I’m just going to say this upfront, before I even begin the planned post for today. I am a pretty tidy person, and am even a bit anal-retentive about having a clean home. But I do not clean on the set schedule I am about to present.
When my shower is dirty, I clean it. When my countertops are messy, I wipe them down. I probably don’t vacuum as often as I should because my carpet doesn’t show dirt at all. And I know I don’t do things like dust the blinds and clean nooks and crannies as much as cleaning pros recommend.
Why? For one thing, it really is a case of out of sight, out of mind. If I see a mess (ie the crumbs on my dark kitchen countertops), I wipe it up immediately. But the dust bunnies beneath my desk? I won’t think twice about them until I drop a pen on the floor and come face-to-face with their menacing little figures.
The other reason why I don’t clean as often as I should is one that I’m sure many of you can relate to: I’m busy. I have better things to do with my time than spend hours each week scrubbing floors and wiping down cabinets (especially if it’s a beautiful day when I could be outside). A clean house makes me happy, but spending a good portion of my free time cleaning doesn’t, which is why speed cleaning is the way to go. (I’ll be posting on speed-cleaning pointers soon, so stay tuned!)
BUT. Here’s the big but. I think it’s helpful to have a cleaning schedule to help you stay on top of those evil but necessary tasks that are often overlooked but keep your home looking and functioning at its best. So I am going to present a schedule that outlines what to clean daily, weekly, and monthly. Should you abide by it to the day? You can if you want to, but I certainly don’t. Should you print and post it somewhere to remind you what to clean on occasion? I think that’s a swell idea.
So without further ado, here’s what to clean:
(Most of these tips were adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Making a Home and Better Homes & Gardens Household Hints and Tips.)
Perform these basic chores, which only take a few minutes, every day and you won’t have to spend hours on the weekend catching up with your cleaning and organizing tasks.
• Pick up and put away clutter (including clothes, shoes, toys, books, magazines, and mail)
• Make the beds
• Wash dishes and, if necessary, unload the dishwasher
• Wipe off countertops, cooking appliances, and the kitchen sink
• Take out trash and recycling
• Wipe out bathroom sinks and spray shower doors
Weekly chores might be done in one weekend afternoon or spread throughout the week (perhaps Sunday is grocery day and Tuesday is laundry day, for instance). Depending on the size of your household, laundry and other chores may require your attention more than once a week.
• Launder and iron clothing
• Clean the kitchen
• Clean the bathrooms
• Dust furniture and shelves
• Shake or vacuum rugs
• Vacuum carpeted areas
• Mop floors
• Change bed linens
• Sweep the front entry and step
• Buy groceries
• Water plants
These are the chores that are easy to forget about in the bustle of everyday life—remind yourself to do these tasks once a month to keep your home looking lovely.
• Sweep the garage
• Shake out outdoor area rugs and doormats
• Vacuum furniture (don’t forget to clean underneath cushions!)
• Clean windows and mirrors
• Wash out garbage containers
• Clean the stove
• Wipe the interior of the refrigerator and microwave oven
• Clean baseboards
• Dust miniblinds and vacuum curtains
• Change and clean filters on heating and cooling systems
OCCASIONALLY (once or twice a year)
These tasks needn’t be performed very often. But plan to tackle them at least once a year to keep things in tip-top shape.
• Defrost the refrigerator
• Clean mineral deposits out of the coffee maker and steam iron
• Clean out drains and gutters
• Wax floors
• Polish furniture
• Clean out closets (and get rid of what you don’t need)
• Move heavy furniture and clean behind and under it
• Wash walls
• Shampoo carpets, upholstered furniture, and drapes (or have them cleaned)
• Get the chimney cleaned
• Get gas appliances serviced
• Remove and clean light fixtures
• Clean screens and storm windows
The Home Know-It-All