Thursday, March 05, 2009

Housecleaning the Easy Way

My mother taught me to keep my house clean, mostly by her example but she didn't have a method. She just did what needed to be done. As a child it seemed to me that she cleaned all the time. When I got married, I kept the house clean but it became increasingly more difficult as the children came along. I found myself stressing out over the messes and cleaning much of the time. About five years ago I finally found a way to keep it all together without spending enormous amounts of time doing so. If you have found your miracle method, then skip this post. For those who are still searching, here's what the children and I do.

-On a sheet of paper I listed the most basic jobs that we could do to clean up the house within a 30 minute time period. These jobs would only be the most necessary ones. (It helped me to imagine what we quickly do whenever we hear that unexpected guests are coming in an hour.)

- Then I took several sheets of paper and wrote down the name of each room of the house at the top of each.

-I went through each room and wrote down on those sheets detailed lists of every single thing that needed to be done to keep each room clean. EVERYTHING.

-On Mondays and Fridays the kids and I spend 30 minutes all together after lunch doing the basic housecleaning from the first list.

-On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, we spend up to 30 minutes working on a couple of the rooms doing detailed cleaning. We don't clean the rooms completely, just work through the list as much as we can for 20 minutes. (So maybe we just clean baseboards and fans that day) The following week we go on to a different set of rooms in the house.

That's all there is to it. Flylady calls this 'Blessing the home.' I love that. This plan is basically her ideas in a nutshell. It is so simple and easy. I never have to do 'Spring cleaning' any more because a few days out of the week we slowly plug away at maintaining those jobs that we wouldn't ordinarily do. The kids like having something different to do each day and that it follows Miss Mason's advice about keeping things short and sweet.

If this isn't clear enough for you I will give an example of a general house cleaning list and one of our detailed room cleaning lists.

General Cleaning list
1. Vacuum
2. Mop
3. Dust
4. Empty trash cans
5. Change sheets on a bed
6. Water plants

Kitchen: Detailed cleaning list
1. empty refg/clean thoroughly
2. clean table and chairs
3. clean oven
4. wash canister/knick-knacks
5. clean out a drawer
6. wipe fingerprints off walls, doors
7. wash a window
8. clean fans
9. scrub down cabinet fronts (only a few at a time)
10. clean out a cupboard
11. clean under sink
12. clean an appliance
13. scrub floor by hand
14. dust cobwebs from ceiling

one step at a time...


  1. Thankyou for sharing that with us. Myself, being a homeschooling mother of four, I often struggle to keep up with all the cleaning jobs throughout the house, but each night I do clean downstairs, and the children are getting in the routine of making sure their rooms are clean twice a day, I'm sure I had this idea from reading one of your posts.
    I've got the flylady book etc... but have not followed it through properly yet, may give it a go with the kids as you suggested.

  2. I am just amazed at the timing of your post. You will have to read this ( to understand. Thanks so much for sharing. You have been a blessing.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I am very much enjoying your informative blog. I am at the start of my home schooling journey and am finding it very usefulxxx

  4. Thank you for posting this. I need to get back on track with regular cleaning so I don't get overwhelmed by huge projects.

  5. I really like how you all work together towards a mutual goal when you clean with your kids. It sounds like it would be fun and satisfying for them too. And in the end you all have a cleaner house!

  6. Wow! That may work better than my method of shouting "Hey, clean up this mess! Then watch everyone scatter. Ha!

  7. This is really helpful - thank you; I'm always working on systems for keep the house clean/tidy whilst home educating little ones and bouncing a baby on the knee...I guess it changes with each 'season'.

  8. This sounds like a very good approach. Thanks for sharing it!

  9. I'm not sure if I will ever come up with a system that I can live with but will check this out!