For years, I’ve been struggling to keep my home clean

Just like you, I’m a busy person with a never ending to-do list and many other responsibilities. Let’s be honest, who really has time to keep their home clean anymore? I tried every system there is but always fell short… I never had the time to complete these complicated and time-consuming cleaning systems out there. So, what did I do? I created my own realistic cleaning routine system! Today, I am not just going to tell you my own cleaning routine, but also give you a step by step guide on how you can create your own that is realistic, simple, and quick. Ready? Let’s dive in!

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Why Opt for a Cleaning Routine Instead

There are several different ways to clean your home. Some people just clean their home when they notice it gets dirty while others create a continuous cleaning to-do list that never gets done. Or perhaps you fit in the category of people who follow a complicated cleaning calendar that is so stressful, it eventually gets forgotten. I challenge you to change your outlook on cleaning and instead, create your own unique and realistic cleaning routine (don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it!).

But, why should you opt for a cleaning routine instead? A cleaning routine has enormous benefits including the fact that it is:

Quick and less time consuming – giving you more time to do the things that matter most to you
Simple and requires no brain power to decide what needs cleaning and when
Less stressful than any other cleaning system out there
Flexible – allowing you to change it when needed
Unique – only include tasks that relate to your own home
Free – doesn’t require you to spend any money on expensive cleaning calendars

…and so much more! Cleaning routines might not be for everyone but I challenge you to test out your own cleaning routine to see how it works for you. Honestly? Once I created my own, I never looked back.

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When to Create Cleaning Projects

On the flip side, I believe that major cleaning or home tasks that don’t necessarily need to be completed again should be turned into a project and added to your to do list. These cleaning or home projects might include: renovations, moving, spring cleaning, roof replacement, painting, flood damage cleanup, etc. For these giant tasks, I HIGHLY recommend you complete the entire project planning process to ensure your success and to ease the stress. Here is my Project Planning blog post to help you out.

Related: 10 Steps to Successful Project Planning

Project Planning Freebie

Speaking of project planning, here is my go-to project planning checklist and planner. This is perfect to get all of your projects moving in the right direction. I love using this printable for my spring cleaning plan!

Email Address

First Name


A Realistic Cleaning Routine System

Without further ado, here is a brief outline of my current cleaning routine system…

My cleaning routines are broken down by:

Daily Cleaning Tasks: Cleaning tasks I complete every day, which include 1 additional weekly, monthly, or zone cleaning task

Weekly Cleaning Tasks: Cleaning tasks I complete 1-2 times per week

Monthly Cleaning Tasks: Cleaning tasks I complete 1-2 times per month

Home Cleaning Areas: A complete cleaning list based on an area within the home

Let’s take a look at this system in another way. Here is what a weekly cleaning schedule might look like:

Sunday: Daily cleaning tasks + 15 minutes of cleaning within 1 home area

Monday: Daily cleaning tasks + 1 Weekly Task

Tuesday: Daily cleaning tasks + 1 Weekly Task

Wednesday: Daily cleaning tasks + 1 Weekly Task

Thursday: Daily cleaning tasks + 1 Weekly Task

Friday: Daily cleaning tasks + 1 Weekly Task

Saturday: Daily cleaning tasks + 1 Monthly Task

In the example above, there would be 5 weekly cleaning tasks, 4 monthly tasks (since it is only completed once a week or roughly four times per month), and a designated time to work on one area within the home. As you can see, this is a VERY simple list… in my opinion the simpler the better! Requires less time and energy.

For cleaning areas, I usually assign one area per month. I have a total of six cleaning areas, so each region of my house gets a deep clean two times per year.

How to Create a Realistic Cleaning Routine: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s dive into the actual steps to creating a realistic cleaning routine. I will provide an example at the end but I highly recommend you actually walk through these steps first. This will help you create a unique cleaning routine that actually fits your home, lifestyle, and schedule. Overall, the goal is to make a cleaning routine you can actually stick to and use for years to come!

Step 1: Brainstorm Cleaning Tasks

Start by pulling out a fresh sheet of paper or open a new computer document and write down all of the home and cleaning tasks come to mind. Start with cleaning you currently do on a regular basis. Then add in tasks you wish you had time to complete but never do. Some examples might include: wash and fold clothes, unload the dishwasher, vacuum the house, etc.

Step 2: Research Additional Cleaning Tasks

Next, hop on the internet and take a look at other cleaning tasks that should be completed throughout the year. Add any the are relevant to your home and life to your list.

Step 3: Decide on Your Cleaning Areas

Pull out another sheet of paper or a new computer document and list out each area or room within or outside your home. Here are some examples:

Living Room
Dining Room
Master Bedroom
Main Bathroom
Front Porch
Back Porch
Laundry Room
Second Bathroom
Front garden
Back Yard

Once you create your entire list, begin grouping rooms that are close together and/or that don’t require a lot of cleaning. For example, I keep my kitchen as a single cleaning area, but group my living room, dining room, and office space because they don’t require that much work to keep clean and are located near one another.

Keep grouping until you have a list of 3, 4, 6, or 12 cleaning areas (so that you can easily rotate throughout the year – I recommend 6 cleaning areas so each area of your home is cleaned twice per year).

Step 4: Create an outline

On a new sheet of paper or document, add your cleaning areas (by group) with space beneath each.

Next to your cleaning areas, add in “Daily,” “Weekly,” and “Monthly” cleaning tasks with space beneath each.

Step 5: Assign Cleaning Tasks to Reoccurring Categories

Now it’s time to begin assigning each of your cleaning tasks to a category! Go through your cleaning task list and assign each one to one of your categories (daily, weekly, monthly, or a home area).

