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UPDATE: This post was written several years ago, but we still use a ‘daily, weekly, monthly cleaning schedule’ and a chore-chart. In the past four years since writing this post, not too much has changed with the lists (other than a slight increase in work-load because of their ages now… as our four young children are three teenagers & a pre-teen!
If time could only slow down…
Chores to do each day, week, and month of the year
With four children, if we want to have a tidy and clean house, we have to keep some sort of house cleaning schedule. This cleaning schedule isn’t terribly elaborate but is more of a simple cleaning calendar to keep our family of six on task. We want a clean house, and this is how we can make that happen.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked keeping a clean house. I love organizing and decluttering, too. That hasn’t changed since having children. The truth is that unless you are living alone, you aren’t the only one making the mess. You shouldn’t be the only one cleaning it.
Why should we teach our children & family members to help?
Clutter and messes are a group effort; accordingly, cleaning should be a group effort. Our four kids help out in almost all areas of taking care of our house. It takes time to teach them how to take care of themselves and our home, but it is worth it.
While one of our parenting goals is to raise our children to become responsible adults, I also want our kids to have the desire to live in a clean house. I want them to WANT to keep the house clean and tidy. This is their home, too. They need to have pride in their home and themselves. Caring for our house is one way to do that.
It is up to us, their parents, to teach them and guide them while they are still young. Yes, it will take me twice as long at first, but soon we will run like a well-oiled machine, with everyone helping out.
Do cleaning schedules really help?
Yes! Having a cleaning schedule helps to keep us on track. It reminds everyone to do those little things every day (like making the bed, cleaning the bathroom, or wiping down the table after they’ve eaten) so that one day these daily tasks become habits and routines. Our children will hopefully carry those habits/routines into their adult lives.
Keeping a daily cleaning schedule serves as a reminder to let me know what needs to be done. I hope that our children see the list and see what we do daily, so they can do the same thing when they are grown.
Let me be honest and say that with four children, I have given up on having a home that looks pristine. If I’m completely honest, I don’t want it to look pristine. I want it to look like a home that our family loves to be in, to hang out in, to play in.
We have a Deep-Cleaning House Day a few times a year, but for the most part, if we can just stay on top of picking up our things & maintaining a clean home, it never gets too bad.
Last year, I was honored to see our home featured in the magazine, House Beautiful. One of the points in the article about our house was that our house was seen as ‘clean & welcoming’ as well as ‘where our family gathered.’ I hope that our children always see it that way… where the family gathers.
My “house” goal:
- Clean, but welcoming.
- Tidy, but comfortable.
- Able to give a sense of peace & joy to anyone who comes home, instead of a feeling of chaos and stress.
- Never so filled with “stuff” that I don’t have space or time for THEM!
I want our home to be one that our children always want to come home to… no matter how old they are. ♥ (My babies they’ll be)
I rely on my weekly cleaning list (my Room by Room guide) as well as my daily & monthly cleaning list to keep us on track, without having to worry about the house too much. 🙂
We have more important things to spend our time & effort on… each other!
I love to look at spotless homes in magazines, but even more, I love to look at my kids playing a game at the kitchen table or see them making a play dough masterpiece on the back porch. I love to look at the kid-drawing that hangs on my refrigerator. I love to see the model car that our son built in his room. These things can happen in a home that is clean & organized. It’s why we have our daily, weekly, monthly cleaning schedule – it keeps us on track.
With four kids, picking up after them could be a never-ending task. It would be like brushing your teeth while eating Chocolate cookies: Next to impossible.
Instead, we just have a daily cleaning list, and everyone helps out (our younger & older kids all help with chores).
We have made a list that we TRY to stick to daily. It is probably a 20-minute-a-day thing, so not a lot of work because we have six people that help. 🙂 This list may not be for you, but it works for us.
Our Cleaning Checklist
Today I want to share the cleaning checklist we use when cleaning the house. We follow a daily cleaning routine (included in the cleaning schedule below), a weekly cleaning schedule, and a monthly cleaning list. The free printable below, filled with cleaning tips & schedules, is yours to print and use. 🙂
Make a House-Cleaning Schedule work for your family.
To make our cleaning schedule work well, I give out the jobs. If we are deep cleaning the house, we all spend a few hours and clean together. However, if we are just maintaining & doing light cleaning to keep the home clean, I can give out chores to my family members. I usually write down the chores/jobs that need to be done under each child’s name. Doing their chores and cleaning their bedroom only takes about 20 minutes a day, since it was just cleaned yesterday… and the day before that… and before that…
This lets them help out while also seeing that they can maintain a clean house in just a few minutes a day if the whole family helps.
It changes almost daily because new things come up every day.
