How to Clean Your House Once a Month

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

I was completely floored by the response to last month’s post about once a month cleaning. Many of you shared your enthusiasm and also asked specific questions about how to clean your house just once a month. Today I’m back with more details, and if you missed the first post head here to catch up.

I recently completed my fourth cycle of once a month cleaning, and every time I do it I discover new ways to make this system work better for our family.

Here are a few tips and specific how-to’s you may find helpful.

1. Remember that your main priority for the day is cleaning.

Yes, this creates a challenge for those of us with young kids. But there are ways to still make it work. The easiest would be for your spouse, a sitter, or a family member to take the children out for the morning.

It goes without saying that you’ll be able to clean in a much shorter time frame with limited interruptions. And it is only once every four weeks–not a huge commitment for an outside caregiver.

You can also divide the work between two days if your kids will be with you. I think I’ll try this next time because I was so tired by the end of the day that I started to get cranky. For those with tweens and up, they could of course be actively involved in the day’s work, meaning you’d finish much sooner.

I purposely avoid doing laundry or cooking dinner on cleaning day (we order takeout). And I don’t do any writing or blogging either.

Photo by cdsessums

2. Decide what needs to be cleaned.

When I refer to “deep cleaning” your home I don’t mean spring cleaning. No dusting blinds or vacuuming the furniture gets included. I’m referring to the basics that need to be done for your home to function, stay tidy, and healthy.

In my house it looks like this:

Living Room/Sunroom/Dining Room

  • Dust
  • Windows/Mirrors (only those that have visible smudges)
  • Vacuum hardwood floors
  • Mop floor in dining room

Kitchen

  • Dust
  • Wipe microwave (inside and out)
  • Wipe stovetop
  • Wipe counters
  • Clean sink
  • Toaster oven
  • Vacuum and mop floor

Bathrooms
(I only have one full and one half bath, so that saves time.)

  • Dust
  • Mirrors
  • Tub
  • Toilet
  • Sink
  • Vacuum
  • Mop

Upstairs: 3 Bedrooms & 1 Office

  • Vacuum stairs
  • Dust
  • Vacuum carpet
  • Change sheets/make beds

Photo by clip works

3. Decide what must be maintained throughout the month.

Everyone has different standards and needs so you’ll want to adapt this to what works for you.

What I maintain throughout the month:

  • Vacuum the main downstairs floor (weekly, or whenever I notice it needs to be done)
  • Sweep under the dining table (Kids do this after every meal.)
  • Wiping the downstairs half bath (My daughter does this every evening after dinner.)
  • Dusting (Only if I notice a very dusty surface–then I’ll grab a rag and just dust that one area.)
  • Bathtub (I wipe this with a wet rag each time my children finish their baths.)

What does not get cleaned until the monthly cleaning day:

  • Changing sheets (unless there’s a potty accident or a guest coming)
  • Mopping floors (If there’s a bad spot I’ll just wipe it off with a sponge)
  • Vacuuming upstairs carpet
  • Kitchen sink
  • Most household dusting
  • Everything else mentioned on the original list

Questions & Answers

Photo by Todd Baker

Here are a few q&a’s that were asked in the comments on the original post:

What about having guests over?

No, you should never have anyone over again! (Kidding.)

Hopefully this system will help when it comes to hospitality. If someone is coming for dinner or a visit, I vacuum the living room rug and any other downstairs floor that needs it. I check the downstairs bathroom to see how it looks (which is typically fine because my daughter wipes it each night.)

If someone is staying overnight, in addition to the above I change the guest sheets if needed. I wipe the upstairs bathroom sink and give the bathtub a quick scrub (again, only if needed).

How long does it take you?

My house is 1750 square feet with four bedrooms and 1.5 baths. The professional cleaners I used in the past said it should take approximately three hours of cleaning (with no interruptions).