Really think through each one and think “how long do I feel comfortable going without doing ______.” Don’t use other people’s perspective of a clean home as an example, only you can decide how often something needs to be cleaned… that is the beauty of creating your own routine!

For example, let’s say you barely use your spare bedroom. In this case, you might just want to add “clean spare bedroom for 10 minutes” to your home areas list and be done with it. On the other hand, you probably use your kitchen everyday, so “wash the dishes” might need to be a daily task.

Step 6: Modify, Simplify, and Make Routine Realistic

To ensure you are able to ACTUALLY stick to this cleaning routine, I highly encourage you to simplify your routine and make it much more realistic. Challenge yourself to actually move as many tasks you can from “Daily” to “Weekly,” and from “Weekly” to “Monthly,” and so on. The less frequent you have to clean, the less stressful your cleaning routine will be and therefore, you’re more likely to stick with it!

Also be sure to make your routine useful, so that your home actually stays clean throughout the year. It might take some trial and error but I know you can do it!

Step 7: Turn Realistic Cleaning Routine into a System

Now that you have your cleaning routine written out, it is time to actually put it to work! Add these routine tasks to your current planning system and be sure to schedule these tasks into your day. This might mean writing them down onto your calendar, scheduling reoccurring reminders on your Google Calendar, penciling them into your planner or adding them to a to-do list app.

As an example, I use a combination of a paper planner (like this one from my shop!) and the ToDoist App. In my goal planner, I track my cleaning habits on my habit tracker, while in the ToDoist app, I actually have my cleaning tasks scheduled based on my routine and check it daily.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Planning (How to Setup Successful Planning Routines)

Step 8: Evaluate and Re-Stock Your Cleaning Supplies

Now that you know what cleaning tasks need to be completed when, it is time to completely stock up your cleaning supplies to ensure you have everything at hand when the time comes! To help you out, here are my absolute favorite supplies that make cleaning SO MUCH easier, less time consuming, and overall more pleasant.

Cleaning Gloves: I can’t explain it, but for some magical reason, it is just easier to clean with gloves on. These are the ones I use and love.

Robot Vacuum: Yes, it’s an investment. Yes, it’s completely worth it. You get to take off “vacuum” from your entire cleaning routine!

Microfiber Cleaning Cloths: These cloths are another one of those “magic” cleaning products… they are simply fantastic at cleaning nearly anything!

Heavy Duty Duster with Extender: This are a cheap and high quality duster set that will help you dust your home in VERY little time – a great time saver for sure!

Step 9: Schedule When to Re-Evaluate Your Cleaning System and Re-Stock Supplies

The final step in creating a realistic cleaning routine that you love is to actually schedule in your calendar when to re-evaluate this system and to re-stock your supplies.

It might sound silly, but this is the secret to making this routine work for you for years to come! I evaluate my cleaning routine at the beginning of every year. For example, maybe you move and now have a giant laundry room you need to add to your list. Or perhaps you found that you spent too much time on unnessesary dusting that can be changed from a “Weekly” task to a “Monthly” task.

Also, don’t forget to re-stock your supplies so you never run out!

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A Realistic Cleaning Routine Example

As promised, here is an example of a cleaning routine that is realistic and simple. I tried to make is as generic as possible. The idea here is to just use this as an example, not to use it word for word. Most likely, your routines will look completely different from this one!

Daily Cleaning Tasks

Unload dishwasher
Water plants
Clean cat litter
Declutter house for 5 minutes (use a timer)

Clean kitchen and run dishwasher
Wipe down kitchen sink and countertop
Declutter house for 5 minutes (use a timer)
Complete weekly (Mon – Fri), monthly (Sat), or area cleaning list (Sun)

Weekly Cleaning Tasks

Monday: Clean out fridge

Tuesday: Sanitize electronics, light switches, and handles

Wednesday: Dust the living room and dining room

Thursday: Clean the toilet and wipe down the bathroom counter and sink

Friday: Laundry day – wash and fold laundry, towels, and bedding

Saturday: Complete a monthly task

Sunday: Spend 15 minutes cleaning in a specified home area

Monthly Cleaning Tasks

First Saturday: Clean pet area, replace pet water filter, replace litter

Second Saturday: Vacuum stairs and other areas robot vacuum can’t reach

Third Saturday: Deep clean fridge and pantry, use up food items about to expire, run cleaning cycle on dishwasher

Fourth Saturday: Run cleaning cycle on washing machine, deep clean shower and restock all hand soaps around home

Home Cleaning Areas:

Area 1: Complete January & July
Front Entrance
Front Porch
Front Closet
Back Entrance
Entry Closet

Area 2: Complete February & August
Dining Room
Living Room
Office Closet

Area 3: Complete March & September
Kitchen Counters
Kitchen Cupboards
Stove and Oven
Mop Floor

Area 4: Complete April & October
Main Bathroom
Laundry Room
Utility Closet
Spare Bedroom

Area 5: Complete May & November
Master Bedroom
Master Bathroom
Master Closet
Donate Unused or Unwanted Clothing

Area 6: Complete June & DecemberGarage
Outdoor Living Spaces

Further Reading

Here are some other great related resources you might also enjoy:

How to Master the Project Planning Process in 10 Easy Steps
An Ultimate Guide to Planning
How to Set Realistic Goals and Create a Plan to Achieve Them
57 Insane Money-Saving Tips You’ve Never Heard Of

Well, there you have it! My ultimate guide to creating a realistic cleaning routine. I truly hope you were able to gather some insights and create your very own cleaning routine… happy cleaning!

The post How to Create a Realistic Cleaning Routine appeared first on The Olden Chapters.

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