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Create a cleaning checklist that puts you in control

Do you ever feel as though cleaning the house is a huge, insurmountable task and it’s impossible to know where to start?

Often, with busy lives and multiple distractions, we find ourselves in a cleaning rut, doing the same basic maintenance tasks over and over while less obvious but just as crucial jobs are left for “another time”.

A comedian once said, “I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.”

Six months between doing dishes might be an exaggeration, but it’s all too easy to feel as though you just cleaned out that cupboard recently when in fact time has marched on…

Create a checklist that makes sense for you

A cleaning checklist broken into weekly, monthly, and every-once-in-a-while tasks will help you always feel on top and in control. As with so many efficiency hacks, a little bit of time invested in sitting down to get organised will save you time and stress further down the line.

You might find it useful to use a spreadsheet program so that you can easily drag or copy-and-paste tasks into the appropriate columns – or if you are more visual, you might prefer to work with drawing paper and sticky notes, or a wipeable whiteboard. There are lots of great list-making apps, including Keep from Google which makes it easy to tick off items as you complete them.

Whichever your approach, it’s worth making it flexible as once you get into it, you may find that you want to clean the fridge a bit more often than you first thought, or that while dusting is weekly,  a monthly polish is fine. You may also chose to have an “as and when” section, which you can pick from whenever you have a little extra time.

Clean by task or room?

Give a little bit of thought to whether you are an area or task-based cleaner (i.e. would you clean all the floors in the house at once, or work room by room), as it will help you to organise your checklist in the most efficient way possible.

Work your way mentally through the house (or room by room), noting down every task that needs to be done for it to be cleaned to your satisfaction. Then think about how often each task needs to be done, and divide accordingly – you might want to use different coloured highlighter pens or sticky notes.

While a template can help you to get started, it’s worth keeping in mind that in your house, your standards apply. If you can’t relax knowing there might be dust bunnies under the couch, then make a thorough hoover of the living room a weekly task. On the other hand, if your attitude is more “out of sight, out of mind”, then clean unseen dusty corners less frequently.

Next to each task, note down a rough time estimate so that you can make sure you’re not assigning yourself six hour weekly cleaning sessions.

Once you have a checklist schedule you’re happy with, you might want to laminate it so that you can check off then wipe clean each session. Don’t forget to create a column for assigning tasks to other family members! Or if you use an app, look for an app that offers shared lists so you can involve everyone who shares your home.