My House Cleaning System

August 31, 2010 by

One question I get a lot is how do I keep up with the housekeeping.  It is a topic we all know too well and if we are too busy, if can get away from us fast.  In fact, it was researching methods to keep my house clean with out driving my family and I crazy that got me going on this online “anti-busy” journey.  I discovered there were other women out there who also wanted to keep the busy out of their lives.

One way I discovered to keep busyness at bay was to stream line the whole housekeeping process.  I used several methods and finally came up with a hybrid all my own.  I find that separating housework into daily chores, weekly chores and big projects make my life simpler and my house cleaner.  And, I don’t do all the work myself.  The kids have to pull their weight!

Before I started looking for a new system, I would wait until my house was unbearable (or friends were coming over) to clean and it would take me an entire day.  During and after which I was not a happy camper – nor was anyone else.  This system keeps my house clean, my family and I happy, and teaches my kids responsibility.

Daily Chores

These are easy common sense chores that are now done out of habit.  A few of these habits were hard to form, so I had to write them down on strategically placed sticky notes until I got them down.

  • If you get something out, put it away.
  • Wipe the bathroom counters when you are done getting ready.
  • Sweep the kitchen and dining area after each meal or snack.
  • Clean off kitchen counters and sink before bed
  • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in the living room away before bed
  • Put a load of laundry in the wash first thing in the morning. Put it in the dryer after getting ready.  Put it away after breakfast.

Weekly Chores
The weekly chores only take an hour or two around here because “many hands make light work”.  I choose a morning to clean when both kids are at home.  To make sure they are motivated, I usually chose a morning when we have something fun planned in the afternoon.  If the work gets done, we get to participate.  If the work doesn’t get done….well, you know.  The key here is to plan the day when I plan my week.  If I don’t plan it ahead of time, it probably won’t get done.

I make lists for the kids and myself.  They are like their mamma.  They like to cross and check stuff off lists.  Here is a sample of the kids’ chore list.

Dallas (9 years old)

  • Clean kids bathroom toilet
  • Clean bathroom counter
  • Fold and put away your clothes and towels
  • Vacuum stairs
  • Vacuum downstairs

Dane (5 years old)

  • Clean bathroom mirror
  • Clean tub
  • Fold and put away your clothes and towels
  • Vacuum upstairs hall and kids bedrooms
  • Dust downstairs


  • Vacuum master bedroom
  • Wash sheets
  • Sweep and mop kitchen, dining and entry
  • Clean master bathroom
  • Clean downstairs bathroom

We can knock that out in 2 hours – easy! Usually, we are much faster.  The whole house is clean.  Everyone is happy and we still have the whole day ahead of us!

Big Projects

When it comes to those big projects like cleaning out the closets, re-organizing the kitchen, or cleaning out the basement, I schedule them into my week and break them down into small pieces.  Looking at one of those types of projects on its own can be really intimidating.  Many times, we don’t want to start a project because we think it is simply too large to accomplish.  However, if we look at it once piece at a time, it looks totally do-able.

I’m going to use this week’s project as an example of how I schedule and break down a project.  Sunday nights I plan my week ahead.  I plan my meals, my appointments, homeschool and my weekly project.  Some weeks are simply too packed already and I skip the project.  As long as the necessities get taken care of I’m fine.  This week, I noticed our master suite needed some attention.  It tends to get overlooked.  Here is my plan to get it back in shape.

Monday – clear off night stands and dressers, dust, put away stuff that accumulated there

Tuesday – vacuum under bed and behind furniture, clean doors and trim

Wednesday – Clean ceiling fan and blinds, wipe down cabinets

Thursday – deep clean shower and tub (more than just the weekly wipe down)

Friday – Clean night stands

If your project is bigger, take more than a week. Last January, I took the whole month and re-organized my kitchen drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf.  Just a little each day.

Creating Your Own System
Is there a perfect housekeeping system?  I don’t think so.  What works for me might not work for you.  My system is a mix of several systems.  I had to try a few out to see what worked for my family and I.  If you are searching, keep trying. Don’t get discouraged.  Don’t try and copy the experts if their plan doesn’t work for you.

Do you have a plan you’d like to share with  us?  I’d love to hear about it!

Comments (12)


  1. Cara says:

    I like the way you’ve broken things down, especially for the big projects. I’ve been trying to come up with a “system” too, and wrote about my Dailies recently here:

    And that’s about as far as I got! The weekly chores and bigger projects are still eluding me, but right now I’m focusing on some decluttering. I know once that’s done, it will be easier to clean!

  2. My routine is pretty close to how you do it except I don’t have kids, so less mess but no extra hands to help! Where I get stuck is laundry. Ugh.

  3. abbie says:

    I love this! My house is usually pretty messy, and dirty for that matter. But since the 4 yo and the 2yo like doing windows the inside gets cleaned a lot. But since the outside is still dirty, you still can’t see out of them. 🙂

    I think it is a modeling thing. I love all things but cleaning. And I don’t like laundry. If they don’t see me clean, why should they think that they should be cleaning? Seems pretty simple hum? And I think that is why they don’t clean up ANYTHING. It takes 10+ reminders, while I am cleaning up their toys for them to join in. REALLY. I hate it.

    I am pretty lucky that my husband does the laundry though…and cleans bathrooms, and vacuums. But he doesn’t put stuff away. 🙂 I’ll take what I can get.

  4. Alyssa says:

    I too like Abbie hate cleaning, I have tried and tried but can’t stick to a “cleaning routine” and usually end up having to take a day or 2 or 3 and dig may way out (not literally).

  5. Shell says:

    Genius! I can’t wait to start putting this to work for us and tweaking it to fit our routines. Thanks so much for sharing. This is definitely not an area of strength for me!

  6. […] My Household Cleaning System ~ @ Overcoming Busy […]

  7. Love your ideas. I cannot wait until the children are old enough here to contribute but now we’re doing small stuff to get them int eh pattern such as put your toys away when you are done and helping to set the table (I have a 2 and 4 year old).

    I took a sheet and created one or two tasks per day of the week (e.g. Monday is bathrooms, Tuesday is vacuum, Wednesday is wash floors, etc.). I laminated the sheet and use a dry-erase marker so I can update it as I go (I’m a check-list gal). It works well and I don’t stress if I don’t get that day’s job done … I just keep on moving through the week and know I’ll catch up if I miss the one day’s task the next week. Or if I’m energetic I add it to the next day. It all works itself out.

  8. KateL says:

    I recently discovered Motivated Moms products
    and love it. I find that I don’t complete everything everyday but by the end of the week I have checked off most everything.

  9. heather says:

    I use a clear shoe hanger for my cleaners! Its one that hangs over a door and has several clear pockets and it is PERFECT!

  10. MacNessa says:

    Oh wow. I literally just took notes on your post. Two things are going to happen, 1. My kids are going to start doing chores (they’re only 5 and 2, so we’ll start small) and 2. Instead of feeling overwhelmed I’m going to tackle it one little bit at a time. 🙂

    Thanks for an awesome post!

  11. Really love the idea of having kids help on household chores. I’ll have my kids do it also, I’m sure they’ll learn a lot.

  12. […] doing that cleaning is also important. That’s why, as much as possible, it’s smart to have a cleaning system in place, and then to follow it every day. There are dozens of awesome ones on the Internet, so it’s […]

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