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How to Create a Cleaning Schedule That Works For You

Want a clean house but have no idea where to begin? Believe it or not, a cleaning schedule can actually make keeping your house clean a whole lot easier!

Oh, cleaning.

It is one of those things that we all need to do, but never really want to do. In fact, over the years I have received more reader questions about cleaning, organizing, and decluttering than I could count. It seems that we all want to have a neat and orderly home, but not all of us know exactly how to get there, and certainly not as fast as we’d like to.

Because let’s face it–life is busy, and none of us want to spend all our time cleaning. So let’s figure out how to tackle it with a plan.

Are you excited? I know I am!

So let’s get started!

How to Create a Cleaning Schedule That Works For You

First, for those of you who are unsure of what a cleaning schedule is, let me break it down for you. A cleaning schedule is basically just a daily, weekly, or monthly plan for how you will clean your house.  It can be as simple as one main task per day or as complex as a spreadsheet that accounts for every single housekeeping task that needs to be done over the course of a year.

It really is up to you.

If the idea of creating any sort of cleaning schedule sounds overwhelming, try not to worry—I promise it is not as bad as it sounds. In fact, as you will see below, you can do it in three easy steps!

The point of a schedule is not to make you feel guilty or to make you have more to do, but to actually relieve guilt and to create a routine that gives you more freedom and less stress. Knowing that you have a workable, manageable plan to tackle those sticky sinks and dusty dressers makes the idea of cleaning house seem a lot less overwhelming in the long run.

So bear with me. We can do this. I promise.

Step 1:  Create a Master Task List

Before you can decide when to clean you must first know what to clean, and how often. Thus before you can create a cleaning schedule that works for your life and your schedule, you need to assess your own home and cleaning needs. A cleaning schedule for a childless couple living in a 1-bedroom apartment will look very different from a cleaning schedule for a homeschooling mom of five living in a 4-bedroom house!

Step 2:  Pick the Best Plan for YOU (Choose ONE)

The next thing you need to do is figure out what sort of cleaning plan will work best for your life and your schedule. Are you the kind of person who wants to do a little every day, or would you rather tackle it all at once so that you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the week? Do you work full time or are you home during the day? Do you have young children at home or are your kids old enough to help shoulder some of the responsibility?

There is no one “right way” to keep house, and there is no universal cleaning schedule that will fit every household’s needs. Ultimately you have to take the time to determine what sort of schedule will be both realistic and doable for your own needs. While you should take the time to consider all of the following plans, please don’t think that you need to DO all of them. Instead, pick the ONE plan that seems like it will be the best fit and try it out for a while. If you hate it, you can always try something else!

Here is a rundown of the most common options:

Option A: Daily Speed Cleaning

If you are like me and have a hard time functioning when your house is messy, this may be the best option for you. I have personally found that running through my speed cleaning routine every day keeps things relatively neat and tidy all the time so that there isn’t usually a need to “deep” clean quite as often. When I am following this schedule I will spend about 60-75 minutes cleaning each day, between the daily tasks and doing 1 or 2 weekly tasks each day.

Option B:  Timed Sessions

This type of cleaning plan follows a master list of weekly tasks. You set aside a certain amount of time each day—ideally 45-90 minutes—to work your way down the list. When the timer sounds, you stop and you’re done for the day. Then the next day, you set the timer again and pick up where you left off the previous day.

Option C: One Room or Major Task Each Day

This type of cleaning plan sets aside certain tasks to do each day. For instance, cleaning the bathrooms on Monday, doing laundry on Tuesday, Vacuuming on Wednesday, etc. The time spent cleaning each day will vary based on the task set aside for that day.

Option D: Everything in One Day

This type of plan saves everything for one big long cleaning day each week. This can be a good option if you work during the week and would rather clean on the weekends, or if your kids are older and everyone will pitch in to get all the chores done fast. For this type of plan, you can just pick 2-3 monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks to tackle each cleaning day.

