How to Create a Home Cleaning Schedule (& Actually Stick to It!)
It’s officially Spring here in the United States! And while many of us are focused on warmer temperatures and quick getaways, it’s also the perfect time to re-settle into a solid home cleaning schedule (if you don’t already have one). Cleaning is not something that comes naturally to me; but using the process I outline below, I’ve been able to create lasting cleaning habits over time. Today, I want to show you my quick and easy way to create a solid, practical, and effective home cleaning routine…that you’ll actually stick to!
Why Create a Home Cleaning Schedule?
In general, I like to do all of one task at a time. I do our grocery shopping one day each week, I do our laundry one time per week, etc. Personally, I find this approach the most efficient and effective for getting tasks off my To Do list.
However, I do have one exception to this all-at-once concept: cleaning. Cleaning is never, ever “done”; and depending on the size of your home, it can be a really overwhelming and time-consuming endeavor to tackle all at once. As a result, I have found the “do a little every day” approach a much more effective way to not just maintain a cleaner home overall, but reduce the time spent on actual chores.
But as someone who generally likes to knock everything out at once, building cleaning habits into my daily routine didn’t come naturally. In fact, I had to intentionally create a home cleaning schedule so 1) these tasks actually had a chance of getting done; and 2) they became a solid part of my everyday routine.
Let me break down exactly how to easily create a cleaning routine that is right for you, your home, and your schedule, so you’ll actually stick to it!
Printables for Creating a Home Cleaning Schedule
To create your own custom home cleaning schedule, you can use any materials you like. I (of course) prefer to rely on handy printables to visually organize my thoughts, but you can easily map out your routine (using the steps I outline below) on a piece of printer paper, dry-erase board, page in your planner, poster board, wall calendar…anything that works for you!
The printables featured in this post are straight out of The Family HUB, my printable home management binder system.
Step 1 – Brainstorm Cleaning Tasks
I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve tried to find a done-for-me cleaning routine, I always get frustrated. They either include items/areas I don’t have in my home or suggest a cleaning frequency that just isn’t right for me, my family, or my schedule.
As such, I recommend starting…not with a pre-printed plan…but by brainstorming the tasks you need to get done in your home.
I get it…if you’re not great at cleaning in general, you might not have a good sense of what needs to get done and how often. So here are some tasks to guide you:
Daily Cleaning Tasks
- Make Beds
- Wipe Kitchen Counters
- Wipe Kitchen Table
- Wash Dishes
- Load/Unload Dishwasher
- Clean Kitchen Sink
- Wipe Down Stove
- Empty Trash (as needed)
- Load of Laundry (as needed)
- Wipe Bathroom Counters & Faucets
- Quick Tidy Up
- Sweep Floors
- Clean Pet Dishes/Supplies
Weekly Cleaning Tasks
- Vacuum High Traffic Areas
- Change/Wash Bed Sheets
- Change/Wash Bath Towels
- Change/Wash Dish Towels
- Clean/Mop Hard Floors
- Purge Out Food in Fridge & Pantry
- Load(s) of Laundry
- Scrub & Clean Toilets
- Scrub & Disinfect Showers & Tubs
- Clean Coffee Pot
- Wipe Dining Chairs/Stools
- Clean Mirrors
- Dust Furniture & Surfaces
- Wipe Down Washer/Dryer & Remove Lint
Bi-Monthly/Monthly Cleaning Tasks
- Wipe Light Switches
- Wipe Door Handles & Knobs
- Clean Garbage Disposal
- Clean Toothbrush Cups
- Dust Baseboards
- Wash Bath Mats and Small Rugs
- Vacuum Vents
- Descale/Clean Coffee Maker
- Sweep Porches/Decks
- Dust Ceiling Fans
- Wipe Appliances
- Wipe Banisters
- Deep Clean Washing Machine
- Wipe Down Kitchen/Bathroom Cabinets
- Wipe Windowsills & Doors
- Clean Microwave
- Vacuum Upholstered Furniture
- Clean Stovetop
- Refill Cleaning Supplies (as needed)
Seasonal Cleaning Tasks
- Clean Oven
- Clean Dishwasher
- Wash Bulky Bedding & Pillows
- Wash Slipcovers (bedding, pillows, etc)
- Vacuum Curtains & Blinds
- Dust Ceilings, Walls, Lampshades, & Light Fixtures
- Wash Windows
- Wash Out Trash/Garbage Cans
- Rotate Mattresses
- Clean Out Pantry
- Swap Air Filters
- Clean Behind Appliances
- Clean Backsplash/Shower Grout & Tile
- Polish Appliances & Furniture
Annual Cleaning Tasks
- Clean Gutters
- Service HVAC
- Clean Out Closets
- Clean Shower Heads
- Clean Out Fireplace
- Clean Carpets
Feeling overwhelmed already? Me too! I want you to remember that not everything on this list needs to be included on your specific cleaning schedule. These are recommendations from “the experts” and you should pick and choose what you will do when based on your own home, time, and enjoyment of cleaning!
TIP! You can make your own lists from scratch, or simply find a comprehensive printable list and circle the tasks you want to include in your specific cleaning schedule. Also, don’t hesitate to add tasks that aren’t already included but you need them to be!
Step 2 – Create Your Own Custom Home Cleaning Schedule
One you’ve identified the chores you want/need to get done, it’s time to create your specific home cleaning schedule!
To do this, you will sort tasks by the ideal frequency for your lifestyle. As you do this, take into account how quickly certain areas spiral out of control or get really dirty, as well a which areas tend to fair better for longer stretches. Ideally, try to sort chores into: Daily | Weekly | Monthly | Quarterly | Annually.
TIP! Don’t worry about this being “pretty” or “final” – this is your opportunity to play around with various tasks to see where/when they fit best!
Start with “Evergreen” Chores
Start by assigning appropriate tasks to Daily, Weekly, and Monthly categories. These should be “usual” chores that you do, no matter the season (e.g., clean floors, change sheets, etc). Don’t worry too much about sticking to the frequency dictated by “experts.” You should decide which frequency of each tasks is right for your home. In general, this set of chores shouldn’t change much, if at all, from month to month.
How I Do It. I personally like to see everything I need to tackle on a single, at-a-glance page. So I take my greater list of tasks and “assign” each one to the Daily, Weekly, and Monthly sections of the Monthly Cleaning Schedule.
Schedule Annual Chores
Next, assign the Quarterly and Annual chores to months throughout the year. Use your own climate, work schedule, family tempo, etc to determine when is the best time to accomplish certain tasks (e.g., cleaning the gutters, winterizing pipes, servicing the HVAC, etc). When choosing a month for each tasks, pay attention to seasons and recommended frequency, and ensure you don’t have too many tasks assigned to a particular month.
How I Do It. I use the Annual Maintenance Calendar to assign quarterly, seasonal, and annual tasks to specific months. This quarterly layout makes it easy to spread tasks evenly throughout the year.
Bring It All Together
In order to ensure you’re tracking not just on your “usual” daily/weekly/monthly chores but also those things that need to happen regularly, you’ll want to merge your evergreen chores and annual tasks together into a single system. You can map this out on a giant annual calendar, spreadsheet, dedicated cleaning planner, cleaning printables, etc. They key is to get your Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Annual tasks into a single system you can easily reference.
How I Do It. I first print out my Monthly Cleaning Schedule, pre-populated with my evergreen chores. I then reference my Annual Maintenance Calendar and add the appropriate monthly tasks under the “This Month” column. As you can see below, my April cleaning schedule includes all my usual monthly tasks, as well as Clean Oven | Rotate Mattresses | Service HVAC that I had scheduled for April.
You can create your home cleaning schedule one time for the year ahead or on a month-by-month basis. Either way, you will not only build regular cleaning habits into your daily/weekly routine, but also stay on top of maintenance tasks year round!
TIP! How detailed you are here is completely up to you and how much “help” you need staying on track from day to day. I personally do well with a general monthly checklist, but you can go as far as creating specific daily/weekly/monthly/yearly checklists or assigning specific tasks to each day of the week/month.
Step 3 – Set Yourself Up for Success
Getting all your cleaning chores organized into a “plan” is a great first step, but checklist or calendars are no good unless they actually hold your accountable. So your next step is to transfer your home cleaning schedule to some sort of reminder system to keep you on track.
I’m a pencil-and-paper gal, so I tape the Monthly Cleaning Schedule right to my refrigerator door and check off the appropriate boxes as I do the chores throughout the month.
TIP! Save paper and ink by laminating your “usual” checklist and adding your month-specific tasks in dry-erase marker!
But really…you need to decide where and how you want to be held accountable to your system. Here are some other ideas:
- Transfer your cleaning schedule to your phone’s Calendar and set reminders for certain tasks. A benefit to this method is that you can set daily/weekly/monthly/annual repeats so this can be a “set once and use forever” system.
- Write down each and every task in your planner, so you know exactly when you’re doing what, all month long.
- Assemble a dedicated cleaning planner with the checklists, calendars, and trackers you need most.
- Download a habit or cleaning app to load in tasks and check them off as you do them.
- Add cleaning tasks to a family calendar, dry-erase board or Command Center so you can assign chores to others!
- Create a “Cleaning Tab” in your Home Management Binder. Reference it daily/weekly to keep track of what chores are scheduled for when!
Step 4 – Set a Modest Goal
In order to build a new habit…no matter what it is…it can be helpful to set a short-term goal so you can stay focused and motivated. As such, I recommend committing to a single month of your new routine. Even if you hate it, even if you see room for improvement…set a time-bound cleaning goal and stick it out until it’s time to reevaluate.
TIP! Rewards work wonders! If cleaning really comes unnaturally and sticking to your new routine will be a struggle, pick a reward that will truly motivate you to stay on track. I personally love picking a reward that corresponds to my goal (e.g., a new vacuum, pretty new dish towels, etc), but anything can work!
Step 5 – Reevaluate & Repeat
At the end of the first month, take some time to re-evaluate. Maybe (hopefully!) certain things have become habit and you no longer need to keep such diligent track. Perhaps there are chores you forgot to include or ones that don’t need to be done as frequently as you first thought. Tweak your checklists/reminders based on your first month and give it a go again…and then again…and then again.
In time, many of the daily and weekly tasks will likely become habit and you may no longer need to rely on a formal “home cleaning schedule” to stay on track. When this time comes, you can shift to a basic monthly checklist and/or your Annual Maintenance Planner to make sure you are doing less-frequent tasks on a routine basis.
Then…if and when…you ever find that your cleaning habits have dwindled or need re-imagining (e.g., new home, new job, new empty nesters, etc), start back at the beginning to first identify the tasks you need to get done; and then work through the process again to create a perfect home cleaning schedule all over!
I used to be horrible at cleaning my house. While I’m great at “tidying,” I’d usually wait until crisis mode before I did the bigger tasks like cleaning the floors, windows, microwave, etc. Having your tasks outlined into a manageable schedule that fits your home and your needs will ultimately help you avoid that “Ack, my house is so dirty” situation and more easily maintain a cleaner home day in and day out! And maybe…just maybe…not hate it so much!