Simple Cleaning Schedule for Busy Moms (+ Speed-Cleaning Checklist)

Cleaning house. Doing laundry. Raising babies.

How do those words make you feel? I have a feeling your blood pressure went up a tiny bit as you looked over your shoulder at your messy kids and a mountain of laundry. I know mine did! Sure, I love a clean home and clean kids as much as the next person, but I’m also a busy working mother with a full schedule and two needy babies under two years old. Cleaning isn’t always first on my list of things to do each day. 

THE REALITY

Like most mothers out there, my husband and I both work, we share in raising babies and caring for our household, and we don’t get nearly enough sleep. It’s just the world we live in. Yes, we’re always working toward simplifying, organizing, and caring for our health just a little better. But there is certainly still progress to be made.

Even if you don’t have a secular job, I guarantee you are working and managing big responsibilities for the majority of your day. And you probably don’t have a ton of free time to stay on top of housework and laundry. This is why I put together a simple daily cleaning schedule for our family to follow. It has helped us tremendously!

My home is far from perfect. If you don’t believe me, just check out these pictures I took this week!

messy house cleaning tips

messy house cleaning tips

You can’t expect perfection when you’re raising babies and cleaning up after hard-working husbands. It’s just not realistic. But with a solid cleaning schedule and some dedication, you certainly can keep everything tidy and organized most of the time. Our home is obviously lived in, but I still feel comfortable if a friend stops by unannounced to use the restroom (yes, this actually happens to me)!

THE BACK STORY

I come from a family of four siblings. When I was really little, we had a decent-size home, 5 acres of property, and lots of animals. Big families and farm animals equal messy houses and yards. So, even though my dad taught us to clean up after ourselves and our pets, our home was far from perfect. I did understand hard work and pulling my own weight from an early age, though. So thank you, dad!

We moved around quite a bit after that; from a house, to an apartment, to a motor home. Even though space was cramped, some of the best memories of my childhood happened when we “camped” in that motor home.

After that, my dad moved us into a fixer-upper house, and it was absolute chaos from then on. We weren’t dirty people by nature, but the house was always “under construction”. That meant lots of dust, and tools scattered around the living room, and holes in the walls and the floors.

So if you think I’m a perfectionist that never had to live in messy houses or crazy circumstances, now you know.

After my dad passed away, for the first time in my life, I moved into an apartment all by myself. The clean, quiet space was unusual at first, but it grew on me quickly! I never wanted to go back to construction zones or motor homes.

HAVING BABIES WILL CHANGE YOU

Then came love, and marriage, and babies.

Having a baby doesn’t just change your body and your sleep schedule. You’ll quickly realize that laundry doubles and crumbs cover the floors, no matter how often you sweep.

I still want my home to be “you could eat off the floor” clean, but it’s admittedly a lot more work after husbands and babies enter the picture. As I said before, it isn’t realistic to expect perfection. Stay scheduled and stay determined to keep your home in order, but don’t compare yourself to those immaculate designer homes and Instagram moms. We’re just normal moms trying to keep normal levels of sanity. And that’s okay!

THE MINDSET PREP

So, before I share my tried-and-true daily cleaning schedule, we need to make sure our mindset is prepped for change. The “change” we’re talking about is a clean and organized home. Here are a few things that you need to put into practice:

  1. You need to create a cleaning schedule. 

    If you really want to get your home clean and organized, there has to be some sort of schedule in place to keep everyone on track. And I do mean every one. Everyone in the household needs to do their part, pull their weight, and pitch in with chores.

    There’s nothing more infuriating than watching a tired mother do all of the housework while the rest of the family scrolls on their phones or plays video games. Heck-to-the-no. All members of the household contribute to the mess, so there is no reason that mom should be the only one cleaning up.

    Take advantage of my daily schedule and my speed-cleaning printout below, but make sure everyone has a job and everyone pitches in. The whole idea here is to create a realistic schedule that you can and will stick to.

