We’re looking for someone to tell us the answers, but everyone’s lifestyle is so unique. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan. So why do we keep trying to use someone else’s cleaning schedule?
I could never find a cleaning schedule that fit my lifestyle so I experimented until I came up with what worked for me. I’m not here to share my schedule, but to show you how I developed my own cleaning schedule so you can do the same. Then we’ll put Todoist in charge of keeping track of what needs to be cleaned when, so your mind can focus on more important things.
This post uses the format we’ve been following for the GTD Method. Learn more about the GTD Method here, and how you can use it to declutter your physical inbox, digital inbox, and mental inbox.
First, you want to be clear on what needs to be cleaned around the house. Sit down and make a list of every little thing that needs to be cleaned in your house. And be specific! Don’t just put down, “bathroom”, at least break it down into bathroom surface cleaning (wiping down counter and mirror, scrubbing toilet) and bathroom deep cleaning (scrubbing tub and shower). Anything you’d clean at different frequencies needs to be its own task.
I include household maintenance things like changing the water and air filters too.
Don’t forget about these less common tasks:
- Wash windows
- Dust Ceiling fans
- Dust baseboards
- Clear out fridge
- Wash fridge
- Change out toothbrushes
- Change out razors
Next, clarify how often each of these jobs needs to happen. If you’re not sure, default to once a week, once a month, or once a quarter. Don’t worry about getting this correct right away, you’ll be tweaking it as you go along.
Also, clarify your cleaning style. Do you like to do a little bit every day? Or would you rather spend half a day cleaning once a week? Or maybe you’re somewhere in between?
Now, input all your tasks into Todoist. Make a “cleaning” project to house your tasks. Then set them to recur however often you decided on and spread them out according to your cleaning style.
I’m an inbetweener. I only have a couple hours free after work, so I dust and surface clean my bathrooms after work, but bigger tasks, like vacuuming and mopping, are reserved for the weekend.
Choose Your Next Action
As you’re inputting tasks and setting them to recur, double check if any tasks need to be split into smaller tasks. Maybe you had “clean floors” down, but decide it needs to be split into vacuum, dry mop, and wet mop.
Phrase your tasks as actions, not just trigger words. David Allen, the author of GTD (Getting Things Done), says,
“Typical things you will see on a to-do list: “Mom” “Bank” “Doctor” “Baby-sitter” “VP Marketing” etc. Looking at these often creates more stress than relief, because, though it is a valuable trigger for something that you’ve committed to do or decide something about, it still calls out psychologically, “Decide about me!” And if you do not have the energy or focus at the moment to think and decide, it will simply remind you that you are overwhelmed.”
This is where the magic happens. Once a week, look at the state of your house. Are there any areas that are dirtier than you’d like? If so, change that task in Todoist to recur more often.
Reflect back on your cleaning for the week. Were there any areas that still looked perfectly clean when you went to clean them? If so, change that task in Todoist to recur less often. There’s no sense in cleaning what’s already clean! I’m all for “good enough”, so I push my cleaning out as far as possible.
Every week reflect and tweak and eventually, you’ll have developed your unique cleaning schedule that perfectly fits your lifestyle.
Host a party!
If you’re like me and keep putting off cleaning, despite having a perfectly unique cleaning schedule fit to my life, I have the perfect solution. Host a monthly get together. It doesn’t have to be anything big, or expensive, just have people over to your house monthly. It forces you to clean those areas you’ve been putting off.
We have a cat and dog. I’m not allergic, so I’m bad about cleaning the pet hair off the furniture and I HATE vacuuming, so I procrastinate it as long as possible. I have a few friends who are mildly allergic to my pets, so I know if they’re coming over I HAVE to clean the furniture and vacuum. Solution: have those friends over and I know those areas will get cleaned!
I’m bad about keeping in touch with friends so this is the perfect “two birds with one stone” solution for me. And the rewards are more than worth it. I get to see my friends at least once a month and my kitchen counter has never been tidier!
Create a cleaning schedule that works for you- clean the things that you need cleaned, when they need to be cleaned. No more guessing or putting tasks off until you have a mythical free day. And if you do find yourself procrastinating, try hosting a monthly gathering to motivate you. I know it’ll do the trick!