How to Create a Cleaning Schedule that Doesn’t Make You Feel Like a Failure
A little over a year ago, I thought I had found the perfect cleaning schedule.
Inspired by the weekly cleaning routine from Clean Mama, I assigned every day a cleaning task. Bathrooms one day, floors the next, dusting one day, laundry one day, etc.
And it worked…for a little while. It took the guesswork out of what I should clean and when. Which you think would make this structure-loving girl very happy!
But some days, I ended up working later into the evening and didn’t have time to clean the entire bathroom. Other days, we had events and appointments that threw off my entire daily cleaning routine. And when I missed one day of cleaning, I felt like a complete failure.
Failure is like kryptonite to a perfectionist!
The thing is—I’m a firm believer in doing a little something every day to keep your home clean . It takes the overwhelm out of a full-blown cleaning day once a week. But locking myself into a strict daily cleaning routine wasn’t the answer.
So I came up with my own solution—a schedule that leaves more room for interpretation and gives you permission to ask, “What do I feel like doing?” and “What do I have time to do right now?”
My Flexible Cleaning Method
1. I made a list of ALL the regular cleaning tasks it takes to maintain a clean home. You can see in the image below that these are more maintenance type tasks rather than deep cleaning. We’ll tackle deep cleaning in another post!
Psst…I keep this cleaning schedule my bullet journal. Learn more about bullet journaling HERE.
2. I created an ideal timeline for those tasks. I wanted my cleaning schedule to span a whole month, but I knew I needed to complete each set of tasks in 10-day increments. Since most months are approximately 30 days, this timeline worked perfectly for me. I didn’t feel pressured to get everything done within a single week!
3. I established a system to make sure those cleaning tasks actually got done. This is the most important step. It’s not enough to establish a cleaning schedule; you have to implement it to see results! So every week, I create a cleaning section in my bullet journal and choose 3-4 cleaning tasks from my monthly schedule to add to that week.
When one task is finished, I get to cross it off my weekly layout and monthly cleaning schedule.
While not perfect by any means, I am cleaning more consistently than ever before. If I have a 20-minute time block in which I can clean a bathroom, I’ll do the whole bathroom. If I only have 5 minutes to do the sink, I’ll do the sink (using the best bathroom cleaner ever, of course!).
By tracking on that monthly cleaning schedule what items I haven’t done, I always know where I stand and don’t feel like I have to do it ALL every single day.
In fact, you might have noticed from those pictures that I don’t ever get everything done within a 10-day period! Yet, somehow, even though I am a die-hard perfectionist, this doesn’t bother me because I can see continual progress.
Progress is gold: I can always get at least one small thing done that moves me closer to toward the goal of consistently maintaining a clean home.
If you would like to adopt my flexible cleaning method, I have a couple printables for you!
One is an 8.5 x 11 sheet you can hang on your fridge or keep in a large home management binder. The others are 5.5 x 8.5 (two to a page) so you can hole punch them into a smaller notebook, or print on sticker paper to include in your own bullet journal.
All you have to do is:
- Brainstorm your own list of cleaning tasks
- Create your ideal timeline. Be ambitious and do tasks every 7 days, take my approach and try 10, or spread it out across 15 days—your choice!
- Establish a cleaning system. Remember: this is the most important step. Decide what will help you implement your system. Maybe it’s hanging the larger printable on your fridge. Maybe it’s adding a set number of tasks to your weekly planner or setting the habit of one cleaning task a day, no matter how big or small.
Just don’t forget to give yourself grace.
We are not home management robots. It’s okay if you miss a task. It’s okay if your home isn’t spotless. Yes, we would all prefer it to look that way, but life happens! The goal is to keep trying. Keep moving forward.
And most of all, keep making progress.
What does your cleaning routine look like?
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.
It’s really hard to understand the method here… I feel like I have generalities, but not a true step by step method to achieve a cleaning plan. Make a list of tasks, okay, decide when you want them completed by, I guess, but what about days where you clean NOTHING? What if you are gone 4 days out of 7 for two weeks in a row? I’m not seeing any flexibility here. And step three is what, exactly? Write it down somewhere else than you already wrote it… clean any item and cross it off, but you have to check ii off twice!… have a “system” (whatever that vague phraseology indicates)… just clean it; it really doesn’t matter how it’s going as long as you wrote something down in the stupid bullet journal that 80% of humans will never attempt or find helpful if they do so! Perhaps you can tell that I’m frustrated.
Some people thrive on having a system of “Task 1 on Monday, Task 2 on Tuesday etc.” Then there are others who love a “cleaning day” system where they do all their cleaning in one day. This method is meant to have you list out the tasks and set a time frame in which you want all of them to be completed on a consistent basis. Whether that is 1 week, 10 days, or longer is completely up to you. That way, if you miss a day that’s fine, you just clean a couple extra things on the next – or skip it entirely. The key to this system is giving yourself grace in the process as well.
I separate my cleaning schedule into two separate layouts—one is the layout that lists ALL the cleaning tasks I need to complete, then I just check it off on the day I do it, no matter which day that is. I DO add these tasks to my weekly and daily layouts because I would often forget to flip back to my master task list and then clean nothing at all! Yes, it does require extra crossing off, but that’s what works for me. It sounds like you could just get away with using the task sheet, hang it on your fridge or somewhere where you’ll see it every day and cross off your tasks as you do them. As long as you continue to make progress, it doesn’t matter whether you clean the shower every week on a specific day or if you let 10 days go in between. But the master list shows you what you have cleaned and what you haven’t so you when you have time for a cleaning task, you can look at your list and see what hasn’t been cleaned recently.
I hope that helps clear things up!
Thanks so much your having response and explanation. I will have to get started with a master list so I can start figuring out what works. I guess I could use the same matter list for a one-day hurricane clean just as well as a more regimented daily plan. I appreciate you illuminating how you allow for flexibility and grace in that. You lead by example – and that’s powerful.
Kalyn, you have been speaking to me lately on so many levels! As I am putting my first bullet journal together, I find myself on your blog searching for various aspects. I downloaded your meal plan sheet yesterday and can’t wait to get started on it this week. I love your idea of combining your weekly and daily tasks in one layout, and now, your flexible cleaning method is the next thing to try. Thank you so much!
ok so I have a hard time trying to remember what to clean and easily get overwhelmed so I have tried having things on certain days then I have also tried a color chart (a little childish I know but if it helps it helps) what I wouldn’t mind doing is having the calendar and color chart combined but I don’t have a calendar that will allow me to do that and I also don’t have a printer to print any of the downloadable content to help so how would one combine the content of the downloadable items and calendar with color chart
Here are a few ideas:
You could use a small whiteboard (with color markers of course) – draw a grid on it for your calendar and then use that each month.
If you really like the idea of a printable you could go to a local library and see if they could print it for you. If they can’t you could get it done at an office supply store like Staples of Office Max. They are usually a bit more expensive than the library though.
Or, you could simply draw our your chart on paper or poster board – tweaking it each month until you find the perfect system that works for you!
I’m going to try your cleaning schedule. I’m very easily overwhelmed, but this seems doable to me. Thanks for sharing.