Cleaning Routines- Part 2

When I last left you, I was paralyzed in fear with the idea of cleaning my entire house in one day. But after quickly announcing my challenge on FB to keep me accountable, I grabbed the supplies, and yes I did clean my entire house in one afternoon. Well...almost my entire house. I purposefully skipped the playroom in our basement (because while I cleaned the kids were happily playing down there), and I didn't QUITE finish the living room before I ran out of steam and needed to attend to the dinner situation for the evening. All together I spent a solid 4 1/2 hours that afternoon of cleaning. The following morning I finished up the living room, and helped the kids restore order to the playroom...but I have to say I was significantly less motivated the 2nd day- which brings me to my first point.

Pro #1 about single shot cleaning:

Once you get going, your momentum will really help you to KEEP going.

 Even now, heading towards 4 weeks into the idea, I still kind of look at it as a challenge. Can I get it all done? How fast can I get it all done?

I get myself into the mental mindset that "this is cleaning day" and I am going to get the entire house cleaned- no excuses. I have all of the supplies at my finger tips, and carry them with me from room to room. I purposely keep our schedule free of distractions so that I have time to devote to the task. There is no, "Eh, I think I'll just do that later" because TODAY is the designated day, and I am motivated by the fact that I won't have to do it later if I get it all get done today.

(That's pretty much the main reason that I wanted to try this approach- I was always coming up with an excuse for doing something later- but yet the weight of the task was always hanging over my head).

On the flip side of that coin, here's the #1 con for me with single shot cleaning:
You  have to have a pretty significant chunk of time to devote to the task if you really want to get it all done in one shot.

I'm home with my kids all day, so it's not too hard to carve out an afternoon devoted to cleaning. I realize that not everyone has this luxury- so this approach is definitely not for everyone. As far as what the kids do while I clean- I encourage them to help some (clean their rooms and dust whatever they feel like),  then I encourage them to leave me alone some (aka feel free to trash the playroom, just don't kill each other), and I also let them watch a movie near the end when they are sick of helping and sick of entertaining themselves. For now, it works.

When it comes to what I actually do during my cleaning time, I pick and choose a bit. My approach is to hit all of the room, and hit them all pretty hard...but really, I don't think that every window needs to be cleaned every week, or that I need to dust baseboards and use every vacuum attachment in every room every week.

So far I've kind of rotated through some of the deep cleaning tasks. I always dust, I always vacuum, I always pick up and put away ALL clutter so that I can wipe down all available surfaces...but one week I mopped the bathroom floors while the following week I just swept them quickly. One week I cleaned all of the windows and  mirrors in the house with glass cleaner, the next week I ignored the glass and instead made sure to dust or quickly clean out all of the light fixtures. Last week it was unseasonably warm and I was itching to get outside with the kids, so I didn't clean my shower at all- just the sink and toilet, and I skipped vacuuming the main floor since I had just done it before a playdate a few days earlier.

In general, I am actually ok with the job taking 4 hours, so my goal is just to try to use those 4 hours to the fullest- and rotate in new tasks as I have time. But honestly...I could probably do a pretty thorough cleaning of my house in under 2 hours at this point. Segue into the next Pro...

The cleaning gets quicker as time goes on

As I am cleaning, my main goal is first restore order to the room- meaning a place for everything and everything in its place. The first week this took FOREVER. But I have to tell you, by week 3, there was significantly less stuff "out of place" in every room because for 3 weeks straight I had been making an effort to keep things tidy throughout the week.

First of all, It's much easier to keep a clean house clean. Clutter attracts clutter, whereas clean shiny surfaces draw attention to the one stray item out of place and remind you to put it away.

2nd of all, you can only move something to dust it, put it back into place, and move it to dust it again so many times before you start to wonder if it's really worth having out in the first place. Lots of things that didn't really have a true "home" have one now because I got sick of moving them out of the way or cleaning around them every week.

 And lastly, when you put off cleaning jobs, it takes you longer to do them. Week #1 was full of lots of scrubbing that required a significant amount of elbow grease (oh, the inside of my microwave is white huh?), but by last week, there were very few spots in my house with very much grime accumulated. Similar to how clutter attracts clutter, dirt hides dirt (until it's so thick that it'll take you a million years to get it all off). I'm also better about attending to spills and sticky spots on clean surfaces. A few minutes here and there will save you a long time later.

Not allowing the mess to accumulate for too long can be tricky though...I have a really hard time spending my energy on cleaning something that doesn't seem dirty yet- which is why I rotate through some of the cleaning tasks. But I have to be careful not to use this as an excuse to skip too much- or it somewhat defeats the purpose.

Overall I really like Once a Week Cleaning because it keeps me accountable and makes me feel like I can have a day set aside for certain tasks and not have them hanging over my head all week. But, I do need to make sure that it's clear that there is one last thing that you all know...

I still have to clean every day.

I read a blog awhile ago talked about her approach to Once a Month Cleaning. It's basically what I am talking about here, but she only does it once a month. She even went so far as to show before/after photos of all of her rooms. And you know what? They look exactly the same!
The point being basically that if you want to only CLEAN (capital letters) once a month or once a week, you need to clean (lowercase letters) every. single. day.

I clean the kitchen after every single meal, I run the vacuum in the living room a few times a week, I will wipe out a major toothpaste glob from the sink or sweep out the entryway if I notice that it needs to be done. It's impossible to CLEAN your house in one afternoon if you ignore it for the other 164 hours of the week. (Yes I did the math, I'm a nerd like that).

Oh, and I now do laundry twice a week. Wash, dry, fold, put away. No baskets lying around, no excuses. Aside from some sweaty workout clothing and occasional potty training underwear emergency issues, it's a refreshing change of pace from my uphill battle of trying unsuccessful to work on laundry every single day.

What's your approach to cleaning? How long does it take you to REALLY clean your house?


  1. Yes! Clean one evening, my whole house. I do not think that all windows must be cleaned a week, or I have to remove dust and vacuum sockets associated with each one week in each room. Thanks for share!

    Domestic Cleaning London

  2. Oh!!! Light bulb moment!!! "Clutter attracts clutter, whereas clean shiny surfaces draw attention to the one stray item out of place and remind you to put it away." I knew this to be true & heard the clutter attracts clutter part over & over.... It never occurred to me to think past it to the 'whereas' part! I GET it now!

    Also, this 'nerd' (aka Math teacher) GETS the '164-hour nerd'... lol

  3. Don't procrastinate. Get your cleaning stuff ready. Have a mindset that today is the day. No excuses.

  4. If you’re house is not that dirty at all, then I guess once a week cleaning will not be a burden. It can also be a chance to bond with your kids. Yes, do ask them to help you, and let them learn how to do household chores. Also, you should make a ‘to-do-list’, listing down which one should be cleaned first or where should you start first. Proper planning will help you save time.

    -Neil Sauers

  5. I like the idea a lot. Fortunately for me I have a daughter that is old enough to help me. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great blog!

  6. Great ideas, as a professional cleaner, I see plenty of people who DEFINITELY should clean once a week!



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