November 1, 2017
Simple Cleaning Routine Tips for Any Schedule
A popular question I get is HOW to fit the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine into different schedules. Here’s the thing – I created my cleaning routine years ago out of necessity. I was sick of cleaning all weekend long and living with the crazy all week long. Once I started using a simple routine I realized that just a little bit every day was helping me keep things clean most of the time. Then came three kids, different work schedules, traveling for my job, running a business…..
My cleaning routine? It was the constant in the chaos. I’ve tweaked it over the years and i can assure you that it will work with most schedules. How do I know? Because I’ve worked the routine in just about every scenario and it works! Mondays are bathrooms day, Tuesdays are dusting day….this simple routine helps me too! If you haven’t tried my cleaning routine or heard about it, go to my START HERE page then come on back.
This post is all about some simple tips and tricks for how to incorporate a cleaning routine into your busy schedule. Let’s not dispute whose schedule is more difficult to fit a cleaning routine into, but let’s talk about HOW to incorporate a cleaning routine because figuring out WHEN to clean can freeze up the progress and stop you in your tracks. You can always find the current month’s FREE cleaning calendar at the top of my free printables page and lots of other free cleaning routine printables.
A little bit about Clean Mama’s Cleaning Routine:
I love a clean house, but when people live in a home, cleaning up is constant. That’s where a cleaning routine is essential – simple tasks completed daily and weekly really keep the cleaning to a minimum so I can spend time with my family and not cleaning. With minutes a day and a plan, homekeeping can be enjoyable, simple, and easy to fit into your busy life and schedule. In case you’re curious, I have been implementing this cleaning routine for nearly 15 years – as a newly married, full-time working gal, a full-time working out of the house mom, a stay-at-home mom, a traveling working in and out of the home mom, and now a work-at-home mom with three active kiddos. This routine is for anyone that’s busy and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning. It may need to be tweaked for your life and schedule, but if you want to spend a couple minutes every day with a little homekeeping.
This free printable explains my cleaning routine in detail – you can find it on my free printable page and here on this post.
Here are some Simple Suggestions for Implementing Clean Mama’s Cleaning Routine:
WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME
If you work outside the home and get home late or leave early (or both!) and are exhausted and have no energy to put a cleaning routine into place, my best suggestion is to start with 5-10 minutes before you leave for work and 5-10 minutes when you get home. Start with the daily tasks and work on completing them every day. If the daily tasks are overwhelming, just start with one – one load of laundry from start to put away, pick up clutter, check floors, or wipe counters. Add one every week and before you know it you’ll have built a little routine into your schedule. Once you feel like you’ve got a good handle on daily tasks, start adding the weekly cleaning tasks – Monday is bathrooms day, Tuesday is Dusting Day, etc. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and do what you can in that amount of time and forget the rest. Keep going and before long you’ll have added this step to your routine as well. If you feel like you can add more time, and get more accomplished, increase your time to 15-20 minutes.
IRREGULAR WORK HOURS/SCHEDULE
An irregular schedule is difficult for so many reasons. Some irregular schedules are overnight shifts, 3 days on and 3 days off or it might even be that you work 12 hour shifts. My best advice? A cleaning routine can be accomplished, but give yourself grace while you’re trying to figure out what works best for you. You might need to double up tasks and tackle two or three on your days off so you don’t have to do much on the days that you are at work. For instance, if you work on Thursdays but have Wednesday off, do Wednesday’s task (vacuum) and Thursday’s task (wash floors) on the same day. Some weeks might be weeks where all you do are the basic daily cleaning tasks (make beds, one load of laundry, wipe counters, clutter, and check floors). Some weeks you’ll be able to conquer the world and get everything done. Take it all in stride and remember that something is always better than nothing.
WORKING AT HOME
Studies show that taking breaks throughout the day can actually help you be more productive. Choose specific times to take homekeeping breaks and throw a load of laundry into the washing machine or unload the dishwasher. These little breaks will get your body moving and might just help you be more productive during the day. I find it most helpful to get my homekeeping tasks out of the way early in the day so they don’t get pushed to the back burner and not completed. Find YOUR time to clean – do you get more accomplished with little chunks of time throughout the day or do you do better by getting it all completed before you start working. Figure out what works best for you!
STAY AT HOME
If you are at home all day with kids or if they are at school, you know that the house is most likely in a constant state of flux and mess or potential mess. ENJOY it, but if you need to have it tidied up during the day (I do!), my best suggestion is to implement times during the day when the kids tidy up their messes and you do your daily/weekly tasks. Complete tasks during nap time or when kids are playing independently. Building time to clean up into your schedule is the best way to find the time to clean. If you don’t plan cleaning, you’ll get to the end of the day and realize you didn’t get anything done and feel defeated. I find that seasonal cleaning is really helpful to get that everything’s cleaned all at once feeling.
GETTING KIDS INVOLVED
If you have children, get them involved in homekeeping. It will make it easier for you to incorporate cleaning and they’ll help make the work a little lighter for you. A couple things that work well at our house – take one activity out at a time, clean up before lunch/naps, clean up before dinner, quick clean up before bedtime. Assign specific, age-appropriate tasks – laundry, dusting, making beds, cleaning up after themselves are all simple daily tasks that kids of all ages can complete with a little guidance.
