After years of feeling like I could never curb my messy ways, I finally found a simple cleaning routine I could stick to–and I know you can too! Seriously, having a home that is clean and tidy regularly is not out of reach; it all boils down to using one simple motivational tool.
How To Create A Simple Cleaning Routine: One You Can Stick To
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For years I tried various cleaning routines, yet never found one that worked for me.
I had been using a timer to help me in many areas of my life for years, but never had I used it to control my cleaning time. Instead, I had wrongly adopted the “stick to it till it’s done” attitude.
My “stick to it attitude” was failing since I often did not feel like I had the time to complete a task entirely so in the end it never got done.
When I gave cleaning tasks a specific time frame, my sense of accomplishment shifted from getting the job done to getting the time done, and that was a big breakthrough for me.
Finally, I was cleaning regularly, and that meant the house was slowly getting cleaner and in time, cleaning took less and less time because things were not as neglected. A shower cleaned once a week–even if just for a minute or two–takes less time to clean than a shower that has not been cleaned in weeks.
During the final week of Crystal’s series, I sat down and formulated a cleaning schedule that divided my home into various sections with various cleaning tasks.
I then e-mailed my new “cleaning routine” to Crystal at Money Saving Mom, and my first guest post was born.
My stage of life and therefore my cleaning routine has changed since I wrote that guest post and the first version of this post–for instance, now my children clean the bathrooms–but I still think a timer-based cleaning routine works well for people like me who procrastinate due to thinking the chore will take too long.
A Timer Based Cleaning ScheduleThat Will Make Cleaning So Simple
Here is a sample of what a timer-based cleaning routine might look like.
15 Minute Daily Cleaning Assignments
Monday: Master Bedroom–change sheets, pick up any clothing items, clear surfaces, vacuum floor, dust.
Tuesday: Upstairs Bathroom–clean toilet inside and out, clean sink, clean shower, clean counters, pick up items on the floor and clean it.
Wednesday: Main Living Area–clear surfaces, dust surfaces, pick up items off the floor, vacuum or sweep floor, clean fingerprints, and paw prints off windows (well, paw prints is just for pet owners).
Thursday: Main Floor Bathroom–clean toilet inside and out, clean sink, clean shower, clean counters, pick up items on the floor and clean it.
Friday: Kitchen scrubbing–clean floors, cabinet fronts, backsplash, outsides of appliances, clear off the counter and give it a good wipe down.
If you have more living areas or bathrooms in your home than I do, you might want to consider doing two 15 minute cleaning sessions per day. Perhaps you could do one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
15 Minute End Of Day Tidy
To make this 15-minute evening session as effective as possible get as many family members as you can be involved –but even if you are the only one who does this you will still see your home slowly evolve from disorganized to organized.
After dinner is finished, the table is cleared, and the leftovers put in the fridge, grab the following items:
- A laundry basket (you might want to consider getting one like this that can be easily stored after tidy time is done)
- A garbage bag
- A bottle of all-purpose cleaner and a rag
- A microfiber dusting rag
Set your timer and start cleaning like your tidiest friend is popping by for a surprise visit when the timer is done. Start with the most public living area of your home and work your way to the most private–stopping when the 15 minutes is up.
As you work, toss items that belong in a different room in your laundry basket and garbage in the garbage bag. Wipe up messy surfaces with the all-purpose cleaner and the rag and attack dust bunnies with the microfiber dusting rag. When you enter the next room, see if there are things in your laundry basket that need to go in that room. If so, place them where they belong and then go ahead and repeat what you did in the first room.
If you are doing this with your family, assign each person a room to work on.
Chances are the first evening you do this you won’t get further than one room, but over time you will get past that room and into other rooms until eventually all public living areas can be tidied up in the 15 minute after dinner tidy–especially if other family members are helping out.
30 to 60 minutes of Decluttering Saturday Or Sunday
Every Saturday or Sunday, pick one cluttered area of your home and attack it for 30 to 60 minutes.
