Sticking to your cleaning schedule may be one of your goals for the new year. Maybe you started the year with a picture-perfect plan that quickly became a taskmaster that reminded you of everything you couldn’t do.
Check out these reasons for cleaning the house and see if they help you avoid the reasons why people fall off their cleaning goals.
The good news is that you can develop schedules and routines that last — you just need to think about your cleaning goals slightly differently. Here’s how to stick to your clean routine, no matter your situation.
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The Problem: Too Much Stuff
Sometimes, the problem isn’t that you’re a messy person. You may just have too much stuff.
How do you know if you have too much? Maybe you spend hours organizing and putting things away, only for things to get messy the next day.
Perhaps placing stuff back where it belongs is hard, not just for you but also for housemates or family members. In your case, it might be time to reassess your belongings and see what you can pass on to someone else who needs it.
Further reading: What Are The Best Ways To Purge Your Home
The Solution: Declutter and Reorganize
If you haven’t used it in the last six months, it’s time for it to go. If you use it daily and it always ends up on the coffee table or kitchen counter, make a home for it. Decluttering may be a long-term project, especially if you have tons of stuff. Take it step by step and work on one area at a time to make the process more manageable.
Choose one room and get to work with these five easy steps:
- Keep, donate, discard: For each area, decide what you will keep for its functional, aesthetic, and sentimental value. Then, donate or recycle what you don’t need.
- Categorize: Divide what you’re keeping into categories. For example, consider your linen closet. Seasonal items like winter blankets and Christmas decorations can go into harder-to-reach places, while towels, cleaning detergents, and toiletries can be within reach.
- Plan: Think of ways to make it easier to store and access what’s left. Maybe you need to buy storage baskets to keep towels organized or clear dividers for the home office drawer.
- Organize: Create an inbox station for forms, bills, and important documents. Group small and similar items and store them according to how much you use them. Use clear storage containers for detergents and toiletries and label boxes and other containers for easy access.
Remember that what works for others may not work for you when considering clutter-free solutions for your lifestyle. While someone may find that simply carrying their shoes with them when they go upstairs works, you might be better off with a shoe rack in a corner downstairs or in the laundry room.
Maybe a decorative plate to put your keys and sunglasses on when you enter the house works better than a hook and shelf.
The Problem: It’s Overwhelming
What is the first thought or feeling that comes to mind when you realize you need to clean? If it’s dread, it might be time to draw up a new schedule and make things easier for yourself.
Maybe you already have a cleaning schedule, but something about it is not working. You wanted to clean the bathroom daily and keep the kitchen backsplash oil-free, but keeping up feels exhausting.
You may need to reassess your goals to suit your lifestyle and personality.
The Solution: Start Small, Then Develop a Schedule You Like
The first step is to decide how often certain rooms or items need cleaning. Maybe you want to make your bed every day and put clothes away before bed. Perhaps you need to set aside half an hour to polish out floor scratches monthly or wipe down your kitchen cabinets each week.
The second step is to determine what cleaning style works for you. Do you want to clean every day or just once in a while? Do you prefer to deep clean once and pick up a few items every day or split tasks over the week?
Here are three types of cleaning schedules you can try:
- Clean by room: Assign each day to a room or two. For example, Monday could be for cleaning the living room, hallways, and laundry room, Tuesday for the dining room and kitchen, and Wednesday for bathrooms and bedrooms.
- Clean once a week: Clean everything on a Monday or split it between two days. Hit every room from top to bottom and left to right.
- Clean for 30 minutes every two days: This works well if you’re busy but want to keep up a routine. Give yourself 30 minutes to do as much as you can. One day could be cleaning or vacuuming all the floors, and the next, polishing the furniture and clearing countertops.
You should dedicate a weekend every two weeks or month for deeper cleaning like:
- Cleaning the oven and other appliances
- Wiping down walls
- Scrubbing the shower
- Cleaning mattress covers and pillow protectors
- Vacuuming rugs and shades
- Wiping down light fixtures and blinds
- Dusting shelves
- Cleaning drains and the garbage disposal
Here are things you should tackle annually:
- Clean gutters
- Dust and clean air vents
- Deep clean the freezer
- Clean out the garage
- Clean out the pantry
The Problem: You Can’t Seem to Keep Up
You’ve got the schedule down and know exactly what you want to clean and when. However, you can’t remember when you want to do things and can’t find your planner. How do you keep track?
Your first step is to differentiate between habits and routines. You may have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit and have it become automatic, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
While it may be easier to drink more water or make your bed every day, cleaning requires patience, effort, and intention. Creating long-term change starts with building routines and sticking to them.
Think of cleaning as a routine you must follow rather than a habit you must master. This takes the weight off your shoulders to have a spotless house and helps you set realistic practices that work for you.
Related article: How To Create A Cleaning Schedule That Works
The Solution: Make It Rewarding
Motivate yourself to keep up with a cleaning routine by developing a reward system. Some people thrive off checking boxes, while others need something visual to encourage them. The results are a sparkling floor and clutter-free counters. However, you can cement the habit and track things better by doing the following:
- Spreadsheets: You can do some cool stuff with spreadsheets nowadays. Look for interactive habit trackers or apps that make it fun to stay on track. There are spreadsheets with checklists that correspond with cute animations, like growing a tree from sapling to adult or raising kittens into cats. The more consistent you are, the more they grow.
- Whiteboard: Hang a whiteboard with daily and weekly cleaning tasks. This also makes it easier to rope in family members or roommates. You could assign tasks and change the color of the writing or put a symbol next to each job to indicate responsibilities.
- Temptation bundling: Make it fun! While keeping a house clean for your mental well-being and physical health is important, it doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s easy to stick to plans with temptation bundling, which is pairing a boring activity with something enjoyable to look forward to. Listen to new episodes of your favorite podcast while cleaning the house or make a cleaning playlist.
Keep up With Your Cleaning Goals
Whether you fell off your cleaning goals this past year because you had too much stuff or felt overwhelmed, there’s an effective strategy for you. Remember to start small and work up to a regular schedule that fits your lifestyle.
Also, remember to have fun with it. Although cleaning is a chore, it can be more fun with aesthetically pleasing planners and pairing cleaning time with something you enjoy listening to or watching. Intention, patience, and consistent effort will help you stick to your goals.
More Articles On Cleaning
When it comes to cleaning there are always more articles to read.
- 10 Quick Cleaning Tips To Beat Procrastination
- 5 Cleaning Hacks You Need To Avoid Today
- Where To Start Cleaning A Messy House
Article written by: Evelyn Long is an interior design writer who is passionate about helping homeowners keep their homes tidy and decluttered. She is the editor-in-chief of Renovated Magazine, where she writes about current interior design and organization trends.
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