One fun idea for families with older kids is to take a deck of cards and write down one task on each card. On a cleaning day, the cards are shuffled and dealt to each family member. That family member is then responsible for completing the tasks on their cards, or they can trade to get different tasks they would rather do.

Step 3:  Fill in Your Schedule

This is an easy step!

Once you’ve determined what sort of cleaning plan will work best for your household, it’s time to create yours!

Use a calendar to schedule your cleaning days, as well as keep to keep track of the monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks that you need to remember. Or, if you prefer digital schedules, you can use other options such as Google Calendar,  iCalendar for Mac, or even on online cleaning scheduler such as chorebuster.net.

Although it may seem overwhelmingly daunting at first, creating a cleaning schedule that works for your own home and family life can be incredibly liberating once you get going. Suddenly instead of a big daunting mess in front of you, there is a workable plan to take care of it.

When and How to Implement Your New Plan

So, when and how should you start using your plan? My advice is to pick a day to start where there isn’t too much going on. Where you’ll have the little extra time to focus on the task at hand and begin your new cleaning schedule routine.

If the kids are involved, perhaps make it a fun new thing you’re doing by playing music, a fun podcast, or treating everyone to a bowl of ice cream when you’re all done!

Pin for Later:

Want a clean house but have no idea where to begin? Believe it or not, a cleaning schedule can actually make keeping your house clean a whole lot easier! In just 3 easy steps, this super practical post will show you exactly how to create a personalized cleaning plan that will work for your own home. FREE DOWNLOADS included making it that much easier for you!

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125 Comments

  1. This. Is. Awesome. Did you me squeal when I read that you are going to do a series on cleaning AND one on organizing AND one on decluttering? Eeeeeeek! Can’t wait!!!

    1. My family and I moved several months this vacation back and I have YET to unpack completely! I help run our flooring business(payroll, material purchase, equipment repair, etc) And I take care of three kids(2,4 &11…the 11 has special needs). I say that to say this…I have yet to find a schedule or plan to help finish the unpacking before I can be able to get on a consistent daily and weekly regimen…any advice?

    1. Hi! Yesterday on Facebook I saw an ad to download free house keeping printables. Then an option to purchase the bundle for $19. I was excited to review the printable but I never received the email with the download link. Thank you.

  2. How can you make changes to the master list? Or can you? When I open it in PDF it doesn’t allow me to change the document. Thank you!

    1. The PDF not modifiable. You can just write in your additional tasks or use my chart as a model for creating your own. Sorry! 🙁

  3. You are fantastically more organized than I am. I am a haphazard cleaner. I have a funny cartoon on my fridge that states “If it weren’t for the occasional visitor, nothing in this house would get cleaned.”

  4. This post is soo helpful. I can not stand a cluttery and filthy house unfortunately my house always ends up that way, no matter how I try. Im gonna try Option A, I thinks its the simplest. Thanks Ruth!
    PS Just found your site a week ago. Ive been reading your blogs at work. Hehehe. Thanks again! Youre such an inspiration. God bless you and your sweet family!

  5. These are great! My schedule is so crazy that cleaning can be challenging. I am going to really think about creating a schedule to make it happen smoother and easier… Your options should make that process a whole lot simpler!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. WOW – what a great post! I am housekeeping challenged, and have not one clue how to plan out a schedule. I have tried some things, and they’ve been OK, but being able to customize this for my family will be perfect. Thank you so much for all your awesome printables and plans!

  7. I used to clean one room a day at my old house. I got off schedule when we moved. This is a great post for me to find today because I was just planning on making a new cleaning schedule for myself. Thanks so much!

  8. Thank you for the work you have done! I have been so unmotivated this year to keep up with my housework. Your plan has refreshed my routine. Love your blog- your tips, ideas, and your sweet personality. Thanks for putting so much of yourself into it.

