Getting into a regular cleaning routine is a difficult habit to initiate, because let's face it, most of us really don't want to or don't have time to clean. Between managing your work needs, raising a family and maintaining an active social life, cleaning up your home can (and usually is) at the bottom of your priority list. And once your house becomes a total mess, it can be almost impossible to get the energy to get ahead of all the dirt and grime that has built up over even a short period of time.
Luckily, you can avoid this downward spiral by creating a cleaning schedule that will help keep your house in reasonably decent shape. Every household's list will vary, but following these general guidelines will help you to craft the schedule that best suits your needs:
Group tasks by frequency: Break down chores by the frequency with which they must be accomplished. Tasks can be divided into daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal activities. For example, tidying up clutter can be a daily chore, sweeping and mopping the floors with a specialty product can be done weekly, dusting appliances can be done monthly and cleaning outdoor decks and patio furniture can be done seasonally (or after every thunderstorm, whichever you choose).
Divide by room: Once you've established chore frequency, split them up by room. Assigning a room of your house to each day of the week is an easy way to keep everything looking fresh. Start with your least favorite room (anyone else dread cleaning the bathroom?) and work your way out so that cleaning gets less tedious as you go!
Assign roles: Whether you're living with friends or with your spouse and three kids, everyone can do their part to keep your home clean, so assign tasks to those most qualified to perform them. Do your kids love being outside? Have them rake the leaves this fall. Then, get the bacon lover in your home to degrease the kitchen and assign Dad bathroom duty since he seems to spend a decent amount of "quality time" in there anyway...
Create a chart: Using the frequency, room groupings and assigned roles, draft a weekly or monthly chart listing each person's chores for the chosen time period. Put the chart in a highly visible (and unavoidable!) spot like on the door of the fridge or pantry. Make sure to reward those who complete tasks on time—those who don't will get nothing and like it!
Maintain consistency: Test the schedule for a month and tweak it according to your needs. Stick to your plan to get maximum cleaning results.
Once you implement these guidelines, you should have a schedule that'll have you Cleaning Like A Pro™ on a regular basis!