The reason you want to do this is because clutter makes cleaning more difficult–therefore the less clutter you have, the faster it will be to clean your home.
Plus in our current society, new things are always coming into our home. If we want to stay on top of the clutter, we need to make regular decluttering sessions a part of our weekly cleaning routines.
You can find more decluttering help in the following articles:
- How To Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed
- How To Declutter Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
- 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Free printable plan
Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Smartphone Timer And What You Should Use Instead
Smartphone timers are handy and they will work in a pinch, but here is the reason why I think you should invest in a kitchen timer to use for your cleaning sessions–you can see the screen at all times.
Nothing is more motivating than watching the seconds click away–it will make you clean faster. No, you won’t be sitting there looking at the timer the whole time. However, it will be easier to see how much time you have left if you use an old fashioned kitchen egg timer and not your phone screen, which (if it is like mine) goes into sleep mode within seconds. This particular timer has an extremely visual way of showing you how much time you have left, which acts as a constant reminder that now is the time to boogie!
For Those Of You Who Have Been Reading The Time Management Series
If you have been following this time management series since day one, you should have a good handle on how long various cleaning tasks take you. You also know where your large and small windows of time are that could be used for cleaning. I challenge you this week to sit down and take that knowledge and turn it into a cleaning schedule that works for you.
For those of you who need a bit more help creating a cleaning plan, Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less has written an excellent free resource called “How To Create A Cleaning Schedule That Works For You” that is also the introduction to her 8 part “The Beginner’s Guide To Cleaning.” The introduction and the guide is full of valuable information that will help you not only set up a cleaning system that works for you, but also gives you the knowledge to clean with accuracy and efficiency–saving you time.
Is Your Life So Chaotic That Fitting In Even 30 minutes Of House Cleaning A Day Seems Like Too Much?
These courses contain 15 super short video-driven lessons and they come with a workbook for you to complete. Each lesson consists of a five minute video, five minutes of reading, and a five minute workbook activity. These courses will help you streamline your day, taking you from frazzled to calm.
Short on time and money? No problem! Sign up for the FREE 5 Days To A Better Morning Challenge and learn how to spend your morning in a way that will bring calm to the rest of your day (and you don’t have to get up earlier to do it).
Dig Into More Of The 31 Time Management Tips Series Using The Links Below
Introduction: 31 Days Of Time Saving Tips For The Work-At-Home Mom
Day One: Perform a Time Audit
Day Two: Night Owl Or Morning Bird?
Day Three: Where are Your Largest Windows?
Day Four: Making the Most of Small Windows
Day Five: Daily To-Do Lists
Day Six: Maximizing The To-Do List
Day Seven: Say No
Day Eight: Eliminate Poor Yes Choices
Day Nine: Put Your Time Offenders On a Budget
Day Ten: Combine Joy
Day Eleven: Making Effective Use of Waiting Time
Day Twelve: Making Use of Travel Time
Day Thirteen: Making The Most of Mom Taxi in Waiting Time
Day Fourteen: Take Time to Rest a Few Moments Each Day
Day Fifteen: Tag-Team
Day Sixteen: Involve the Kids
Day Seventeen: Mechanical Slaves
Day Eighteen: Outside Help
Day Nineteen: Timer Magic
Day Twenty: Take a Rest Day
Day Twenty One: Less Stuff, Less Mess, More Time
Day Twenty Two: Hold A Family Work Bee
Day Twenty Three: Keep Gatherings Simple
Day Twenty Four: Saving Time in The Kitchen
Day Twenty Five: The Self Cleaning Home
Day Twenty Six: Streamlining Your Homeschooling Day
Day Twenty Seven: Create an I Did It List
Day Twenty Eight: Create a Simple Cleaning Routine (you are here)
Day Twenty Nine: Create To Go Bags
Day Thirty: Making Minimum Standards
Day Thirty One: Treat Life Like a Marathon Not a Sprint
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