  9. I put my cleaning schedule in an old picture frame and hung it in the utility room, then I can mark things off on the glass with a dry erase marker as they get done, then wipe it off at the start of the next week. Gives me a good feeling of accomplishment and saves paper!

  10. I’m a stay at home mom of 4. My oldest is 19 and my youngest, 11. Up until today I’ve had a woman come in to help every day with cleaning and cooking but she just gave me notice that she needs to rest (or is looking for a new position) so we´ll be on our own in about 3 weeks. I’ve always done the laundry and was just starting to train the kids to put away their clean clothes when she started doing it so it woud be done faster. I must confess that we all became lazy and confident that there would always be someone else to pick up after us and now we all have to get back on track. I think your tips are great and I will start to plan my own cleaning schedule right away. I’ll let you know how it works out. The kids are very helpful as long as they know what they´ve got to do so I’m optimistic

  11. I’m hoping I can integrate SOME of this plan into our week! Hubby & I both work full time with 3 kiddos to cart around…with only two of them in ONE activity each! The idea of honestly finding an entire HOUR a day to clean? I may get 10 minutes in the morning & 20-30 at night! We manage to keep our dishes clean & clothes clean, but the rest of the clutter is enormous! We have a mass clothes folding party one night a week, & I get maybe one day a month where we over-haul the living areas, but my poor laundry room & closets suffer. Lots of boxes being brought in to toss/recycle/donate most of our mess! Wish me luck!

  12. Thanks for these GREAT printables, Ruth! I can’t wait to print them and really tackle my cleaning schedule. I work full time, so I think I’m more of a “do a little every day” type of cleaner! Cross your fingers for me! haha

  13. Thanks so much for your lovely cleaning list formats. I have fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue, among other things, so I often get very little done. I’m home all day on disability, but much physical or mental exertion on any given day will lead to one or more days laid up afterward. And my husband is self employed as a handyman and tends to use our living/dining space as his winter workshop/office. And I have piles of mail that I am so overwhelmed by covering much of my dining table. I got a filing system that worked well for quite a while, but when it came time to change years, I stalled out and filing just piled up (and that was at the beginning of 2013, not this year – yikes!). I say all this to say that I’m hopeful, after seeing your different schedule options, to come up with something that works for me by combining things on a weekly planner but giving myself flexibility to have my unplanned down days. Thank goodness my house is small! I’ll also use the monthly planner, maybe more as a honey-do list. 🙂 I want to figure out which weekly list works best for me, make one very similar, all filled in, then save it as my desktop screen background so I see it every day. You’ve given me hope with so many options that allow me to 1) not have to think it all up myself, and 2) toy with each style to find what works best for my situation. And just in time for lent. Rather than giving something up, I’ll be focusing on being a less haphazard cleaner. Again, thank you so much!

    1. Karen, check out flylady.net if you haven’t already. She breaks down cleaning into zones and short, daily tasks. Between Ruth and the Fly Lady, my house and finances are better than ever.

      1. Karen, I am so sorry for your health troubles. Sometimes Life is just HARD, and the thought of being physically strong enough to take a shower, much less clean one (!), can be overwhelming. Being on Disability means watching your money carefully, but I found that having cleaning help in once per month was worth every penny. I put aside $10-$12 each week and pay in cash. April, my “cleaning angel” can kneel and reach and lift in ways that would have me in bed for a week! (You and I have very similar diagnoses.) Ask at local churches for recommendations, or from friends ~ put out a quest on your email or FaceBook. And get that DH of yours to limit his winter workshop to one area or room! The other space can be your cozy sitting area, even if it’s small.
        I hope you’ve been able to adapt your own schedule from Ruth’s LWSL plans. Just the idea of doing a little bit each day (on days you are able) is a helpful goal. Best of luck to you, Karen!

