Here’s a weekly chore schedule to help keep a clean house. Home Ec 101 gets a lot of requests for help figuring out how to get and keep a house clean. There’s no big secret here, it’s just a matter of dividing the chores into manageable chunks. Each day has one major chore and a minor chore to keep the routine simple.
Once you have the hang of what’s expected click the image for a handy printable pdf for easy reference.
Singles and couples who live in average sized homes will find the chores go quickly (and better still when labor is fairly divided). It’s the nature of the beast, but families with young children will find routine chores take a little more time. Effort spent teaching young kids to be helpful will pay off as they develop the skills to be a real help. Invest the time.
Remember clutter makes cleaning hard.
Transparency: When I stick to my own advice, this routine keeps the house company ready with 15 minutes warning or so. When I don’t, a little more preparation is needed.
I do laundry throughout the week, but Mondays are the day to tackle the big items such as sheets and bedding. Sheets are done every Monday, and the first Monday of the month all blankets, mattress pads, and pillow casings are washed. This is also the day to put away all the laundry that seems to linger in the area I have set aside for folding. If there is any ironing, hand washing, or clothing repair needed, this is the day for it.
Monday’s minor chore is a quick kitchen wipe down. All surfaces in the kitchen get a quick wipe for fingerprints and crumbs. The fridge is checked for science projects or items that need to be used quickly.
Floors, this is the day for mopping and thorough vacuuming. During the week I sweep, spot mop spills, and vacuum the middles. My household also has three kids and a dog running in and out, tracking in dirt. In my household at least minimal daily upkeep is a must. If you are single or have no children, you will probably rotate which room gets the deep floor cleaning.
The rule of thumb for carpeted rooms with high traffic (family rooms and hallways for example) is to vacuum once a week + one additional time for each household member. A household of two should need to vacuum the high traffic areas twice a week. Large pets should be counted as people. The frequent vacuuming keeps dirt from destroying the carpet fibers.
A quick list of posts on cleaning different flooring:
Tuesday’s minor chore is a 15 minute pick up and wipe down. Misplaced items are rounded up and smudges and smears are wiped away. (Dog nose prints, kid fingerprints on switch plates, etc).
Errand day. This is the day to hit the post office, make doctor’s appointments, refill prescriptions, and grocery shop. Since I end up spending a lot of time in the car, I also clean that out, filing receipts and mileage, as necessary.
Wednesday’s minor chore is car and entry way clean up. Clear out the trash and vacuum the car if needed. Also enter the home as though you are a guest and make sure the entry way is clean.
Bathrooms in busy households should get at least a quick daily wipe down of the sink and toilet. With the daily wipe down a bathroom deep clean goes quickly. If your home has more than one bathroom, alternate which gets the deep clean, but make sure whatever bathroom guests use gets at least a quick cleaning.
Here’s an unabridged post on How to Clean a Bathroom.
If a household is large enough to have a bathroom for children, from school age on they should be in charge (with supervision) of that bathroom’s maintenance. It won’t kill a kid to wield a toilet scrubber and if they have to clean up what they dribble, boys quickly develop better aim.
It’s time for a deep kitchen clean up as explained by Ivy. Remember though her post is on Spring cleaning in the kitchen, a weekly clean up doesn’t need to be THAT thorough. The kitchen stove, counters, and sink get a quick wipedown after each meal which helps Friday’s chore go quickly.
Friday’s minor chore is dusting, rotate which room receives the focus. In non-smoking homes a quick weekly dusting should be all that is needed, unless there are a lot of pets or tchotchkes. The more stuff you own, the more it must be cared for, don’t be scared to get rid of items you don’t love.
Project day, this covers everything from yard maintenance to room painting. We don’t spend every Saturday doing these things, many Saturdays are family or friends days.
The big chore is preparing for the week ahead. Find all the library books or movies that need to be returned. Pack bookbags or briefcases, menu plan, find missing keys or shoes. Look at the calendar and get a sense of what’s coming this week.
Are there days that will be too busy to cook? Plan foods to grab and go.
Are there meetings or school pictures that require nice clothing? Figuring it out now prevents panic the night before -or worse the morning of.
Doing these things helps keep the budget on track and prevents Monday morning from being a big hassle.
Set a timer and put things away for ten minutes. If you have kid, spouse, or roommate, get them involved.
Need help with dividing up chores? Here’s a suggestion for dividing the labor fairly.