Back in the day when I was a working Mama, I used to have a cleaning service visit my house once a week and take care of all of my housecleaning. Three ladies would arrive every Wednesday with their bags of cleaning supplies and microfiber cloths and stay for two hours, working as a team. I would leave out fresh sheets for each bed, and they would change them and deliver the old ones to the laundry room. They would dust, vacuum, and mop my house, and when they were done- my entire house felt so clean and fresh. And I was so grateful for having this done for me while I tried to juggle everything else in my life.
But when I became a stay-at-home Mom, house cleaning became part of my new job description… and I had to find a way to get it all done in a way that I didn't feel that it was consuming the better part of my day. If it had been taking 3 ladies 2 hours to clean my home before, that was six man-hours (ahem… lady hours) that I needed to dedicate to this task. And since those ladies only cleaned (as in “removed dirt and dust”) and did not de-clutter and return items to their rightful home, nor did they do my laundry, water my plants, pay bills, or clean up my email inbox- that I would need to plan time to take care of all of these things too…..
I knew that I could either designate one day per week to just house work, and spend all day just doing that one thing, or I could divide the cleaning tasks into 5 different groups so that I could tackle one of them each weekday while the kids are in school. And the latter is the approach that I decided to take. I continue to tweak and adjust this cleaning routine to make it work for me…. and there are weeks when the whole thing is thrown out the window (during Christmas break for example), and I do the bare minimum (clean the bathrooms and do some laundry) and ignore the rest. When I skip a week, I know that I can always get back on track again the following week and all will be fine!
Here is the house cleaning routine that I am currently using:
Mondays– clothes laundry, iron, change the bed linens, wash the linens and towels, dust and declutter the upstairs (bedrooms), grocery shopping
Tuesdays- vacuum and mop the floors upstairs, clean the bathrooms, and spot-wash the windows (to remove kids fingerprints and doggie nose prints)
Wednesdays– declutter and dust the first floor
Thursdays– vacuum and mop the first floor
Fridays– clean up email, water plants, pay bills, clothes laundry
I try to limit the actual “cleaning” part to no more than an hour a day. Of course, laundry, changing the beds, grocery shopping and so on take additional time outside of that hour. And if I can't get it all done one week… then I let it go and know that I can catch up again the following week. But the idea was to take all of my “chores” and break them down into manageable tasks and tackle only what is assigned to each day. I still get that “ahh…..” feeling at the end of the week when my house is clean and feels restored to order…… and the satisfaction that comes with having done it myself!