There are times in your life when your cleaning routine is the last thing you’re concerned about. I’ve experienced a handful of instances where I couldn’t pull it together to keep up with my routine or I was told by a doctor not to lift or do any exerting (torn ankle tendon and three c-sections). I understand that feeling of hopelessness because you know what should be done but you just can’t do it. Each of those instances was 6-8 weeks and through them I learned how to manage the musts and let go of the rest. My mother-in-law also had an autoimmune disease that kept her from the simplest housework tasks and I feel for you if you are suffering from a disease or disability and are looking for some practical tips to fit a routine into your schedule. Here are just a couple suggestions (I could do a whole blog post):
- Ask for help – family members, friends, hire help if you can.
- Don’t do things that lay you up for the next day – pace yourself so you don’t regret the time spent cleaning.
- Split tasks up – if you have 3 bathrooms and you want to clean them yourself, clean one one week on Monday, the next one the following week, and so on.
- Use tools that are easy to use – choose tools that feel good in your hands and that you will want to use.
- Go slow and keep things as simple as you can. Add more when you’re able to but don’t overdo it!
I hope you try my routine and find a sense of calm just knowing that you don’t have to think about what to clean and when to clean it.
What are your best tips for implementing a cleaning routine with your schedule? What have you done that works?
My book Simply Clean will teach you even more about my cleaning routine if you’re looking for a new way to clean.
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Johnna Shapiro Says
These are great tips, but I’d like to see you address people with disabilities and those with limited movement and/or stamina. There must be ideas for how we can make things work. 🙂
b r SaysPost author
Hi Johnna! I added some tips to the bottom of the post 🙂
karen B Says
Such a great request!. It brought tears to my eyes to see that mobility was one of the categories. Its seldom addressed and sometimes can make the person feel they need to keep an unattainable schedule. I am loving your work more and more! Thanks for being open to that addition!
b r SaysPost author
Just being acknowledged as someone living with chronic illness is encouraging. I was not expecting that as I searched for general cleaning tips and came upon this post. Living with a different set of limitations than family and friends, plus my own preference for a clean, healthy, and pleasant home, can make keeping the house up very overwhelming. Thank you for including limited mobility and illness!
b r SaysPost author
Of course, thank you for reading!
Am loving your blog! Would you consider a post that specifically explains how you work the rotating/monthly tasks into the schedule? I tried to see if you already had one but didn’t have any luck.
b r SaysPost author
Look for a YouTube video and blog post coming soon 🙂
Gillian Downes Says
This blog and routine has been a life saver literally. I suffer from severe depression but use your schedule to give my life a constant and to try to cope with the things that overwhelm me like a rental inspection. Your book also helps ground me when I find life spinning out of control. I too, would like to know how you add in the rotating monthly tasks.
Thank you from seaside SA, Australia.
b r SaysPost author
Oh, I’m so happy to hear that Gillian! Look for a YouTube video and blog post coming soon 🙂
Gillian- I am right there with you! I also suffer from severe depression and extreme anxiety and this blog and schedule has helped IMMENSLEY. I am now able to chip away at the basic things that I need to accomplish instead of getting overwhelmed and retreating. And if I do have a spell where I end up letting things go for a while, I now find it easier to jump back into it because the schedule reminds me I can do that gradually. I am also realizing the more I stay on track with the schedule, the more proud of myself I become and the better I feel.
Donna Cash Says
I am 1 if those people who is disabled but the few friends I have when I ask for help they are always too busy. I live with my husband and his mother they are both pack rats. The house is driving me crazy. No one to turn to for help.
I grew up with Saturday as chore day and as a result was conditioned to clean on Saturdays, especially as a working mom. Designating a day for different cleaning tasks is definitely the better way to go. I also thought it was really great the way you thought of all different types of people, working and stay at home even those with limited mobility.
When I lost my job this year, I had a whole other challenge with finding motivation to clean. I felt like there were so many more important things I could be doing other than cleaning. I wrote a post about finding meaning in cleaning that you might like.
Allison G Says
I found your blog a few months ago and I have been loving the cleaning solutions recipes and the simple daily routines that have really helped me keep my house a little bit cleaner. I have a messy husband, a messy toddler, and quite frankly a messy cat, so every bit helps!
I’d love to get the printable that explains the cleaning routine in detail, shown above, but when I click to the free printables I’m being asked for a password?
b r SaysPost author
All fixed! Sorry about that!
Stacey D Crump Says
When is February cleaning month coming out
b r SaysPost author
January 26th 🙂
Your routine is such a blessing. I’ve always wanted to draft one for myself to help fit housework into my schedule but couldn’t find the time for even that. I am anxious to learn more about the rotating tasks. Thanks!
Cindy Cusack Says
I work out of town during the week and am only home Friday night through Sunday night, Sept. thru June ( school schedule) How can I maintain a clean, organized home during the school year when I am only home 2 days?
b r SaysPost author
Hi Cindy! Is there anyone home during the week? Most likely you’ll need to do some quick cleaning on Saturdays to catch up from the week AND get ready for the week ahead. Delegate what you can and make sure you’re organized with synced schedules and plans via apps and or other means to communicate.