I spent the late morning and most of the afternoon cleaning up the house today. Things had gotten out of hand, piled up, and ultra dusty. It was time someone put forth the effort to tackle things. And, as Mom, that someone is usually me.
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I have to give Hubs some credit, because when I was working full-time, he would take care of a lot of things around the house. He would even be so proud of his nice vacuum lines that he would walk on the edges of the room until I got home, that way I could admire the lines, too. I’m not kidding, he actually admitted this. Oh, how I love him!
Plan of Attack
Anyway, I tackled our bedroom today and got the bookshelf back to its beautiful, stylized look. Then I moved on to #1’s room.
Lately, I’ve gotten in the habit of taking an empty laundry basket into his room and using it to sort out toys he doesn’t or no longer plays with. That turned out to be a mistake. Laundry baskets have holes and this kid could spot every sorted Happy Meal toy that was aiming for the trash before I even made it out of the room.
Lesson learned: I now use a reusable bag. I can load it up and he can’t see what’s going in it, because I keep it slung over my shoulder while I’m working. I just have to move quick and hope he’s distracted by something else when I shove unloved, unused toys in the bag. Most of the time, it’s just blind bag checklists and random crappy toys that somehow found their way into our house.
Now that the house is thinned out and dusted off, the next step is keeping up with it. Enter the House Cleaning Checklist and Schedule.
The Quick Cleaning Rule to Live By
Ideally, we would live by my quick cleaning rule: spend 10 seconds putting something away now and you’ll save 10 minutes sorting, cleaning and storing it later.
I can’t wait until #1 is old enough to grasp this concept. Though, sometimes I think it will never happen, if Hubs is any example. I mean, how hard is it to put your jacket in the coat closet? (Maybe if I blog about it, it will finally hit home).
My House Cleaning Checklist
This House Cleaning Checklist and Schedule is broken down into daily, weekly, and monthly chores. It’s basic, but gets the job done. At least until we move again and have to clean sweep everything in our wake.
Make the Beds
Hubs claims that mites and other germs live happier lives in neatly made beds, but I disagree and have chosen to turn a blind eye to science. I’m hoping he’s wrong, because I prefer the beds neatly made and the blankets nicely folded.
Pick Up Toys
Despite my desire to get the boys on a schedule, it never fails that we’re running behind, up late and #1’s toys aren’t put away. Rather, they are scattered across the house. We’re not talking just the living room, but the bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, you name it. Our apartment isn’t that big, but I still don’t know how toys make it everywhere.
Unload the Dishwasher
After I make #1’s breakfast I set to work on this, that way dirty breakfast dishes can go straight in and wait for their scrungy counterparts throughout the day.
Laundry is one of those things that never ends. Ever. It just keeps coming. Again, I don’t know how it happens. At least now I don’t wash #1’s clothes separately with baby detergent anymore. I’m also one of those lazy launderers. No sorting, I just throw it all in. It’ll come out fine, I hope.
This isn’t necessarily a need every morning, but I’d say every other morning for sure!
#1 usually helps with this as part of his chores. I think he just secretly likes throwing things into the dryer.
Load the Dishwasher
After dinner, I clear the table and finish loading what isn’t full in the dishwasher. I get the thing started and hand wash any stragglers. Sometimes the stragglers sit until the next day’s dishwasher load – let’s be real here.
Disinfect the Kitchen Counters
I love Clorox wipes. They are genius! I use them daily.
Sweep the Kitchen
#1 tends to get more of his dinner on the floor than in his mouth. Enter the trusty broom.
Fold and Put Laundry Away
By now I’ve moved from the kitchen to the laundry room. It is conveniently located in our main hallway so it’s kind of hard to forget about. I miss when the laundry was in the basement at our old place, it was easy to put off until later.
Once Per Week
These are usually Saturday or Sunday chores. (Now, this isn’t necessarily exact. If this stuff needs done sooner, it gets done sooner. If it doesn’t, that means life is chaotic, as usual and then I get to work).