  2. You need to change your mindset.

    You have to stop convincing yourself that you are too tired or too busy to keep your home clean. The truth is, we’re all tired and we’re all busy, but we are still capable of keeping our home tidy and organized. There will be days that housework just has to suffer so that you can rest. We get tired, we get overwhelmed, and we need to take care of our physical and emotional health, of course! But work on adjusting your mindset and your priorities. Most of the time, you can squeeze in some time for cleaning up the house.
  3. You need to be honest with yourself.

    How many hours of the day are you scrolling through your social media feed? How many hours of the day are you binge-watching Netflix? There is nothing wrong with browsing on Instagram and catching up on your favorite shows, but make sure your important daily tasks are done first. Priorities, yo.

Now, I’ll be honest with you here: I do the majority of the housework around here on a daily basis. My husband works full time, commutes long distance, and also goes to school. My children are two years old and three months old. Obviously they can’t help as much as I’d like.

Many of us are in this position, where the brunt of the work falls on us. That is actually okay! You can handle it, you just need to stay focused and get organized.

This article contains affiliate links, please see my full disclosure here.

THE CLEANING SCHEDULE THAT ACTUALLY WORKS

So, now that we’ve got all that fun stuff out of the way, let’s chat about my actual daily cleaning schedule. I keep the same schedule most days, and then I do a deep clean once each week, and an extra-deep clean once each month. My hubby helps out whenever he can, and my toddler has some chores too.

DAILY SCHEDULE

It starts as soon as I wake up. I’m not saying that you need to be consumed with the thought of cleaning house from the moment you open your eyes in the morning. I’m not about that. But you do need to have the mindset of cleaning up as you go about your day. So do yourself a favor, and start practicing as soon as you wake up. Print out my speed-cleaning checklist below to get you started!

When I wake up, I make my bed and put all the pajamas and dirty clothes away. It takes two seconds, so just do it.

If laundry needs done, I always throw it into the washer first thing in the morning, so that I can transfer to the dryer before we all head out the door. Seriously, you can have a full load of laundry done before you leave the house in the morning!

Side note: be sure to use cleaning tools that keep your life simple. I have this handy little scrubber called Bump It Off, and it is a game changer for scrubbing stains out of baby clothes.

Bed is made. Laundry is started. Boom!

After brushing my teeth, I wipe down the counters, sinks, and toilet. By the time you’re done showering and getting ready, the bathroom should be tidy. Just be sure to put everything away when you’re finished using it.

I clean up the kitchen while the coffee brews and I do the dishes while my toddler eats breakfast. If you prefer to sit and have breakfast with your kids for some quality time, have everyone work together and tidy up the kitchen after breakfast. This might require everyone waking up 15 minutes earlier to make time for cleanup. But you can do it!

Do a little dusting and vacuuming while the kids get ready for school. Nothing fancy, just a few minutes of tidy-up while everyone is busy with their morning routine.

Are you picking up on the trend here?

Cleaning up while your kids are restrained in their high chairs or busy with other tasks is an excellent way to jump start your cleaning routine for the day! It’s also super helpful to set a 15-minute alarm for the morning cleanup. Obviously, most of us can’t do a thorough clean during our chaotic weekday mornings, but we can always take a few minutes to put things away and wipe counter tops.

As everyone moves toward the door, sweep the floors and take out the trash. Buckle everyone into their seats and then mop the floors and lock the doors behind you.

Yeah, that’s right. The house is now clean and tidy by the time everyone is out the door for work and school!

I work from home, but the same rule applies. I send my husband off to work at 4:30 AM, and I clean up the house before starting work myself.  

When everyone gets home from work and school, the key is to clean up after yourself as you go about the day. Don’t leave dirty dishes and trash on the coffee table or nightstand. Train yourself to get up, right now, and take everything to the sink, the trash can, or the designated spot where it belongs.

It takes practice, so you might as well get started today.

