(*It’s not you.)
A Rude Awakening
When you move in to a new home – especially your first home or a newer & bigger space – you envision all of its potential. The perfect place for your family, for resting and relaxing, for hosting others, for living life every day.
But sometimes, it’s a rude awakening when you realize how many things must be done to clean and maintain that space.
I remember distinctly the subtle but powerful sense of anxiety as my to-do list grew and grew and grew simply by walking around our first home.
It went something like this:
Waking up on a Saturday, I knew we’d get the house all clean that day. Clean the bathrooms, sweep and mop the floors, take out the trash, dust around the house – and by the end of the day, this place will feel so good.
But taking a shower, I would notice that the shower liners were beginning to mildew. I need to throw those in the wash today. I’ll do that when I clean the bathrooms.
Then, upon walking into our living area, I notice a cobweb in the corner – even though we’ve only been in this house a few weeks. Ugh, how long has that been there? A little embarrassing. I need to get the broom to get that down and keep an eye out more in the future. What even is a cobweb, anyway?
Then I start thinking about all the home maintenance things I probably don’t know I need to do. A quick Google search fills me in on HVAC filters, garage door resistance, and roughly 110 other items.
(This, of course, on top of the usual dishes, and laundry, and fun surprise spills in the fridge.)
Does that sound about right?
Now, before I sound too negative – don’t get me wrong. Having a home is a tremendous privilege – meeting basic needs like shelter and providing a space for family and friends to gather. It is something I work to be grateful for all the time.
But, I know personally how burdensome and time-consuming it can feel to really take care of what you own. In the midst of all the other stressors and demands of life, it can be overwhelming to keep up with it all and prevent things from slipping through the cracks.
Adding to the Overwhelm
So what do we do? Search online for a checklist that will whip you into shape, of course!
Aaand find that the cleaning schedules say to deep-clean your fridge every week or all the maintenance lists are for homes that aren’t like yours at all. 😕
While these lists are wonderful resources and can certainly help, their approach doesn’t solve the problem entirely – usually for several reasons:
1. It’s one-size-fits-all.
No one schedule can meet the needs of different homes, lifestyles, family structures, personalities and preferences. Maybe you want to deep-clean your fridge every week, or maybe you’ll be just fine if you can get to it once a year. (Me… that’s me.)
2. It’s in too many pieces.
A quick search will give you plenty of options – daily, weekly, monthly lists and maintenance checklists for each season – all with different recommendations. No one has time to merge 10,000 different lists to get one that actually tells you everything that needs to be done.
3. It focuses on tasks, not habits.
Even if you do find a list that fits your personality and your home, you’re often left with just that: a list. Tons of tasks and plenty of good intentions – but not a plan for how to get them done.
4. It often feels like cleaning for cleaning’s sake.
If the tasks & their recommended frequencies are not aligned with the needs of your home and family, it will eventually feel like a meaningless standard – rather than a way for you to maintain a space you enjoy.
5. It provides expectation, not motivation.
This sort of standard from someone else makes you feel like you “should” do something, rather than being motivated by the value and benefits it will bring you and your family. A list of tasks doesn’t get you to a sustainable cleaning system any more than a “Couch to 5k” plan makes you a consistent runner (Just speaking from personal experience 😬)
What I want you to know is this:
If you’re ever felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for your home – I understand.
If you’ve ever felt discouraged by failed solutions to caring for your home – you’re not alone.
If you can’t seem to stay on top of it, you’re not the problem. The problem is with the approach.
The House Cleaning Schedule You Need Instead
As I’ve surveyed my community about maintaining their home, most people feel overwhelmed specifically in one of these ways:
What this tells me is that the house cleaning schedule you really need is, well, not just a schedule. It is an entire personalized cleaning system that addresses all 4 areas.
- In order to know what, when, and how to do it, you need a list that is comprehensive and leaves nothing to fall through the cracks. More importantly, the tasks & their timing must be personalized to your home, family, and preference.
- Your schedule must “do the thinking for you.” It must spread out the work and naturally incorporate it into the rhythms of your life.
- In order to stay motivated, you must first give yourself time to implement these routines slowly, realistically, and intentionally. From there, you must create long-lasting habits to eliminate the constant need for self-pep-talks and willpower
How to Create a House Cleaning Schedule that Works for You
I’ve spent years putting together a complete system like this for our family, and I’m so excited to get to share it with you.
It is based on levels of cleaning — comprehensive lists of similar types of tasks, built into a rotating system.
These are morning & evening routines that allow your home to function on a basic level – even if nothing else gets done! Examples include making the bed, starting a load of laundry, doing the dishes, straightening living areas, etc.
A weekly list addresses regular tasks needed to keep your space reasonably clean & tidy – so that it can be enjoyed by your family and others. Examples include cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, etc.
This is the first layer of more preventative, proactive cleaning – and includes items that are often overlooked. Examples include checking your fire extinguisher, disinfecting dish tools, etc.
A comprehensive, rotating list includes ALL tasks needed to preventatively maintain, deep-clean, or organize every aspect of your home. Tasks are assigned at the appropriate time of year for seasonal needs. Examples range from cleaning/decluttering your garage to inspecting your attic to deep-cleaning your fridge.
It takes defining each of these levels – and like we mentioned earlier, implementing these rhythms and forming habits over time – for a “cleaning schedule” to really, truly serve your family.
To help you do that as quickly and smoothly as possible, I spent months putting together Home, Clean Home. It includes:
- Access to an online form that will generate your own custom schedule (with every level) based on your own preferences and input
- A 50+ page workbook with printable worksheets to help you implement each level
- An 8-week email series to guide you through implementation with research-based strategies for forming new habits