Set Your Own Standard
Since a one-size-fits-all routine doesn’t exist, you’ll need to determine what works best for your needs and around your existing commitments. Before you sit down to make a routine, it’s helpful to decide what level of cleanliness you’re hoping to achieve. What counts as clean and organized for one person might look like chaos to another. As you put together your plan of action, keep this sentiment in mind and use it to guide what tasks you want to achieve each day or week.
In other words, when looking at a prospective cleaning schedule, ask yourself if it matches what a clean home means to you. What is on your non-negotiable list and what are you happy to tick off each week without feeling like you’re having to choose between being completely overwhelmed, either by clutter or by too many tasks on your to-do list. While a cleaning schedule might feel a bit overkill, the fact is that it actually removes a lot of the stress from housework. Here are some tips on how to develop an easy-to-follow but effective cleaning routine that you can maintain.
Break It Up into Smaller Jobs
One of the easiest ways to keep your place looking in great condition is to break up the task of cleaning into smaller, more manageable tasks. Leaving the laundry for weeks will only mean that when you do finally decide to tackle it, you’ll have mountains to get through. You’ll be much more motivated if you have just a small amount of cleaning to do than a huge mess that will take hours or even days to accomplish. Invest 10 minutes each morning and evening to tackle the basics. For example, in the morning you can:
- Make the bed
- Spray the shower immediately after you get out with a product that will prevent mildew from forming and keep it cleaner for longer
- Wipe the bathroom sink and surfaces with a disposable cleaning wipe when you’ve finished getting ready
- If you have one, empty the dishwasher and put the dishes away
- Clean the kitchen counters when you’ve finished eating
Each evening, you can then:
- Wipe down the kitchen counters after making dinner
- Either load the dishwasher or manually wash the dishes
- Spot vacuum
- Go through the house and pick up any clutter to put back in its rightful spot
If you live with someone else, you can always split the list between you to take even less time each day and to ensure that the chores are divided up fairly between you.
Set Up a Weekly Cleaning Schedule
With the basics covered each day, the bigger tasks can be tackled much more easily. Jobs like doing the grocery shopping or the laundry are necessities but assigning a day each week for one of these larger jobs will help you feel more on top of things. It doesn’t matter when you do which task, what matters is that you know what you’re doing on any given day, so you can be sure everything will get done by the time the following week rolls around.
For example, your schedule might look something like this:
Monday – Dusting
Tuesday – Clean the bathroom, including scrubbing the toilet and the bath or shower
Wednesday – Clean the windows and mirrors throughout the home
Thursday – Vacuum and mop all floors
Friday – Clean out the fridge before grocery shopping, and wipe the inside of the microwave
Saturday – Wash all bed sheets
A schedule like this is adaptable, depending on your circumstances, but the great thing is that most of these tasks will only take around 20 minutes, so the rest of your day is free to use as you please.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the time each day to commit to different tasks because of work or family commitments, then you could spend one day a week working through the whole lot. Take a Saturday morning, for example, and block out a couple of hours first thing to go through your entire home. Some people find this a more effective use of their time because they can have multiple tasks running at once, such as running the washing machine while they go through each room dusting, vacuuming and wiping down the mirrors.
Take a look at your weekly schedule and work out which is the best fit for your free time to adjust the routine as needed. It may be that you typically break up the tasks throughout the week and then on particularly busy weeks, or times when you know you’re going to be away on vacation, you group everything together to save time. Learning how to be flexible with your routine is one of the best ways to make it work for you and ensure you stick with it on a regular basis.
Stock Up on Products for Your Routine
Before you embark on regular cleaning, make sure you’ve got the equipment to carry out all of the tasks on your list. For example, you’ll want to have a stash of cleaning wipes, bleach and bathroom cleaner, kitchen counter spray and window cleaner to ensure you can maintain each area of your home properly. While the aisles of the grocery store are packed with countless items and products, you really only need the basics to keep everything clean and dust-free.
Go through what you have and discard any old cloths and scourers to be replaced with clean ones. It’s also worth storing everything you need in an easy-to-find place – it might not seem important, but your time will be used more efficiently getting on with your chores rather than wasted searching for products and cleaning equipment. Organize your supplies with your cleaning schedule in mind – for example, if you’re cleaning every day you may want to store the products relevant to each job in that specific room, such as keeping bleach and bathroom cleaner under the bathroom sink. Store mops, brooms and the vacuum cleaner together in your storage cupboard, or wherever is easy to get to, and keep all cleaning cloths and wipes together for simplicity.
You can always invest in items to help you out and automate different tasks if you’re really strapped for time too. For example, if you have a dishwasher then keeping a stock of clean plates and cutlery is much easier. Robotic vacuum cleaners can be set to roam the house while you get on with other more important things. Hate washing the windows? Robotic window cleaners are ideal for reaching higher spots and keeping your windows gleaming while you barely have to lift a finger. Technology never fails to make life easier, and cleaning the home is no exception. There are even apps you can use to help you set goals or routines and encourage you to stick to them, including features like setting reminders for different tasks and ways to track your progress to keep you motivated and help you monitor what you’ve achieved and what’s left to do. You might find that logging your cleaning schedule into your phone helps you track and stay on top of when things need to be done.
Add Monthly Jobs to Your Calendar
Tasks like descaling the shower head or the kettle aren’t weekly jobs, but they do still need to be kept on top of. If you really want to maintain your home to the best possible standards, then adding jobs like these in to your list on a less regular basis will help you achieve this. Once a month, block some time out on a free day – a couple of hours should more than suffice – and get through these small but nagging tasks.
Monthly jobs might be cleaning the car, wiping down and dusting the tops of cabinets and shelving, cleaning or changing the filter in the vacuum, cleaning the skirting boards and light fixtures, or washing the shower curtain. Take a look around your home and establish the things that need doing but don’t require adding to your weekly chores, so you can add these on to a monthly list instead. Also, bear in mind how the seasons will affect certain tasks. For example, if you want to defrost and deep clean your freezer, this is easier and quicker to do in the summer.
Trial Your Schedule
The only way to really know if a new routine is right for you is to try it out so live with it for a while and see if it improves your living conditions. It’s worth giving the cleaning routine at least a month as this will give you chance to see what’s working and what isn’t, whether things take longer or less time than you expected, whether you have the time available each day to maintain it, and whether you really need to get done the tasks you considered to be absolutely necessary. This insight can be really helpful in understanding whether the schedule you’ve created for yourself is sustainable and you can alter things as necessary to make it the best fit for your lifestyle.
Studies show that it can take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to develop a new habit and stick to it, so don’t worry if you’re struggling to stay motivated early on. Stick with it and eventually it will become second-nature. The key to this simple plan is that little and often will save you time overall, making it much more manageable and easier to fit around your existing schedule. Ultimately though, there will be days when things come up and you just don’t have the time to clean – or you’re too exhausted to even entertain the prospect. There’s no prize for having the cleanest home but in creating a flexible schedule for yourself that works around your daily commitments, you’ll be much more able to stay on top of the necessities. Handle each situation as it comes, clean up messes as they occur and remember that you can always come back to it later in the day if you run out of time.
Coming back at the end of a busy work day to a tidy home gives a great sense of satisfaction and on those days when you do feel like taking a little break, you’ll know that there won’t be mountains of cleaning to do the following day because you’ll have maintained it to a reasonable level beforehand. All that’s needed it a little bit of willpower and the dedication to keep to your set routine and by making it straightforward like the tips above, you’ll find it much easier to stick with.