Find a Cleaning Schedule That Works for You

Having shared some of the messy spots in my house last month, it probably won’t come as a shock when I admit that I have struggled with cleaning my home for my entire adult life.  One of my biggest stumbling blocks, which may also plague you, was that I just couldn’t find the right system for keeping my house clean.

If you struggle with keeping your house clean it could be that you need to try a different cleaning schedule. There isn't a one size fits all approach to cleaning, so here are some ideas so you can figure out what works best for you.

I think, however, I have finally figured out this house cleaning stuff, and I’ll share some tips with those of you that also struggle with keeping your home clean.

My Most Important Discovery

I have tried many systems (too many!) for housekeeping.  From ones that made me put on shoes in the morning to ones with lots of check boxes, from special apps for my iPhone to free downloads from sites — you name it, I may have tried it.  Each would go fine for a while, and then I’d fall off the wagon.  I couldn’t understand why I was always failing.

Then, I finally figured out that I couldn’t use a schedule that somebody else has written. I needed to take the time to write out my schedule, with a mind toward tasks that were applicable to our household, as well as to the general schedule of our days.

This is not to say that you can’t get inspiration from the schedules of others, but you will probably be best off to create your own after you’ve gathered the inspiration.  I have set up a Cleaning Schedules board on Pinterest, which I will keep adding to, that you can browse for inspiration.

Establish a Schedule (or Routine)

House cleaning is best kept up with when you are following some type of routine or schedule.  It’s not be chance that homemakers used to have tasks assigned to certain days, such as washing day.  In general, we tend to work best with routines.  If you can get into the habit of each Monday being the day you clean the bathrooms, then you will have more of a tendency to keep those bathrooms clean.

When I was recently trying to come up with a cleaning routine, this is what worked for me:

1. Write out a complete list of household tasks that must be done each week. Don’t get caught up in things that need to be done less often at this point.

2. Write down obligations that you typically have throughout the week that are reoccurring.

3. Assign your household tasks to specific days, taking care to put more time consuming items on days when you have less reoccurring obligations.  For instance, in our household, we have our homeschool co-op and ballet lessons on the same day.  This is a day, then, when I purposefully have assigned myself fewer household tasks.

Keep in mind: Some tasks may have to happen every single day or multiple times in a week.  On my schedule, I have loading/unloading the dishwasher listed each day.

Find a Way to Display Your Schedule

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that if you struggle with housekeeping, you’re also the kind of person who benefits from visual aids.  So, your next step is going to be to find a way to display your weekly schedule.

Examples of Ways to Display Your Schedule:

1. Laminate papers with your schedule on them so you will be able to cross items off with a dry erase marker.  (I used my personal laminator for this, that way if I make changes later, it will be easy to just laminate a new page.)  I have a separate sheet for each day of the week, because I also have school and work tasks on each page.

2. Frame your schedule and use a dry erase marker right on the glass.

3. Create your own printable daily or weekly schedule, and just print a new one up each day/week.

4. Write out tasks on index cards and set out the appropriate index card(s) prior to going to bed the night before.

Follow Your Schedule

Now that you have a schedule, it’s time to start following it!  Be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself some time to ease into it, especially if you haven’t been regularly following a cleaning schedule.

Remember, also, that this is your schedule.  Do you know what that means?  Amongst other things, it means that you don’t have to be beholden to it.  You are its creator.  If something isn’t working, just know that you can change the schedule instead of abandoning it.

What are things that you do to help you with your cleaning routine?  Which tasks are typically included in your routine?

Angie, a contributing writer at The Happy Housewife, is a homeschooling mom to three children and writes about everything that happens in their lives between all the loads of laundry at Many Little Blessings. She is also the founder of The Homeschool Classroom, Catholic Mothers Online, Tiny Owl Designs, and Just a Tiny Owl {Etsy shop}.

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  1. Thanks so much, Angie! My family is looking to move in the next few months, and I am looking forward to more space–but not to more cleaning! Eek! Your Pinterest board looks so helpful! And thanks for the reminder to create a schedule that works for ME. : )

  2. Thank you for this post! I think this is the most straight forward and down to earth approach I’ve seen in a while and a bit of motivation for me 🙂

  3. I just started using Cozi to create my own cleaning schedule. I had been using a pre-made chore planner, but found too many things didn’t apply to me, or that I wanted to have tasks reorganized through the week. Cozi lets me assign all the tasks to days, and I can print a new chart each week. It’s been helpful!

