For busy parents, keeping up with a clean home can present a challenge. Here are some tips on how to set up a cleaning schedule that can help. I’m not a parent but I am busy and so I draw from my own grab bag of tricks as well as some helpful websites that go into the topic (linked below).
To overcome inertia, I’ve learned to set up a routine—and commit to following it. Let’s start with setting up a routine.
First, figure out what are daily, weekly, and monthly priorities. Daily might include laundry, dishes, kitchen counters after meals, and spot cleaning in bathrooms. Weekly might be a full bathroom and kitchen cleaning and vacuuming all the floors, monthly dusting and mopping the floors after vacuuming.
You need to determine this breakdown based on what you can live with. Now you have the bare bones of a cleaning schedule.
Second be sure you have the supplies you need. Good idea to have a small tray of cleaning products for the kitchen that you keep under the sink, and another one for the bathroom. Also think about what might save time, like getting a robot vacuum for floors (if you think it’s worth the money).
Third, find the time slots that make sense with your lifestyle. Before or after meals is often a good possibility. Think in terms of small time blocks—15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour—more for the monthly cleanings. Short but regular can get a lot done and keep your cleaning schedule from feeling overwhelming.
Once you have your routine, go for it! Here are some tips to help:
- To keep the mess from building up have your family get in the habit of putting mail, school papers, and daily purchases away rather than setting them down and leaving them. If that’s too demanding, you can do what I do, designate a few boxes around the house to toss them in for sorting later.
- Designate certain rooms toy-free, to keep the spread contained.
- Share the work. Involve your children in the cleaning tasks to save you some wear and tear and nurture their sense of responsibility.
- Think of your home in terms of zones: wet rooms (bathrooms, kitchen), dry gathering rooms (living room, den, etc.), and less trafficked dry rooms (bedrooms, basement, etc.). And divide tasks among them. Wet rooms usually need the most frequent attention, dry gathering rooms next, and less trafficked dry rooms the least.
- When you clean, get into a rhythm. A well-known speed cleaning method that I’ve used in my professional cleaning since I started is to make a single circuit through a room one task at a time—dusting, surface cleaning, vacuuming, etc. At each point follow the principles of cleaning from high to low and back to front. I’ve found this keeps me focused and keeps the cleaning moving smoothly along.
Here are some other helpful blog pieces for busy parents where you can pick up more tips on how to set up a cleaning schedule and also find a printable schedule already worked out if that is useful. The first resource is particularly well thought through: