This post was written several years ago, but we still do these chores... not much has changed (except that our four young children are now two pre-teens and two teens!)
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 look at the model car that our son built in his room. These things can happen in a home that is clean & organized. They are part of our lives.
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 that we use when cleaning the house. There is a daily cleaning routine that we follow (included in the cleaning schedule below), as well as a weekly cleaning schedule and a monthly cleaning list. The free printable below, filled with cleaning tips & schedules, is yours to print and use as you wish. 🙂
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.
It changes almost daily because we have new things that come up every day.
In fact, tomorrow each of our kids has to wipe down doors. My husband and I are doing this, too, of course. ‘MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK’ I can’t stand when bathroom or bedroom doors have handprints or dirt marks on them, so we just divide & conquer.
Each of the kids will take a few doors, that I’ve assigned them, and they will wipe them down with warm, soapy water. It will only take a few minutes per door, and I know they’ll have fun with this job. 😉
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.
Examples of the Kid’s Daily Cleaning Lists:
Jack: Clean kitchen sink, clean window sills in the living room, dust light fixtures in the living room, vacuum carpets, and area rugs. (TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes)
Beau: Wipe off mirrors with a damp microfiber cloth, scrub the soap scum in your shower with an all-purpose cleaner, put shower curtain into the washing machine. (TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes)
Ethan: Use warm, soapy water, and clean the countertops, refill dish soap by the sink, sweep the kitchen floor. (TOTAL TIME: 10-15 minutes)
Allie: Pick up the dog’s toys on the floor, clean your closet, organize the books on your bookshelf, dust the dining room chairs.
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.
Since our family homeschools part-time (they go to a school that is only three-days-a-week), 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.
Sometimes, our older kids will ask if we can have a family-cleaning-day (one of those “deep cleaning house days”). Let’s hope that enthusiasm keeps up! lol!
Here are three printable cleaning schedules & cleaning lists for you.
I’ll email you all three (free) ♥ to get you started. 🙂
- Click here to download the PRINTABLE CLEANING SCHEDULES. This includes the entire house cleaning list.
- 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
- 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).
- 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 put 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 shirts that have fallen, 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.
- Toss out old food (I do a deep cleaning once a month to clean up spills, etc…)
DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE CLEANING LIST HERE.
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 pantry & reorganize it.
- Check out the rest of the list here.
Quarterly (monthly if you have more people in your home):
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, comforters at least once a quarter.
- Wash 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:
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 left untouched!
2- These kid SWAP SCREENTIME FOR CHORES chore-cards are a 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.
4- Whole-Home Declutter course – This is an online course that 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.
I think this is great information. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the great advice! Love your kitchen table! Can you let us know where to get one of those? Thanks!
Melody Turpin says
what kind of robot vacuum do you use?? I would like to get one but don’t know which one to get. I have carpet & vinyl floors. thanks
Moya Todd says
Nice organization tips
Bleach is incredibly toxic, and is especially an irritant to the lungs. Vinegar and water does just as good. Another is tea tree oil, diluted in spray. There are many disinfectant solutions you can make for home.
Thanks for sharing your cleaning schedule, Becky!
I really like your list as I’m currently working on my family’s schedule and yes, it’s quite tricky especially since we don’t always have time for the best way. My approach is to make a list of not-that-onerous tasks, figure out how often they need to happen, and then create a schedule to do one thing per day (probably at the same time you’re doing other boring daily tasks like loading the dishwasher, scooping the cat box, etc.). Then make another list of more-onerous tasks and make a schedule for those too, but do those weekly, on a day you have time (like Saturday or whatever). Home cleaning is not an easy task, so I would like to say that your post is really inspiring!
A few years ago I commented on your clean/empty countertops and I am STILL struggling with a smaller kitchen and the rest of the family not being on board with storing the toaster/coffeemaker, etc. So the counters are too cluttered with items that are used multiple times a day. Any suggestions?
Becky (Your Modern Family) says
We put ALL of our appliances under our cabinets. 🙂 . Every morning I get the coffee pot, toaster & blender out for our breakfast (the kids have smoothies every morning & usually a bagel or piece of toast). When we are done, they are cleaned & they go right back under the cabinet until the following day. Our coffee pot is Mr. Coffee, so the kettle stays warm without needing to be on the whole appliance, so I can put it away and just leave the pot out for the morning.
Hope that helps. P)
Do you have a completely blank version of all of these? I would love to enter in my own list since there is not an editable version. These are great. Thank you!
Becky Mansfield says
We don’t, but what a great idea! I’ll work on putting one together. 🙂