A Cleaning Routine that is Impossible to Get Behind On
I have been obsessed with cleaning routines from the first time I was responsible for cleaning my own room, and I mean OBSESSED. Many, many years into marriage, it would get to Tuesday or Wednesday, and I would say to my husband, ‘I am going to try a new system for cleaning the house.’ That’s because the one I had started on Monday was already no longer working for me by Tuesday or Wednesday. [Yes, I have a very patient husband lol.]
When it comes to cleaning the house, I feel like I have pretty much tried everything possible. But, it always ended up feeling pressured and left me feeling like I was overwhelmed and a failure. Not good! Do you relate? Do you often feel like you are behind on your cleaning, that’s it’s too much, or that you can’t keep up? If so, I am so happy you are here reading this because hopefully you might get something from this that will help future you.
First of all, I want to let you know that you absolutely can feel in control and on top of your house cleaning. It is doable! If you have any subconscious — ‘yeah right’ — going on, I understand, I had that too. Try to consciously change your thoughts to —
‘I get to care for this amazing home’, ‘I get to make it as clean as I want to’, ‘I can make it dirtier, or I can make it cleaner, the choice is mine.’
If you turn your focus towards these expressions about cleaning, you have more freedom and choice and your self-critic has to take a wee little back seat…great, right!
This is my approach to getting the right system. Try something, then reflect, not on whether it was a success or failure, but on the specifics of what you have learnt. Can you find a little thing that worked, can you find why something doesn’t work? Can you adjust one small thing and then keep going?
I believe the best systems start simple…you can go on to make them as complicated as you want afterwards but starting with basics is a great foundation. So, the principles of this system mean that the cleaning tasks get divided twice. The first division is categories. Of course, you can make your own, but mine are divided: kitchen, bathroom, dusting and hoovering [and also an odd miscellaneous task too] Some prefer to categorise by area. The second division is a link of both time and intensity of the task. I again have four categories: swish, focus, super and zone.
Here you see my ‘DAILY’ page. I do a swish task and a focus task every day. As you can see, I have two swish tasks — kitchen and bathroom. I alternate, one day kitchen, one day bathroom, and these are a simple swish of the things that need doing really regularly. Then I have all my categories as focus tasks. This means it is a bit of a step up from a swish, I would call it a ‘light clean’. As you can see at the side of each category, the first thing it says is tidy. So at the start of my focus I reset that category, for dusting I make sure all the surfaces are back to how I want them, and for hoovering I make sure to clear any clutter from the floors.
Each day, I try to do my swish and focus. BUT…….some days, I just don’t get to it. We know what that’s like, you see sunshine and decide it’s a beach day, etc. With this system, that’s totally ok. All you need to do, is come along the next day, look at what the next thing is and do it. Simple, you are never catching up, or behind. NEVER! I don’t know if you noticed the picture above but I have 10 swishes coloured in, and only 7 focuses. That’s how it goes, sometimes I don’t get to it, but I only ever need to focus on the next one thing to do, so I’m never overwhelmed.
Next up is my ‘SUPER’. This is something you can work out for yourself but for me I don’t like doing a lot of cleaning all at once, I find it tiring. So I work on these super tasks for half an hour per day. Again…I just work in rotation through the list. But I add my ‘ZONE’ cleaning to the end of this list…let me show you the picture and then explain..
When I was trying things out with my cleaning system, I discovered that it was bothering me to do my zone cleaning by the categories that I had set. I found that I would do zone dusting, so move all the furniture to dust the back of it, then I would get frustrated because it would get to the zone hoovering section and I would have to move all the furniture again to get to clean the floors. So, this is where I adjusted my schedule to suit me. For this level of cleaning I decided to work by area not by task type. The importance of a successful schedule is one that works for you.
So, the way my half hour a day goes is that I work through all the super tasks then I work my zone for one room, then back to doing all my super tasks then the zone for my next room. The point is that I use this same rotation system for each level of cleaning so that I am never behind, I always just know what the next thing to do is.
You can adjust this system for if you want to do all your cleaning in one day, or if you want to do it a bit at a time. It’s very versatile and you can absolutely adjust it to work for your energy and preference. You can categorise by area or task, you can decide how many levels of cleaning intensity you want to do. The important thing is …make it a rotation list, so you just need to do that next one thing. Like I said before, this way you are never behind and hopefully never overwhelmed.
In summary, take a learning experimental approach to finding a cleaning system that works for you. If you get pressured by schedules with set times, this approach of rotating lists means that you will not feel that pressured/failed cycle ever again. Keep things simple if you want to reduce overwhelm. For example a super simple system could be = categories: upstairs/downstairs; levels: basic/thorough.
Hopefully, you have been able to work out the principles here and get the brain juices flowing for what system might work for you. I believe in you and I know you are able to have your home just as clean as you would like it. Happy planning my lovely bujoplanner friends.