Friday, November 2, 2012

15 days to a simpler home: day 1 - cleaning checklist and planner

I can't tell you how excited I am to start sharing all my tips for simplifying and organizing your home and life! I'm an organization nerd, and I can't even help it!

Before we start going through our cabinets and closets and throwing things away, you have to start with a plan.  You need a plan for your everyday life, the things you will do and clean when you're done with the purging and organizing.  This will give you a solid foundation and make your daily life so much easier.
Start by making a cleaning checklist, organizing items by Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Semi-Annually.  Here is my cleaning list.  The list might need to look different for you, depending on your life situation.  We are just two people, so we only have to do laundry once a week, while if you have 2 kids, you might need to do 1 load a day. And different homes require different types of tasks.

As you scroll through this list, DO NOT GET OVERWHELMED.  I am just writing it out like this so you can see all that you will accomplish, and everything you need to put on a calendar.  I promise, it's not as scary as it seems!

  • Make Bed
  • Do Dishes (I wash mine by hand because it saves money and our dishwasher doesn't work that well)
  • Straighten up, pick up items that are on the floor, table, etc.
  • Every other day, I scrub my shower.
Quick Tip!
I scrub the shower while I'm taking a shower with one of those dish-washing wands. You simply fill it with 1/2 dawn and 1/2 white vinegar and scrub away.  It's a miracle, my friends! It makes the tile in our shower look awesome, the floor looks great, and I can't even explain the beauty of the glass door.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to stay in the shower a few more minutes.  Doing this every other day makes it so I won't ever have to spend 30 minutes scrubbing the shower on a Saturday morning.

Weekly Broken up by Days:
  • Monday:
    • Dust Upstairs
    • Water Plants
  • Tuesday:
    • Clean Kitchen
    • Sweep/Mop Hard Floor Surfaces
  • Wednesday: 
    • Clean Upstairs Bathrooms
    • Clean Interior Windows
  • Thursday:
    • Dust Downstairs
    • Clean 1/2 Bathroom
    • Clean Office
  • Friday:
    • Laundry
    • Wash Sheets and Towels
    • Clean Laundry Room
    • Water Plants
    • Make Menu and Grocery List for Next Week
    • Make Next Week's Calendar
  • Saturday:
    • Vacuum
    • Collect Garbage - Our trash day is Monday, so this works well for us.
    • Grocery Shopping
  • Clean Fridge Inside and Out
  • Vacuum Couch and Chairs
  • Clean Ceiling Fans
  • Wipe Down Switches
  • Wipe Down Cabinets
  • Wash Duvets
  • Wash Curtains
  • Wash Interior and Exterior Light Fixtures
  • Declutter Bathroom Cabinets
  • Clean Oven
  • Switch Air Filter in Furnace
  • Vacuum Mattresses
  • Go Through Pantry 
  • Clean Inside of Cabinets
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Oil Change
  • Go Through Clothing
  • Wash Exterior Windows
  • Shred Old Files
  • Clean Gutters
How ya doin? Are you good? 
Ok, good! 

Next, I put all these tasks into a Google Calendar called "Cleaning".  I personally didn't list the daily chores because I just know I need to list those on my task list everyday, so I started with the weekly chores, and worked my way down. Google Calendar is awesome, because you can set up tasks to repeat on a daily basis, weekly basis, etc., and it's very customizable.

Once you get to the Monthly tasks, add them on days when you see fewer tasks.  Do the same thing with the  quarterly tasks, and divide them up into three months so you're spreading them out as evenly as possible. For the semi-annual tasks, I put them in months that made sense.  Like Cleaning the gutters is a seasonal chore, so I put them in April and October; 

If you need help getting your calendar setup, feel to free to comment below, or email me and I can assist! It's such a valuable tool and I highly recommend it!  There are also a ton of tools available to help you with this, online! Here's what my calendar looks like:
That doesn't seem so bad, right? Just a few chores a day (30 minutes at most on the weekdays), and everything gets done throughout the year without you even realizing it!  And notice I don't have anything scheduled for Sundays? We still make the bed and do this dishes on those days, but for the most part, Sunday is our day off.  Our day of rest...the seventh day.

What do I do with this calendar now, you ask?  Well, you can either use this calendar as is, or do what I do, and buy a big, beautiful planner. :) #plannernerd
I picked this planner up at Walmart for less than $10 and it's got a monthly calendar for each month, tabs that separate the months, and then a nice big block for each day. 
Remember how I wrote on Fridays "Make Next Week's Calendar"?  That's where this comes in.  First I go through and write what events we have going on that week ("Matthew Rehearsal, Dinner at Mom and Dad's, etc).  Then, I use my cleaning calendar and make a cleaning checklist.
You better believe I have a task on here to "paint my toe nails" today!

Next, I add another checklist on the other side for misc. tasks.  This will include things I need to do for upcoming blog posts, as well as just other tasks I think of throughout the day. I am a pen and paper kind of gal, so having something physical that I can write on and check off is very big for me, and feels like such an accomplishment to complete the list!
I also list what my blogging schedule is, and what is for dinner that day so I can make sure I finished touching up paint in the living room, or that I have started the crock pot for Chili that night.

This is a bit of work at first, but putting the effort in now, and getting into this routine will make life so much easier in the coming days/weeks/months/years.  

If you decide to put this together, remember that your schedule doesn't have to look just like mine! If your Thursday evenings are really hectic and you don't have the time to do anything then, don't! Or if you prefer to do huge cleaning days on Saturday, then put all of your tasks on for Saturdays.  You can even add other things like bill reminders to your calendar.  Anything that you need to remember should go in here!  
The point is, having a schedule will make life so much simpler because you won't have to remember to do it. With all the craziness that life brings, it will already be there to remind you and make your life simple.


  1. Wow, this is helpful and very organized. I don't think I can pull it off as well as you, but some of your tips will help. I've never heard of Google Calender, either. I will have to check that out. Tks

    1. Really? It's amazing! You can create a bunch of different calendars for different things like cleaning, birthdays, a calendar for each family member. I highly recommend it! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I am not an "outside of the box" thinker so thanks for pointing me to the Google Calendar. Best things ever. Now I can use that to make my master list and then update my desk calendar/planner on Sunday for the week. Looking forward to reading each of the posts in this series :-)

  3. Thank you for sharing these helpful informations, I just set up my google calendar cleaning list - and it is such easy going with this tool. I just HAD to pin your hints to have them available at any time. Great job! Liu


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