My Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Cleaning Routines

posted by Andrea | 06/24/2016
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cleaning routine

A couple weeks ago, I offered an opportunity for you to share any blog post ideas, topics, or tips you’d like me to write about in the coming months.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but there were 2 overwhelmingly “popular” topics that were requested over and over again.

  1. More posts about our farmhouse
  2. More posts about my cleaning schedules and routines

I shared a fun farmhouse decorating post earlier this week… and today, I have a LOOOOOONG post detailing our current cleaning schedules and routines.

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A few things I want to mention before I get too far into this post:

We don’t have any pets — hallelujah!

We have 3 small children who spill A LOT. 

The kids clothes are small, so I probably don’t have as much laundry as you might think. I also don’t wash our sheets nearly as often as most people I know.

We rarely wear our shoes inside.

I don’t usually do certain cleaning tasks on certain days of the week; however, I do have a general rhythm to when I clean certain areas of our home to assure everything gets cleaned fairly regularly.

I am MUCH more proactive about cleaning the clutter in my home than cleaning the dust or dirt. I know many of you might be totally opposite of this — which probably means you do a lot more cleaning than I do. In fact, some of you might be shocked by how infrequently I clean certain areas of our home (and some of you will probably breathe a sigh of relief knowing you’re not the only one who hardly ever mops their floors!)

In general, my cleaning motto is Quantity over Quality. I always stay on top of household chores, but I move quickly and don’t spend a ton of time meticulously deep cleaning on a regular basis. Also, I will rarely clean something unless I can see actual dirt, crumbs, or dust (with the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms which I clean regularly whether I see the grime or not!)

Like I mentioned earlier, today’s post is LOOOONG; but I’ve tried to organize it in a way that makes it easy to skim through and pick out the pieces you’re most interested in.

The tasks below are broken up by how frequently I do them (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and I’ve included a few extra non-cleaning “home maintenance” tasks that still fit with the overall theme of the post!

cleaning routine

Daily Cleaning Tasks:

Make the beds

Change out the kitchen towels and washcloths — (More about that in this post)

Pick up and Declutter — we usually declutter 2 times every day — before naps and before bed

Dishes (or as needed) — we don’t necessarily do this EVERY day, but basically whenever there are dishes to wash or whenever the dishwasher needs to be cleaned out

Sweep the kitchen floors — I honestly do this after every meal, out of sheer necessity!

Clean up any spills — we try to do this immediately when possible

Wipe down counters and clean the kitchen — again, I do this multiple times a day, as needed

Clean out the car — literally, every time we get home, we quickly remove any trash or anything that doesn’t belong in the car.

Enter expenses — this isn’t a cleaning task, but it does relate to household maintenance and many of you ask about it. I honestly do try to enter any expenses we incur at the end of every day. It takes me 2-3 minutes to open my spreadsheet, enter any receipts or payments, press “save”, and close the document again. (More about my finance tracking workbook in this post)

Semi-Weekly Cleaning Tasks:

Vacuum the main floor — I try to vacuum the living room, the mudroom, and the kitchen 2-3 times a week (or as needed).

Laundry — I usually do 2-3 loads one morning during the week and 2-3 loads on Saturday evening

Bathrooms — I usually just use a couple disinfectant wipes to quickly wipe down the toilet and the counter/sink area for each bathroom twice during the week, or as needed. (When I say “quick”, I mean “quick” — less than 2 minutes per bathroom!) I never did this before having children — but their bathroom hygiene is not quite up to my standards, so I like to use the disinfectant wipes in there a couple times every week in addition to my weekly bathroom cleaning (see below)

Change out the bathroom hand towels and cloth napkins — or as needed

Weekly Cleaning Tasks:

Bathrooms – I do a more thorough cleaning of all the bathrooms on Friday or Saturday (but not the shower)

Trash — we usually empty all our trash cans on Wednesday, since our trash is picked up on Thursday mornings. We often need to empty the kitchen trash more than once a week, but all the other trash cans can wait a full week. Also, I should mention that any stinky diapers go directly into the outside trash so they don’t stink up the bathrooms.

