This post is the second in a series on Once a Month Cleaning. The first part of the series is here. In the previous post, I discussed how Once a Month Cleaning can reduce stress throughout the month and make sure that no cleaning tasks slip through the cracks. Some planning is definitely involved in making Once a Month Cleaning a success.
Plan Ahead for Successful Cleaning Days
Make a list of all the cleaning tasks you want to accomplish on Cleaning Day.
This list should include all of the tasks you find to be most important.
This list should NOT include deep cleaning tasks, such as scrubbing baseboards.
Print or copy the list, preferably in a chart so you can mark off each task as you go. I like to use a chart showing multiple months; that way I can see if any tasks were skipped during the previous month (for instance, I may skip a task or two during a particularly hectic month). If you'd like to use a copy of my cleaning chart as a template, e-mail me at nourishedandnurtured[at]gmail[dot]com
Make a list of cleaning tasks that need to be done throughout the month between cleaning sessions to make your home liveable. In our house, this includes:
Daily clutter/toy pickup - this only takes about 10 minutes a day, but reducing daily clutter goes a LONG way to making the house seem neat and tidy between cleaning sessions.
Sweeping the dining room at least once a week
Cleaning the guest toilet if guests are expected
Mark the calendar to set aside time for Cleaning Day.
In homes with small children, Once a Month Cleaning will likely take 2-to-3 days.
In homes with older children, Once a Month Cleaning can likely be accomplished in one day.
My youngest child is now 2&1/2, and I am able to easily complete the cleaning tasks before lunch on the second day.
Limit non-cleaning activities on Cleaning Day. If you plan in too many other activities on Cleaning Day, it can easily get de-railed.
Limit parent-tutored homeschooling on Cleaning Day. I plan ahead so that my 1st-grade daughter can be relatively independent in her schooling on days that I am cleaning. She knows that on Cleaning Day, she will do her morning reading lesson, and then be responsible for doing her writing practice and perhaps a math review worksheet or two. I give her a timer that she can use to take a short break after each subject, and she seems to like being in charge of her schooling on these days.
Limit doing laundry on Cleaning Day. I try to limit laundry to only washing bathroom and kitchen rugs on Cleaning Day.
Don't plan any out-of-the-house activities on Cleaning Day.
Plan to have leftovers or some other easy dinner meal on Cleaning Day.
Prepare the kids for Cleaning Day.
If your kids are old enough to understand, make sure they know that on Cleaning Day you will be rather busy and they will need to be relatively independent.
My daughter knows that she will be responsible for cleaning up the accumulated clutter in her room on cleaning day. She also has the option to help out by doing other cleaning chores. If she chooses to do this, then she is rewarded with watching an hour-long video (which also serves as a great time for me to sweep and mop the tiled areas in our house without any little feet in the way).
If you have young kids at home, there will of course be interruptions in cleaning. Don't get too stressed, and just try to get back on track as soon as you can.
During particularly hectic months, feel free to skip non-crucial tasks. The sky will not fall if the toaster oven doesn't get scrubbed! Just make sure to start Cleaning Day with the most important tasks first.
What tips do you have for successful house cleaning with young children?