  4. For me, routine says it all. I am one of those people who feels better about the world when my house is clean. In order to prevent from getting overwhelmed by how much has to be done, I will tackle one room at a time, and not worry about the other rooms until the one I am working on is done. I usually attack the kitchen first. Then I make the beds and start vacuuming. I hate cleaning bathrooms, but I have to tell myself that they are the smallest rooms in the house, and won’t take long if I just get in there and do it. Playing music helps alot too. When it comes to folding clothes, I usually listen to an online sermon (Allistair Begg) and I can whip through the dreaded whites basket because my mind is preoccupied with the devotional. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom, and on the days that I get frustrated with how much I have to do, I have to remind myself that there are so many women out there who would give their right arm to be able to stay home with the kids rather than work outside the home, and it gives me the perspective that I need to enjoy the duties rather than complain about them.

  5. I’ve discovered that just because a cleaning schedule works for me now, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always work. 🙂 I’ve tweaked and changed my cleaning schedule over the years so that I have something that works for the season of life that I’m in.

  6. I have tried various schedules too. Now I just clean the whole house on Saturdays sometime. The daily maintenance is key too.

    I just saw someone write about the secret to having a clean house. They said that you should regularly have people over. We have 3 other couples over every week for a Bible study and that sure does get my house a lot cleaner. 🙂

  7. I bet I’d have a cleaner house if I stopped reading blogs about how to do it and just did it! I keep telling myself to make a schedule but myself keeps telling me it won’t work. I am now going to do as you suggest and at least TRY it before I declare defeat! Well, after I read some more blogs that is….

  8. I really liked this post. I was really struck by the point about making your own schedule. I am so easily inspired by everyone else’s cleaning schedules. I think they are awesome and will most definitely work for us. I also like the idea of having specific days for different tasks. This really sounds like something that could work for us. We have different routines for different days and adding in cleaning routines for those days would be helpful too.


  9. Thank you for this post! I’ve kinda been doing what you suggest for the last couple years. But, I’m finding that my ambition to do anything fades dramatically once the kid’s nap time starts (I have 4 children, 5 and under). This would be fine, except that our schedule only allows me to dress the kids,make the beds, feed them breakfast, do devotions and exercises with them, clean the kitchen, and then it’s lunch time and naps! Laundry, bathrooms, etc. usually are thrown to the wind until I HAVE to do them. I could easily accomplish all these tasks IF I just kept the schedule going in the afternoon as well. How do you keep going on the housecleaning when you are exhausted, and just want to laze around while reading books to the kids?

  10. brittany says:

    I have spent more time researching routines and schedules than i have experimenting to see what works for our family. Im not a routine person, i have twin toddlers that have always had a routine so i find it suffocating to add to another routine to my already monotanous day. However, KUDOS for the index cards… Im not committed to them daily but when i do fill them out it really does motivate me. I love your pinterest boards they are always beautiful!

  11. I am 13 and i clean my whole house over 3 days ( Friday, Sat, Sunday) in times that i’m not busy every week
    clean cooktop clean benchtops clean appliance exteriors
    clean splashback clean sink & taps clean inside microwave
    clean bath clean counter tops clean & disinfect toilet
    clean shower cabin clean sink & taps clean mirrors/splashbacks
    all rooms
    vacuum clean carpets dust surfaces general tidy up
    mop wooden/tiled floors empty rubbish bins air freshen & deodorise

  12. found your cleaning schedule pinterest board. best board ever! it was great for getting ideas but like you, found i have to make my own schedule for routine to ‘stick’. the only thing i can always do is a load or two of laundry every day… but it’s everything else i never feel like cleaning. needed a kick in the bum though and this is it! thanks

  13. One thing that really helps is if you put your house on the market to sell! 🙂 Ours is on the market and my first order of business every day is getting it “showing ready”. I tidy, vacuum, touch-up the glass, do the dishes, dump the trash and touch-up mop. My house has never been so clean!!!

  14. Nola Franzen says:

    I used to be worried because I’m not the best housekeeper. Then I figured out that I don’t want to be a “housekeeper”, I want to be a “homemaker”.

    The difference is simple.

    A housekeeper is someone who won’t let the kids wear muddy shoes into the kitchen because she just scrubbed the floor, won’t let the hubby eat in the living room because she just vacuumed the furniture, won’t let the pets in the bedroom because she just changed the sheets.

    A homemaker knows that the floor was going to get dirty anyway and is probably leading the parade into the kitchen. She has popped the corn, filled the glasses, and joined the hubby so both of them can neck on the couch during the commercials. And she knows that the pet won’t be with them forever, just like the kids, so hugging them on the bed is more important than the sheets.

    Having a home is more important than having a house. Not that a daily pickup isn’t needed along with making sure the dishes get done. But, a home is more than a showplace.

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