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House Cleaning: Making it Less Painful!

We are empty nesters! I dreamt of what that would look like: of a clean and organized home and I dealt of all the things I'd do in place of laundry, tidying up, etc.! Guess what!! It didn't happen! We still live here and apparently we are messy!

Laundry, dishes, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, organizing!!!!! ugh!!

As much of a pain house cleaning can be having a good system can help and make it less painful.

Daily Habits!

Mom was right! If we clean up after ourselves at the time it is less work later!

  • Tidy the bathroom, wipe down the counters and toilet each day. This helps me feel like I'm good to go if someone happen to drop by.

  • Each night wipe down the counters, wash and put away all of the dishes. I admit I struggle here, but when I come out in the morning for coffee and it's all nice and shiny and clean it makes me very happy!

  • Take a quick run through the main areas and tidy up. 2-5 minutes! Because you do it daily it shouldn't be very time consuming.

  • Make the bed. Yeah, really. Not only does it give things a nice clean feel, but it helps you feel like you have things in order.

  • Sweep and quick mop over high traffic areas. 2-5 minutes tops.

  • Do a load of laundry. There are only 2 of us, but I do this every day or every other day and have found it helps me feel on top of the laundry. It is a big mind game for me and it works.

  • Run a load of dishes. The dishes are the same as laundry, with just 2 of us we don't need to run the dishwasher every day, but I usually do. Our dishwasher has a half load setting and it still saves water vs hand washing.

All of these things combined take 15-20 minutes all combined. Try setting a timer and don't do more than 20 minutes, really you should aim for 10, but I know the dishes and laundry can take a while. I start laundry and dishes in the morning and finish them in the afternoon and the rest of the items I do first thing right after brushing my teeth!

Weekly Cleaning:

  • I like to deep clean one room each day and because it gets done every week the "deep" cleaning isn't very time consuming. The first few weeks take the most time and are worth it.

  • Some people prefer to hit it all in one day. I have a friend who is home on Fridays and that is her cleaning day, but she never , almost never, misses it. It is scheduled into her routine.

  • Other people will deep clean an area or "zone" per week, like the living room one week, bedrooms the next. These systems usually suggest that you spend no more than 30 minutes per day in this area, but work on it a little each day.

  • There is no right or wrong way, it's what works best for you. Because you've kept your Daily Habits the weekly cleaning is easier.

  • Every time you clean an area take a few minutes to get rid of things you don't use or like, or don't fit. Donate them, throw broken things away, and get rid of the little piles of paper.

There! You did it!

My method takes some bits from several different cleaning methods and is modified to fit our lifestyle and my habits. My usual method is to maintain my daily habits and deep clean one room/area a week. Don't feel like you are stuck to someone else's method, find what works for you, but be consistent.


Daily habits, well...daily

Monday: Bedrooms

Tuesday: Living Room and Den

Wednesday: Bathrooms

Thursday: Kitchen, dining room (I have an open concept house making these pretty much the same room)

Friday: Mudroom, Laundry room, extra spaces like deck, porch, exercise room, yard, etc.

Weekends are for fun and rest


There are 3 Cleaning Guru's I really like, their systems have much in common, but enough differences so that different personality styles may fit better with one over another. It's Ok to pick and choose parts too! I use something from each of them, plus a few other systems. The idea is to give yourself grace as you find a way to be consistent!

FlyLady I've used many of her tips and methods for the past 20 years. I'm not the type to go full Flylady, but She has great tips and is big on the idea that you can't catch up all at once, you start where you are and gradually you will get there! For those of us who can be perfectionist, leading to an all or nothing approach this is huge and important. Do well, do well again tomorrow. There is a great app to help keep you on track. Flylady sells cleaning kits with mops etc. but doesn't require you use those particular items. Flylady also has published several books. I started with "Shine Your Sink" 20 years ago! The reason she is going strong since 1999 is that her system works very well for many people.

Clean Mama Clean Mama has downloadable sheets you can use as trackers and she breaks things up into more manageable chunks; daily, weekly, decluttering, deep cleaning etc. You are encouraged to spend 15-30 minutes on your task. Again, grace and patience. Clean Mama has free downloadbles, but does have paid portions of her community as well as a product line that she sells, there is no requirement to use her items. ( I love her tips, but of course, we use Shaklee - non-toxic, earth friendly cleaners). As with the Flylady, she has a great system and I know of some people who left their Flylady ways for what felt like a more manageable plan with Clean Mama

TOMM The Organized Mum Method: Both Clean Mama and Flylady have a lot to teach you and it can be overwhelming for some people. TOMM has many of the similar approaches, like daily habits and weekly goals, but I feel like her method is very streamlined and simple. I also like that she spreads the heavy cleaning out over 8 weeks. TOMM has free printable sheets as well as an app, the app is $5.99. TOMM also has published several books, they are on my

'To Read" list. PS the app has playlists, in case you like to get your jam on while you clean!!

Other useful books:

What is your favorite cleaning system?


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