The Best Ways to Tackle a Long List of ChoresJuly 29, 2022
It’s cleaning day. The laundry baskets are overflowing, the corners are collecting dust bunnies and the bathroom is in dire need of a good scrubbing. We’ve all been there, and it can be overwhelming. