There are so many factors to consider when trying to find a cleaning routine. Your headspace about cleaning is just one. Then there’s your schedule, your family, your physical abilities, and much more. With any luck, some of our tips for finding a housework routine will “hit home” for you!
Whatever you feel will work for your life and cleaning goals, then give it a try. And leave yourself open to changes so you don’t feel defeated if it’s not working for you. Allow yourself the permission to fail and tweak your routine or try again and again until it becomes an automatic behavior.
Sit down with a pen and paper or your favorite device and think about your life. Where can you put regular cleaning into your busy schedule? For some, this will be late night spurts of furious catch-up cleaning. Others find mornings to be the absolute best time to conquer their task list and feel accomplished for the rest of the day. Some will set a timer for 10 minutes per day or 20-40 minutes a few times per week. And yet others will become a weekend warrior where they go on 3-hour cleaning binges.
Where are you in your cleaning goals right now? If you’re caught up but feeling the pinch to stay that way, list everything you’ve done this week to maintain your home because most likely that’s the length of task list you’ll need to continue each week. You can chunk this up into a routine once you know what needs to be done.
If you’re behind, then make a chore list of what you feel you will need to do to get caught up. You may want to start with an all-out cleaning assault on your home to get to the point where you can then pare things down into a routine. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with this from friends or from us here at Tidy Maids. But the point is, if you start your routine in a complete mess of a home, you may be setting yourself up to fail. We don’t want that! A routine should have you flying high!
Go online and Google cleaning chore lists for a lot of free printables and suggestions for what you might want to do daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. It’s a great place to start and you can then customize these to exactly what you need. Your new routine will be born from your chore list and your schedule.
Depending on your personality, your schedule is your thing and you’ll stick to reminders and alarms. Choose the times you want on the days you want to clean and set up your calendars and devices to let you know it’s coming and when it’s time. Don’t procrastinate! Get motivated and push yourself to follow this schedule for a month (at least) so it becomes more automatic behavior and gets easier to get into the swing. If you’re double-booked, don’t just falter on your cleaning, reschedule it for a different time or day.
When it’s time to clean, set your timer and get going. If you choose a 20-minute alarm, you have permission to stop the moment that alarm goes off. But if you don’t feel like stopping, then don’t! Keep cleaning and give yourself more free time later.
For smaller tasks and bites of time, the “If-Then” routine is a great way to reset yourself and start some great automatic behaviors. Some might do the dishes the moment dinner is done and before the TV comes on. Others find their way into the kitchen throughout the day so it’s a great time to say, “If I’m putting my coffee cup in the kitchen, then I’m filling the dishwasher”. Likewise, this works on other areas in the house too. Like, “If I’m taking off my clothes, then they’re going into the hamper.” A good one is, “If I’m going to brush my hair or brush my teeth, then the bathroom must be clean first.”
And of course, if you’re walking through your home for any reason whatsoever, grab something and put it away where it belongs. You want this to become second nature, so make it very easy on yourself with our tips below. There are a variety of methods you can try.
Lost and found baskets and bins are spectacular for helping this become an automatic behavior. If you find a dirty sock or a wayward toy, add it to the lost and found to be put away later. This is a great time to get help from your partner and kids too. And obviously it’s not always as simple as finding a hair tie in the kitchen and running it across the house, up the stairs, and into the master bedroom. Instead, you’ll chuck that tie into a basket on the stairs for things that need to go up later. Or you’ll have a pretty, vintage candy dish or box nearby that looks like decor but hides a lot of “junk” you don’t want to throw away. Add “Sort junk bins” to your cleaning chore list.
Don’t think of them in a casual manner, really take them seriously.
Aside from setting calendars and timers, what else can get you motivated to keep your routine? Here are a few ideas:
— Try a cleaning get-up specifically kept just for cleaning. Clothes that are not baggy paired with good tennis shoes and maybe putting your hair up into a messy knot will cue your mind that it’s time.
— Post your cleaning goals and schedule on social media to get help staying accountable. Posting pics helps even more!
— Get a friend on the same schedule as you and you can chat on the headset while you both clean. Or as an alternative, check in with a friend when your task list is done.
— Remove all distractions like shutting down your laptop and phone (or putting all electronics in a different room from you) so you’re not sneaking a peak at social media while you’re supposed to be cleaning.