My idea of a Zenful Home is one that is organized and clean. When I first purchased my home, I scoured the internet for a free cleaning schedule but never found one that quite fit my needs. What is a woman to do? Well, I’m resourceful, I know the basics of keeping a clean house, but I just needed a way to organize my organizing so I wasn’t trying to do too much in one day or, worse yet, being overwhelmed and not doing anything at all! Here is my step by step guide for creating your own (hence, extremely free) cleaning schedule.
Step One: Break it Down Into Zones
If you think of your home as a few smaller zones instead of one big giant space in need of cleaning, chores won’t seem as overwhelming. If you have multiple bedrooms, each room might be its own zone. In my case, I have two bedrooms, one being a guest room, so I use “bedrooms” as a zone. Same thing with bathrooms. You may have a formal dining room that is a zone or you might have an eat-in kitchen so the dining room and kitchen are one zone.
If you are a homeowner or a renter that is responsible for outdoor maintenance, do not forget to include outdoor zones to your list! Mowing and snow removal are still chores and should be included in your ultimate finished schedule. Here is a breakdown of my home zones:
- Living Room
- Dining Room
- Laundry and Bathrooms
- Hallways and Bedrooms
- Garage and Porches
Step Two: The Important Things
The next thing you will want to do is decide what is important to you to keep your space as zenful as possible. For me, personally, I never feel quite right if there are dirty dishes stacked in the sink or the bathroom is in complete disarray. However, I can go a day without making the bed without too much angst. This list is all about what works for YOU. It is your space. Maybe you live alone and do not see the point in doing dishes every day until you have a full load of dishes. Maybe you have a craft area that is your own personal haven and to anyone but you looks like total chaos. Remember that finding your zen is about what makes you happy in your space.
I look at each zone and then figure out what it is that I need to do in each one to keep it in a state that I find acceptable and comfortable. Hence, my list grows and looks like this:
- Entryways – clear clutter and sweep
- Living Room – clear clutter and sweep
- Dining Room – clear table and wipe down surfaces, floor
- Laundry and Bathroom – 1 load of laundry, floors, straighten counters
- Kitchen – rinse all dishes and put in dishwasher, clear counter tops, wipe stove and surfaces, floors
- Hallways and Bedrooms: clear clutter and sweep
- Garage and Porches – sweep/shovel porches and sidewalks
After you break it down like this, you can see that there are a few repeating themes: sweeping, clearing clutter, and wiping down surfaces. There are also zone specific things like doing a load of laundry and dishes. These are my daily chores.
Step Three: Weekly Chores
Go back to your master zone list and consider what things still need to be done even with the daily chores being done. You might have a dog that puts nose prints all over a window that has to be cleaned at least weekly (ask me how I know this is a thing!). Toilets need to be sanitized at least once a week (more in big households or during flu season!) and floors need mopping no matter how diligent you are in sweeping every day. This list will be your weekly chores. Think of it in terms of “my house is livable but not sparkling, how can I make it sparkle?”
Here is my list of weekly chores:
- Entryways – Windows and walls, mop
- Living Room – Vacuum furniture, dust blinds, clean screens on computer and television, mop
- Dining Room – Dust blinds and polish table, clean chairs, mop
- Laundry and Bathroom – Scrub toilets and showers, wipe down surfaces with disinfectant, wipe down washer and dryer doors, empty wastebaskets, mop
- Kitchen – Windows, clear out refrigerator of expired products, wipe down inside and out, clean stove vent, wipe down back splash, mop
- Hallways and Bedrooms – wash bedding, clean blinds and windows, mop
- Garage and Porches – check for clutter
Step Four: Monthly and Annual Chores
These are things that are important to include because otherwise, they get forgotten a lot of times. This is more about maintaining than cleaning but nonetheless, should be included in your schedule. Here are where you put things like power washing the driveway, tightening up wobbly furniture, and putting away seasonal decorations. This will vary month to month but here is a list of things that I need to do:
- Entryways – Clean out closets, store or donate seasonal clothing
- Living Room – Vacuum out cold air return and heater vent
- Dining Room – Check and tighten dining chairs and table, vacuum cold air return and heater vent
- Laundry and Bathrooms – launder shower curtains, clean out dryer exhaust, clean out washer filter
- Kitchen – Clean dishwasher, oven, and microwave
- Hallways and Bedrooms – Clean out closets, store or donate seasonal clothing
- Garage and Porches – Clean Gutters, make sure tools are in working order, scrub down decking on porches, clean outdoor furniture
Step Five: Putting it All Together
The final step in creating your cleaning schedule is to write it all down and put it in a place where you are going to actually see it and stick to it. At first, you might find it helpful to post on your refrigerator or on a memo board. Once you get into a routine of daily chores, you might find that you don’t need the dailies posted anymore and just have a monthly chart. However, you choose to do it, it’s completely up to you on what works best.
Some people prefer a weekly layout that changes every week. Another method would be to put all the information in a monthly calendar format with reminders of monthly/yearly chores.
I do a hybrid of these. I somehow managed to break my house into seven zones and, lucky enough, there are seven days in the week! Serendipity! Here is my monthly calendar for February to give you an idea on how I keep my home zenfully clean.
(Please excuse my chicken scratch! I find physically writing things down helps me to remember them. You might find it easier to make a spreadsheet on your computer and print it out instead!)