If you’re a yo-yo cleaner like me these tips will help you create a cleaning plan to realistically stay on track week after week.
Have you ever felt like all you do is spend a ton of time cleaning but your house doesn’t even look like it?
One day, I got so fed up that I let my house go. I got tired of cleaning up after everyone so I let my kids do whatever they wanted because I couldn’t stand to pick up another. freaking. thing.
At the time, I had two small kids in diapers and I was homeschooling my oldest child. So everything I knew about keeping my house clean went right out of the window.
It was such a mess that we never had any company—not even my own mother—because I was embarrassed and I felt guilty about it.
I didn’t think I would ever get my house under control.
I always found myself trapped in Four Stages of Cleaning.
Stage One: All I did was clean just to clean all. the. time. I was trying to stay on top of my kids with their toys and crumbs, and other clutter around the house before it got out of hand. And that’s a really stressful place to be in because it made me feel more like a maid than a mom.
Stage Two: I’d binge-clean my entire house like a madwoman. It only happened when I realized how messy our house was (after not lifting a figure for a month), so I’d pick a random day to deep clean everything almost entirely on impulse.
Stage Three: I simply stopped caring. At this point, I felt that all hope was lost. My house got so bad that I felt overwhelmed and paralyzed by the mess with no idea where to start. And all of a sudden, clutter that used to bother me went unnoticed.
I was now numb to the mess and not motivated to clean because I felt like I already failed.
It took a LOT of mental strength to claw my way out of Stage 3. And once I did I was in the fourth and final stage…
Stage Four: I’d start binge-cleaning again. But this time, promising myself that things will be different—I’d come up with a house cleaning schedule to stay consistent every week. The thing is, it had to be realistic enough to stick or I’d end up right back at Stage One: cleaning just to clean, and burnout fast.
How to create a realistic house cleaning schedule that works
I’m sure I’m not the only mom that struggles with creating a doable cleaning plan. Because THAT is the secret to breaking the messy house cycle.
Maybe you’re here because you don’t know how to start cleaning again and make it a habit.
Or, maybe you realize that your current cleaning routine is too strict for your busy life. (Cleaning doesn’t need to consume all of your time & energy.)
No matter what stage of cleaning you find yourself in right now, it IS possible to get off that hamster wheel and into a routine that works for you.
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Here are some tips that have helped me create and rock my cleaning plan week after week and they just might help you too!
Make a chore list
Grab a sheet of paper and write down only the chores that matter to YOU in this season of your life.
If you can only handle the dishes and laundry right now, don’t beat yourself for the fact that you haven’t vacuumed or mopped in a month—it will get done.
The more comfortable you become with your cleaning routine, the more chores you can add to your list. But for right now, focus on what you can handle and forget about the rest.
After you have your list of daily chores it’s important that you figure out how you’ll create time in your day to get them all done. The good news is, you only need 10 minutes!
Ideally, you should spend 10 minutes every morning and night cleaning. But even if you don’t have 20 minutes in your day, a 10-Minute Tidy each night doing the MOST essential chores will still keep your house clean.
Find your cleaning style
There are three main methods people use for cleaning:
- Timer Method – this is when you set a timer for 15-minutes to two hours every day and you clean as much as you can before it goes off.
- One-Day Method – this is when you save all of your chores for one day, typically on a weekend or your day-off, which means you’re hardly doing any cleaning on the other days of the week.
- Themed-Days Method – this is when you combine your daily & weekly chores and then separate them by the days of the week. For example, you could designate Mondays for floors; sweeping and mopping, Tuesdays for cleaning toilets, Wednesdays for deep cleaning your kitchen, etc.
If you’re easily overwhelmed, then trying to clean everything in ONE day won’t help you stay on top of your house.
Likewise, if you’re somewhat of a perfectionist and you have to finish everything that you start, then using the Timer Method may not be the right fit for you either.
Personally, I use a combination of all three cleaning styles. The essential daily chores that I do every morning and night is timed-based.
They include hand-washing dishes, sweeping crumbs, removing toys and clutter, wiping countertops, and more that I can get done in 10-15 minutes.
Then on Fridays, I complete most of my weekly chores—like mopping, vacuuming, cleaning out my fridge, etc. Sometimes, if I have a lot to do because I’m behind, I will spread these chores over a few days.
And Saturdays are almost always for deep cleaning something on my monthly cleaning checklist!
So you can either create a one-day a week routine, divide all of your chores into different days of the week, or establish a morning & evening routine.
But most often, your schedule will resemble a combination of at least one of these cleaning styles. Just keep tweaking it until it feels right to you.
One of the biggest reasons I struggled to keep my house clean was because I was trying to do it all by myself. It is really hard for me to ask and receive help.
Even though I only cared about keeping my kitchen and living room clean every night, I couldn’t keep ignoring the fact that laundry was piling up everywhere and soap scum was growing in the shower.
So for these other chores that I hated doing, I simply delegated to my husband (and, thankfully, he accepted!).
Not having to worry about doing all of the laundry, scrubbing the bathtubs, and taking the trash out every night has made my life SO MUCH easier!
I even started getting my kids involved around the house more with easy age-appropriate chores they can do too. But they’re primarily responsible for keeping their bedroom tidy, toys where they belong, and putting away their clean clothes.
cut yourself slack
Listen, life happens. That said, sticking to a house cleaning plan is just like trying to stick to a diet.
There will be days when you don’t get around to doing something on the EXACT day it should be done and that’s okay—just pick it up on the next day.
Because the truth is, old habits die hard. So don’t tire yourself trying to stick to your new cleaning routine and don’t beat yourself up for skipping chores either.
Because if time is the issue (of course it is!), there are many ways to add hours to your day so you can keep your cleaning plan on track…
First, stock up on paper products!
I know they’re not environment-friendly, but I can’t tell you how many times using paper plates, utensils, and cups have saved me time & stress cleaning my kitchen. (I don’t have a dishwasher, so it’s worth it to me!)
Second, get all of your household essentials delivered automatically to your front door—instead of running errands to Walmart or Target all week long. That ALONE should easily add two hours to your week!
Third, when you fall behind on laundry consider using a laundry service until you get caught up.
Tide Cleaners is becoming available inside many Walmarts. All you have to do is drop off your load and they’ll wash & fold them for you!
To find more laundry cleaning services in your area, just do a quick google search.
Finally, if you’re still having trouble finding time to do chores, your last option is to hire professional house cleaners. Just be prepared to spend between $20-$45 per hour on average.
But according to Angie’s List, the more times a house cleaner comes in a month, the lower the price per visit.
Bottom line: Keep it doable
The thing to remember about your cleaning plan is that it doesn’t need to be perfect. Speaking from experience, I used to be a neat freak and I used to be a hot mess too—I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum.
What I learned from that is this: the sole purpose of having a cleaning routine in place is to help you stay consistent even when chaos strikes.
So I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure your cleaning plan fits easily around YOUR life so you can succeed!
And when it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to make adjustments, delegate, automate or outsource your household duties if you need to.
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Do you struggle to be consistent with your cleaning routine?