If I have the kids home for the day, then I find it really does take me the entire day (until dinner time). That’s because I stop to read stories, make lunch, play, and have some rest time as well. I’ll share more about this tomorrow.

Do your kids clean with you?

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

My children are 7.5, 6.5, and 6. They are quite helpful in tidying the house and doing their “assigned” jobs (sweeping, taking out recycling, cleaning up after meals, toy pickup, and so on). But they aren’t quite at the stage where they have full responsibility over larger cleaning tasks like vacuuming or scrubbing toilets.

In a couple of years it may work better for us all to clean together. Different seasons require different systems.

Is your house completely disgusting?

No one actually asked this, but I know you were all thinking it!

I’m going to let you decide for yourself. Tomorrow I’ll be back with part two of this post–sharing real ‘Before and After’ photos as well as an hourly description of how my cleaning days unfold.

I hope to see you then!

What is your least favorite cleaning task? Would once a month cleaning allow you to minimize it?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. Wow this is interesting! Can’t wait to see the pics! I hate bathrooms, dusting and sheets the most. This would keep those things off my mind and in the meantime I could continue to wipe down the surfaces with my norwex cloths and mops. I would know when the sheets were changed and bathrooms last cleaned every month! I am not a scheduler, more of a rythym gal, so daily even weekly schedules failed. But only doing it once a month, I think this I might actually succeed at!
    Shine’s latest post: Misunderstood

  2. Have to admit, I’m thinking “EW!” and wanting to immediately write a post called, “You can learn how to clean your house once a month- but why would you want to?”

    I clean my house daily. I sometimes get really busy with outside things and can’t clean for a few days or otherwise skip days, and my house becomes something that I can’t stand…. I can’t imagine once a month. Even when I had little kids, I just couldn’t let things go that long- wow. I can’t wait to see your photos because I think I must be misunderstanding something!
    Amy’s latest post: Grocery Budgeting Update

  3. this is a great post! (useful)
    i’m waiting to the second part – i love ‘Before and After’ photos – becouse they give me lots of inspiration and motivation. thank you!
    sapir’s latest post: What Would Be The Best Way To Lose Weight

  4. Oh, I have to clean my bathrooms once a week, and sweep my kitchen floor even more often!

    But stuff like dusting and sweeping upstairs, where we spend little time, I leave for once-a-month cleaning kind of without planning it. And now that we’re down to one cat, sweeping downstairs can be easily done less often as well.
    Emily’s latest post: A Seldom Thought-Of Way To Reduce Stress

  5. This is a very interesting post. Thanks for giving us the excuse to only have to clean once a month :) I still enjoy getting all the surfaces clean once a week, but I have stopped mopping my large kitchen floor every week. I just use my Shark Sweeper and then mop about every 3-4 weeks. Freedom!

    One thing I wanted to mention – when my girls were very little and couldn’t help me clean much, I had a cleaning lady come in once a week for about 2 1/2 hours. She did the main surfaces in the house. It was great to get those things done so that I could focus on my kids and other organization that the house needed. I had a little part time job working at home that paid lots more than what I paid the cleaning lady per hour, so I felt that it was worth it.

    My motto at the time was – “Someone else can clean my house, but no one else can homeschool my children the way that I do!”
    Heidi’s latest post: Homeschool Programming

    • Absolutely, Heidi! I’m all for outsourcing help if it works. That’s actually what I tried to do originally, and what led to me cleaning this way (which was the way the cleaners did it.)

  6. I did my first once a month clean at the beginning of May and I am loving it. I just wrote a post about it. It has made life a lot easier. I get to spend more time with the kids and doing other projects. I used to clean every morning for about a half hour taking each room in the house a day. Not fun!

    It seems that the house stays clean after that big cleaning day. I’m more apt to keep up with putting things away when we are done using things. I’ve gotten rid of a tone of things that would make clutter in the house too. So it is less dusty and less stuff to pick up. I’m looking forward to seeing your before and after pics.
    Rana’s latest post: Once a month cleaning and The Boys room!