Each night, I fold the laundry and put it all away. Then my toddler and I clean up the tornado of toys from around the living room, and get ready for bed. That’s our daily schedule, and it works pretty well about 80% of the time. I’m quite happy with the 80/20 rule around here!

WEEKLY

If you’re following my daily schedule and you’re doing a decent job of cleaning up as you go about your day, then your weekly cleanup won’t be too terrible. But, if you had a hectic week and you let your daily cleaning slip, this is where you will pick up that slack.

My weekly deep-clean day is on Saturday morning. My husband always buys me a delicious iced coffee from our local coffee shop, and then we open all the windows and turn on the music for one solid hour of deep cleaning.

I secretly love this time we spend working together.

Living room and bedrooms come first, because they’re easy. We dust the furniture, organize miscellaneous junk and toys, make the beds, and vacuum. I usually wash sheets and pillows once each week too, but if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll do those once every two weeks.

Kitchen and bathrooms are next. So I mix up a big bottle of my all-purpose cleaner and spray down the counter tops, cupboard doors, refrigerator, and table tops. Mirrors, bathtub, toilet. Spray it all down and wipe it all clean. When everything is smelling fresh and sparkly to satisfaction, spray the floors and mop them thoroughly. I use this mop and I absolutely love it.

If everyone is still cooperating, throw some laundry or yard work into the mix. If not, save some work for Sunday. We try to get everything done within an hour or two on Saturday morning so that the rest of the weekend is cleaning-free. Again, this usually works about 80% of the time.

MONTHLY

The monthly cleanup is honestly never fun. So I recommend to make a monthly cleaning schedule that you can live with, set your timer, get it done, and then reward yourself with something special!

Once each month, we do the deep stuff.

I clean out the closets and cupboards, and I donate anything we don’t use or wear. I clean out all the kitchen cupboards, the drawers, the refrigerator, the pantry. Scrub the baseboards, dust and sweep under the furniture, clean and organize my office desk, clean out the cars, and anything else we’ve been neglecting all month. 

We don’t have a garage (thank goodness), and we really do try to live simply and think twice before we bring anything new into this house. But we do have growing children, my husband is a construction guy, and he also loves having certain tech things that cause some trash and some clutter. It’s crazy to think that the woman of the house is NOT the spender in the house. 

But hey, it is what it is.

FINAL THOUGHTS + PRINTOUT

A clean house and a happy family is totally a possibility if you work hard and hold onto a solid schedule. Live by the 80/20 rule. A clean and organized home 80% of the time, and some flexibility during those not-so-clean-and-organized times.

Grab my speed-cleaning checklist and get started on your journey to a cleaner home and life.

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6 Comments

  1. Sahar

    November 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    You have Friends in the background on the TV screen. Your home, therefore, is perfect. 😉 Actually you do have a beautiful home even without Friends playing in the background, and no doubt it’s due in large part to how organized you are with cleaning it. I’m so impressed!!!

    1. Cate

      November 17, 2017 at 7:08 am

      Life wouldn’t be the same without Friends, right? My toddler dances along to the song whenever it comes on, and it kinda makes me a proud mama 🙂 Thank you so much! It’s hard work staying clean and organized, but it’s so worth it in my opinion. Have a wonderful evening!

  2. Melissa Javan

    November 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Sometimes we need reminders like this about how you should be easy on yourself. I agree with the mindset thing, that’s the important start. I’ve never thought of a cleaning schedule; I have an informal one on weekends – good idea.

    1. Cate

      November 21, 2017 at 8:11 am

      I agree, we shouldn’t have to kill ourselves over housework every day. Organization really helps knock out the sucky stuff (like cleaning) and focus on what matters in a day. Thank you for reading!!

  3. Madison

    November 20, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Cleaning schedules are the only way I will get my house clean honestly! Changing your mindset really does help too.

    1. Cate

      November 21, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Yes, life is busy, we have to schedule and psych ourselves out to get anything done haha!

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