Working a Cleaning Routine

There was a time when I was at the height of my part-time bookkeeping business, juggling about a dozen monthly remote clients while also working a full time job where certain things had to take the back burner.  One of those things was the house cleaning.  Even though I’ve cut my client list down, the last thing I wanted to do with a free Saturday or Sunday was clean the house.  I needed to implement some type of schedule to spread it out over the course of the week. .

Cleaning Chart1

Back in those days, in addition to working a few hours after supper during the week, Saturdays and most Sundays were spent in my home office doing client work.  While other people were outside working in their yard, attending fairs, spending hours at the mall or just chilling all day on the couch with 800 channels to choose from, I had sequestered myself in a 12×12 room.  Bills got paid on the fly, grocery shopping was squeezed into my lunch hour and thank goodness hub knew how to feed himself and operate the washing machine!

But then there was cleaning the house.  When I had begun to notice cobwebs dangling from the corners of the ceiling I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer.  That resulted in an entire Saturday or Sunday spent just catching up on cleaning.

As one who is active in the planner community, I see a lot of individuals who dedicate a section of their planners (or a spread or collection in their bullet journal) to tracking their house cleaning.  I decided to give it a go by setting something up in my planner, but because it usually remains either on my desk or in my handbag when I get home, it wasn’t visible to taunt….erm….encourage me to clean.  So instead I created an Excel spreadsheet in the intro photo, printed it out and put it where not only I would be certain to see it, but hub as well in case he was so motivated to check it and participate (hint, hint!)  That spot was the fridge.

I began by breaking down the rooms of our house (minus the garage and basement).  We have a 1,700 square-foot ranch with 3-bedrooms (one is our office), two baths, dining room, eat-in kitchen, mud room (with washer/dryer) and a big sunken living room.  I made each room a category then broke it down by each area to be cleaned.  I won’t go into specifics as the photo above is pretty self-explanatory.

The way I set up the spreadsheet allowed me to encompass 3 months (or, as I think in bookkeeping terms – one quarter!) with each number representing the ‘week of’.  Because it’s only hub and myself, our house doesn’t really get that dirty often.  We don’t have kids traipsing in and out of the house, tracking Lord knows what nor do we no longer have a dog shedding hair in every nook and cranny.  Because of this, I realized that not everything needs to be cleaned every single week.  With the exception of the kitchen sink and counters (which I like to do nightly), floor (which I do 2-3 times a week with the wet Swiffer, which is the best invention EVER!) and bathroom toilets, tub and sinks (which I’d like done weekly) everything else can pretty much be done every 10 days to 2-weeks.

When something is cleaned, I either check or fill in the box of the ‘week of’ that it was completed.  This way, when I figure out cleaning for the following week, I can pretty much skip those items.  These usually include polishing the furniture, washing down the wood cabinets and paneling with Murphy Soap Oil (which makes the house smell SO clean!), and dusting ledges and baseboards.

You will also see that, in addition to individual room areas, that I added a miscellaneous section for items that don’t fall under the regular schedule.  These can be done anywhere from once a month to once a quarter (there’s my bookkeeping-speak again!)  Some of these may fall under the individual room category (ie: the main baths and bedroom dresser have mirrors and most of the house has carpeting to vacuum).  Right now, the mirrors and glass (our kitchen cabinets have glass fronts as well as the hutch in our dining room) can be down-graded to once-a-month as well as vacuuming the rugs (remember – no kids or dogs here).  By completing these individual tasks on their own rather than completing them with the particular room’s cleaning clean alleviates me from toting furniture polish, rag, Windex, paper towels, dust catcher as well as dragging a vacuum with me.

Other things such as spraying down the interior of the oven, cleaning out the fridge/freezer, de-cobwebifying (I’m making that a word!) the ceilings, corners and light fixtures, etc. don’t have to be part of the weekly/bi-weekly clean, but should be done every 1-3 months.

This is just an example of something that suits my schedule and the size of my house.  If you think this might be something that you’d like to try, here is the clean chart in Excel format that you can click on, download and adjust according to the rooms and areas of your house.  Happy cleaning!

Till next time,

Elena

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