    • Oh, I’m so happy to hear that Rana!! I definitely don’t think this is the only way to clean by any means, but I love that it could give you more time with your sweet little people.

  7. This was very helpful! I envisioned a spring cleaning kind of clean and so when I/we tried it one day, it was a dismal failure. LOL. Glad to hear that it’s fewer tasks and that the kitchen floor gets swept 3x a day. :)
    Jessica’s latest post: Legoland with a 2 Year Old

  8. This post makes sense to me. I’m a “spot cleaner” and like to do a little cleaning every day – if I see a dirty spot, I clean it. I will confess, I use up a lot of baby wipes swiping at a spot on the floor or in the bathroom. I, too, clean thoroughly about once a month because that’s really the only time it needs to be done, in my opinion. My kids and I are home most days, and I’m able to keep a sharp eye on things. I clean it when I see it. Grime in the sink? Quick swipe with a dishcloth. Dust on the piano? Wipe it down with the cloth I keep in my living room for that very purpose (it’s actually one of those fuzzy microfiber things that looks like a space alien – I keep it on top of the TV and hope guests mistake it for a knickknack.) I don’t like dirt, but I’m also not a big fan of long cleaning sessions, so I clean it when I see it. It only takes a few minutes to clean a toilet (plus soaking time), so if I see a dirty toilet, it’s history. I got one of those handy little battery powered vacuums for Christmas and I use that when I find a crumbly mess somewhere (including in the car). Anyhow, I’ve gone on long enough – just wanted to summarize by saying I liked your post and I think I will be more intentional about scheduling a time each month when I can really thoroughly clean everything – regardless of whether we’re expecting company or not.

  9. Sorry, but changing the sheets once a month is just gross to me. We shed lots of skin cells daily and they end up in the sheets. What about if you’ve had sex several times in your bed? Or your cat or dog sleep on the bed? A weekly sheet change is more hygienic. And toilets, tubs and showers should be done weekly to make cleaning easier – less mold, not to mention that a wipe of the tub doesn’t get rid of all the body oils. I scrub the toilet if there are poop streaks in it no matter what time of the week or month. Sorry, I can’t get on board with a once a month cleaning. I may sound like a clean freak to you, but I am against anti-bacterial stuff and we only use Dr. Bronners and vinegar and water and baking soda to clean.
    Pure Mothers’s latest post: Earth Day Exploration

    • The changing sheets aspect came up several times in the comments of the original post, and it was interesting to see the HUGE diversity in opinions about that. And if there was poop in the toilet mid-month, I would use the brush to get it off!

      I’m not worried about the hygiene aspect of what we do; we very rarely ever get sick…but everyone has different levels of comfort about that aspect. Do what works for you, as in everything!

      • jessica says:

        I guess it’s a good thing we don’t still have to use the straw ticks for bedding and just air them out once in a while…my grandmother survived and I am sure she used one of them!
        I think in general we (Americans) can be hypersensitive about cleanliness…the rest of the world is much more relaxed.

  10. Thank you for this, Jamie! As the mother of a child with ADD, and having ADD tendencies myself, having checklists is so helpful, and realizing that I can give my house a thorough cleaning just once a month is so liberating! When we get all four family members to commit to cleaning together, we can get the whole house done in an hour or two.

  11. Jamie, I have been thinking about this ever since you first mentioned it. Thank you SO much for posting the nitty-gritty details :-)

    With a new baby due to arrive around the time we’ll start up homeschool again and with TWO kids “in school” and a three year old as well, I’ve been feeling a little perplexed at how on earth things that are, admittedly, fairly low on my priority list like housework are going to get done.

    This looks like a plan to try and makes me feel like it is something I can manage w/o feeling overwhelmed.

    Thanks! :-)
    Kara @Simple Kids’s latest post: The Three Types of Friends that Every Parent Needs

  12. Wanted to add that something I did after reading your first post on this was to take all the tasks in Tsh’s Organized Simplicity book and put them into my google calendar.

