Spring is here and most people are getting into the Spring cleaning spirit. Don’t you feel so much lighter when your house is clean and tidy? It’s like decluttering your mind!
But as much as Spring cleaning feels good, how can we make sure to maintain our home clean all year long? By using an effective cleaning schedule!
Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t always disciplined. I used to be a total SLOB.
- The dishes were piling up? I’d just do them all in one shot when I felt like it;
- Putting clothes away right away? Meh, I’ll just do it later;
- Dusting? forget it. It takes too much time.
This all changed when I met my husband. He is a clean freak.
Before we moved in together, he used to come over and do an inspection of my apartment. We would spend 20-30 minutes just cleaning up the place, putting away any clothes piled up on the bed or cleaning dirty dishes. In fact, his determination to help us was so strong that my cousin, and roommate at the time, would ask me when he was coming over because if he was, she would make sure to clean up her room first.
To some, this story might make my husband sound like a crazy person. But I’m so grateful that he did this because now neither my cousin nor myself can stand a cluttered house!
So what did I do to make a permanent change in my behaviour?
The key was to do a little bit of work every day until it became a habit. I know – easier said than done, right?
Think of it this way: if you can manage to find 20 minutes in your day to do a daily task, and share it with your partner (or even your kids) if you can, your house will always be clean, or at least tidy (which is a HUGE win in itself).
Since we’ve started using this method, we have no issues with hosting last minute dinner parties, or guests giving us an hour notice before they come over because if anything, we just have to quickly tidy up instead of stressing over how dirty our house is.
Here’s what you can do to get into a cleaning habit.
DEVELOP A CLEANING SCHEDULE
I find that having a day dedicated to a certain task helped me tremendously in feeling less overwhelmed about all the house work that needed to be done. (Do you see my pattern with day assignments here?)
Figure out what needs to get done around the house
Include things like cleaning the washroom, vacuuming, decluttering, laundry. Whatever you think you need to do to keep your house in check.
Think about the required frequency of your tasks
Think about what needs to get done every day, once a week, once a month, and place it on your calendar, or just write it down on a piece of paper and place it next to your calendar. So it could look something like this:
- Monday – Clean Washrooms
- Tuesday – Dusting
Think about whether you want break days
We like to keep our weekends free to spend time as a family. So we get all our cleaning done during the week and don’t assign any cleaning tasks on the weekend. Maybe that’s something that works for your family too.
Share the tasks
If your partner can help, even better. I usually vacuum and clean the washrooms and hubby usually dusts and mops the floor. Sometimes we’ll each have a level and do the work assigned on each level. It always depends on what our schedules look like. Sometimes I do everything one week and he does everything the next.
If it makes it easier for you, assign a day for each person on your calendar!
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THE SEINFELD CALENDAR
Have you heard of the Seinfeld Calendar? Developed by Jerry Seinfeld (yes, yes, the comedian), this technique helps create new habits that stick. It is definitely useful to help keep your house clean.
The idea is to essentially cross days off on a calendar once you’ve completed your task/goal for the day and not breaking the chain. The theory is that it will take an average of 66 days to form a habit that sticks. I’ve used this calendar technique many times, and it works!
So if you’re not sure where to start, start with this:
- Setup a cleaning schedule
- Print out a calendar
- Hang it somewhere you’ll see every day
- Start crossing out your days
GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED
I’m a firm believer that cleaning habits should be developed at a very young age.
I don’t think that I turned out to be a slob because my parents were slobs. On the contrary, they are very clean people and their house is always tidy. But growing up, the idea of cleaning was to “help my mom” rather than understanding the value of a clean home.
That’s why we’re trying to get into the habit of having Little J help when he can.
How our 2.5 month old helps
We often ask him to:
- Set the table;
- Bring his plate to the sink when he’s done eating;
- Put the dishes in the dishwasher while we’re doing the dishes;
- Put his toys away before bed or when he’s done with them;
- Use a spray bottle (we got him his own!) to clean the cupboards;
- Clean up messes when he makes them (spilled water or food).
Pinterest is full of resources for age-appropriate tasks for kids!
These skills teach him to keep the house tidy at a very young age.
Granted, it does take more time to get things done. But we want to teach them that cleaning isn’t simply to help mommy and daddy, but rather because they live in the house too and they should be proud to have a clean home.
It’ll be slow at first, but as they grow, they’ll become part of the cleaning crew and they’ll enjoy having a clean home.
This method definitely isn’t fool proof. There are a lot of times that I slack off. However, because my cleaning schedule is always in plain sight, I’m a little more motivated to get it done!
So there you have it. I hope this method helps you as much as it’s helped me! I’d love to see what your cleaning schedule looks like!