“Swiffer” the hard floors — Along with sweeping the kitchen floors multiple times a day, I use washable microfiber pads to “swiffer” all our wood and other hard floors once a week, sometimes more if necessary. (More about our hard floors in this post)

Sweep the garage floors — I try to sweep them out every week; usually just while the kids are playing outside.

Iron — I actually NEVER iron, but Dave faithfully irons EVERY SINGLE week. I know, he’s a keeper!

Wash Toys — again, I don’t do this EVERY week, but most weeks I chose a handful of toys to wash (with Nora’s expert help). Sometimes I toss a load of stuffed animals and doll blankets in the washing machine, sometimes I put a handful of toys in the dishwasher, and sometimes Nora and I wash all the play kitchen food and utensils in the sink (this is one of her most favorite things to do!)

Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning — I realize this isn’t a cleaning chore, but I wanted to mention that I almost always plan our menu for the week (and make my grocery list) on Sunday afternoon. Then I often get groceries on Monday. I try really hard to only get groceries once a week because it saves so much time, energy, and money.

Monthly Cleaning Tasks:

Showers & bathtubs — we squeegee our showers and bathtubs every time we use them, so they aren’t a ton of work to keep clean — but I usually scrub them once a month (while taking a shower or right after giving the kids a bath). (More information in this post.)

Wash sheets — yup, I only wash our sheets once a month (and to be perfectly honest, I’m not grossed out by that at all!) I HATE washing sheets, so we all take showers or baths right before bed and I regularly wash our PJ’s and pillow cases throughout the week (or as necessary). I usually wash our sheets one week, Nora’s sheets one week, Simon and James’ sheets one week, and then rugs one week (see below for the rugs). This way, I always have one “extra” thing to wash each week in addition to the clothing.

Dust — I’ll be honest… I do NOT dust very often. It might even be somewhat optimistic to say that I dust once a month! I’m positive there have been times when I dust less frequently, but at the same time, I feel our home does not get super dusty or require frequent dusting. Also, I am personally not bothered by a little dust, so I probably just don’t notice it 🙂

Kitchen Appliances — I do quick “spot-cleans” of the kitchen appliances regularly as needed, but usually once a month I’ll really clean them well. I’ll take all the grates off the stove and clean around all the burners, wipe down the fridge (inside and out), and clean out the microwave.

Shake out / wash rugs — I vacuum most of our rugs during my semi-weekly vacuuming, but every few weeks, I shake out the bigger rugs and wash the smaller rugs.

Power wash the garage floors — we don’t do this in the winter, but during warmer weather, we like to keep the garage very clean since we use it ALL the time. It usually takes less than 15 minutes to do this (More information in this post)

Weed the garden — Since we use Preen and mulch, we hardly have any weeds; but I still like to stay on top of any little weeds that do pop through. If I see a weed while I’m playing with the kids or watering my flowers, I just pull it right away, however I also try to do a once-over of the entire yard every month. I just did it last week and it only took 40 minutes to quickly walk through our entire 1-acre property with TONS of planting beds. (More about how we keep weeds at bay in this post).

Enter Business Income and Expenses — although I record our personal expenses daily, I enter all my business income and expenses monthly as it just seems to work better that way

Work on my photo digital photo albums — For the past 3 years, I have diligently updated my digital photo albums every single month to assure I never get too far behind! (More about my digital photo books in this post)

Quarterly Cleaning Tasks:

Change furnace filters — sometimes I do it more regularly, sometimes less. It just depends on how much we’re using our furnace or air conditioning. (More information about our furnace filter delivery service in this post)

Dust “extra” areas — every few months I try to get the baseboards, window sills, door frames, ceiling fan blades, and other random areas I don’t normally dust in my “monthly dusting” times.