    At first I set them up w/ the frequency she had in her book, but inspired by your “clean less often when you can” approach, I’ve been tinkering w/ the tasks and if/when they come up and don’t need done then I just adjust the schedule on google calendar (maybe setting them at every 2 weeks or once a month).

    I also have discovered a few things that need done more frequently (we’re potty training here, so toilets get cleaned every day by necessity LOL) and I can easily adjust that, too.

    I want to thank you for putting the seed in my brain that some things could truly be done less often, even the “big” household tasks.

    Like others have said, I’m excited to see your before and after pictures! :-)
    Kara @Simple Kids’s latest post: The Three Types of Friends that Every Parent Needs

  13. I appreciate your transparency here! I tell myself (out loud sometimes) that only my husband and I get to decide how clean our house “should” be. I do have to sweep pretty often around my house, but I’m all for changing sheets like once a month. My own skin cells aren’t too nasty ;)
    Rachel at Stitched in Color’s latest post: Bottled Rainbows domesticity

    • “Only my husband and I get to decide how clean our house ‘should’ be” — Ooh… I love this statement. So very true. Amen.

  14. Just adding a tip here-if my house needs a good clean and I am not motivated, I invite someone to dinner. It seems to be the kick in the butt I need to do a good clean.
    Our Country Road’s latest post: Garage Sale Treasures- Friday the 13th

  15. I do the bulk of our deeper cleaning once a month also, but some things are weekly or daily at our house. I see clients in our home so our living room and my studio are vacuumed daily and dusted frequently. The downstairs half bath that clients use is cleaned quite frequently as well, compared to the full bath we use upstairs- I clean that bathroom as needed.

    That list of what needs to be cleaned daily/weekly/monthly is going to look different from home to home because our definitions of clean and our priorities and desires are different.

    My kids (5.5 and a few weeks from 4) do help with the cleaning. They each have jobs that they do as asked (emptying the dishwasher, folding their own laundry and towels) as well as family jobs that we all take turns doing- mopping, vacuuming, dusting, washing windows etc. They’re not old enough to have total responsibility for those things, but we do it all together so I basically finish up the job for them and they work at getting better at the job each time. It’s totally worth it to train them up so that they can later be responsible for some of the housework on their own. My 5.5yo can pretty much mop on his own in our entry way and downstairs bathroom after mopping with me several times- plus he LOVES that job.
    Erin @ Mama in Progress’s latest post: A Little Artwork

  16. With 3 young children and 1 more on the way and homeschool I may think I want a weekly cleaned house but the reality is it just doesn’t happen. I plan on making my own list and trying the monthly method. At least that way it will get done eventualy!

  17. This is a great post, thank you.

    I did try this one time and am willing to try it again but I think that over 2 days would work better for me. I have an active 2 year old and a 5 year old so I think that with younger kids it might work better to spread it out.

    I used a homemade freezer meal that day and it worked well that way for us.

    I think that a little more prep work on how to keep the kids busy (prearrange things like printed activity sheets, a new craft to work on by herself for the oldest, some videos rented from the library that are appropriate, maybe some toys/books that are rotated and come out only for this specific day so that they are “new” etc….that might help me more next time. Its all about keeping them occupied for the longest I can. And then if its only one or two days a month, I don’t have to feel guilty about not spending much time with them for those days. I can then spend more time with them the other 29 or 30 days of the month.

    I also think that over 2 days would work better for me since I don’t have a whole lot of energy.

    I think I also need to be realistic and not beat myself up if it doesn’t work out the way I want it to. 2 year olds can really need a lot of attention and things come up. If I end up not doing as much as I wanted I need to be kind to myself and realize that whatever I DID do is a blessing to my family, and then start where I left off later.

