Here comes your fairy godmother! I’ve come to help you maintain a clean house, my dear. Here’s a magic spell (insert Disney magic wand sound)…The magic is routine. Routines help you work on auto-pilot. Once you develop these routines, you won’t even have to think about them. They lose their magic if they aren’t done every day though. Routines are done on Mother’s Day, birthdays and sick days. The good news is they don’t have to be done by you; feel free to delegate.
Magic on the Daily
Morning routine: Get up before everyone else. The day runs more smoothly if you have a bit of quiet to get situated.
- Start the coffee pot or the tea kettle. The smell will motivate you!
- Empty the dishwasher. What else are you going to do while you’re waiting for your coffee?
- Quiet time. After I get the dishes put away and lunches made, I sit down and meditate. You could spend a few minutes in prayer, gratitude or whatever mindful practice you choose.
- Have a cuppa. Enjoy your first cup before everyone else invades your space.
By doing this routine every day, you give yourself peace and calm. You can pass that calm on to your family when they get up, instead of starting the day all grouchy and in a hurry.
Evening Routine: When you get ready to go to bed, do this evening routine. This way, you wake up to calm instead of chaos.
- Start the dishwasher. Even if it’s not 100% full, please start the dishwasher. You are so worth this itty, bitty amount of water. Besides, how are you gonna empty it in the morning if you didn’t run it the night before?
- Get the coffee pot ready for the morning.
- Remind everyone to do a sweep and pick up everything they “forgot” about. Fold the couch blankets, straighten up the coffee table, etc.
These routines shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes, probably even less. Yet they will save so much time and frustration.
Now that you’re getting the basics done every day, you can make a schedule to do the rest. First, we’re going to divide the house into zones that make sense. You may have two zones or you may have five. It depends on how your house is set up and how much time you want to spend each day.
This is my situation. I have a two-story house, with the bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry on the second floor. The kitchen, living room, dining room and half-bath are on the first floor. I have divided my house into two zones.
Monday – Zone 1
- Laundry – this means sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting away. It doesn’t mean dumping it on your dining room table. Listen for the beeps, switch loads, fold and put away, wait for the next beep. While I’m waiting, I…
- Clean all the upstairs bathrooms – I kind of use an assembly line method. Squirt toilet bowl cleaner in the toilets and spray the sinks and bathtubs with scrubbing bubbles. Now go back and swish each toilet, wipe it down, wipe the sink and counter down, wipe out the bathtub and move on to the next. Go back and clean each mirror and empty each trash can.
- Dust – use a duster and dust all the blinds, furniture, artwork, baseboards, etc. in the bedrooms, bathrooms and hall. Do not pick up stuff and dust underneath. Dust doesn’t get underneath, silly!
- Floors – vacuum the floors, then go back and use a wet Swiffer on the tile in the bathrooms and laundry room.
This takes me about two hours of active cleaning time. Of course, it takes about all day to do six loads of laundry, so I usually do my nails or something while I’m waiting on the beeps.
Tuesday – Zone 2
- Clean the half-bath.
- Clean the kitchen. I’m not going to bore you with details here about my method, but you can read my post about cleaning basics here.
- Dust – again with the blinds, furniture, etc.
- Floors – vacuum the floors and rugs, then go back and use Floormate on the floors.
This zone usually takes about two and a half hours. If you have extra time, you can do some extras, like vacuuming under furniture or cleaning out the fridge.
Let’s figure out a strategy that works for you. How long does it take to do your cleaning routine? A good rule of thumb is an hour for every 500 square feet. It may take you a little more or a little less, but that’s a good starting point.
Next, how can you divide your house into zones that make sense for you? Where is your laundry room? If it’s close to the bedrooms, group those things together. Do you have an open concept? Make the kitchen, living and dining room a zone.
What is your schedule like? Do you work or do you live the glamorous (insert sarcasm) life of a stay-at-home mom? Look at the calendar and see what days typically have blocks of available time.
Here are two very important things to remember:
- Good enough is good enough. If you don’t have time to dust everything this week, just do it next week.
- You don’t need to do it all yourself. When I say “you,” I mean it in the communal sense. All people over three who live in your house can contribute. If everyone pitches in, you’ll have more time for fun.
As you develop your routines and schedule, you will probably find that it takes less and less time to clean. Your house just doesn’t get as dirty when you clean every week and tidy up every day. Check out my free printable Cleaning Bundle for some checklists to keep you on track.
Just try these little things out and see if they don’t help your house stay cleaner and more comfortable. They (I don’t have the slightest idea who “they” are, but my momma told me “they” said this and I’m not about to question her) say that it takes 21 days of repetition to develop a habit. Give it 21 days and let me know how it goes.