How to Develop a Household Cleaning Routine That Works

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My Family’s Cleaning Routine

First, I want to share what my family’s household cleaning routine looks like.

We break our chores into daily, weekly and twice-a-year tasks.

Daily Tasks:

Some tasks in our home need to be accomplished every day (and in some cases, more than once a day).

For us, these tasks include dishes (in the morning and afternoon), pet care (feeding, grooming and waste disposal), and general clean-up (we have a 5-minute pickup of the downstairs in the afternoon; and the kids are responsible for cleaning their bedroom areas every morning).

Each of these tasks are built into our daily chore system (which is a whole other post) and are a daily part of our home’s rhythm.

Weekly Tasks:

Instead of planning to vacuum our house every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., we create open spaces in our week where these kinds of activities are possible. For our family, that’s the late afternoons and right before dinner.

We purposely create open times in our schedule a few days a week so that if the bathrooms really need cleaning or we need to tidy up because we’re having dinner guests, we can use that time without it impacting our school day too much.

However, we do make it a point every third Friday to deep clean the whole house. We start first by doing what we call a “sweep”: We work together to literally start in one corner of the house and put away what doesn’t belong. We put ourselves on a timer to keep things moving along, and we follow a simple rule: Put it away, even if it’s not yours.

Next, we divide into two teams: One group tackles the bathrooms and the kitchen; while the other group dusts, vacuums, sweeps and mops. It’s a massive effort, but we can usually get it all done in three to four hours.

Other chores like laundry are done every single week without fail (every month our older boys switch as the main person responsible for this). 

One last weekly cleaning chore: I also move any important kids school papers to their My Memory Box each week. My Memory Box is an incredibly powerful (yet easy-to-set up) organizing system that keeps your kids precious artwork or treasured school memories neat and organized (instead of taking over your house).

I developed this product in order to deal with our own overflowing paper piles, and hundreds of families worldwide use this system! Check it out here.

Moving those papers over once a week really helps keep kids school paper clutter to a minimum.

Once or Twice a Year:

There’s something incredibly satisfying about cleaning out the junk drawer. Or organizing that cabinet in your laundry room that’s been out of control for months. Or getting rid of all those clothes in your closet that you never wear (because they’re too big, too small, don’t make you feel good about yourself, etc).

That’s why once or twice a year we systematically go through our home and get rid of all that stuff that has just cluttered up our home (and our life). We use the principles in this incredible book to help us decide what to keep and what to toss.

Read more about our experience with tidying up (and it’s life-changing power!) here.

What Do Other Families’ Household Routines Look Like?

Miranda at Grace and Gravy shares her suggestions for staying on top of that laundry pile; plus a freebie for organizing all areas of the homestead.

I love Becky Mansfield’s Freed from Clutter! It’s a great book with practical ideas on establishing and keeping a home tidy.

Kristi at Raising Clovers shares her family’s routine along with some great tips.

Do checklists work for helping you stay on top of daily/weekly household routines? Here’s a free daily to-do list from Becky at Tales of Beauty for Ashes.

Here are some other awesome homemaking books that give great ideas too:

I hope you’ve found some inspiring idea here! Remember, just give one of them a shot and experiment until you find something that works for you in this season!

Happy cleaning!

Other Posts on Organizing and Cleaning Routines

18 DIY Natural Cleaning Recipes for Every Room

3 Genius Cheap Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

Drowning in Your Kids School Papers? What to Keep & How to Get Organized

 An Incredible Method To Tidy Up Your Home (and Your Life)

How to Organize Your Kids School Papers (for Good!)

About Alicia Michelle

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health.Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com.Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Leave a Reply 17 comments

Kristi - February 9, 2015 Reply

Great post! I love gleaning from what other moms are doing…then tweaking it to work for our family. Thanks for sharing this!

    Alicia Kazsuk - February 9, 2015 Reply

    Thank you! Yes, I love to “glean and tweak” ideas too! 🙂 Appreciate your comments. 🙂

Kristy as Giftie Etcetera - February 17, 2015 Reply

Excellent post.

