It’s not a house, it’s a home – Darryl Kerrigan
Cleaning your home or as Darryl put’s it, your castle, is one of the things in life that will never go away, which isn’t a bad thing as it means your home is a living space, not a storage space. However, for those that like a clean home, but love their jobs or are simply super busy with other priorities, it can feel like a task that never ends and your home sometimes never really feels ‘clean’.
If you are just starting out to clean your home as a team or looking for a new way of doing things under your roof, I have one word for you. Practice.
Observe what works, what needs improving and tweak as you go. It won’t be perfect for the first few times, but give feedback to your peeps and the opportunity to get up to scratch.
Because you have invested and are investing a lot of money and energy into building your home. And its 100% worthwhile to create an environment that reduces your stress, not adds to it.
Here are my tips for keeping on top of the cleaning tasks and chores in your home.
Adopt what works for you and tweak as needed as one size rarely fits all when it comes to running households.
1. Define the different types of cleaning to start breaking it down
Clearly defining different types of cleaning will help you see what needs to go into a schedule, what needs to be done ad-hoc, and what needs to go into a daily or weekly routine.
a. Cleaning the whole house (put on a regular schedule)
This type of cleaning is aimed at looking after the big ticket items in your home that will cost you a mint to replace if damaged over time.
Example: floors, kitchen, bathrooms, dusting flat surfaces.
b. Cleaning high traffic areas (done in between whole house cleans)
Cleaning high traffic areas are the areas that get used multiple times on a daily basis and instantly make the place look dirty if not cleaned. They are quick and easy tasks.
Example: bathroom vanities, cleaning benchtops, running a quick vacuum of main living areas, putting away things, organising decor.
c. Regular chores (these need to be done when “they need to to be done”/ad-hoc or put into a daily/weekly routine)
Chores are the tasks that keeping your house flowing and organised. If a bin is full it needs to be taken out. It can be tricky to schedule to empty the bins every two days as there are several variables involved. Chores often need to be done ad-hoc, but some can be put into either a daily or weekly routine. If your whole house clean is weekly, pop the weekly chores into it. For ad-hoc chores, set up mini-systems to take out the guesswork is often the best solution. For example, when the washing basket is full we do a load of washing or the kids pack away all of their toys before dinner each night. Chores also cover the tasks that needs to be done ASAP to keep your home in flow.
Example: laundry, packing away toys, taking out bins, cleaning up spilt milk ASAP.
d. Spring cleaning (done 1-2 times per year)
Spring cleaning involves cleaning the hard to reach or hard to do projects and items in your home.
Example: cleaning air-con filters, cleaning window coverings, cleaning under the couch.
2. Clean the whole house on a schedule
Cleaning the whole house includes deep cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen top to bottom, vacuuming the whole house and mopping the hard floors. Doing it all at once will make you hit reset your home and will help look after and maintain the bones of your interiors.
Whole house areas to clean on a regular schedule:
- Deep clean bathrooms
- Clean all kitchen surfaces and appliances
- Spot cleaning walls
- Vacuuming floors and skirting boards
- Mopping hard floors
- Cleaning windows/glass doors
|Weekly||For busy families|
|Fortnightly||For couples, small families|
|Monthly||For people who are hardly home, singles|
Why do a thorough clean of the whole house?
Because this will save you from re-painting, re-carpeting, re-surfacing hardwood floors, dust mites causing allergies, re-grouting, etching on glass bathroom glass, oil building up in dust, mould creeping in (you don’t want that in your lungs), and a general feeling that “this house is never clean!”.
The more frequently you do it, the less time you will have to spend on it. It is much easier to clean the bathrooms each week than it is to have to deal with a deep clean once a month.
Why put the whole house clean on a schedule?
To clean these areas of your home requires a large amount of physical effort. Scheduling it in will take out the room for complaining about how hard it is. It is hard. But it needs to be done.
And yes, it will take up your Saturday morning or your Thursday night. But you will get better and more efficient at it over time.
3. Clean high traffic areas when needed
These are the areas in a busy household that need to be cleaned more often than once a week or once a fortnight. Here are some examples:
High traffic areas to clean when needed:
- Wiping down mirrors and vanities
- Putting away general clutter/toys
- Straightening up and organising decor
- Wiping down regularly used surfaces (dining table, kitchen bench etc)
- Running a quick vacuum of main living areas
Generally at the mid-way point of cleaning your whole house, but for some it will be every day or every 2-3 days. Some weeks you may not need to clean these areas at all! Each home is as individual as those who live in it.
Why clean high traffic areas in between whole house cleans?
Cleaning high traffic areas are the ‘quick wins’ to keep your home looking cleaning and tidy in between your regular whole house cleaning schedule.
Why clean high traffic “when needed” rather than on a schedule?
Cleaning these areas when needed will keep your home ticking along and looking clean without having to spend hours. They are all less than 15 minute tasks and don’t require much energy in comparison to cleaning the entire house. If these items don’t need to be done, they will coincide with your whole house cleaning.
4. Put general chores on their own schedule or create a mini system for them
General chores are the things we need to do to keep home life ticking along every day. They are not strictly related to cleaning your home, but more maintaining everyday life. Chores generally need to be put into a daily or weekly schedule, or are done ad-hoc. Ad-hoc chores need to have a mini-system wrapped around it to make it clear when they need to be done. A mini-system is a clear, agreed process or indicator of when a task needs to be completed.
Sometimes general chores will fit into your cleaning schedule, but many won’t so it can be a good idea to split them out.
Examples of chores that need to be done on a schedule or ad-hoc
- Emptying kitchen bins (ad-hoc, empty when 90% full)
- Washing, drying, folding clothes (ad-hoc, put on a load when basket is full or schedule weekly)
- Changing bed linens (schedule each week or ad-hoc for kids toilet training)
- Cleaning dishes (ad-hoc, after each meal or schedule at the end of each day)
- Cleaning up spilt milk ASAP (ad-hoc, common sense)
Chores can be tricky to schedule in as some have several variables involved. Make it clear when these tasks need to be done in your home. Can they be put into a a daily or weekly schedule or do they need a mini-system?
|Added to whole house cleaning schedule||Easily fits into your regular whole house clean|
|Daily/ weekly scheduled||Needs to be done at a certain time of day or a specific day of the week|
|When needed||Agree a clear indicator of when this needs to be done|
|ASAP||Accidents, unexpected tasks|
Why split chores out from regular whole house cleaning?
If you are constantly tacking chores onto your regular whole house cleaning schedule or putting whole house cleaning items into your ad-hoc chores, you WILL feel like you are always cleaning your home. Not having a system to delegate and do a clear “reset” of your home can also reduce motivation and take away that feeling of accomplishment (which we all need as humans). Create clear mini-systems or indicators for when your ad-hoc chores need to be done and an overarching system for cleaning the harder/larger areas of your home. If chores do fall neatly into your cleaning schedule then pop them in and ensure the whole family knows about it. There will always be overlap between chores and regular cleaning, but observe, learn and adopt what works for your home.
A house becomes a home with the people who live in it. And although we may not love putting in the work to keep it clean and organised all the time, everyone appreciates the outcome.
Copy and paste the ideas or points from this blog that you think will work for you home and tweak as you go.