Have you ever felt like all you do is clean all day? One day, I got so fed up that I let my house go.
I let my kids do whatever they want because I couldn’t stand to pick up another. freaking. toy.
At the time, I had two small kids in diapers and I was homeschooling my oldest child. So everything I knew about keeping my house clean went right out of the window.
It was such a mess that we never had any company — not even my own mother — because I was embarrassed and I felt guilty about it.
I didn’t think I would ever escape the chaotic cycle I found myself in again and again.
First, there’s Phase 1 when all you do is clean just to clean all. the. time.
Because you’re trying to stay on top of your kids with their toys and crumbs, and other clutter around the house before it gets out of hand.
It’s a really stressful place to be in because it makes you feel more like a maid than a mom.
Then, there’s Phase 2 when you binge-clean your whole house like a madwoman.
It only happens when you realize how bad your house actually is (after not lifting a figure for a month), so you pick a random day to deep clean everything on impulse.
After that is Phase 3. Which is when you stop giving a darn. You just give up cleaning entirely because, at this point, you’re immune to the mess.
This is also the phase when you start beating yourself up.
Because you wholeheartedly believe that your messy home makes you a bad mom, and then downward spiral into feeling hopeless because you have no idea how to get back on track.
But, if you’re lucky enough to claw your way out of Phase 3, then finally, there’s Phase 4: you start binge-cleaning again, but this time, promising yourself things will be different.
And I went through this for two whole years wondering how I’d ever get off the hamster wheel.
Maybe you’re here because you realize that you’ve been stuck in a rut (Phase 3). Or, you’re here because your cleaning routine is too strict and isn’t working for your family anymore so you’re burned out (Phase 1).
No matter what phase you’re in right now, today, I’m going to help you finally move FORWARD.
You’re about to learn how to create a realistic cleaning schedule that you can stick to because I want you to live in a home that you’re proud of!
3 Steps To Creating A Realistic Cleaning Schedule
Step 1: Make a list of important chores.
You need to make a list of chores that you want to get done in a week.
Because the fastest way to overwhelm yourself is to try to clean all the things all the time. And the truth is, you can’t do it all, mama. (Gasp!)
I know, I know. It’s not something we like to admit often, but the sooner you can accept this truth, the sooner you’ll start to feel better about yourself.
Because you don’t need to be superwoman.
You don’t need to drive yourself crazy cleaning every week like a maid.
Especially, when all you have to do is figure out which chores are most important to you and just do that.
I’m the perfect example of this: I stopped cleaning just to clean and I started focusing on just my kitchen and living room.
I realized I care far more about keeping my kitchen and living room clean every day than I do about making sure my bed is made and my throw pillows are fluffed.
Why? Because if my mom drops by unannounced I know I won’t be sitting there dying of embarrassment because my house is trashed.
And I couldn’t care less about my bed being made because my kids jump on it anyway and no one is up there to see the mess.
Now that doesn’t mean I NEVER make my bed. It simply means I get around to it when I want to.
If it’s not first thing in the morning (because I want to enjoy an extra 5-minute shower), then it’s after lunch when I know my kids are busy with pretend-play and not allowed in my room!
For the other chores that technically “matter” (but I hate doing), I simply delegate to my husband. So he takes care of all the laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, and taking out the trash! (Woohoo!)
And our kids are responsible for their bedrooms and keeping toys and clothes where they belong.
Now it’s your turn.
It’s time you let go of the idea that your house has to look every day like it came straight out of the Better Homes & Garden magazine. You’re setting unrealistic expectations for your home and family, especially if you have young kids (like me!).
What I want you to do instead is to grab a sheet of scrap paper and write down only the chores that matter to YOU in this season of your life.
If you can only handle the dishes and laundry right now, don’t beat yourself for the fact that you haven’t vacuumed or mopped in a month.
It will get done. You will be able to add it to your regular cleaning routine eventually, but for right now, focus on what you can handle and forget about the rest.
Then, after you’ve written down which chores you want to tackle, let’s write down why.
Just like earlier when I told you that keeping my kitchen and living room clean is important to me because I really hate running around like a chicken without a head trying to straighten up when people drop by — you need to know why the chores you picked are important to you too!
Because that will keep you motivated to stay on top of them.
Step 2: Separate your chores.
Now that you know what chores you’d like to focus on, the next step towards creating a realistic cleaning schedule is to separate your list of chores into different days.
For example, you could designate Mondays for floors; sweeping and mopping, Tuesdays for cleaning toilets, Wednesdays for deep cleaning your kitchen, etc.
Or, if you stick to doing the same chores every day, then you’re going to need a morning and nightly routine.
Since I clean my kitchen every day, I have a list of chores that I do at night. They include hand-washing dishes, sweeping crumbs, removing toys and clutter, and wiping down the countertops and table. Then on Fridays, I will mop my floors!
So you can either create a weekly routine and divide your list of chores into different days of the week, or create a daily routine and divide your list of chores up by the time of day.
But most often, your schedule will resemble a combination of both.
The thing to remember is that your cleaning schedule doesn’t need to be perfect. There will be days when you don’t get around to doing something on the EXACT day it should be done and that’s okay — just pick it up on the next day.
But you should always be tweaking your schedule until you find a routine that works for you!
Step 3: Keep it doable.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be realistic about your chores and your cleaning schedule.
Because I used to be a neat freak and I used to be a hot mess too. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum.
And I now understand that the sole purpose of having a cleaning schedule set up is to help you stay consistent even when life gets chaotic.
But make sure your cleaning schedule fits easily around your busy life, and either delegate or be okay with what you can’t get around to do.
I know this is not your typical “cleaning” advice.
And honestly? That’s because I’m all about simplifying routines to save your sanity!!!
So until you gain the confidence and energy to take your home management strategy up a notch, I suggest you keep your cleaning schedule simple so you can spend more time doing what you love. 🙂