We don’t homeschool, but right after homework (or before, if they want to move around first – it’s up to them), the kids have chores. One kid does the dishes daily. (I do any extra loads.) The 6 year old does a bunch of little things, like emptying trash bins, bringing all dirty clothes to one hamper, and sweeping under the table!

My kids don’t even realize that not doing chores is an option. Ha ha!

    Alicia Kazsuk - February 17, 2015 Reply

    Kristy, great idea! Yeah, in our house, our kids have to finish all their schoolwork and chores before any free time. We’re a firm believer in everyone working together to keep the house running. 🙂

Homeschooling & House Cleaning - Teach Beside Me - April 13, 2015 Reply

[…] There is no one “right” answer to this question! We each are at different stages of our homeschooling journeys and have different-aged children with varied needs. All of these factors play into the “how” of keeping a house clean, and we first need to recognize this. We can’t play the compare game, and also, we must expect that our definition of what is a “clean house” will vary throughout the years. Grace must abound here. However, at the same time, having some sort of order to the home is crucial in keeping your sanity! And in fact, I believe that developing a household routine that works for your family is a vital key to homeschooling success. I wrote more about it in this post:  “Homeschool Sanity Savers (Part 2): Daily and Weekly Household Rout… […]

Amanda - August 21, 2015 Reply

I LOVE THIS !! I’m always interested in how other families run their days ! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Alicia Michelle - August 21, 2015 Reply

    Thank you, Amanda! I appreciate the encouragement! Have a great day!

Susan Raber - August 22, 2015 Reply

Excellent post. I can’t tell you how many times in the last 20 years we’ve changed our schedule. And I’m not just talking changing every year, but semester to semester and month to month as kids adopt new interests and become part of different activities. Building in the flexibility is essential, and it reduces the feeling that you are ‘failing’ or falling behind because you couldn’t stick with an etched-in-stone plan.

    Alicia Michelle - August 22, 2015 Reply

    Thank you, Susan! I agree that flexibility is the KEY to successfully running a homeschool. Our lives are constantly in flux and we need to be aware of those changes and be moving with that flow. My book “Plan to Be Flexible” and my “rhythm” course talk about that. I also like how you said that when you are flexible it “reduces the feeling that you are ‘failing.'” Absolutely true! If we can realize that, we can have the correct expectations about our daily school rhythm and understand that if things are working it doesn’t mean that we aren’t doing things “right.” Thank you for sharing your insight!

grtlyblesd - August 22, 2015 Reply

Good point about being flexible over the years. We had a system that worked great for us in our old house, but doesn’t work here.

    Alicia Michelle - August 22, 2015 Reply

    Thank you! I think accepting that things need to be flexible can bring so much freedom! Thank you for sharing and stopping by!

Trena - September 7, 2015 Reply

Excellent post. What is “right” for one family may not meet the needs of the next family when it comes to cleaning/chores. Thanks for sharing with #What to Read Wednesday. Hope to have you back next week.

    Alicia Michelle - September 8, 2015 Reply

    Thank you, Trena! Yes, it’s OK for us to all have our own way to getting it done, right?! Appreciate your feedback!

vmorgan456 - October 31, 2015 Reply

Although not a homeschooling parent I can relate to #2. We babysit our grandkids through the week. I have learned to just calm down about the house. thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

How to Keep the House Clean While Homeschooling - Includes 50+ Ideas! | Free Homeschool Deals © - February 18, 2016 Reply

[…] practical, reasonable advice in establishing a cleaning routine for your home.  Hint: One size does NOT fit […]

Sammy - February 14, 2017 Reply

We are right in the middle of ‘young kid season’ and have decided there are more important things than keeping the house spotlessly clean. It’s too much effort to go around picking up after a couple of toddlers all day.

    Alicia Michelle - February 18, 2017 Reply

    Agreed, Sammy. I totally support you in that! Our house is far from spotless, trust me, even though our youngest is 5. 🙂

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