Ditch the dreaded housecleaning schedule!

5 practical tips

I can never stick to a schedule.

As soon as I try, I feel like I’m always behind. I always start out full of enthusiasm and energy.

But then something happens and I fall flat on my face.

If that’s you too, here’re 5 practical tips on keeping your house clean without sticking to a rigid schedule.

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clean kitchen with text overlay 5 practical tips on keeping your house clean without a rigid schedule

So what happens, you might ask?

Oh, something like all three kids having a play date at our home and then leaving the living room looking like a toy-volcano blew up.

And if I’m busy coaching the kids cleaning up their mess I’m obviously not cleaning myself so ergo I’m behind.

Or the cat starts barfing (sorry bout that, just keepin it real) and we come home from the vet to find I missed a spot and a kid steps in it and now it’s all spread out through the living room.

Not really a situation you can say “Hej, I’ve already mopped the living room floor this morning so it’s just gonna have to wait until next week.”

So I’m mopping the living room floor again (third time but who’s counting) and bam, behind schedule!

But I can handle all the chaos of life with kids as long as I’ve got my couple of hours of life without kids.

So my kids go to school (more power to you homeschoolin mama, I’m just not the type) and I get my precious time to myself.

That I promptly fill with reading, blogging and having coffee with friends.

Obviously that’s not the straightest way to a clean house so once in a while I sit myself down and write up a schedule.

There’re loads of great blog posts on how to  write the perfect cleaning schedule. Like this one.

There’s even courses and apps and of course the coveted cleaning lady.

But here’s the rub, I feel like its my job to do the cleaning. I mean, I’m the SAHM so…

“What do I do all day?” Well, cleaning of course!

No I’m kidding, I truly feel that maintaining the house and garden is my job and I want to do it.

I think of myself as the steward of a big castle with beautiful grounds (I wish) and it’s my job to make sure everything gets serviced and maintained so we don’t make any unnecessary purchases or things don’t brake just when we need them.

But that dreaded schedule, I can never make it work!

Then one day I realized I don’t need to have a schedule. It’s my life and I can do the stewarding bit just like it suits me!

So here’s what I did:

1. I created a morning routine

This makes sure the most important tasks are done.

For us that’s unloading the dishwasher and starting a load of laundry.

For myself that’s getting dressed to shoes (don’t you just love Flylady) and checking my calendar.

I use a Filofax and I dabble in bullet journaling but again, strict systems aren’t for me so I’m adapting and implementing as needed.

I’ll tell you about it another day.

2. I follow a daily rhythm

I’ve got fixed days for groceries, sports and school volunteering and I alwyas do them first thing after getting the kids to school.

This way everyday follows the same rhythm and I’m not wandering around thinking “Ghee, what should I be doing right now?”

I think this is my biggest issue: I never know what needs doing so as soon as I’ve got time on my hands I’m kind of lost.

If something catches my eye I’ll do it but I’m also very good at walking past that ginormous pile of magazines and kids art that’s waiting to be checked and put in the trash.

Of course a schedule could fix this but after 10 years of trying I’ve just given up on them.

But my weekly rhythm is a schedule of sorts, I’ll admit to that much. 😇

In a next post I’ll tell you more about it.

3. I use if then reasoning

This January I participated in Mel Robbins’ #mindsetreset challenge and it was good!

There’s loads of super practical tips in there to keep you from running around in circles and start to actually move your life in the direction you want it to go.

If then reasoning is when you think about how you’re gonna respond before things happen.

Like “if I crave a chocolate I’ll walk to the bowl of tomatoes in the fridge”.

Or “if she begins to whine about her boss again I’ll deflect the conversation towards her favorite project at work”.

But for getting myself to start cleaning I even went a step further.

I imagine a worst case scenario and then I feel motivated to prevent it from happening.

I’m horrible at starting cleaning just for the purpose of cleaning.

But when I imagine my neighbor popping over (and fortunately she does 😊) while the bathroom isn’t cleaned after the little one tried peeing standing up again I move my ass!

4. I write in my bullet journal

And specifically I write when I last did something.

It’s called a “When did I last”- list and its amazing!

I honestly don’t know who started it coz when I picked it up it was already all over Pinterest.

But it’s just a simple list of housekeeping stuff I write down with a date next to it.

So “cleaned the windows in the living room” – 11 march, “checked the pantry for expired products”- 13 march, etc.

That way when I’m wandering again or I’m looking around congratulating myself  “Ghee, Carlijn, that’s an insta-ready living room you’ve got there” I can open up my bullet journal and see that it’s high time the dryer vent gets cleaned or the oven de-greased.

Now, again, you could use a schedule for this but if you want to live schedule-free I highly recommend this list!

You could also use a printable if you think you’ll use it more consistently if it’s all pretty and decorated. Etsy’ s got some great ones.

5. There’s an app for that

Now this one isn’t for all of you coz it has some nasty words in it.

It’s called UfYH or Unf*ck Your Habitat and it’s been a game changer for me.

It’s filled with challenges or tasks like “water your houseplants” or “wipe down your front door”.

You just click the button and do the task!

There’s no thinking involved, it’s just click and act!

Perfect for those moments in between or for when your very very low on motivation.

The tasks are 5, 10 or 20 minutes long and you can choose between random challenges or challenges by room.

It’s got a motivation button that tells you “Your being ridiculous, go clean!” but with swearwords so you might not be amused by that bit.

You can also create your own task list but that looks a bit too much like a schedule for my liking so I don’t use that part.

It’s even got a pomodoro timer if you like using a timer when you work on anything else.

Bonus Tip:

It took me 10 years to get into this rhythm and start cleaning my house in  a way that feels right to me.

Don’t be like me!

Get to work creating a way of cleaning that works with your personality.

Here are my Pinterest boards on making a morning routine and on starting a bullet journal.

Go check them out for inspiration!

4 replies
    • Carlijn
      Carlijn says:

      Hi Jeanine, thank you! That morning routine saved me from staring down an empty underwear drawer many times 😂

      Reply
  1. Shelly Maynard
    Shelly Maynard says:

    We moved in October of 2018 and ever since, I’ve actually been able to stay on task! I really like the idea of an app that offers up random suggestions. That may be able to help push me on the days I am completely give out after work and have no motivation. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    • Carlijn
      Carlijn says:

      Wow, Shelly, that’s amazing, staying on a schedule while “recovering” from a move with all those extra tasks. Yes, the app’s perfect for when you know you need to do stuff but you just feel completely done with. Hope it works out for you!

      Reply

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