  14. Thank you for this series. I am a stay at home mom and I keep my home relatively clean, but it is such a chore. I have tried doing one major task each day, but my schedule changes constantly so it would throw me off. I am excited to try the timed sessions. I always get distracted constantly cleaning clutter and dishes that the other items get put off. I like that this system will let me choose what I want to do depending on my mood and keep me focused. You are a blessing, I have learned so much from your blog!

  15. Love it, Love it love the thought of having a clean house all the time. We are also remodeling our house. so clearing one room to paint of lay floors or whatever will cause a few problems. I am sure I can make this work. Maybe I can make note of why the bathroom was not cleaned in the month of April….oh, no bathroom to clean just sheet rock dust. lol

  16. What a blessing this is! I found this post as a result of working through Part 1 of your new cleaning series. I recognize how much work you must have put into this and I am so grateful!! Ugh I needed this. Weather around here is ugly and it feels like winter will never end. And man, there is no better reminder of how dirty and cluttered your house actually is than when you’re stuck inside of it 24/7. So, just thought I’d stop by and say thank you. SOOO looking forward to working through your cleaning series, as well as the de-cluttering series in October! Thanks for all you do, Ruth! I admire your work.

    1. Really! I feel like such a loser! I’m not excited. I’m praying that God will help me with my state of felling extremely overwhelmed and dislike for housework! Lol! It’ll take a miracle, but I know He performs them everyday. (I’m a perfectionist, and I feel as though I can’t get it perfect; therefore, I can’t do it at all.). I get too stressed over the magnitude of it all… And I live in a rather small house! It would be terrible if I lived in a BIG one! Without His help, I absolutely don’t have the ability to effectively do it. (Physically or mentally). I have severe allergies and asthma, and the house dust and other allergens that I get exposed to make it very difficult to breathe. Those things aside from the fact that I’m and 51, have an 8 and a 12 year old, (I had my children later in life, needless to say, I’m very blessed. They’re both healthy!) clinical depression, ADD, migraines and back problems just to name a few. Also, my husband is a veteran with PTSD. Thank you so much for the information, and any and all prayers are appreciated. God bless…

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  19. I struggle so much with orginization and house cleaning. I’ve seen your speed cleaning, and although I think it is the most efficient sounding have not been able to work it into my schedule with 4 kids, the youngest being an infant and never giving me sufficent amount of time to do it. I never even thought about option b, that sounds perfect, something I can do in 15 min chunks throughout the day! Love it, going to start today!

  20. Hey Ruth,
    Wow thanks for putting so much time and effort into this post! All those printables are awesome!! Sigh when it comes to cleaning my house sometimes I get so overwhelmed and I just sit there looking at the mess and wonder how it got so bad. Then it’s so bad that I don’t know where to start then I don’t do anything lol. I have found that doing 1 room at a time works best for me. Usually when I clean I feel like I can’t just do a quick clean . . . I feel the need to make it CLEAN. So when I put all my effort into 1 room for an hour it gets done very well.

    It’s also helped my husband and I to figure out what chores we prefer to do. For example I always do the bathroom and he always does the dishes. Course we help each other out when we need it but it’s much more bearable when you don’t have to do something you hate doing.

  21. This is such a great blog post! I love all the tips and suggestions. I am so bad at cleaning. I try to spend 5 minutes a day de-cluttering but the task of chores and cleaning is always so daunting to me. Thanks! <3

  22. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after
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    Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

  23. I try and do the speed cleaning every day that I’m home. It helps a lot. I also do a weekly cleaning as family. The
    deep cleaning doesn’t happen as often as it should, but we try.

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  25. The tips for a cleaning schedule in this article are amazing. I mean, I work everyday and I really don’t have time to clean. It’s a great idea to make your own schedule depending on your routine. I like the most the schedule with the “Major Task Each Day”. I think that this type of cleaning is the most appropriate for my lifestyle.Regards!

  26. That’s great! I am like you! i can’t function if the house is messy. We’ve got a cordless vacuum for the kitchen area so we can keep it clean . . . nothing better than knowing that the kitchen is clean, especially when you’ve got children, easy and quick to use! and we use another for the other rooms with carpets. There are other jobs that we can’t do like carpet cleaning so we get the cleaners to come once a year as well.

