Cleaning Schedule

I’m not one of those people whose home is always clean. I often hide my mess in a closet before visitors come (or before snapping photos for the blog). I feel agitated and unsettled when the house is in disarray, but I don’t seem to have the natural inclination to clean that some people have. I guess I’m a messy neat freak. I’ve been holding off on this post, because I’m a little embarrassed… I finished my cleaning schedule (a goal from my 28 by 29 list) and the results are beyond nerdy. I divided our home into zones and made a color coded chart.

cleaning schedule chart

I started with this cleaning schedule over on Apartment Therapy. The general idea is that if you spend 20 minutes a day cleaning, your home will stay fairly neat all the time. That makes sense, right? Their schedule didn’t work for me, but I liked how they split tasks into surface cleaning vs deep cleaning, and I love the 20 minute time limit—so I worked from there. (Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m explaining this in such detail. Feel free to make fun of me in the comments. I totally deserve it.)

cleaning schedule chart

Here’s how my four week cleaning schedule works. I divided our home into four zones (maximum one bathroom per zone). Each zone gets surface cleaned once a week. Surface cleaning includes picking up stray items, dusting, vacuuming, wiping down surfaces, etc… Each zone gets deep cleaned once a month. Deep cleaning includes mopping, cleaning windows, baseboards, kitchen cabinets, shower/tub tile, etc… I set a timer for 20 minutes each day and clean as fast as I can. I stop when the timer goes off, even if I haven’t finished. I’ll get whatever I missed next time around. If I miss a day, I cross it off the chart anyway—it’s good for my morale. I gave myself the weekends off, since I usually end up doing yard work then. Overall it has been a lot cleaner around here lately!

On the off chance that any of you are weird like me and find the idea of a cleaning schedule intriguing—here’s a pdf of my cleaning schedule. You can print it out and write in the rooms you want to include in each zone at the bottom. Let me know if it works for you too!


  1. Caleb

    Nice idea! Linds actually gets a similar feeling when the house gets into disarray… unfortunately, I really can’t relate lol! regardless, I printed this out for her… I think it might help her (and me) stay on top of cleaning better. Thanks!

  2. Whitney

    I love this! I tried making one of my own before, but ended up forgetting about it about two weeks in. I think I’ll print yours out and try it though. It’s so cute, it may just make me stay on task!

  3. Natalie P.

    Yep, I must be weird like you because I’m going to print out this awesome chart and try to apply it in my household. I need a good system for cleaning, and I think this just might be it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Monika / MB Captured

    I think this is super cute way of breaking it all down and simplifying it, rather than feeling too lazy to do it all in one day. We have a system of ‘power half hour’ 2 – 3 times a week where we pick a room and go for it. We are clean but tend to get cluttered quickly by not putting things back where they are meant to go…

  5. Erica

    Oh my goodness, I need something like this in my life. Thank you for sharing the PDF, maybe this will be the thing that will finally kick me back into gear.

  6. Kynley W

    I’m exactly like that.. I loved the way you put it “a messy neat freak.” My husband teases me about how I make our “fake house” whenever there is a chance of guests – how I run around like crazy trying to make things look spotless.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Daniel makes fun of me for doing that too! Then he tells the guests how much time I spent cleaning, and I’m like “Shut up! They’re supposed to think it’s always this neat!”

  7. pinksuedeshoe

    Oh my goodness you are such a nerd. And SO AM I! I love this. I actually made a list of all the really awful cleaning chores, like under the stove and behind the fridge and inside the heater vents and I just kept thinking of gross nasty things like that until I got to 52 of them. And I do those once per year. Some of them are hard (hello under the washing machine, scrubbing the window screens blerg) and some are easy, like changing the smoke detector batteries and the air filters. But one per week. And then I do a similar once per week/month for more general cleaning as well. If my dad could see my list he’d burst with pride. My mom on the other hand, she’d totally tease me and laugh. I inherited my dad’s OCD need for organization and clean and my mom’s total lack of interest in either of the two. I’m constantly at war with myself :)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It must be genetic, because my mom and dad are the same way. Doing one thing a week is so smart! Cleaning behind the fridge isn’t even on my radar—I’m scared to look, haha.

