How to Create a Basic Routine That Will Keep Your House Clean (for the Most Part)

Keeping a house clean while simultaneously raising a family, working, and homeschooling can seem like a feat in and of itself. In fact, you may be tempted to give up on ever having a clean home. Trust me, I’ve been there, like right now when we’ve just gotten home from another trip and we’ve got suitcases and bags and dirty laundry and leftover candy from Halloween everywhere I look. The struggle is real and it’s daily! Am I right?

I’ve gotten to a point in my life where perfection is way overrated. I used to be a stickler about having a clean home, but now I’m happy if I can just keep the laundry done and vacuum up the cat hair on a weekly basis. 

I will share with you what has helped me through and that is creating a simple, very basic routine for keeping our home clean. It’s not perfect, mind you, but overall, our home is fairly clean at any given time. It keeps my type-a, ‘driven mad by clutter’ heart happy, especially that first night after I’ve vacuumed and the toys are cleared from the floors for all of 10 minutes. It really is the little things.

So, how do you create a routine like this?

Simple… You make a routine that fits you and your family and no one else. Sure, you can do a simple Pinterest search and be overwhelmed by all the lists of suggestions as to what needs to be cleaned and when it needs to be cleaned, organized by the room, by the time of year, according to someone else’s standards and life stage at this moment in time.

See, I’ve come to realize that when you’re in this stage of family life, that you’re so much better off not trying to do all the things but to stick with the basic. Once in awhile (probably every 2-3 months), I’ll move the couch and vacuum underneath. And if I have extra time when nothing else is happening, I’ll make time for more detailed cleaning jobs (like the fact I’m noticing that our windows could use a good cleaning this fall).  But for the most part, I stick with this very basic routine on a regular daily/weekly basis. Sticking with the basic gets the important things done, so you have more time to focus on who and what are even more important than a perfectly clean house.

Here’s what you’ll need to create your basic routine - a simple daily or weekly planner (or a notebook) and a pencil. Never use a pen because a pencil allows you to erase and start fresh. Life happens and that eraser will be your friend.

As Anne of Green Gables says, “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.”

Set Your Basic Zones or Priorities

Break your cleaning/organizing responsibilities down into zones or priorities. To give you an example, here are the very basic zones I focus in on. And remember, your zones/priorities may look much different than mine, depending on your station in life.

1. Laundry & Towels

2. Bathroom/s - A clean bathroom is not only sanitary but it also just feels better. It’s less gross, especially with boys.

3. Kitchen - Dishes, sink, refrigerator, and surfaces.

4. Vacuum floors - Don’t be afraid to break your vacuuming up if you have a larger house or are like me and don’t actually like to vacuum. Sometimes mop the heavier trafficked areas, as well, like the kitchen, bathrooms, and entry.

5. Menu and grocery list planning - Yet another organizing task to keep the family on track for the week.

6. Bills and Mail - Sorting, filing, and payments.

7. Plants - Make sure they have water and are healthy. I used to be known as the plant killer, but I’ve made this a part of my routine, and if you think about it, it’s helping to provide more oxygen and clean air in our home by taking care of our plants and providing them with what they need to survive. Removing dead blooms and leaves also counts as cleaning, right? Right!

8. Library Renewals - Schedule it in so you don’t forget it, and in turn, owe a large fine.

9. Family Chores - Our boys have chores like dusting surfaces, sweeping the porch, cleaning their bathroom, folding laundry, helping with dishes, and more.


Plan Your Days

Every Sunday before our week gets started, I take time to plan out my week. I normally stick with the same cleaning/organizing tasks for each day, but if we have a busier week, flexibility is key.

Here is an example of what a typical week might look like…

Monday - Laundry, Plants

Tuesday - Bathrooms, Towels

Wednesday - Vacuum bedrooms, Menu plan and grocery list

Thursday - Vacuum office, Library renewals, Groceries

Friday - Laundry, Towels

Saturday - Vacuum living area and kitchen

Sunday - Bills and mail, Plan week

Other household chores like keeping the dishes done and kitchen surfaces clean will need to be done on a daily basis, so I don’t even plan them in. I’ve also taken to the idea of creating a long list for other tasks that need done but I just can’t seem to get to (like our windows). That way if I have the extra time and have my other chores done, I can add tasks from that long list to my shorter daily list of to do’s. It’s a concept gleaned from Amiyrah Martin’s Long List/Short List System.

As you begin to set up your cleaning routine, remember to stay flexible. Life happens and things may not always go as planned, and that’s ok. With a routine, it’s so much easier to pick up where you left off and continue on your journey to keeping a ‘somewhat’ clean home, as well as a home that’s well lived in and well loved.

What are your best tips for keeping a clean home with a family? Share in the comments!