Purge closets — I don’t do many big purging sessions anymore. Instead, I’m constantly pulling out clothing that is too small for the kids, removing anything I don’t like from my own closet, and tossing anything that’s ruined or stained. However, every few months (usually as the seasons change) I like to do a quick purge of every closet and dresser. It takes me about 10 minutes per person to flip through all their clothing and pull out anything I know we don’t need, use, want, or love anymore.

Vacuum out the cars — Dave and I are not great about washing the outsides of our cars  (we usually just run through a carwash a couple times a year!) — but we do keep the insides very neat and tidy on a daily and weekly basis. We also vacuum out the interiors of our cars every couple of months (we use our shop vac in the garage).

Semi-Annual Cleaning Tasks:

Wash all blankets, pillows, and comforters — I usually do this in the spring and fall and it is a pain but I want to do it. We have very nice pillows and they stay SO much nicer, fluffier, and better if I wash them a couple times a year. I usually wash the kid’s pillows and blankets more frequently — but I for sure do it AT LEAST twice a year.

Clean the oven — honestly, our oven hardly ever needs to be cleaned because I’m not a messy cook and I use a washable liner at the bottom of the oven to catch any spills. We do have a self-cleaning oven, but I’ve never used it. A couple times a year, I use Easy Off Oven Spray to clean any stains or residue on the oven, but that’s it. (More about how I clean the oven in this post)

Mop the floors — see… I told you I hardly ever mopped my floors! It is truly NOT an exaggeration to say that I only mop our kitchen floors a couple times a year — and I realize that might gross some of you out. As I mentioned above, I do sweep our kitchen floors daily and vacuum them weekly. I also spot-clean them on a very regular basis (especially around the dishwasher and the kitchen table). However, I very rarely mop the entire floor in one swoop. I don’t really know why, I just hate doing it and our floors are so dark that dirt doesn’t show!

Annual Cleaning Tasks:

Clean out the gutters — Most of our gutters are covered with “gutter helmets” but we have a few areas that we need to clean out every spring. It only takes Dave about 15-20 minutes to do this and then we’re done for the year.

Power wash the house and both garages — we usually pay someone to do this for us and they almost always come in early May so the house is nice and clean all spring and summer!

Declutter the basement –– Since our house is 125 years old, we don’t have a great basement and we DON’T store much down there. However, it can still get a little messy so once a year (usually when I’m putting the Christmas decorations away) I make a point to declutter, purge, and go through anything in the basement.

Wash the windows — this is another one of those things that I do as-needed throughout the year. I often clean the windows in the kitchen, dining room, and living room anytime I see tiny fingerprints or water spots because I look out those windows ALLLLL the time. However, I can guarantee that I only clean the window in our kids’ bathroom once a year!

Clean the carpets — we have professionals come in once a year to do this.

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I’m sure there are things I’m missing — but this post is getting WAY too long and I think I hit on most of the major home cleaning chores.

One thing I do want to mention is that I do NOT have any sort of written ‘schedule’ or cleaning checklist I cross off as I do these tasks. They are just in the back of my brain and I get to them when I remember to do them (or when I see the dust piling up!)

Besides the kitchen, bathrooms, and floors, I’m actually quite relaxed about cleaning. I ALWAYS keep my house picked up and decluttered, but I’m perfectly content to let a little bit of dust and dirt sit around until I get a chance to clean it up!

Now I’m curious to know what type of cleaning schedules and routines you have!