  18. Jaime, I think you are very brave for posting about your cleaning schedule. I have seen some of the comments (here and the previous post) questioning the health and cleanliness of once a month cleaning. I am totally with you though. As mothers of young children we have much more important things to think about than whether or not we should be scrubbing the oven or toilets, am I right?

    My most recent post was about this (sort of).

    I have a 1, 2, 3, and 5 year old and I probably deep clean even less often than this yet we are not living in filth (At least I don’t think so :) and we are almost never sick.

    Thanks for giving the rest of us mommies permission to worry about other things.
    Becky’s latest post: I dont know what to call this

    • Thanks so much, Becky, for your encouragement!

      Relieving the burdens of guilt that mamas carry really is my intention–so we can enjoy our little ones in freedom and without perfection.

  19. I find this very inspiring! We are constantly behind and a good clean once a month sounds far preferable to this endless scrambling we seem to be doing now. :) I passed it on to my homemaking e-list too. I’m looking forward to the next post!
    Magic and Mayhem’s latest post: A Few Good Reads

  20. Love this idea, Jamie! I’m totally intrigued and I think that once I’m back from my upcoming trip, I’m going to give this a try for the summer time and see if it will work for me. Can’t wait to see your pics!
    (And nope, I don’t think your house is disgusting, but I am eager to see the proof that this really can and will work! :))

  21. this is an awesome post! thanks for breaking it down for us. My question to you is, how do you tackle laundry? is this part of your weekly keep up?

  22. After leaving your house the other day after our playdate – I was so inspired to start doing this once a month cleaning schedule. So glad you shared your ‘secrets’ with everyone!
    The proof is in the pudding people! I have always been a spot cleaner and was never intentional about marking out cleaning days- most of us know that with little one’s/ multiples…well the time never marks it’s self out!
    I never felt like I was on top of my cleaning because of my system (or lack of?) and that’s why I was drawn to once a month cleaning….because of Jamie’s CLEAN and Very Tidy House! Defintaly not an ‘Ew’…more of a ‘Wow- how in the world is your house always clean when you have 3 kids at home all day!’
    Like I said, the proof is in the pudding!
    Jill T’s latest post: March- 45

  23. Thanks for sharing this Jamie. We do a decent couple of hours “cleaning rampage” on Saturday mornings, but we kind of end up doing a bigger clean about once a month with the mop and cleaning more windows etc. (Probably mostly when we’re having family over!) But my kids are 18 months, 4 and 6; they are still in the “sticky” phase of childhood where they leave mysterious bits of food, gooey handprints, and little puddles around the place. So we have to keep up! (They are only allowed to eat at the table but crumbs get caught in their clothes somehow!)
    Rosie’s latest post: Makeover your home…in very small steps

  24. Do you have boys that are potty trained? Because this does not seem like something that work around here with six children, four of which are boys! Need I say more?

    I am not in for much cleaning, per se. And I am not a neat freak or anything. But after about 1.5 weeks, the sheets have GOT to be changed around here. We really feel the difference. They get changed once per week.

    Also, I can see that this would not work for a family with allergies, etc., that need to keep the dustmite population down.

    As for periodic cleaning, some things can definitely be held off. I only clean my shower about once per month, etc. Others….not so much.

  25. Oh, Jamie! I LOVE THIS. Mostly because I kind of naturally do this myself, but not really on a schedule, and I’ve always felt guilty about it. Thinking of it in terms of having the freedom to concentrate on the truly important things week-to-week is SO liberating.

    I think it is good to recognize the diversity in what *needs* to be done in each home. I am a very, very messy cook. I tidy up the kitchen every evening before bed because EVERYTHING (excluding the microwave and fridge, I suppose) needs a good wipe-down.

    But everything else is just “hit the highlights” until a Big Crazy Clean day. I love the idea of going ahead and being intentional with it, planning it, and not feeling guilty about it the rest of the time.

