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The notion of spring cleaning isn’t doing us any favors. When the birds start chirping and the crocuses bloom and all you see are dust bunnies and streaks on the windows, that’s a sign that the concept might not be working for you.
You don’t have to live this way. This year, try creating a simple, step-by-step cleaning schedule that will keep you on track all year round. When you bring a bit of organization into your cleaning life, you can keep those tasks from building up all year and instead tackle them as they come.
Lacking motivation? Just remind yourself of this: Studies have found that people who regularly clean their homes are physically healthier and can concentrate better. It turns out that having less clutter around helps you focus on tasks more easily, and the physical exertion from a cleaning activity can help keep you fit. Who knew, right?
Above all, don’t be discouraged! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and anyone can get on track with the simplest of cleaning schedules. Planning it all out might seem overwhelming at first, but when you begin to think of cleaning your home in terms of small tasks, it’s not so bad.
The Cleaning Schedule: What It Is and Why You Need One
Some people are naturally good at keeping up with their chores. Others … not so much. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, adding a cleaning schedule to the mix is only going to help.
The cleaning schedule itself is basically a detailed breakdown of your whole home that assigns specific chores to a timeline throughout the year. This type of schedule will help keep you on top of all your regular housework—plus those pesky chores no one even thinks about (we’re talking about you, baseboard corners and refrigerator tops).
What’s more satisfying than accomplishing a task while getting to cross something off a list? Nothing!
Plus, these cleaning schedules can get you out of some really messy situations. They’re great for people who have grown inured to constant clutter. Because the plans are broken down so extensively, they allow you to make changes gradually.
Translation: You don’t need to spend 10 hours a day with a mop and bucket to make this work.
How to Start Creating Your Personalized Cleaning Schedule
There are a lot of cleaning schedules available online, each one offering slightly different time frames and chore breakdown—but they’re all essentially the same. The goal is to help you get your home clean by dividing the job into discrete, easy-to-accomplish tasks.
Most cleaning schedules list specific chores—from a daily list to the more obscure cleaning tasks that only need to be done once or twice a year.
Don’t just pick an online list generator willy-nilly, though. The best cleaning schedule will be a highly personal plan. Start by thinking about your cleaning goals.
“You need to identify what kind of goals you want for your home. Write everything down, and list those that can wait and those that need to be prioritized,” Joanna Douglas, the owner of cleaning company Clean Affinity, tells HealthyWay. Using a cleaning schedule is great, but setting goals will really help keep you on track.
There are two schools of thought for how to actually take action and make regular cleaning a part of your life. One side believes you should pencil in specific cleaning times each day.
“Sometimes [cleaning] spontaneously can rock you off your groove,” says Douglas. “It’s because you can never know when visitors come to visit you unexpectedly or if there are people in the house it will just make it hard for you to move around. Make sure you come up with a schedule and make sure that there will be no distractions during this time of day.”
The other side believes the easiest way to work regular cleaning into your life is by changing your routines. If you’re the type of person who comes home and immediately throws your bag and coat on the ground, you’re creating a mess to deal with later. If you can change this action—hang up your coat, put your bag in your office—you’ll get ahead of the mess.
For most of us, the best solution is probably using both of these approaches. Blocking out specific, dedicated time (it doesn’t have to be hours and hours) for cleaning and modifying your own messy habits will create a recipe for success.
Breaking Down Your New Cleaning Schedule
Daily Cleaning Schedule Chores
First, the bad news: Your newfound cleaning schedule does need to include a few daily chores. Every day, you should at least make your bed, wash the dishes, do some laundry, wipe down counters and bathroom surfaces, and sweep the floors, according to the venerable cleanliness experts at Good Housekeeping. Once you get in the habit of taking care of these things each day, you’ll never have to spend your weekend washing and folding eight loads of laundry again.
Weekly Cleaning Schedule Chores
These weekly chores should include washing and changing your bed sheets, mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors, dusting furniture, vacuuming, wiping down kitchen appliances, and throwing out expired food. Not too bad, right?
Monthly Cleaning Schedule Chores
The monthly chores start to get a little more obscure, hitting some of the most overlooked spots in your home. You should vacuum vents, dust light fixtures and any curtains or blinds, and clean your dishwasher and washing machine.
Three-to-Six Month Cleaning Schedule Chores
Now we’re onto the three-to-six-month chore list; these are things that don’t need to be done quite as frequently, but let’s be honest, you probably aren’t doing them often enough. Washing pillows and comforters, wiping down the refrigerator, cleaning out the freezer, freshening up drains and the garbage disposal, and cleaning under all your furniture are some chores you only need to hit a few times a year.
Annual Cleaning Schedule Chores
Finally, deep-clean your carpets, windows, fireplace (if you have one), curtains, dryers, and gutters about once a year.
All of this can vary some, of course, depending on how many people and pets are in and out of your home. But it’s a pretty good example of what the complete care package for a typical home looks like.
One Great Complement to Your Cleaning Schedule
In addition to setting goals and using a cleaning schedule, why not take the time to put together a cleaning caddy? It will be easier to keep up with your cleaning routine when all your supplies are kept together and easy to find.
You can put together your own cleaning caddy, complete with DIY cleaning supplies, pretty easily. This caddy will mean you have zero excuses for not cleaning: All your supplies will be in one place!
Check your local dollar store for cute (and cheap!) tote and microfiber cloth options. Stock up on green cleaning products, like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Cleaner and Method Daily Shower Spray. Be sure to keep your caddy in an easily accessible place.
If you follow these tips, your home will sparkle all year round, and you’ll be free to spend the spring frolicking outside instead of scrubbing the bathroom.