Monday, August 13, 2012

A cleaning schedule for the perpetually hopeless

In my "ten things" post last month, one of my goals was to "organise how I'm going to get more organised". 
I'm pleased to be able to tell you that I have made some progress, and share with you my new cleaning schedule.

(By the way, if you're the sort of person with a touch of OCD in your cleaning style - you know, can't leave the house until every surface is sparkling, you might want to go off and polish your silverware rather than waste your time reading this post.  If, on the other hand, phrases like "I can't remember the last time I -insert dreaded chore of choice here-" regularly roll off your tongue, then sit back and read on!)

But first of all a bit about my relationship with cleaning.  Not being the most organised person on the planet, I like the idea of having a clean house, but I can easily get sidetracked . . . 
My sinus might be playing up, and I just can't face the dust. 
Or my back might be sore, so I'll go to bed with a heatpack. 
Or my hormones might be raging, and I'll be fit for nothing but curling up in bed with a book and a big block of chocolate. 
Or it's been raining solidly for weeks, and I've lost track of when I last washed the sheets. 
Or there's an event on at one of my kid's schools, which fills up my day leaving no time for mopping. 
Or it might be none of the above, but I'll be so overwhelmed by the sheer number of chores there are to do that I'll fail to do anything at all!

My goal, I've decided is not to turn my house into a magazine cover-worthy show-piece every day of the week.  That, for me at least, would be impossible
What I think is achievable, on the other hand, is a method that gives me some direction, and helps me keep track of where I'm at.  Because, quite frankly, I don't think the world will end if, every now and again the floors don't get mopped or we sleep in the same sheets for another week!

Here's why I think having a schedule, any cleaning schedule is a good thing.  It eliminates that overwhelming "too many chores" kind of feeling. If it's Monday, just dust and vacuum.  No decisions to be made, no need to feel like it "all" has to be done.

I've tried to write my schedule so that it works in with our family schedule as it is at the moment. (For example, my husband leads a Bible Study in our open plan lounge/dining room/kitchen every Tuesday night, so cleaning that area is my Tuesday job)
What I'm hoping will be the secret to my success, though, is the final column, "last completed".  By laminating the schedule and using a whiteboard marker, I can easily keep track of when each job was last completed.  So I didn't mop downstairs last week? No big deal.  I can see that at a glance and make extra sure it's a priority this week.

For the time being, this is my weekly jobs only, although I have put space at the bottom for current spring-cleaning  and de-cluttering jobs.  If this one is still working well after a month or so, I may attempt a similar system for spring-cleaning jobs also.
What about you?  Do you clean to a schedule?  What methods have and haven't worked for you in the past?  (OCD silverware cleaners need not reply)


  1. I have no idea when I last cleaned the silverware (the only silver I have that needs cleaning are my collectable spoons, and as they are hidden in the cutlery cabinet, I don't see them), but my cleaning schedule has totally gone out the window lately. The clothes washing schedule tends to tale care of itself. School clothes need to be done twice a week, so I wash on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Towels are supposed to be done on Thursdays, and sheets on alternate weeks - my bed and the kid's beds. Bathrooms, vacuuming and washing floors are generally done when the kids are out with their grandparents on a Saturday morning (alternate weeks for washing floors and doing bathrooms), but as they have been O/S for the last 7 weeks.......

    I do what I can, so why am I sitting here at the computer when I only half finished the vacuuming yesterday?

  2. I don't stick to a schedule because I like to be spontaneous about cleaning or so I say - when I am in the right mood, I can go through the place like Mr. Clean. I have noticed that I tend to pair up chores, for example - Monday is laundry day and pick up/put away day. So while the washer and dryer are running, I am just cleaning off all the surfaces and putting things away from the weekend. Tuesday will be ironing and some project like decluttering. Wednesday is often shopping/play day. Thursday is my second laundry day and also when I tend to do the vacuuming and mopping. And Friday is whatever I need to do to get ready for the weekend - so if we have no special plans I often do quite a bit of scrapping on Friday and then early on Saturday a.m. If there is one thing I put off it is the paperwork/paying bills - shame on me - I was a CPA once upon a time. I do find that setting a timer helps me to tackle the more unpleasant chores.