    Thanks for sharing with such courage and encouragement here!
    Megan at SortaCrunchy’s latest post: A Gentle Parents Survival Guide to Six

    • Yes we have to tidy up the kitchen, too. I don’t really consider tidying up to be cleaning–that’s just part of daily life & preparing for the next day.

      It’s so true that everyone has different priorities and lives that influence the way they clean (& do most things!). There’s no one right way, answer, or formula. But I’m all for relieving guilt!

  26. I’m just curious if you’ve ever heard of flylady? I think her ideas work best for me. I have to do a little every day. If I waited for one BIG day, I’d never get to it. I love that she is always supportive and has been there herself. http://www.flylady.net/
    Jennifer’s latest post: Homeschool Advantages- Freedom of Time

  27. We are not monthly, weekly or daily cleaners. Our deep cleaning ends up being centered around events (kind of like what “Our Country Road” said above). If we are having someone over or a birthday party we get it done. Though it probably averages out to 12 or 13 times a year. But sometimes we could go 2 months and other times 2-3 weeks. However, alot of the people in all the comments above come across as having the same overachiever personalities. You are the type that HAS to have a clean house. Most of you are looking at once a month cleaning as a challenge to go that long. I bet there is just as many readers thinking to themselves “I guess I should clean my house more often”. But of course those women are probably too embarrassed to post anything about their cleaning habits. I think they probably have a lot of guilt too. It’s easy to post about your guilt when your “problem” is cleaning too much. They way we look at it is there are more important things in life than worrying about keeping your house clean all the time. If we have time to clean, we do. If we don’t have time to clean, we don’t. Life’s too short to be a clean freak. We’ll have time to keep the house clean when the kids are gone (I picture retirement being a) traveling and b) a clean tidy house). It’s kind of like “Rachel at Stitched in Color” – only my wife and I get to decide how clean our house “should” be.

    Now don’t get me wrong – we love a clean house. We don’t live in filth. No one we know would say we live in filth. In fact they would probably tell you every time they come to our house it looks so nice and they ask us “how do you keep your house so clean?” We just smile and think to ourselves – hopefully they don’t look under our bed or in our shower. Don’t tell anyone but if we get down to it and there is a pile of junk/clothes/dirty clothes that haven’t been addressed and company is coming we put it in our shower and close the curtain. People look in medicine closets but do they look in your shower? I hope not!

    So to all the less than once a month cleaners out there – here’s to you! But heck, maybe we are the only ones…I am curious to know – reply with a #hiFIVE if you’re with me.

    • I’m with you, Joshua!! Well said.

      “If we have time to clean, we do. If we don’t have time to clean, we don’t. Life’s too short to be a clean freak.” – Love it!

  28. Thanks so much for the details of this post Jamie! I’ve been thinking about this, and mulling over it, since I read your first post. To be honest, I think what this would mean for me is that my house would actually get really clean at least once a month, and the rest of the time I could just let it go, but maintain as necessary. I am truly not a “cleaner” by nature, and I have had to train myself and work really hard to just maintain on a regular basis.
    My reality right now is that I don’t really deep clean that often. As of right now, my floors are desperately in need of being mopped – I do vacuum at least twice a week, the tub hasn’t been truly scrubbed in too long, and there is definitely a visible layer of dust on all of my shelves. I do surface clean regularly – the house has to be presentable to have our church small group over every week – but the deep cleaning really doesn’t happen all that often and it does hang over me.

    I resonate with Joshua said above being one who thinks I “should” clean my house more often and often feels guilty about it. Using this approach I would know that my house would be truly deep cleaned once a month, and I think it would give me the freedom to not have to worry about it the rest of the time, or feel like it was always hanging over my head. I am going to try to set up my first cleaning day for the beginning of June! We’ll see how it goes with too littles underfoot! :)
    Emily @ Live Renewed’s latest post: Question of the Day – Natural Laundry

  29. I feel like I’m a reasonably intelligent person, capable of some really impressive things in certain areas. But when it comes to cleaning and organizing, I think I would truly qualify as retarded. I’m definitely ‘slowed down’ in that area. The prospect of looking at cleaning in this way really gives me hope. It’s one area of life that I so totally fail at, it’s like a big mystery or enigma that I can’t quite wrap my head around. I don’t know why. The lady that posted “ew” would know what “ew” really is, if she came for a surprise visit at my place! I so need help in this area. Just be assured that there is no such thing as TMI or too simple when it comes to teaching me this sort of thing. I really am clueless. Or blind. Maybe blind.

