Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cleaning Routine

We all know that the key to a beautiful clean and tidy home, where you can open the front door without having to say 'excuse the mess' every time, boils down to a good cleaning routine. This is by far the thing I struggle the most with in my home.

As I've mentioned before, it takes 21 days to form a new habit. But that's easier to do for a daily habit such as making the bed and brushing your teeth. I'm afraid very few of us have the time to make a daily habit of cleaning every single room. So the problem lies in trying to form a once or twice a week habit that sticks.
I've tried the old trick of Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is... but because some Mondays I have something on after work, some Tuesdays I'm exhausted, and some Thursdays the sun is shining and we go for a walk, it just never stuck.

Doing a bit of research I decided I'm going to re-try getting into the habit of some sort of a weekly routine by trying out a timing method. The reason for doing this is that I think subconsciously I avoid doing the daily cleaning because I convince myself I don't have the time. But what if it just takes 10 minutes a day? Surely I have 10 minutes to spare?

So here is how it's going to work- everyday I must pick one room or task and the rules are:

  • Pick a time of day that will work consistently to form a habit (perhaps after breakfast, or in my case straight after work)
  • Asses what needs doing in the room, and what will be needed to clean.
  • Gather all cleaning equipment before the task starts.
  • Take along an empty washing basket or bucket.
  • Once all the equipment you need is set up, START THE TIMER.
  • Don't rush, but work through the area systematically.
  • Anything that doesn't belong in that room must go in the washing basket/bucket.
  • When the time is up- stop! If you're not done, make a note of when you're next session will be. Who knows, maybe you are so into the swing of it, that you'll do it right away again. If not, your room is probably allot cleaner already than it was before, so that's a job well done already.
  • Now take the washing basket with the things that didn't belong in that room, and chuck any rubbish in the bin, the rest must go back to where they belong.
  • Pack away the cleaning equipment.
  • Sit down, have a cup of tea, and get on with the other stuff you love to do.

This method could be used for a messy wardrobe, untidy drawers or similarly you could use this method for a spring clean by spending half the day doing 15 minutes per room.

The task willof course take a bit longer than 10 minutes because you have to gather all your equipment as well as unpack that washing basket. But the idea is that those things don't take that long anyway, and you get 10 minutes of focused cleaning or tidying.
I'm going to try this starting today. I will keep you posted as to how this works for me. Hopefully I'll be onto a new good habit very soon.

Below is a list of all the handy places to find help for a cleaning routine. Perhaps you've tried some of these yourself - did they work for you?
Marla Ciley is the very clever lady who shares shares her ways of establishing a daily cleaning routine for free! If you join FlyLady, you will get daily emails, and step by step guides to help you slowly establish all new good habits. I think this is a brilliant and uplifting website, and is extremely helpful for people who really feel overwhelmed at getting their homes back in control. FlyLady says "Our FlyLady system is all about establishing little habits that string together into simple routines to help your day run on automatic pilot. You can do this! " . FlyLady's first habit she teaches you is to shine the sink on a daily basis. What a great idea!

Monthly Deep House Cleaning Schedule
Here Housewife Sherry Morris gives a handy method to deep cleaning your house for one month spending only 15 minutes a day. Details on how to do it is available on her website. This is another timer based cleaning method.

Home keeping and organisation books:
There are plenty of books out there that claim to help you sort out your home. Take a look at some of the books at the Library and try them out before buying, you don't want an information overload! I have plenty of other favourite home keeping books which I will post about at a later date, but the list below are ones that deal specifically with routine cleaning

A handy little book with some helpful hints. Although there's no set method laid out, this book does have some original hints and tips.

I know many people don't like celebrity books, but this one, it has to be said is a pretty good home keeping manual that keeps it simple. Its' not too text heavy either, I just wish it had more how-to pictures. But I recommend it.

I've not read this one myself, but thought I'd put it up since it seemed relevant on the 10 minute cleaning routine. It's meant to also be a good laugh - there's nothing wrong with some good humour! Have you read this?

A manual to help establish a method to work your way through the house. Unfortunately for us full time workers, this book (as the title says) is for full time home keepers. None the less, it seems a great read with good tips.

I've found some really fun timers out there- these are just what I need to cheer up my cleaning routine.

Left to right

Row 1: Rope neck timers from Legend Cookshops; a sweet pink clock & timer from Little Blue Sheep; Digital sand timers that come in different colours from Salter- available from Pots and Pans.

Row 2: The FlyLady timer; A retro time from Amazon; A flashing kitchen timer also available from Amazon.

Row 3: An Alessi mr. Chin timer from
fitzsu; I just love these, a kettle and pan timer from Shopintuition; A classy round kitchen timer from Anthropologie, of course!

Have you got a cleaning routine that works? If so, please please share it with us. If you want to share it in detail with us, email me at and I will post all about it.


Ivy said...

This is great stuff. I was just thinking about all this while we were straightening up our house before leaving for vacation.
Coming home to a messy house is the worst.

Hi from Pennsylvania!!! :)

Luvmy2babiz said...

I love your blog! I plan on visiting in the future so that i an read each post in more detail! Lot's or cool tips and tricks in here!

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Once again, you have excelled with wonderful and so useful info...
And this one, was just what I was needing for some needed motivation.
For a while, okay, for a few months now,I been wanting to dust all the picture rail and shirting boards, they so need doing!
For sure, I can spare 10 minutes a day and do one room at the time!
I will get started this week!
kisses Kisses

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP