The other day I mentioned to my husband that our house isn’t ever that dirty anymore (like it used to be).
It used to be pretty dirty.
I was pretty ashamed of it actually.
I didn’t want anyone to stop by unannounced because I hadn’t had time to clean.
But now people can stop by almost at any time of day, any day of the week and the house will look pretty good.
I don’t know how this changed except perhaps over time I’ve developed a better way of keeping my house clean.
It’s a simpler plan actually.
I no longer have to scramble around right before someone comes over..
Or throw tons of things in our hallway closet in a last ditch effort to clean when I see someone walking down the driveway…
What do we do differently now than we used to?
Well it all boils down to this –
I have a simple daily routine + a weekly routine with a focus on keeping on top of the mess little by little throughout each day so it never gets out of control.
Let me explain.
Simple Cleaning Routines Are Easier to Stick To
I used to think that people who kept neat & tidy homes had some elaborate home cleaning rotation they adhered to.
You know, the kind that has many tasks divided up by day of the week.
And a system for everything from laundry to mopping to vacuuming.
Now that I DO have a clean home, I finally realized that this could not be further from the truth.
I’ve found that the “system” or “method” you use is way less important than the act of simply getting it done the way that you like best.
In other words, it’s more about the “time spent cleaning” than the exact way you go about it!
That’s probably the biggest “house cleaning secret” I wish I could go back and tell my younger self.
There is no housekeeping magic wand…you just gotta put in the consistent time & effort.
What is a Good Cleaning Schedule?
I’ve thought about this for some time.
As I get older and realize that my health won’t always cooperate and match my ambition for the day….
I think the best cleaning schedule for anyone is the one you can complete and feel good about.
What I mean by this is – for me at least, I feel way better about myself if I get the dishes completely done and wipe off the counters than to half way do many different tasks and not finish a single one of them to completion.
On days I don’t feel 100% up to cleaning every area of my house on my list, I’ll choose the WORST areas and tackle those. That makes me feel like I accomplished something.
And then the next time I have time + energy to do some housework, I’ll tackle the next worst area aka the dirtiest area on my list.
I know that’s not super specific, but I think we need to be real about this.
House work never ends, but your energy is finite. You can’t do everything, but you can try your best!
My Realistic Cleaning Schedule – Daily + Weekly Tasks
Most weeks, this is the schedule I keep to – I’ve committed it to memory, but if you are just getting started or just love to keep track of your cleaning checklists on paper, you might really like the Home Management Success Kit >>
DAILY CLEANING TASKS
- wash dishes – I listen to a YouTube video or sermon while I do this. This makes the time pass by quickly for me and now it’s just part of my day.
- wipe down counters
- run the Roomba (I got this model and I LOVE it! It works exactly as advertised and is way better than I ever thought it would be for my sanity! LOL) Before we got the Roomba, I swept + vacuumed in hot spots around the house every day (kitchen, dining room, living room, hallway).
- gather up random items laying around the house and return them to their home (This is KEY. If you have random stuff laying around, your house will look cluttered! I find that the kitchen counter, table, and mud room are areas that collect the random items.)
- Run a load of laundry from start to finish. I watch my favorite YouTube channels or tv shows while I’m putting it away. It’s not much of a chore when I make an event of it and do one load a day. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll do 2 loads in a day and then take a day off from laundry. I’d say our family of 5 creates 6 or 7 loads of laundry each week (including linens), so a goal of one basket per day is good for me to stay on top of it). I have tried a schedule where I do laundry on a certain day of the week, and it has NEVER worked out for me. I just can’t do that much laundry in one day and all of the stars have to align just right for me to pull that off. So I stopped even trying.
I also get my kids involved so I don’t have to do everything.
My son’s job is to always take out the trash and all three kids rotate on who puts away dishes. They also help keep the house picked up (and let’s face it – their stuff is usually what needs to be picked up anyway!).
Although I don’t mind loading dishes and handwashing larger items, I despise unloading dishes. I’m not sure why! It’s not a messy job but I really dislike it. So I outsource that to the kids. 🙂
WEEKLY CLEANING TASKS
- mop floors
- sweep the porch
- clean bathtubs and showers
- empty random trash cans (bathrooms, office, kids room)
Lately I’ve hired a cleaning lady to come help me with the deeper cleaning stuff.
When I’m really busy with work (blogging), I don’t have time to stay on top of daily AND weekly cleaning tasks, so I just focus on the daily stuff and let someone else do the weekly items.
The Things I Do Every Day to Keep My House Clean & Tidy
Before I kept a neat & tidy house, I thought that the name of the game was DEEP cleaning and doing chores on certain days of the week.
Now I know that staying on top of the never-ending pile of chores one day at a time is what makes the biggest difference.
If I had to say what the two MOST IMPORTANT things you can do to make your house SEEM tidy when visitors come, it’s this:
- Stay on top of the dishes – I say DISHES because that’s a visible thing and when I have a clean sink without any dishes in it and then have scrubbed it down so no food is in it, I feel better about the cleanliness of my home. Plus, food in the sink will quickly stink up your kitchen! So that’s another reason this is important.
- Pick up clutter throughout the day – I don’t know about you, but clutter seems to float around our house. The kids will deposit random things in random places….I’ll come in the door and lay down everything I’m carrying on the kitchen counter…the dog will play with his toys and leave them everywhere… If I pick up things throughout the day, this never piles up into a huge situation I can’t get control of. I promise taking this step will make the BIGGEST difference in how clean your home feels! And it probably takes less than 15 total minutes each day to handle this.
When bigger messes happen, I take care of them immediately….like the time when the dog chewed up an entire pack of toilet paper. 🙂
Luckily those messes don’t occur every single day, but because I’m in general on top of the household cleaning tasks, I can handle those just fine.
What do you think? Does this sound like a reasonable routine to you? What would you do differently?
For my complete Guide to managing your home Check out my Home Management Success Kit here! This kit includes a complete roadmap on keeping your Cleaning, Finances and Meal Planning in order, with printable sheets you can use over and over again.