    • Melinda Ambrose says:

      I hear you, Embarrassed all the time. I am thinking that my before pictures, especially when the older children were little, looked like a cyclone had gone through. We lost a lot of Cheerios by spilling and then walking on them… The only difference I see in Jamie’s before and after pictures is the slant of the books on the shelves. I don’t tell all my embarrassing details, because it would seriously disgust some of the other posters. If not changing sheets for a month is gonna upset someone, they should definitely not come to my home to stay overnight. But there is hope. My youngest of seven children is now age 5 and a half. I’m getting more sleep than when they were toddlers. I make bread (in the bread machine) and remember to clear off the table right after a meal about half the time, as opposed to clearing it off right before bringing in the food for the next meal. I think a big part of my lack of housecleaning comes from not being trained to do it (I was in public school and my mother actively did things for my sister and I so we could focus on schoolwork during the school year, though she did teach us homemaking skills in the summer). It also didn’t bother me enough to clean, until I realized that there are times it even upset my husband, who is really laid back about cleaning; his home standards start with heat and light and running water, not so much cleanliness. Clutter has for years been a bigger concern for me, not actually cleaning.

  30. High five Joshua!
    Embarrassed All the Time’s latest post: The Farm Life

  31. Wow, I just can’t leave this post. I just want to snuggle up in it and hope that tomorrow will be a cleaner day…
    Embarrassed All the Time’s latest post: The Farm Life

  32. LOVE this post!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  33. I have to admit that I found this inspiring when I first read it and then discouraging when I saw your before and after pictures. To be honest, my after pictures don’t look as good as your before ones. :) It almost seemed as if you were magically keeping a clean house during the rest of the month while saying you weren’t cleaning, but it seems there are a lot of things you must be doing daily that you’re just not listing — or maybe you don’t consider them “cleaning.” For example, you’re making beds, washing dishes, wiping down counters and tidying up every day, just to name a few things not on the list, right?

    I made a list of the things I still need to do daily in order to just have upkeep (and still not get to the level your lovely house seems to be at!) and for our family of 6 it was 22 daily cleaning jobs (things like wash dishes, scoop cat box, sort, wash/delabel and take out recycling, tidy up the main rooms, do laundry, wipe down bathroom, sweep kitchen…), not counting daily or regular jobs that don’t count as cleaning (yardwork, cooking, food preservation, homeschooling, taking care of pets, gardening…).

    My house tends to be an explosion of art projects, science experiments, library books, folded laundry, toys, paperwork, food prep (we bake, cook and preserve a ton) and works-in-progress. I’ve decided to stay inspired by your posts on this and your pictures, and try to find some sort of middle ground that works for me. :)
    Magic and Mayhem’s latest post: Bones- Free Classes and Ant Midwives

    • You’re right, I don’t consider tidying up to be cleaning at all. That is a part of our daily life and without it life would be chaos in our house! So washing dishes isn’t cleaning in my mind, nor is making my bed in the morning (though I don’t ask the kids to make theirs). Putting back toys and so on isn’t cleaning either.

