It’s a struggle, isn’t it? Especially with little ones. There are so many frustrations associated with cleaning, from finding the time to do it all the way to actually doing it. I used to feel like such a failure because I would get so behind on my chores. The entire house was so messy it made me feel depressed. I would take hours to catch up on my cleaning… only to have my heart broken when it was messy again a few days later.
If this is how you feel, take heart. First, remember how much you love your kids and how well you take care of them. They are your priority right now, and you are absolutely allowed to fall behind on your cleaning. There’s zero need to get down on yourself. Give yourself a gentle hug, some kind words, and then we can get down to work. I have a new system for you to try. It has changed my world and my whole perspective on cleaning, and I hope it will do the same for you!
What Does Focus Cleaning Have to Do With Mindfulness?
There’s a simple reason why I call my system “focus cleaning”: because I’m focusing on cleaning! Before I adopted this system, I was packing cleaning into stressful, frustrating periods of time. For example, when I was getting ready to have friends over. I was doing seven things at once: feeding the kids, making treats for guests, cleaning, doing laundry… that’s just not an effective system. When I changed my methods and scheduled into my day a “focus cleaning session”, my mindset shifted so dramatically. I focused on one cleaning task at a time, one room at a time, one day at a time. That’s all mindfulness, baby!
Why Should You Switch to Focus Cleaning?
If you’re looking for ideas and inspirations for cleaning, I’m guessing it’s for a pretty simple reason. You’re not happy with your system and you want to find a better way. Most likely, your chore list is long, and you try to tackle too many chores at once. I understand. I will continue to push you in one direction, always, and that is the direction of a focused, intentional, habit-forming lifestyle. The key to changing your system may surprise you, but nonetheless, it’s true:
40-Minute Focus Cleaning
Don’t get discouraged by the name. This method can be adapted to any period of time, which is the beauty of it. I was inspired to create my routine after reading this post from I Heart Frugal. She created a genius system to clean your house in 25 minutes a day (check it out!). I knew I could never be organized enough to clean effectively in just 25 minutes a day. But I wanted to clean a little bit, every day, and I didn’t want to clean for a whole hour. So I came up with my compromise: 40 minutes. I also figured I could sneak 40 minutes of cleaning time into most of my days without too much trouble. The time you choose can be more, or less, based on the size of your house, your daily routine, or how much time you want to spend each day cleaning!
Start With Your Master List
If you click the picture above, you will see the list of weekly cleaning tasks I use for my house. Check Pinterest to find some really handy checklists and ideas if you aren’t sure what you should be cleaning on a regular basis.
You will notice, there’s a couple cleaning tasks on my master list that aren’t on my focus cleaning worksheet- that’s because they’re in my daily priority picker task list. This allows me to sneak in a couple extra very short minutes of cleaning every day, which just helps to keep my system running smoothly.
Once I had my master list put together, I decided how long each task would take. Then I grouped tasks together in a logical way. In general, the tasks for any given day occur on the same floor of my house. This allows me to smoothly transition from one room to the next. Since I’m doing similar tasks in each room, I can gather all my cleaning supplies at the beginning of the session and have them right at hand when I need them. Here is my Filled Out Focus Cleaning Schedule so you can see how I do it. But yours can, and might, look totally different from mine, based on your timing, the layout of your home, etc.
The Fantastic Upside to Focus Cleaning
Focus cleaning has made such a dramatic impact in my life. I feel so much more confident about my process. I know what I need to do, and I don’t feel like I’m forgetting or neglecting anything. Even better that that are the results that you can see around my house!
Case in point, my kitchen: on my first day of focus cleaning, I didn’t finish wiping down all my appliances in the time allotted. I got my stove, dishwasher and coffee maker. That’s a key to this process: testing your timing (more about that in a second). But, the next week, it didn’t take so long to wipe those appliances down, so I was able to move on. I got The Kitchen Aid, the microwave, the fridge, too, all in ten minutes! And now that I’m wiping them down on a regular basis, I can even take a few extra seconds to do some deep cleaning. Like the hinges of the dishwasher, or use the special cleaning polish on my glass stovetop.
This is the great secret to cleaning that I was never able to appreciate or take advantage of before. It gets easier and faster when you have a system in place. Because I clean the same things every week, they don’t have as much time to get dirty!
Chart Your Progress and Look at Your Timing
Like every other goal we set or habit we track, this will be a process. Especially if it’s a big change in how you are used to cleaning. I found it helpful to make myself a sticky note list for each day of the week, with each day’s tasks written on it. That way I could just carry the sticky note with me while I cleaned, and I could check off each task as I went along. This meant I didn’t have to memorize my cleaning schedule or worry about forgetting anything.
In the beginning, I also kept track of how long it took me to complete each day’s tasks. I thought it would be helpful to see if I was, week after week, ending certain days always having extra time, and other days not having enough time. This would have made it easier for me to switch around my task list so that the timing balanced out. Once I got used to my schedule, I am now able to complete all my tasks in my planned time frame.
However, if this isn’t the case for you, then don’t hesitate to change your plan. The point of a really good, effective focus cleaning schedule is to get all your weekly tasks done in as little time as possible. Don’t hesitate to change your strategy if a particular day is always giving you grief or you feel too rushed to get things as clean as you want them. Track your schedule in your planner, use sticky notes, put something up on your fridge… make it convenient and easy for you to find and use!
My focus cleaning schedule is formatted for 5 days a week. But if you have a particularly long master list of chores, or much less time you can devote to cleaning each week, then you could consider making your schedule a six or seven day list, just to give yourself the extra chances to get things done. Conversely, if you have extra time in your cleaning schedule or you can get your tasks done more quickly than me, you may not need a full five days!
I Want To Hear From You!
Give this schedule a shot, and then leave me a comment or send me a message! Let me know how it’s going for you or if you need more help, guidance or additional worksheets or trackers! I truly hope this is the beginning of a new mindset for you on cleaning! Let me know what I can do to help with that!