This is the year—you're finally going to solve your cleaning problems! You're going to keep your space clean and organized, with as little stress as possible. But if you're going to make your cleaning goals a reality, you're going to need a plan. Most of us don't have a Monica Geller–level love of cleaning and need a little structure to keep us on track.
Creating a custom cleaning calendar is how you can turn your cleaning goals into action. Putting in time in January to make a cleaning calendar can save you a ton of time and stress over the year. No more marathon cleaning sessions because you've let so many things fall through the cracks and have to scrub everything before company comes over. Customizing your calendar to your specific home and your specific cleaning preferences ensures that you'll actually want to stick to the schedule because you'll love the results.
Video of the Day
Start by Answering These Questions
What’s my preferred cleaning style?
Thinking about your relationship with cleaning lets you set realistic goals that you'll actually want to meet, and build good cleaning habits. Plus, it'll make cleaning as pleasant as possible!
Consider questions like: Do you prefer cleaning at certain times of day or certain days of the week? Given your choice, would you rather clean in short daily bursts of five or ten minutes, or save most of the weekly tasks for a weekend? Which tasks do you enjoy the most? Which are your absolute least favorite? (And can you delegate those to other members of your household or make room in your budget to hire the occasional professional cleaner?)
What are my cleaning goals?
Everyone has their own definition of what constitutes "clean enough." What's yours? How clean does your home need to be for you to feel comfortable in your space? Do you want every room to be spotless all the time? Are you cool as long as bathroom surfaces are clean and the clutter is mostly contained?
What role will my family/roommates play?
If you share your home with others, how much of the cleaning work can you expect them to do? Do their cleaning goals align with yours? If not (perhaps you love a spotless house and your partner doesn't notice overflowing trash cans), you're going to need to take that into account when building the calendar and assigning tasks.
How do my cleaning needs change from month to month?
There's a lot you can't predict about the year ahead. But you can probably guess that the house is going to get dirtier over the summer, when your kids are home from school, or that you're going to want to do a whole-house clean in October before your annual Halloween party, and so on.
Building Your Cleaning Calendar Step-by-Step
Feel free to make adjustments so this process works for you, but use this step-by-step guide as a starting point for creating a calendar you'll actually stick to!
1. Make lists of all the tasks that will need to be scheduled in your cleaning calendar.
A good way to organize them is by creating three separate lists: daily tasks, weekly tasks and occasional/seasonal tasks. It might help to walk room by room as you create the lists. For example, you might add "clearing living room clutter" to your daily list, "vacuuming and dusting living room" to your weekly list and "shampoo carpets" to your occasional list.
Some of the tasks on your occasional/seasonal list might include:
- Wash windows
- Flip mattresses
- Wash pillows, blankets, comforters and other bed coverings
- Clean air vents
- Clean out and disinfect the fridge/defrost and reorganize the freezer
- Clean out pantry shelves and throw away expired food
- Deep clean the oven, microwave, coffee maker and other kitchen appliances
- Clean drapes, blinds and other window coverings
- Clean baseboards, ceiling fans, light switches and other fixtures
- Empty out bathroom cabinets, toss expired products and collect expired medications for disposal at a pharmacy or other drug take-back site
- Clean marks from walls, then repair any gouges or other damage
2. Choose a format for your calendar.
Again, think about what's going to work best for you specifically. If you're most comfortable with paperless scheduling, you might want to add cleaning tasks right into your Google calendar or whatever other platform you use. But don't underestimate the merits of a good old-fashioned paper calendar! Hanging the cleaning calendar in a central area makes it hard to ignore or forget uncompleted tasks, and it keeps everyone in the household on the same page (literally). It's also really satisfying to cross off items on a physical list!
3. Schedule weekly cleaning tasks.
Starting with January, write in those recurring items like vacuuming and changing sheets on whatever days you think you'll prefer to do them. Depending on your preferences, you might put all the weekly tasks on one weekend day or spread them out over the week. You may fill in the weekly tasks for all 12 months at this point, or hold off and do this at the beginning of each month.
Do you like listening to podcasts while you clean? As you’re thinking about which days to schedule weekly cleaning tasks, think about the release schedules of your favorite pods. If your favorite show releases new episodes on Mondays, you might want to schedule your least favorite tasks for Mondays. Give yourself a rule that you can only listen to the new episodes while you clean.
4. Schedule the occasional/seasonal tasks.
Look through the list of occasional tasks and pick one or two that seem appropriate for January. For example, let's say you're going to flip mattresses and deep clean the freezer. Choose days to schedule those tasks, then cross them off the list.
Repeat this process over the remaining months, scheduling every task sometime in the year ahead.
5. Create a daily cleaning checklist.
Daily cleaning doesn't necessarily need to be scheduled on your calendar, unless you like to be really disciplined about each day's schedule. But creating a checklist of daily basics lets you keep track of what's been done on any given day. If you share cleaning duties with another member of your household, posting a laminated checklist on the fridge lets you give assignments to different people and cross off tasks when they're done.
Get their input, talk about who will do which tasks and make calendar adjustments as necessary.
7. Strategize about cleaning supplies.
You can't follow through with your plan without adequate supplies. Assess your current stash of cleaning products and tools. Do you have all the brooms, sponges, brushes, vacuum attachments, dustpans, etc., that you might need this year? Does it make sense to do a big order of basic supplies now to ensure you're stocked with everything you need to follow through with your calendar?
And that's it! You have a solid plan that will keep your space clean, organized and comfortable all year long. Bring on the unexpected guests—your home is going to be ready for company at any time!