      The point I made in the very first post was that when you keep your house “tidy,” people automatically feel as though it is clean. Therefore the deep cleaning tasks can wait for a month without it being a huge issue or problem. I think everything is about finding what works for you and discarding what doesn’t. Not everything we read is the right thing at the right season for our lives and that is fine!
      Jamie~Simple Homeschool’s latest post: Low-Maintenance Curriculum for a High-Maintenance Family 2011 Curriculum Fair

  34. While I am all for your once a month cleaning – somethings CAN’T wait. As a home-schooling parent, you might want to do some research just for yourself (teaching your young ones at their ages may SCARE them):
    http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/dustmites.php
    Bedding CANNOT wait a whole month. While you may have a dusty house – no biggie – you are surrounding yourself with dust mites and their sloughed exoskeletons and their feces every time you get into bed. Not only do you put your face against your pillow and breath all night, most people sleep with their mouth open – you do the math.
    I told this to my ex-husband when my daughter was getting sick every time she when to his house and he told me I was being neurotic. I explained this to my daughter (who was about 8 at the time) and she started washing her own sheets once a week at her dad’s. While they were washing, she dusted (as well as an 8 year old dusts and vacuumed. It took her a total of 10 mins (and some harassment from her dad) but she stopped getting sick. And, all it took was 10 mins worth of work that an 8 year old could do. Again, I would spare your children the description of dust mites until they are older, but, also spare them the allergens and potential health issues.

  35. Bridget says:

    I used to clean once in a while for a whole day – and will never go back to this again in my life! Starting the Flylady system 5-6 years ago has changed my life as well as the family’s: http://www.flylady.net
    The genious of the Flylady way is that you break everything down into daily/weekly/monthly tasks – and establish routines and habits that keep the house clean and tidy. Also, I find that McCullough & Monson’s concept of “minimum maintenance” cleaning works well for me. No more all day cleaning marathon nightmares in my house, thank you!

  36. I just want to say thank you for sharing all of your wonderful tips! I hope to implement them into our lives. I recently came down with an illness the dr’s are still trying to figure out which has taken a toll on our lives, but I still want to keep up or to be more truthful take back control of my house. With the help of my family and a very wonderful friend who has given so much of her time to help keep up with the house has been amazing. But, there are still plenty of areas that I personally would like to see cleaned better. This plan of yours sounds like it might do the trick. I have been able to figure out a homeschooling schedule for my girls that seems to be working for us. Now, it’s time to tackle the house cleaning with a better schedule. Thank you again & God Bless.

  37. Thank you for posting this. I have been a stay at home mom for over three years and still have not figured out a way to stay on top of cleaning. This looks manageable. I just sat down and made a list of all the rooms in my house and what needs to be cleaned “right now” and what can wait a month. Takes a lot of the stress off and I hope it’s as simple to put into practice as it seems to be.

  38. As a recovering perfectionist, battling an auto-immune disease in her last year of homeschooling…..THANK YOU!

    I would never have imagined how hard it could be just to do basic things. It is hard enough to try to finish up this last year of high school. I know I don’t have the time/energy to put into housework that I used to do, but have felt so guilty about it. In this fairly recent phase of my life, I have been looking for a way to feel that I am still getting my job done, and yet, at the same time, being able to protect my (very) limited energy.

    It is quite guilt-inducing to feel that you have Alice’s White Rabbit running behind you with that gigantic pocket watch yelling, “You’re late! You’re late!” waving a list of 300 things that all need done, excellently of course, by 7 pm when you are struggling to perform the most basic of tasks.

    Thank you for helping muffle the White Rabbit.

    And for those that would judge, may I add, I used to be one of you. Having a friend I loved and respected be ravaged through a lengthy illness, I realized I needed to have compassion on those that were not able to do what I could do. I became aware that I might really have NO idea what they actually had to deal with. Please look on your sisters with compassion as well. They don’t need any more guilt. Do any of us? Don’t we heap enough on our own heads without having to have the burden of collective disapproval of others?

  39. Nowadays everyone is busy with their works. Due to that we haven’t get time to clean our home. So everyone is planning to clean once in a month. Here you shared a great information with us. This one will useful and helpful for everyone. I’d like to say thanks for sharing this information with us. Keep posting such an informative posts.

  40. Great post!! :)

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