Cleaning Hacks

The Only Cleaning Schedule You’ll Ever Need for a Spiffy Space All 365 Days of the Year

Kells McPhillips

Photo: Getty Images/fotostorm
If your house-cleaning strategy involves waiting until things are dire—and I mean, dire—to break out the vacuum, mop, and duster, you’re in good company. According to the 2019 National Cleaning Survey (yes, that’s a thing), 69 percent of folks say there are areas in their home they didn’t clean but really should. That’s a huge reason why creating a cleaning schedule is such a game-changer: Stick to it, and you’ll never again have nightmares of the dust settlement behind your dresser.

“One big benefit of having a cleaning schedule is that you can divide cleaning tasks up over time, distributing the load to become more manageable,” says KonMari Method-certified organizer Michele Vig, founder of Neat Little Nest and author of The Holistic Guide to Decluttering. “When you have a schedule, you can also delegate parts of the cleaning schedule among members of your family.” Vig recommends making the cleaning schedule as specific as possible by dividing it into a cleaning checklist to run through daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally (more on that below). Then, you can divide out the tasks to each family member based on those timelines. For example, maybe your partner empties the dishwasher every day, cleans the bathroom every week, and changes the ventilation filters every month.

“You should aim for progress over perfection. ” —Michele Vig, professional organizer

Yes, this schedule is likely an effective way to stave off any dusting-related fights in your household—but it will also ensure you’re soaking up all the mental and physical health benefits of having a clean, fresh house to come home to (particularly now, when we’re all spending a lot of time inside). Research shows that cluttered surroundings decrease focus, while spiffy, well-organized spaces promote restfulness and restoration. It’s a good reminder for those weeks when you’re tempted to skip folding your clean laundry and live out of the basket… not that I’ve ever done that.

If planning out a year’s worth of sprucing feels more daunting than relaxing to you, well, that makes sense. A way to get around that feeling of overwhelm is to start small. “If you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with your cleaning, start with the dailies and then add in the weeklies,” Vig says. “You should aim for progress over perfection. For example, you might start by doing the weeklies every other week until you feel more in control of your spaces. The more you tend to your spaces daily and weekly, the less of a burden you will feel, and your home will be less cluttered and easier to clean. Always remember to start where you are and look for quick wins to help you build momentum,” she says.

So, what about the actual cleaning schedule? Below, Vig outlines how to divvy all that cleaning up into bite-size projects you (and your housemates) complete on a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis.

Daily: Cut the clutter, make your bed, and leave the kitchen sparkly 

“Being in tune with the clutter and mess that comes into your house daily will be your most significant way to improve the cleanliness of your home,” says Vig. “Putting forth a little bit of effort every day lessens the load from letting everything pile up and overwhelm you.” Vig’s daily schedule couldn’t be more easy-breezy. Just make sure your bedroom’s clean in the morning, freshen the kitchen in the evening, and tackle a little de-cluttering along the way.

1. Complete your morning bedroom checklist

  • Make your bed.
  • Make sure dirty laundry winds up in the hamper and your rejected outfits of the day go back in your closet.

2. Declutter

  • Spend 10 to15 minutes removing visible clutter, like stacks of mail, random papers, and items that need to go back to their homes, like computer chargers, rogue sneakers, or forgotten books.

3. Reset the kitchen in the evening

  • Wash all the dishes or load them into the dishwasher.
  • Wipe down the counters and vacuum up any food bits that have landed on the kitchen floors.

Weekly

Vig says your weekly tasks should make up the brunt of your cleaning schedule. “Setting aside time either during the week is a critical step to keeping your house clean and free from excess dirt and dust,” she says. On Sunday morning or one evening after work, tackle the following larger tasks for a clean week ahead.

1. Dust 

2. Address the floors

  • Vacuum and mop the floors. If you’re short on time, target the places that get dirty the fastest: the kitchen and bathroom.

3. Clean the mirrors in the bathroom, living room, and other areas

4. Clean the bathroom

4. Do the laundry

  • Refresh the bedding, bath mats, towels, and, of course, your clothes

5. Empty every trash bin, and take out the recycling 

6. Discard out-of-date items

  • Toss out expired food
  • Recycle magazines or catalogs you no longer wish to keep

Monthly

Monthly, Vig says you only have one task: To clean the ventilation or furnace filters in your house. Once you do that, you can kick back and relax.

Seasonally

You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but summer, fall, and winter cleaning should also be on your radar, says Vig. “Doing a deeper cleaning seasonally can help you maintain the investments in your home, like furniture and appliances,” she says. Below, learn which big tasks you’d be wise to tackle four times per year as part of your seasonal cleaning schedule.

1. Deep vacuuming

  • Move around the furniture and vacuum under it.
  • Vacuum your baseboards.
  • Vacuum all molding and vents.

2. Deep clean all your appliances

3. Deeper fixture cleaning

  • Make sure to dust and clean chandeliers, lights, and blinds.

4. Clean the miscellany 

  • Launder pillows, rugs, and blankets.
  • Clean all windows.

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