A Realistic House Cleaning Schedule

Check the boxes, share the work, and relax more.

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of cleaning your home? We’ve been there too. Whether you live alone, with multiple generations under one roof, or anything in-between, a clean house can feel like an unreachable fantasy.

Add the stress of everyday life to the mix, and it’s tempting to not even try. Here’s the good news. There’s a simple solution that can make a huge impact on your home: the cleaning schedule.

It might sound old-fashioned, but a simple schedule will make chores easier to manage, help you delegate tasks to others, and ensure you’re not over (or under) cleaning items and spaces. With these easy-to-follow guidelines and hacks, you can create (and follow) your own realistic house cleaning schedule. Your clean-home fantasy is much closer than you think.

How to create your own (realistic) house cleaning schedule

The key words? Your and realistic. While we’ll be sharing guidance on creating and following a cleaning schedule, the one you create should do two things: (1) be highly specific to your situation, stage of life, and home and (2) feel achievable.

There’s nothing more deflating than trying to meet someone else’s seemingly impossible standards. So throw that thinking out with the trash right now. This is about you, your home, and what you need and can achieve.

Include everyone

Before you just crank out a cleaning checklist, you need buy-in. If you live with other people—roommates, a partner, kids—include them from the start in the process of creating and executing your cleaning schedule.

While not everyone in the home may carry equal weight in the cleaning roles (you wouldn’t expect your toddler to deep-clean the bathroom, for example), everyone can (and should) pitch in to ensure your shared living space is a tidy environment where everyone can thrive.

Rather than assigning cleaning roles, let others walk through this process with you, giving their opinions, desires, and thoughts. Psychologically, when people feel included in the process, they produce better results.

Walk through it

Start with a full walk-thru of your home. Using a notes app on your phone (or a piece of paper and clipboard if you’re old school), make a list of every cleaning task that comes to mind for each room or space you enter.

Don’t worry about catching them all (we’ll provide an extensive checklist at the end) or dividing the tasks into a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly timeline just yet. Merely notice your spaces, and what cleaning tasks they require.

High-use vs. Low-use

With your list, identify which spaces in your home are high-use (meaning, they get “used” every day) and which are low-use (used 1–2 times a week or less). This will help inform the creation of your cleaning schedule, as you can expect high-use areas to require more time and attention.

Examples of potential high-use areas: bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, entryway.

Examples of potential low-use areas: home office space, guest room, laundry room.

Listen to your stress

Do a quick internal temperature check — which spaces in your home cause you the most stress when they haven’t been tidied? You’ll want to specifically address your needs and desires for these spaces in your cleaning schedule.

Reminder: stress-management doesn’t necessarily mean cleaning more frequently. If a messy bathroom is stressful, you may choose to assign it to a different person in your home each day… while the answer for a cluttered kids’ playroom might be to close the door until they can pick it up.

Rough draft

With your list of spaces and tasks, and with room usage and your stress levels in mind, create a cleaning schedule rough draft. For now, that will mean:

  • A list of each room in your home
  • Associated cleaning tasks assigned to each room
  • Your best guess at frequency (most spaces will likely need to be cleaned weekly or bi-weekly)

Remember, this is a rough draft. It could take up to two months to finely tune your cleaning schedule, so expect to revisit it each week, making adjustments until it really sings.

Find your style

You’ve got a list. Now’s the fun part — deciding how you want to tackle it. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of freedom in cleaning style, so pick one that fits your timeline, lifestyle, and preferences. Some more popular cleaning options are:

  • Daily Jogger. Assign a specific room to each day of the week, and then knock it out. For example, Monday might be for cleaning the kitchen, Tuesday for the bathroom, and Wednesday for the living room. Spreading the tasks out across multiple days, and into bite-sized chunks, often feels less-overwhelming.
  • The Marathon Runner. On the other side of the coin, you could rip the bandaid off by devoting an entire day to cleaning the house — each room and space until everything is finished.
  • Time Trials. Everything’s more interesting when it feels like a game, including cleaning. Look at your schedule, and choose a few windows of time you can dedicate to cleaning — for example, you may choose Tuesday and Thursday nights for 30 minutes. When cleaning day comes, set a timer on your phone, and keep moving until it dings, working through your list item by item. When your next cleaning day pops up, pick up where you left off. Challenge yourself and see if you can break last week’s record.
  • Reward System. Especially if you live alone, the motivation to clean might be hard to muster. To get yourself moving, integrate a reward into the mix. It could be listening to that binge worthy podcast only while doing chores, turning your favorite soundtrack up so loud it shakes the floorboards, or having a scoop of icecream when the cleaning is finally finished. Find motivation to clean regularly, and you’ll avoid getting overwhelmed.

Try, adjust, repeat

The key to developing a realistic cleaning schedule is not waiting for the perfect rough draft, but putting whatever plan you have into action. Pay attention to what works, what doesn't, and where you feel stressed for time. Then make adjustments.

Keep trying, adjusting, repeating, until you get a system and method down that works for your home, schedule, and life.