  8. Fred

    What a good idea ! I was looking for a way to keep my new house clean since we left our little appartment (from 56m2 to 120m2)… It’s such a change into my organisation ! I’ll try your schedule and share taskes between me and my husband ( yes, he cleans too !!! Equality in this house !!!).
    Thanks from France !

  9. Linda

    I am exactly the same way! I hate cleaning, yet it bugs me when I see dustballs floating around, haha. My fiance and I actually split the chores so he does all the “deep cleaning” and I do all the surface cleaning. That’s pretty fair, right? :)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      That is awesome. Daniel’s idea of deep cleaning is wiping things down with a handful of toilet paper, haha!

  10. Jenna K

    Hahaha I just cracked up about you crossing it off the list even if you don’t do it. That’s a very interesting strategy. The rule follower in me would never allow that kind of rebellion.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Well you see, if I get behind a few days I know I’ll look at the chart and be so sad that I’m behind that I just won’t do it anymore. So I have to cheat!

  11. Monica

    This is beyond nerdy awesome. I think I may cut out the little circles and put them in a to do jar, and when they are finished, put them in a done jar….

  12. Jamie

    Awesome! This might finally motivate me to stick with a plan, instead of always being stressed but never getting it done. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Leigh

    This is a great idea! I always put it off until the weekend and then end up spending half of a day off cleaning the house. :/ thanks for sharing, I think I’m going to try customizing my own schedule!

  14. Chrystina

    I’m very torn between two different comments. And I mean them both 100%. #1) this sounds like a great idea – 20 minutes is totally manageable. #2) you sound like Danny Tanner from Full House :)

  15. ina

    A friend just called (well I wish he had called, he sent me a facebook-message and I didn’t see it for 3 days). He thanked me for the generous offer to stay in my apartment for a couple of days during the documenta and he would come next week Thursday, which is tonight. I only read it on Tuesday. As I spent my Fridays to Mondays in my boyfriends apartment (as long as we haven’t found one for the two of us) I only sleep in my apartment from Tuesdays to Fridays… and I also don’t seem to have the natural inclination to clean and I am a messy neat freak. I do the important things (dishes, toilet, quick vacuum cleaning… but better don’t have a closer look at the bathtub or under the bed…). And being a good host, he is still invited and I want them feel good in my flat and me not too embarrassed. So I cleaned two afternoons and now two mornings in a row and I’m still not done. The windows have to be cleaned after a year with a big construction site in front of the house, the fridge needs a quick wipe and also the floors. Have I mentioned that I only have a 2-room (+kitchen and bathroom)-apartment of 55 square meters? Let’s just hope they’ll arrive late….
    I need a 20-minutes-a-tuesday-wednesday-thursday-schedule. FOR SURE!
    I feel agitated and unsettled when the house is in disarray and I feel very weak and embarrassed and now exhausted, even before I started… (in the other apartment with my overly disciplined boyfriend it works quite well and I like it!) and I know this feeling forever!
    thanks for sharing. 20 minutes have to be possible.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Oh my goodness, I can totally sympathize. Hopefully you can finish by tonight! Surely your friend won’t check under the bed! ;)

    2. ina

      I finished everything (also under the bed), even made it to buy some nice treats, chocolate, wine, beer, fruits and flowers… then I sent a SMS, asking if they’re already on their way and I recieved the answer that they are not coming…
      But i love it. It’s so nice when everything is really clean and the flowers and the fruitbowl on my table… instead of a huge pile of stuff I assorted for sale to make it easier to move together soon (?)… I always feel so relieved… I just wish I could recall this emotion when it’s getting out of hand again… well, I made myself a schedule and hung it up.
      And now I enjoy watching the Olympics and my nice and clean living room. (and I almost finished the chocolate!)

  16. Michelle

    My boyfriend is the clean freak in the house and gets so mad at my untidy ways (although I get equally as frustrated with the mess). Think this list might provide us with some much needed structure. Thanks!

  17. Jennifer

    I have been wanting to put a system like this into effect for a while now, I just hadn’t found the right one. I think this schedule sounds surprisingly manageable. Unfortunately, my SO is really resistant to the idea :-(

  18. Kristen

    I hate cleaning so much. But I love being organized and this chart is so cute I might have to start cleaning. Not making fun of you at all. This is awesome!

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