Isn’t it such a joy to walk into your house and it is clean and tidy?
You’ve got a full time job, a family to organise, a to do list a mile long, all are more urgent than cleaning the house.
There must be more to life than a cleaning routine
I definitely fall into the naturally untidy camp.
My day never started with a light spring in my step knowing that the laundry baskets were empty. I always started my day with dishes in the kitchen sink and enough dust on the dining room table to write my name on it. It was not a good way to start the day!
I’m supposed to be organised and efficient so how could my house be such a mess?
Easy really! Cleaning the house will never make its way to the top of my to do list. Lets face it, cleaning and tidying up is most definitely a chore. It is not something that you put down on the “fun things to do today” list.
After moving into a bigger property, gaining 2 dogs, a cat and another messy person in the form of Mr H, I was sick of cleaning all weekend and living with the ever growing mess during the week.
Out of necessity I had to come up with something to make the cleaning task easy to do. To change the messy habits of a lifetime I needed to create some new habits that would become part of my daily life.
Creating new cleaning habits
Creating habits is important to me as I know it is something that works to help me acheive my goals. Read here about how effective habits are at helping you reach your goals.
I started by creating a quick and easy cleaning routine, to stay on top of things.
So that I could fit cleaning tasks in to my busy day I time-boxed each task to a maximum of 5 minutes. This meant doing what I could in those 5 minutes and then leaving it to carry on with my day. I would then complete or start another task in the next free 5 minutes I had.
Once I started this approach I realised that doing a little bit everyday was helping me keep the house clean and tidy for most of the time.
11 cleaning habits for a shiny future
Here are the key principles I took to develop my super quick and easy cleaning routine:
- If you want to be able to stick to a new cleaning routine you must focus on making the tasks a habit. Relying on others to help, whilst nice, will not create good habits for you. I now consider any help from others as a bonus rather than a necessity.
- There are daily tasks that you must keep on top of, these include:
- tidy up clutter when it appears,
- make the beds
- wipe down kitchen surfaces and fill the dishwasher after meals
- empty the dishwasher when it finishes
- keep on top of your laundry by doing a load from start to finish (including putting it away) every day.
- The majority of the remaining cleaning tasks are weekly activities, to be enjoyed/endured just once a week.
- Complete each weekly task, once a week, for the whole house. This is more efficient than focusing on completing individual rooms at a time. By taking a whole house approach you only need to get out and put away the items you need for that task once. If your working on a per room basis you need all the cleaning tools each time you tackle a room. Think of the time saved by not having to fight with the hoover to get it out of its cupboard each time you need it. Only a small thing, but any small efficiency helps.
- To get the best effect complete the cleaning tasks in sequence. The main sequence is – dust, vacuum and then wash floors, in that order.
- Work out how much time you have available, (or how much time you want to allocate to a task). Then concentrate on doing that task. Don’t think of doing any of the other tasks. Focus on that one. Make sure you finish that task. Once finished forget about it until it is time to do it again. I find that I can do most of the key weekly tasks in about 15 minutes. This will vary for you depending on how many rooms, etc you have.
- Breaking the tasks down into manageable chunks means that it is not so overwhelming.
- When doing the laundry make sure you don’t let the washing sit in the washing machine or dryer for long. If you do they will develop creases. Make sure you take them out when the cycle finishes and straighten and fold them straight away to avoid too many wrinkles. Then put them away.
- Only iron what is absolutely necessary. No one cares whether you iron your knickers and socks! By straightening and folding the items straight away, I need to iron very little. Although, I’m fortunate Mr H doesn’t need daily work shirts.
- All other non daily or weekly tasks can fit in as and when you have the time. Once you are in a routine for the basics it will be much easier to find the time to do these.
- Do a little something everyday!
The cleaning routine to free up your weekends
Once you are are familiar with the tasks, why not create a cleaning routine that you can follow weekly? This will free your mind from thinking about what needs to done as all you need do is follow the schedule.
How much easier will it be if you can arrange it so that you know that on a specific day you always do a specific task?
The mere fact of living in a home means cleaning up is constant. That’s why a cleaning routine is essential. Simple tasks completed daily and weekly keep the cleaning to a minimum so you can spend time with the family.
Here is the cleaning routine I follow week in week out:
- Monday – Bedding laundry wash, Dust & Polish – Doing the bedding and the dusting on the same day ensures that all of the dust is caught when changing the beds
- Tuesday – Colour laundry wash, Vacuum – Vacuuming after dusting ensures the dust is removed
- Wednesday – White laundry wash, Wash floors – Washing floors after vacuuming means they are free of loose dirt. I find that the floors don’t gather too much dirt between vacuuming and washing the next day.
- Thursday – Towel laundry wash, Bathrooms – I like to do my bathrooms close to the weekend so they are fresh for any visitors
- Friday – Specials laundry wash, Catch up – catch up on anything you maybe missed on previous days, or complete some of the monthly tasks
Where does it all end
This cleaning routine is just a guideline.
You are in control.
However, unless you allocate some time to cleaning activities then you will never achieve the bliss of a clean and tidy house all of the time.
Following this approach you will be able to banish the chaos and keep on top of things. You will find the house will be clean and tidy for the majority of the week. Okay it probably won’t be spotless but we’re not looking for perfect here, just good enough!