Benefits of a cleaning routine

The most obvious benefit of a cleaning routine will be your sparkling clean home — but it actually goes well beyond that. As you try, adjust, and repeat your cleaning schedule, you’ll find that it…

  1. Builds muscle memory. A cleaning routine takes out the guesswork, which means as you learn the routine and schedule, you’ll begin to move faster and more efficiently. Translation. less time cleaning, more time playing.
  2. Closes the chore gap. It’s a well-documented fact that, among average households, one person shoulders the vast majority of chores and cleaning. A well-defined cleaning schedule, including individual assignments, will ensure that all members of the household help carry the load.
  3. Improves relational well-being. As a result of the chore gap, and frustrations that often go unsaid, chores and cleaning oftentimes become a sticking point in relationships—be it romantic partners, parent-child, or roommates. As the chore gap is closed, and proper expectations are shared among the household, relational well-being can improve.

How to delegate chores

Even if the cleaning schedule is your idea, the full weight shouldn’t be on your shoulders. Delegation will be key, especially if you’re hoping to tap into the myriad of benefits listed above.

What’s the best way to delegate chores? That’s up to you to decide, along with the other people in your home. Remember, buy-in from everyone will yield better results than assignments.

A few helpful methods for delegating chores include:

  • The Volunteer Method. Allow your household members to choose from a list.

    Pros: Big buy-in because everyone has a choice.

    Cons: No one wants the toilets.

  • Rotation. Assign the chores by room, and rotate ownership of completing the assigned tasks for that room each week.

    Pros: The “worst” cleaning assignments get handled by everyone.

    Cons: Quality can suffer as it takes longer for everyone to master the specifics of each room.

  • Rhythm. Repetitive cleaning tasks based upon ability. This works especially well for young children. For example: every night before bed, the kids pick up the playroom as part of their nighttime routine.

    Pros: Consistent rhythm teaches kids how to complete a task without assistance.

    Cons: Adults shoulder most of the load.

  • Location. Members of the household are responsible for areas of the home based on the relative amount of time they spend there. Example: kids clean their own rooms and living room, Dad fixes dinner each night so he is responsible for the kitchen, etc.

    Pros: Because household members spend the most time in their assigned areas, there is natural motivation to complete the tasks.

    Cons: Shared areas become hard to assign.

House cleaning supplies

You’ve done the work, gotten the buy-in, and you’re ready to make good on your cleaning schedule. What do you actually need to get your home sparkling and shining? Less than you might imagine.

  • Sponges
  • Dishtowels
  • Microfiber cleaning rags
  • A squeegee
  • Skip the bucket and go with a Swiffer Wet-Jet
  • A spray bottle (or 5, for homemade cleaning solutions)
  • A scrub brush
  • A toilet brush
  • A broom and dustpan
  • A vacuum
  • Dishwashing detergent (choose Cascade and skip the pre-wash)
  • A small container of bleach

Whole-home cleaning schedule

Remember, your cleaning schedule is all about you and your home, so you’ll continue to tweak it as you put it into practice, especially in the first few weeks. You’ll likely find jobs that you need to add as well as some that you can pare back. That being said, it can be helpful to see an example schedule as you create yours to ensure you’re not leaving any stone (or pillow) unturned.


  • Make bed
  • Tidy bathroom, wiping down counters
  • Clean coffee maker (remove grounds, rinse out pot)
  • Wipe down food prep areas in the kitchen
  • Wipe down eating areas and sweep
  • Empty and load dishwasher
  • Take out trash
  • Quick walk through to pick up any loose items (toys, backpacks, shoes, etc.)


  • Dust hard surfaces throughout the home
  • Vacuum and mop
  • Wipe down kitchen appliances
  • Clean out fridge and toss any expired food
  • Wipe down kitchen countertops and backsplashes
  • Wipe down microwave and stovetops
  • Wipe down kitchen cabinets
  • Clean and disinfect kitchen sink
  • Scrub and disinfect toilets
  • Wipe down bathroom countertops and sink
  • Change and launder bedding and towels
  • Clean mirrors


  • Use vacuum attachments to clean upholstery, couches, and chairs
  • Clean waste baskets
  • Wipe down door handles, light switches, and remote controls
  • Dust ceiling fans and vents
  • Dust moldings, trim and toeboards
  • Scrub stovetop and clean burner grates
  • Clean inside of the microwave
  • Clean inside of washing machine
  • Clean inside of dishwasher
  • Empty vacuum, wipe down outside
  • Wipe down glass windows
  • Wipe down refrigerator interior

Every 3-6 months

  • Wash pillows
  • Launder comforters
  • Clean inside of oven and oven hood
  • Wash shower curtains and liners
  • Launder or hand wash curtains
  • Vacuum mattresses
  • Clean leather furniture and condition it
  • Clean blinds
  • Dust lampshades
  • Shake our rugs
  • Scrub grout
  • Clean window frames
  • Clean freezer interior
  • Descale coffee maker
  • Polish stainless steel appliances

Every 6-12 months

  • Deep clean carpets throughout home
  • Empty and clean pantry cabinets
  • Rotate mattress (every 6 months)
  • Pull out appliances and clean behind them (fridge, oven, etc.)
  • Wipe down all walls

Once a year

  • Wash window screens
  • Have gutters inspected and professionally cleaned
  • Clean around dryer and dryer vents

Your clean home — one in which all members of your household pitch in and help out — isn’t a fantasy. Using the guidelines and hacks outlined here, it’s well within your grasp. Make your cleaning schedule, tweak it along the way, and put it into action. You can do this!

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