For Example: Each of our kids will wipe down bedroom and closet doors. I can’t stand when bathroom or bedroom doors have handprints or dirt marks, so we just divide & conquer.
Each of the kids will take a few doors, which I’ve assigned, and they will wipe them down with a magic eraser, followed by warm water & a rag. It will only take a few minutes per door, and I know they’ll have fun with this job. 😉
Mickey and I are doing this, too, of course. ‘MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK’
Once they are done, they’ll get one of us (myself or Mickey) to check over their work. To sneak in just one more job, I’ll wipe down the light switches near those doors while I’m checking their work. It’s another pet-peeve, but I worry about the kids using water around the switches, so this is a job that I keep for myself until they are teens.
Examples of Kid’s Daily Cleaning Lists (by age):
12 year old: LIVING ROOM TODAY: Dust coffee table, wipe off window sills in the living room, dust lamps in the living room, sweep floors in the living room. (TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes a day- not including keeping the bedroom clean.)
10 year old: BATHROOM TODAY: Wipe off mirrors with a damp microfiber cloth, wipe the sink and bathroom cabinets with a natural cleaning solution, and clean the toilet with toilet-wand. (TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes)
8 year old: KITCHEN TODAY: Clean the countertops, wipe window sills in kitchen, clean pets water dish and refill it, sweep the kitchen floor. (TOTAL TIME: 10-15 minutes)
6 year old: OTHER: Dust the dining room chairs. Pick up the dog’s toys on the floor and put them into the basket. In bedroom: Tidy up bookshelf and closet (a daily task to keep them organized)
Printable Cleaning Schedule
I’d love to help you get your home clean & organized without having to hire a cleaning service. Although these services are wonderful (I’ve tried cleaning services in the past) I’ve found that they spend more time organizing kids’ books & putting away kids’ clothes than really ‘cleaning’, so it wasn’t worth the investment for our family.
I let our children know that we need to work together as a team to keep our house organized & clean. It doesn’t take long when we all work together. To be honest, our kids really like cleaning together.
Here are three printable cleaning schedules & cleaning lists for you.
If you’d like a copy of our “daily, weekly, monthly cleaning schedule,” I’m happy to email you all three (free) ♥ to get you started. 🙂
- Click here to download the PRINTABLE CLEANING SCHEDULES. This includes the entire house cleaning list: (daily, weekly, monthly cleaning schedule)
- I will also send you a second cleaning chart to break it down even further.
- Lastly, I’ll also include you on my FREE declutter challenge when you download your cleaning lists. Together, we will declutter and organize until your home is all that you dreamed it would be…
Cleaning tools that help me to get/keep everything in order:
- A broom ( just a normal broom & dustpan)
- My robot vacuum (yes, really – when I say “sweep daily” on my cleaning schedule, I do it with my robot vacuum. I have it set on a schedule to run every morning and every evening. I have one upstairs & one downstairs.
- Clorox Toilet Wand
- A cup of baking soda can go a long way in cleaning sinks!
- Glass Cleaner in each bathroom
- Disinfecting wipes in every bathroom
- Clorox dusting wipes (I love using these to clean any ceiling fans & shutters)
DAILY CHORE List & Schedule:
These cleaning tasks are included in the daily cleaning checklist that you are welcome to download.
- Cleaning the toilets that get used a lot. Yes, every single day. Did I mention that I have four kids (three of them are boys.)
- Wiping any marks on the kitchen cabinets
- Spraying the kitchen countertops after meals.
- Sweeping the floors in the kitchen (I could do this all day long, so I usually use the robot vacuum).
- Make beds (everyone does their own).
- One load of laundry every day (to keep the mess from getting too big). Our older kids now do their own laundry, but we still do about six loads of laundry every week between everyone else’s clothes, the towels, and just miscellaneous stuff.
- Wipe down bathroom countertops in the main bathroom. (I just leave Clorox Disinfecting Wipes in the bathroom, under the sink. I clean it and toss it into the garbage. 60 seconds total).
- Have the clean dishes unloaded before I go to bed (or I will start the day out with a mess) and load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher
- Clear off any clutter piles in the rooms (areas in the room that collect stuff. It might be a basket, it might be your mail, it might be that pile of stuff on the steps that have to go upstairs, or it might be a bench where you lay stuff as you walk by. Clear it off at the end of the night.
- Five Minute Pick-Up twice a day (before lunch and before dinner). Set the timer for five minutes, and everyone rushes to clean what you can. (Put away toys, crayons, dry erase markers & boards, etc…)
- Optional: we have to clean our front door glass daily because it is full glass, and the kids put their hands on it all the time.
KIDS’ DAILY CHORES:
Here are just a few examples of kid’s chores.
- Taking care of self (teeth brushed, hair combed, dressed)
- Make your bed every day.