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23 comments

  1. Amy

    06/27/2016

    This is a wonderful list! As a SAHM, I am OVERWHELMED with all the chores that need to be done on whatever basis they need to be done. I thought about a white board, but I know that will get old. Then I thought of just making a daily list of what I want to do that day. That got old. Or things just didn’t get crossed off. I really struggle with organization, so this list really helps! For the most part, our home is taken care of as it should be, but there’s no schedule. I just do what needs to be done when I looks like it needs to be done. When I was working full time and planned on coming home, I dreamed of how much time and how organized I would be, since my daughter is school age, I had the house and the time to myself. It just hasn’t fallen into place yet. I always find myself running out of time! Based on the fact that this was a popular topic for a blog post, I guess I’m not alone!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — no, you’re not alone!
    I also just “do what needs to be done when it looks dirty” so that’s honestly not a bad approach. Maybe once the school year starts, you could pick 1 or 2 “projects” to work on every week — in addition to the regular ‘clean things when they get dirty’. That might help you move forward in those other areas as well as keep the house in decent shape!

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  2. Debbie

    06/24/2016

    There are some things we don’t clean as often as others too. This is because we don’t wear shoes inside the house, we don’t have pets or kids, I have plenty of clothes to wear. The rest are pretty much the same as yours. Things not done as often are:

    WEEKLY:
    1. change kitchen towels
    2. change bath towels
    3. turn on dishwasher

    BI-WEEKLY
    1. change and launder bed sheets
    2. launder my clothes
    3. iron

    MONTHLY
    1. vacuum
    2. mop floors
    3. clean shower

    [Reply]

  3. Shelley

    06/24/2016

    Hi Andrea,
    Love this post… There are some yearly routine I have to include to my to-do list 😉
    I am currently using Norwex Cleaning cloths and mops and they are amazing… A lot easier and faster to clean with them.

    [Reply]

  4. Heart and Haven

    06/24/2016

    I’m actually surprised with how much our cleaning schedules are similar! I had thought you “deep cleaned” far more often or did more cleaning on a daily basis! ha! I love your habit of daily car clean-out. I realized it wasn’t on my “cleaning schedule” anywhere (and I wonder why the car is always a mess! Duh!)….I’m adding this one to my list!!

    Daily:
    – beds made (newer habit for me that I’m surprised how much of a difference it makes!)
    – kitchen, I try to clean up after every meal even…but definitely like cleaned end of day
    – playroom/toy pick-up (twice a day, before lunch & before bed)
    – general pick-up, as needed

    Semi-weekly:
    – floors swept
    – mail sorted (I only check our mail a few times a week, but try to handle it right away)
    – laundry (we have hamper in our room, one for my daughter, and one in the boys’ room – laundry gets started when hamper is full….clean, dry, folded and put away same day)
    – trash
    – grocery shopping (milk, bread, eggs, fruit, etc.)

    Weekly:
    – dust, mop, and vacuum weekly – we have tile floors all throughout the downstairs and much of our upstairs. And with 4 kids and 2 dogs I think these 3 non-negotiables goes along way to making our house feel cleaner.
    – clean all 3 bathrooms
    – 1 extra deep clean area, rotated as needed (ie. clean stove, microwave baseboards, blinds, ceiling fans, etc.)
    – cook meal preps for the week (lunches & dinners)

    Monthly:
    – wash bedding
    – bulk grocery shopping

    Semi-annual:
    – windows cleaned
    – carpets cleaned
    – garden planted (fall & spring)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well I’m not as clean as you think 🙂
    and yes, our cleaning routines ARE quite similar! Thanks for sharing yours.

    [Reply]

  5. wilma

    06/24/2016

    the self cleaning feature on my oven is AMAZING. a bit stinky when it’s working, but it requires NO WORK on your part. do it on a day when the windows can be open. it’s truly lovely.

    i don’t sweep. ever (unless something is broken). i only vacuum. so i vacuum a couple of times a day, for a couple of minutes each time. i finally bought a cordless stick vacuum, and i LOVE it.

    i don’t clean the sheets every week, either. and no shoes in the house. ever, unless the visitor is aged/disabled. but i live in canada, where “no shoes in the house” policies are the norm.

    this was a great post!