  27. Hi..Thanks for all this great info! I’m only able to add text to master task list, but I can’t delete what doesn’t pertain to me. Do you have a blank master task list where I could add my specific tasks?

  28. The tips for a cleaning schedule in this article are amazing. I mean, I work everyday and I really don’t have time to clean. It’s a great idea to make your own schedule depending on your routine.

  29. THANK YOU RUTH! These are great resources to help organize my cleaning schedule. I especially appreciate the new print layouts and colors, they use a lot less ink than the older ones. THANK YOU!

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  32. This is such a great blog post! I love all the tips and suggestions. I am so bad at cleaning. I try to spend 5 minutes a day de-cluttering but the task of chores and cleaning is always so daunting to me. Thanks!

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  37. To ensure that effective cleaning is carried out it is strongly recommended that a ‘cleaning schedule’ is used. Essentially a cleaning schedule is a written document in which the areas requiring cleaning are clearly identified, together with the frequency of cleaning, the cleaning agents to be used, and a check that the task involved has been properly completed

  38. Any suggestions of implementing this schedule if you live by yourself and you don’t want your days off spent all day cleaning the house and doing laundry?

  39. My husband and I, along with our almost 4 month old son, have been doing some improvements to our home and are just about ready to get moved back in.
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    I also plan to purge all of the junk I have been hanging on to. I love my mom but she is a pack rat and will not throw things away and she absolutely makes no effort to put things away when she’s finished with them. I have discovered that the constant chaos of disorganized living makes me agitated and miserable.

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  41. This is all so great! I love the Daily Speed Cleaning, it’s just for me, I’m doing it for years just needed the perfect checklist. Thank you for the printables, I printed few for my mother too. Greets!

  42. Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
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    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  43. Having some sort of organized plan of attack against the mess is a good strategy. Thank you for the tips! I’m going to print it out and actually try it!

  44. Thank you, Thank you , Thank you! I have struggled for years to try and put something together and to actually stick with it. I am a perfectionist with ADD which often causes me tears and frustration. I truly believe you have a system that is simple and manageable for me, and it also makes visual sense to me. Again, thank you so much

  45. Help!!!! I LOVE this plan and have tried my best to adopt it into my daily life, but iam having difficulty! Please help! My husband and I both have very long hours with demanding schedules. We wake up at 4:30am, get ready for work and leave at 5:30am and sometimes I do not get home from work until 9:30pm or later. How can I adapt a schedule to fit our needs. Hubby does not help much with house work and if we can manage a “date” it usually involves grocery shopping and errand running.

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  47. Found this link on a post from Organize 365. I am glad I followed it. I am going to give the daily clean a go, but my twist is that I am going to have everyone in my family have a daily clean list. There’s 4 of us, so if we each spent 20 -25 minutes a day working from a list, that would do a lot of good around here. Plus, my kids are 13 and 15. They’ve been doing chores all their lives, but it is time for them to start to be independent and take their own initiative vs. me always having to tell them and track them. I like to think someday when they have their own place, they will be proud they know how to clean it! thanks for posting.

  48. Love your printables! I could definitely use these in my personal home cleaning routine but you have also inspired some ideas of which I could use lists for organizing services or packages for my house cleaning clients. An easy visual of services is always good. Thanks again for the tips!

  49. A clean house is important for the health and well-being of your entire family. First of all, a dirty house is a germy house, and the best defense against the spread of illnesses is to keep the germs washed away. The well being of the family is enhanced by an uncluttered atmosphere. If the rule of “a place for everything and everything in its place” is observed, the environment will be more serene, and less time will be wasted in looking for lost items.

