I have said previously that I am extremely organised, but not a good housekeeper. Cleaning is just not my thing and cleaning checklists and strict cleaning schedules even less so.
Via a phone call I can direct my husband to find something specific almost anywhere in our house. You know the calls while you are out – where is the Neurofen, Alice has come down with a fever. I am making a sandwich and I cannot find any mayo. (what? you don’t get those questions?). My reply will be – are you standing in front of the fridge? Top shelf, look to left, it should be behind the pickles.
Cleaning though … I can let it go as long as my husband does not complain. I have a much later breaking point for the shower needing a clean or noticing (or caring) if there is dust on the TV.
In keeping with my philosophy of “find your simple” I have cringed over the years when I see cleaning checklists that go on for pages. I have sat with my mouth open when an expert tells me I need to make my bed and shine my sink daily. (I have said before I don’t make beds and haven’t since childhood – right mom?) I don’t think we should clean our fridge on Wednesday because a person who has not been to my house says so.
I am not criticising those sites and pages (no cat fights here) – I just want you to realise that there is another way - your way – and I want you to be at peace with whatever that is.
So today I am going to share my latest cleaning routine and will be happy if it helps even one other person who is sick of receiving emails every day or sick of feeling like a failure because they never clean windows (not Thursday or any day except maybe an annual effort).
I have made up printable sheets with most tasks I can think of that go into cleaning a house. Do not attempt to do all of them! Print them off and cut them up into cards. The daily and weekly cleaning tasks are red and include 24 pre-printed cards + 12 blanks, the seasonal and annual cleaning tasks are blue and include 18 pre-printed tasks and 18 blank cards (click the links to download them). Find the ones that are relevant to your house and your cleaning style.
There are several ways you can use these cards:
1. Choose your method of keeping the cards.
- Cut them up and laminate them.
- Cut them up and adhere them to bigger cards (like index cards).
- Take the idea and replicate it your own way – craft it if you like, make the text bigger or the cards bigger.
2. Choose the ways you will put the cards into action.
- Select your cards for the week, keep them handy and mark it done (if laminated you can use a whiteboard marker)
- Set up an in and out system for the cards (ie 2 tins / pencil cups) and move the completed cards to the “done” cup.
- Select your weekly cards and delegate them as appropriate for your household. If you have family chores / family meetings you can distribute chores that rotate in the household. If you are in charge but always ask your partner to do a few things – give the cards rather than nagging. They see their tasks and know they need to return them to your home base when completed.
- Find your own way…
3. Design your own cleaning routine.
- Sit down with your weekly schedule and decide which tasks will be done which days. I discovered in recent years my routine changes too much to stick to a certain cleaning schedule. I may have a day where we are so busy or I am out of the house that I cannot get laundry done that day. Planning it fresh or reviewing each week works with that flexibility.
- If you don’t like to plan at all, then have your cards and select cards when you have time to clean or squeeze in a chore. As you get through the week you will still be able to see at a glance what you need to get done.
- Want to motivate yourself to clean or work it into your crazy day to day life? Note on the backs how much time the tasks take you. You can set your timer for 15 or 30 minutes and do whatever you know you can get done in that time. Have a 20 minute window you can choose 2 x 10 minute tasks and so on. If you like to organise you can even sort your cards based on timing.
4. What else do you need to think about?
- Based on how often you want to schedule the seasonal/annuals in just add the chore to your diary. You can pre-schedule them for the year or note the next “due date” in your diary when you complete the task.
- If you have a large family you may need to do bathroom cleaning several times a week (my heart goes out to those of you with male dominated houses and the horrific bathroom stories I hear) – simply make extra cards for yourself using the blank pages – I have included blanks for you to add jobs that are unique to your household. If you have a lot of trees dropping leaves you may make a card for “rake the leaves” and so on.
- You may want to use these blank cards to start younger kids on helping with household tasks so might make some with simpler tasks like “fold the towels” or “pair up socks” and involve those kids in your household management.
I would really love to hear from you if this sounds like something that will help you. This is the rough version of the cards, but I did not want to wait any longer to share them. If there is interest I will reveal a version 2.0 when my printable making skills are improved and after I get feedback. If you care to email me with chores you ended up adding on your cards I will make sure to include them in version 2.0 as you certainly cannot be the only one…
You will notice I included “make the beds” – I told you this is chop and change, like a “choose your own adventure” for household cleaning. I won’t be using that card, but you are welcome to it! You may skip the card for “wipe down the kitchen cupboard doors” and Sue might skip “turn the mattresses” – please don’t judge poor Sue, she just does not care what you say, she does not do that more than once a year, if that!
I would love it if you would share in the comments your best house cleaning secrets. Tips and tricks? shortcuts? Disaster stories? anything at all!
Find your simple,
Images: Laundry sign available from etsy