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
- Windows/Mirrors (only those that have visible smudges)
- Vacuum hardwood floors
- Mop floor in dining room
- Wipe microwave (inside and out)
- Wipe stovetop
- Wipe counters
- Clean sink
- Toaster oven
- Vacuum and mop floor
(I only have one full and one half bath, so that saves time.)
Upstairs: 3 Bedrooms & 1 Office
- Vacuum stairs
- 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?