We all like having a clean home. But when you're trying to juggle a job (working outside the home or from home either one), kids and all their activities, cooking, cleaning, and all the other responsibilities that come along with being an adult running your own home, it gets tough. You might feel like you're never caught up, or you resent cleaning your home because you spend all your free time doing it.
While there is no one sure-fire method that will solve this dilemma for everyone, I have managed to find a pretty good system that works well in my home. I deep clean on a quarterly basis, and I keep up with everyday things, well, every day.
This keeps those tasks that don't necessarily need to be done weekly, those that we dread, from falling to the wayside as we push them out of our minds. Washing drapes, anyone? This took some tweaking to get it right for me, but it really keeps the house cleaner overall, and I don't have to kill myself each weekend to stay caught up.
The first thing you'll need to do is make a list of every room and hall in your home. I'll use our home as an example:
Living room and den (one large room)
That list shows fifteen separate areas in our home. It seems daunting to think about keeping all that clean, but it's not so bad when you break it down. The next step is to simply split the rooms as evenly as possible into what gets done each quarter. In this method, each room is getting deep cleaned every three months. Again, using our home as an example:
Living room and den
You can see from this schedule that during the first three months of the year, I will have deep cleaned each room. I try to do one room or space each weekend. This allows me to get all the rooms done that month but in smaller chunks. In April, I begin again with the rooms I did in January. The process repeats itself, and each room is thoroughly cleaned every three months.
Of course, that doesn't mean I ONLY clean that room once in three months. I'll cover what qualifies as "deep cleaning" for this process. I like to clean every surface of the room, starting high, and working my way down. In this manner, any dust or grime ends up on the floor, so I can vacuum and mop at the very end, trapping the last of any dirt in the room. The following things all get cleaned in each room:
Clean any fixtures
Wipe the walls from the ceiling down
Dust all the furniture, including inside drawers
Dust/clean all the pictures and knick-knacks, and their shelves
Clean the windows and blinds, and wash any curtains
Do general organizing and cleaning out as needed
Clean the floors
Wash the bedding (bedrooms only)
Clean out the closets (if applicable)
Clean the sink, tub, and toilet (bathrooms only)
This covers all the bases in most of the rooms in our home. You can make a checklist for each room in your own home, and of course, tailor it to suit your needs. This helps me make sure I don't miss anything. I love using Swiffer products to remove dust quickly. I use their unscented products to avoid any potential fragrance allergens. They make quick work of dust on the walls and fixtures, particularly ceiling fan blades. And with the extendable options, I don't have to fumble with ladders.
One thing you may need to add is actually scrubbing walls and baseboards. This is not necessary for our bedrooms or other areas where our pets don't go, but I do have to spot clean walls in our main living areas because the dogs like to lean on them when they sit for some reason. If you don't have pets and your kids aren't overly messy, this may not be important for you. I also like to use this time to touch up any paint if needed.
As I mentioned, this won't allow you to clean each room only once in a three-month period. How nice would that be, though?! You'll still need to spot clean, dust, and clean your floors. Bedding will still need washing, and your bathrooms will still need a good cleaning. What this does, however, is keep dust and grime from ever getting the opportunity to really pile up, so it minimizes the amount of time you spend on "everyday" cleaning in between deep cleanings.
Here are some other tips you can use to keep your home looking neat and tidy:
Change your air filter frequently. This does wonders to minimize the dust that accumulates on surfaces inside your home.
Run a Swiffer duster (or similar product) over the surfaces every few days. It takes very little time and leaves your tabletops shiny and clean.
In the evenings, wipe out bathroom sinks with disinfectant wipes. It's great to reduce the spread of illness, but also keeps sinks shiny and clean.
At the end of the day, have your kids walk around the house and collect all their things to take back to their own rooms. Even a clean room doesn't feel clean if it's full of stuff that doesn't belong in it.
Vacuum high-traffic rooms daily. We have all hard floors in our home, and we've got a cheap hard floor electric sweeper. It's lightweight and it's so easy to run over the floors. It sucks up dirt and animal hair, and it keeps the floors looking good between mopping.
While maintaining our homes sometimes seems like a full-time job in itself, creating a cleaning schedule that works for you can help reduce the number of hours spent on scrubbing and scouring your home. That sounds like a definite win to me. After all, your time is much better spent cuddling up and chilling out with your sweet family!
Do you have any tips that help you stay on top of the housework? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!