Establishing and keeping a cleaning routine is one of the best proactive strategies to staying organized there is.
Think about it.
You have to pick things up off surfaces and put them away. You have to de-clutter and tidy. You have to do all this before you can even start to clean. And all these are the activities of staying organized. Cleaning is just one more step towards "company-ready" on the comfort continuum, too.
There are several different ways to organize your cleaning schedule.
1) Everything in one day. The advantage to this, of course, is that everything is all done all at once. The house looks fantastic right after it is done. The disadvantage to this is that it's not for everyone! If you don't like to clean it can be difficult to muster up the motivation to do a lot of it all at once. (The bite by bite approach is probably best) and/or if you don't have a lot of time: devoting one whole day to cleaning may feel a tad too sacrificial.
2) A room (or two) a day.
Using this approach, you decide which days of the week you will clean--and you assign different rooms to different days. For example, Monday: Living Room and Front Entry way. Tuesday: Kitchen and Dining, and so on.... The advantage to this approach is that you don't have to spend a great deal of time every day, the disadvantage is that not everything is all clean all at once. (But then it isn't totally dirty, either.)
3) A task or two a day.
Along with a daily cleaning checklist, this has been my approach for a long time. It has the advantage of breaking things down efficiently, for example, all the dusting is done in one day, all the vacuuming, etc. It also keeps things manageable for a recovering cleaning phobic like myself. The disadvantage --as with any piecemeal approach-- is that the whole house is never clean all at once. As well, if you get behind, (a-hem) you wind up doing all the cleaning over a few days anyway.
4) The running cleaning list. Using this approach, you decide on what days you will clean and for how long. Then, you start at the top of the list and work your way down. When your time is up, stop, and pick up where you left off next time.
No matter which of these approaches you decide to take, you will need to make a list of tasks you want to do.
You probably already know what you need to do: but just in case you want to be thoroughly thorough, here are some checklists put together by others:
- Cleaning checklists and home keeping checklists from Martha
- Many cleaning checklists broken down by room from Real Simple
- The Daily Cleaning Checklist also from Real Simple
- BHG has an article on how to set up your own cleaning schedule. (And they quote Aby from Simplify 101. I had no idea! Exciting. A list of things to clean appears on page 5)
I do wish Blogger had the ability to host printables: I love creating forms! However, since I can't share mine with you, here is a lovely printable and do-able list from a real work-at-home mom. She also has a customizable form.
I have recently decided to start using the running cleaning list (in addition with the daily task list). I will let you know how it works out for me next week.
ETA: You can catch all the posts in the series here.