You Mean I'm Supposed to Clean Too?!

This is my motivation post.  I need to get motivated to staying on top of my house cleaning.  I've been pretty focused lately on health and food and kids and budget... and my house is showing it.  So here is a post I wrote up a couple years ago for another blog, when I was more on top of all things domestic:

I thought I would post my cleaning schedule for those of you who can't get enough of schedules. This schedule is designed to keep your house clean - NOT spotless. Go see Martha Stewart if you need a spotless house....better yet, go see a shrink. You need to get your priorities in order. Spotless homes and small children are not congruent. If you fail to get everything done everyday, then at the very least your home will be tidy. This far surpasses the  total chaos   pit of despair  mess that reigns without some sort of schedule in my home.

Being an accountant by trade, I am an excel freak. So my schedule is posted as a spreadsheet on my refrigerator. Feel free to write it up in whatever way works for you. You could use index cards for each day/category, make a list then laminate it, write it on a white board where you can check it off as you go...the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. (now that the girls are older and like to help, I have each day printed on a sheet of paper inside a clear plastic jacket - the kids like to mark off the chores as they get done... when they actually do get done!)

Here is my schedule:

DAILY: Straighten all rooms
Do dishes and put away
Make beds
Plan meals
Do a load of laundry
Wipe bathroom sinks
Wipe down shower after use
Clean stove/oven as needed
Pay bills
Water plants/garden
Feed/water pets

MONDAY: Empty wastebaskets/take trash out
Clean toaster, microwave, coffeemaker (i.e. regularly used small appliances)
Wipe cabinets/appliances
Sweep/mop downstairs 

TUESDAY: Clean kitchen sink
Clean bathroom mirrors
Clean toilets
Clean ceiling fans
Choose a monthly task

WEDNESDAY: Empty wastebaskets
Sweep kitchen floor
Spot-clean walls/floors
Change bed sheets
Choose a monthly task

THURSDAY: Clean kitchen sink
Clean bathroom mirrors
Clean showers Spot-clean floors

FRIDAY: Empty wastebaskets

Sweep/mop upstairs

SATURDAY: Clean kitchen sink
Choose 1-2 monthly, bi-monthly, bi-annual, or yearly tasks

MONTHLY: 2x - dust out of reach areas/polish
Check dryer vents
Vacuum in/on/under furniture
Clean refrigerator inside/top/under
Wash kitchen curtains
Turn mattresses
Wash garbage cans
Wash windows inside

Wax floors
Clean kitchen drawers/cupboards
Wash curtains
Wash whole stove
Wash windows outside
Baking soda in drains to clear sinks
Clean throw rugs

BI-ANNUALLY: Carpets cleaned
Rotate seasonal clothes
Clean closets/drawers
Check smoke detectors/replace batteries (do at daylight saving time each year is an easy way to remember)

YEARLY: AC/heating system maintenance
Wash walls
Wash blinds

I know, I seems overwhelming. But the reality is, you are doing most of this anyway. You just didn't realize how much you were juggling every day/week. Or you did, and it made you want to fake your own death and disappear to a tropical island somewhere. Utilizing this schedule will help it be more manageable. Really, if you are following this schedule on a regular basis, most of the daily and weekly stuff just isn't so bad. It's when you fall behind that the tasks can become laborious. For instance, if you haven't so much as looked at the blades on your ceiling fans since the day they were installed or you moved in, then it is very likely going to be a highly time consuming chore the first time you clean them. But after that, each week will be a pretty quick and painless assignment to dust the blades off.

Also, you can shift items around as needed for your home. Our garbage is picked up on Tuesday morning. I was scheduling to empty the wastebaskets 3x a week, so I did MWF to accommodate getting them emptied the day it needed to go out. Our last home was only one level. I just split the house into two sections and swept/mopped half the house on Wednesday and the other half on Friday. Also, I assigned everything from Mon.-Sat. I like having Sunday off from any chores. You can set up your schedule for every day of the week if you like or maybe you would rather do more during the week and have off Saturday and Sunday. Just be realistic about what you can get done in a day without totally neglecting your kids.

Oh, yeah. Here's the really important part....your husband should be helping you get this all done. 

Stop laughing - I'm serious. 

Keeping a household clean after you get married have kids is a huge task. Having this chart helps you to make that point abundantly clear with your significant other. Sit down with him sometime after the kids are in bed and before you become completely comatose, and go over the list of tasks, assigning them between the two of you. If your husband still needs more convincing that you need his help, then I suggest the two of you read Babyproofing Your Marriage. This book makes it clear that if a man wants you to meet his marital needs (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more) then he needs to step up to the plate in a big way with the housework. Really, once you have kids, housework is the new box of chocolates/bouquet of roses. I remember telling a girlfriend of mine after the first baby, "Hubby did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and swept the floors last night. It was the best foreplay I've had in a long time!"

Enough said. Divvy up the housework and give yourself grace on those days it just doesn't all get done. Your house will live to see another day. (and you will too!)