- Put your pajamas away.
- Clean your bedroom: Clothes put away, curtains opened, desk cleaning, items put away…
- Belongings, toys, etc. are cleaned up and put in designated spots.
Tip: If they complain that another child/sibling made the mess and should have to clean it instead, I will follow up with, “Can you please take care of it? What if I only washed my own sheets, made my own dinner, or drove myself places alone? It would be unfair and unkind. We all help each other in this family.”
- They are responsible for getting themselves ready in the morning: Getting dressed down to their socks, knowing where their shoes are BEFORE we have to leave, brushing their teeth, being downstairs in time to eat breakfast before they leave, and fixing their hair or bringing me a brush to fix it for them.
- They need to pack lunches & their backpacks. I double-check ALL of these things, but my goal is to raise responsible adults, so they need to do it on their own, first.
- Every day they also do age-appropriate chores (chores that they can handle- cleaning the steps, picking up toys, sweeping the front porch, wiping the sinks in the bathroom, cleaning up under their bed, etc…).
If your kids need a little incentive, we started by using these chore cards: SWAP SCREENTIME FOR CHORES cards
For more ideas on AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR KIDS, check out this post: Age-Appropriate Chores for young kids through teens.
FAMILY WEEKLY CHORES:
The weekly cleaning list includes chores that can be done by anyone in the family… it is a team effort. A great example would be cleaning up the outside toys and bringing them in or putting them away. Another one is cleaning & organizing the pantry (refilling the sugar/flour jars, replacing baking soda, throwing away empty bottles, etc…) Also, cleaning the garage is definitely a family chore.
Here are some easy weekly chores (if you are looking for a place to begin).
- Be sure that even the guest bathrooms have been cleaned (I use the Clorox Wipes)
- Clean up closets – just hanging up fallen shirts, putting away toys, etc… (takes 5 min.)
- Clean the microwave and stovetop (wipe down)
- Get the garbage & take it outside
- Clean up after the pets
- Cut the grass (My husband cuts the front yard & our sons cut the back yard)
- Clean the bathrooms.
- Dust miscellaneous items like the mental, decor, picture frames, clocks, etc.
- Toss out old food (I do a deep cleaning on the refrigerator once a month to clean up spills, etc…)
As part of our daily, weekly, monthly cleaning schedule – the monthly chores take longer, but they tend to only need cleaned every few weeks, so it’s not a big deal. (Note: Some things may need to be cleaned every-other-week, but I’ve included it on “monthly” instead of “weekly”)
Here are some monthly chores that need to be completed
- Floors- cleaning the wood floors few weeks. It might not be an entire month, but you can probably wait a few weeks. (Here are some tips for cleaning hardwood floors)
- We have to reorganize the garage every month (with four kids, it gets to be messy in no time!)
- Baseboards in main living areas
- Dust Ceiling fans & light fixtures that you don’t get often.
- Clean out the pantry & reorganize it.
- Clean soap scum from shower doors
- Check out the rest of the list here.
Quarterly (or monthly depending on your family):
These can be done every season, or you can even save some of them to do during your spring cleaning (grab your spring cleaning checklist here).
- Ceiling fans can be done monthly if you have a child with allergies, but you can do one room a week to make it easier.
- Baseboards in bedrooms
- Replace smoke alarm batteries (this can be done twice a year, but I put it on my quarterly schedule)
- Wash bedspreads, quilts, and comforters at least once a quarter.
- Clean windows
- Clean out under beds.
- Clean stove, range hood filter
- Test fire extinguishers & replace any that need to be replaced (we have one on each floor of the house, in central locations, so everyone can get to them. Our kids know how to use these – they take a fire safety course every year in our town.)
Would you like these cleaning schedules?
CLICK HERE for the charts for the clean house lists & schedules.
CLEANING RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GET STARTED:
I’ve mentioned our daily, weekly, monthly cleaning schedule (that you can print here), but below are some of my other favorite resources.
1 Freed From Clutter. This book takes you through the entire month as you go through each room of your home, decluttering, cleaning, and organizing. No space is left untouched!
2- These “SWAP SCREENTIME FOR CHORES” are the best chore-cards. They are a true game-changer! Your kids will be helping with chores more than you can imagine! In fact, they’ll be asking if they can do MORE chores!
3). 30-Day Declutter Challenge– a free 30-day decluttering challenge to help you get rid of clutter in your house. These small decluttering tasks will take only a few minutes each day.
DOWNLOAD & PRINT THE 30 DAY DECLUTTER CALENDAR HERE.
4- Whole-Home Declutter course – This online course will transform your home from a cluttered space to your dream house. I’ll send you the book, Freed From Clutter, as a thank-you gift when you join.