    [Reply]

  6. Janice

    06/24/2016

    Enjoyed your cleaning post! I was wondering what kind of “nice” pillows you were talking about. I have such a difficult time purchasing pillows. I think I like them in the store, but they just don’t seem to hold up once I get them home. Any advice would be appreciated.

    [Reply]

    ShellyL Reply:

    I was going to ask this same exact question! I do like my last ones I bought from Kohl’s but I am afraid to wash them. They were pretty expensive but using Kohl’s cash and discounts helps. Andrea, which pillows do you like?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Our pillows are Down Pillows from The Company Store. They were pricey but we got them as a wedding gift and they have held up fabulously over the past 10 years!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Janice.
    Our pillows are Down Pillows from The Company Store. They were pricey but we got 4 of them as a wedding gift and they have held up fabulously over the past 10 years. We have cheaper thinner pillows for the kids — the nice ones are just for us or for guests!

    [Reply]

  7. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    06/24/2016

    I think the most important thing is that you seem to stay on top of things. It’s not necessary to do a regular deep clean if things are wiped down or picked up often. I’m pretty terrible at cleaning the bathroom. I think coming up with a cleaning schedule would help me out, but then it makes me feel like I have too much to do!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes! Just staying on top of the daily stuff makes a huge difference. Maintenance is key!

    Also, as I mentioned in this post, I do NOT have this “schedule” written down anywhere. This is just ROUGHLY what I do. If I have a busy week and don’t get to everything, then it waits — I don’t stress over making sure every single daily, weekly, and monthly thing is crossed off a list. it’s just a general schedule or routine that’s in the back of my head. If a written schedule would stress you out, I definitely wouldn’t worry about it.

    [Reply]

  8. Stacie

    06/24/2016

    Phew I am one that feels relieved, especially in regards to bedding as I also do not wash our sheets weekly either. I know plenty of people who do, and when asked or they find out I do not I get a look! But as you state we also are clean when going to bed and I wash our pillow cases and the kids “blankies” weekly. I love ALL of your posts, but I especially look forward to your “Peek into your week”, your recipe posts, and your “favorites” posts. Thanks again Andrea!

    [Reply]

    ShellyL Reply:

    I agree. I like the “peek into our week” posts and the favorite things posts, too. I love anything farmhouse or yard-related always. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Shelly! You’ll get another peek into the week AND another favorite things post next week 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I know. Sometimes I feel like people think we’re gross for only wash the bedding once a month, but it works for us right now.

    Also, I have another Peek into our Week AND another Favorite Things post planned for next week 🙂

    [Reply]

  9. Megan

    06/24/2016

    Thank you!!! I was one of the people who asked for this, and I love all the information you gave. I really appreciate you sharing your plan!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome — glad to “give you what you asked for”!

    [Reply]

  10. Jen T

    06/24/2016

    We have two awesome cleaning ladies who come every other Friday. I honestly don’t do ANYTHING in between, other than laundry and cleaning the kitchen daily after dinner.

    Like you, I hate clutter but am fine with any dust or smudges that may build up in between their visits. Well, with the exception of my office, which looks like a bomb went off at the moment

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Someday, I might be willing to get a cleaning lady (it sounds so fabulous but I’m kind of control freak when it comes to cleaning my own house my own way!) But almost every time I clean the bathrooms I think “we should get a cleaning lady!”

    [Reply]

    Jen T Reply:

    Honestly, my favorite thing is that I leave for a couple of hours (usually get groceries or meet a friend for lunch), and when I come home the entire house is clean on the same day. Before, I used to do a little each day, and while it worked, the entire house was never clean at once! Nothing better than starting the weekend with a clean house.

    But I get being picky…I am and the ones we have now are the best we’ve ever had…they are super meticulous and do a better job than I do, actually, lol.

    [Reply]

    Linda Reply:

    This is so funny. I could have written it because I have/do exactly the same thing. I’m working on my office now.

    [Reply]