retro-housekeeping

How to Create the Perfect Home Cleaning System

by Rachel Newcomb of Smart Mom Smart Ideas. 
I’m so excited to share this article with you because THIS is where I struggle most.  I wish I were one of those people who cleaned as stress relief.  Nope, not me. I try to avoid housework and invest time in teaching my kids to do many of the chores.  For their sake.  Yeah, THEIR sake.  I’m not as organized about a cleaning schedule as I’d like to be and Rachel has helped me set a goal in this area. 

Are you a natural when it comes to keeping a clean home? Do you have a home cleaning system that helps you keep your home clean and organized? If you are like most busy moms and struggle with keeping your home clean and organized, you probably need a home cleaning system.

Designing the perfect home cleaning system is not very difficult, if you understand your home cleaning style.  What’s a home cleaning style?

I have found there are 3 basic home cleaning styles that work for most busy moms.  I’ll describe them, and you will probably easily see which one is you.  By understanding your cleaning style, you will be able to better create a home cleaning system that will work for you.

Three Home Cleaning Styles

Do It All at Once

Some moms like to take one day a week or one morning a week and do all your cleaning at one time. Depending on the size of your house (and how distracting your kids are), it may take a few hours or all day.

You will love this system because all your home cleaning is done on one day, you have a clean house for the whole week.  You might not enjoy this system because it requires focused attention.   If your kids distract you it will take longer to complete your chores.

I used this cleaning system for many years, but when I had kids and they got to be toddlers this system was hard, because I was trying to watch the kids and do chores.  I found chores would take longer and longer to complete because I was getting distracted too often.  I eventually changed to the One Chore a Day system.

Do One Chore Every Day

Maybe you don’t like to spend hours and hours cleaning house (even if it’s just once week).  You might prefer the one chore a day system.  For each day of the week, you have one chore that you do (following the same pattern every week).  This system might look like:

  • Monday: Clean bathrooms
  • Tuesday: Vaccum
  • Wednesday: Sweep & Mop
  • Thursday: Dust
  • Friday: Clean kitchen
  • Saturday: Other places and change bed sheets
  • Sunday: rest
Is Wednesday Wash Day?
Is Wednesday Wash Day?

With this system, you must be disciplined and do your chore every day.  If you don’t stay focused, you will get behind.  If you do skip a day/chore, you need to make that chore up the next day.

You will like this schedule because you can pick chores for each day the work for your schedule.  You can also choose the best time to do your daily chore (like 30 minutes before you kids get up so they are not a distraction).

Divide and Conquer Plan

Now, I use a combination of the first 2 cleaning styles and it works really well at our house.  I don’t have to clean house all day on the weekend, and I don’t have to do chores every day.

With the Divide and Conquer Plan, you divide all your home cleaning chores into 2 groups.  Try to divide the work so each day will take about the same amount of time.  So, if some chores take more time you would do fewer chores on that day and more chores on the day when they take less time.

This plan works well because you can usually get your home cleaning done in a few hours a week, but it doesn’t require prolonged focus (like doing everything at once) and it doesn’t require chores every day.

10 Minute Daily Maintenance Plan

No matter what home cleaning system you choose, you will still need to do a few daily chores to keep your home clean between cleanings. Let’s call these the daily 10 minute daily clean-ups. These are fast chores that need to be done frequently and everyone in the home can help:

Load or Unload the Dishwasher

As soon as the dishes are clean, unload the dishwasher so it’s ready for the next meal.  If you have dirty dishes on the counter, always be adding them to the dishwasher (don’t let them pile up on the counter).

Fold & Put Away a Load of Laundry

As soon as you complete a load of laundry, get into the habit of putting all the clean laundry away.  Laundry piles up faster than you think.

Pick Up Toys or Clean Up the TV Room

Every evening before bed have all the kids pick up their toys or clean up the TV/play room.  Everything should have a place.

Sweep Your Floors

Floors will probably need to be swept several times a week.

Wipe Down Kitchen Counter and Appliances

After cooking and dinner clean-up, take a quick minute or two and wipe down all the kitchen counters and appliance so they don’t get sticky.

Sort, File or Toss the Mail

Take a few minutes every day to sort, file and/or toss the mail.  Don’t let mail just pile up on your desk or counter.

Which home cleaning style will work best for you?  You will probably find that using the right home cleaning system for you will help you be more disciplined and successful at keeping your home clean every week.

Would you like more helpful tips?  You can download 50+ Organizing Tips for Smart Moms and get full access to the Smart Mom Resource library.


newcomb_closeupRachel Newcomb blogs at Smart Mom Smart Ideas where she writes about organization, time management, parenting, motherhood, and work/life balance.  You will find many articles to help you with the everyday challenges of motherhood.  She invites you to access the Smart Mom Resource library which includes Free printable meal planners, goal setting worksheets, an inspiring coloring book and more.

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