Since this is weekly, it’s top to bottom. Clean the counter, mirror, faucet, toilet, floors. Thank you, trusty Clorox wipes! Take out the trash and sweep the floor.
#1 takes care of this. It’s one of his chores, though the duster rarely makes it past the living room, and even then it doesn’t reach anything above four feet high.
Wash the Sheets
People are gross, we are no exception. We sweat, we drool, we shed skin cells. Yuck! Plus, there’s nothing better than a cushy, clean pillow.
Clean Up the Entryway
This requires sweeping a tiny area, organizing the shoes on the shoe shelf and hanging any jackets that have found their way onto the floor rather than a hanger in the coat closet (ahem, Hubs).
(Same deal as the once per week items. Do these as necessary, but at least do them monthly).
Clean the Microwave
I put this task off to no end. I don’t know why I procrastinate it so much, but I do. Our microwave gets to be disgusting before I finally cave and clean it. It needs it now, badly.
Disinfect the Tub
I really should do this more often, but monthly seems to do the trick.
Test the Smoke/CO Alarms
Our smoke alarm seems to go off every night when we cook dinner, so we know that’s working all right. The CO alarms have flashing lights that let us know they’re operating fine. Either way, it’s still important to test them. Safety first!
Dust the Blinds
Our apartment gets dusty and our blinds are no exception. A little Swiffer duster does the trick wonderfully!
House Cleaning Checklist Organization Chore
(Choose one each month).
Home to every jacket we’ve ever owned, the carpet cleaner and vacuum, and our assortment of various tools. Things get unorganized fast and have to find their way back to their starting points.
I get rid of any clothes that don’t fit, are stretched, ripped, stained, or simply beyond repair. There’s no point in hanging on. As far as toys, if I see something that #1 never took to, or something that has been kept in its original location since the last time I organized the toys, it goes. Another kid will appreciate it more. Now, that’s not to say I purge sentimental stuff. That all goes in Rubbermaid containers for later.
Living in an apartment means a lot of our stuff is in storage. We have a storage unit down the road, but we also utilize 75% of the closet space in our apartment for storage. As things come out when they’re needed, they don’t always go back where they are supposed to. That means, reorganization every so often.
During the semester, this becomes an almost weekly occurrence, to straighten the desk. But, sometimes, you just have to get down to the nitty gritty and purge the bent paper clips, empty Scotch tape rolls and stacks of used, useless Post-it’s.
As #1 has grown, he has taken an active role at standing in front of the refrigerator, door open wide, to make a snack selection. Coincidentally, the refrigerator is also regularly disorganized, full of empty packaging, and a layer of crumbs and spills. Hello, Clorox wipes!
Under the Bathroom Sink
This needs completed about every six months. Medicines expire, towels tip over, toiletries run out. Purge!
Every Other Month
Okay, okay, so this schedule isn’t always lived by, but, ideally, we’d clean the carpets every other month. People are gross, again, we’re no exception. All kinds of crap gets tracked in here and it needs to be cleaned up.
Wash the Duvet/Pillow Inserts
While you’re already washing the sheets weekly, the inserts really only need a plunge in the washer once every other month.
Every Three Months
Swap the Air Filter
This depends on the quality of your air filter. The cheaper it is, the more frequently you’ll need to change it. If you’re working with a higher quality filter, swapping it once every three months is ideal.
Free House Cleaning Checklist Printable!
If you’re like me and you need a list to keep track, use my free House Cleaning Checklist printable, available here:
You’ll need to print twelve copies if you plan to use a pen on them. Otherwise, slide one copy into a dry erase sleeve from the dollar store, like the one I used for our family schedule and chore chart. Circle the month you’re working on and cross things off as they’re completed.
Make sure to treat ‘yo self in celebration when you finish up a month. Coldstone Creamery, anyone?
What else am I missing? What do you include in your daily, weekly and monthly chores? Tell me in the comments below.
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