  50. If you include most of those items in your quick daily wipe-downs there isn’t much need for deep cleaning because they are always clean. I do throw away old items and wipe the inside of my refrigerator clean before we leave for our weekly grocery shopping. If a drawer or shelf really needs work I take it out and clean it in the sink then lay it out so that it is dry before we come home, but that doesn’t happen often. For other deeper spot clean items I often work on them while preparing dinner. While something is cooking I use those little few minutes at a time to do things like wash the microwave platter in the sink (and wipe under it while it’s drying), wipe spots off the cabinets, wash the trash cans, clean part of the freezer, wipe off the top of the frige, etc. I find that since I’m on top of them, it takes no time at all to do.

  51. I’m recently married and I’ve always had a hard time cleaning and being organized. Hopefully I can use you tips and planners to get better and not have such a clutter in my house. Thank you so much

  52. Wow. Great effort on creating a cleaning schedule. Thank you for this one, let me check if this is okay with my schedule as I don’t have time too much even on weekends. Sad. That’s why I am always hiring a house cleaning services.

  53. This post changed the way we ran our house a few years ago. My husband and I used to tag-team the entire house in a few hours every Saturday morning, but it always seemed to interfere with weekend plans, and wasn’t as feasible after our daughter was born. Now we go with Option C: One Room Each Day. Cleaning only takes 10-15 minutes a day this way. It hardly seems like we clean at all, when it takes so little time or effort. Thanks for the killer idea!

  54. I tried a lot to follow a proper schedule for cleaning work but due to my hectic routine I am unable to follow it. I too want to clean my house properly on weekends but it happens rarely that I am able to achieve it. I will keep all your suggested home cleaning guidelines in my mind. Hopefully in near future I will do it one day.

  55. I have Asperger’s and need a cleaning schedule to help keep me on top of it. Need to straighten up my apartment first, though. Working on the files right now, and picking up the floor.

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  57. You have shared some of the best office cleaning tips for cleaning schedule. This is awesome advice for keeping the property clean. This is one of the easiest ways to keep things tidy. If you clean a little bit every day, you probably won’t ever have to clean a giant mess. Great post

  58. I need to re-work my cleaning schedule now 🙂
    As a mom of 2, I should clean the house every day. It is really important to have a schedule for saving time.
    I usually make cleaning products by myself. Green cleaning recipes are the most popular, cause they are not harmful for kids, pets and everyone in your family. Baking soda, vinegar, essential oils are the best for this purposes. Plus, you’ll get the perfect aroma after cleaning 🙂

  59. I have to say your post is the end of my mess up the room because I haven’t cleaned up for so long. Huhu, actually I have to schedule clean up and do it as you say.

  60. MASTER TASK LIST always help me with cleaning process. But It works only with simple cleaning tasks like cleaning carpet or living room. When it’s about work like Post construction cleaning this list doesn’t work for me.

    1. I agree with you! But MASTER TASK LIST works good with office cleaning. We already have a lot of cleaning tasks in the end of the week, so Master Task help a lot.

  61. Thanks for sharing your cleaning schedule, Ruth!

    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!

    It’s time to clean this mess since winter is coming! 🙂

  62. Having a cleaning routine really does make such a huge difference in daily life-especially if you have kids. I can’t go a single day without cleaning my house or it might fall apart, but that doesn’t mean it is always spotless. Thank you for the tips!

  63. What an amazing idea to create a cleaning schedule – absolutely love it. It’s clear, well designed and easy to use. Consistency is a key to success in every field of life.

  64. Great write up and some fantastic ideas for putting a regular cleaning schedule together. Loved the deck of cards idea for the family, thanks for the tips!

  65. Deciding to run a timer each day for whatever task I’m working on has been such a great idea. It takes away some of the stress of trying to clean everything all at once, and it gives you a target to shoot for – you know exactly when you are finished cleaning for that day. This was such a useful article for me.

    1. Sorry about the confusion Rachel. You can use a paper calendar of your choice or the Living Well Planner® to help you with creating a cleaning schedule.

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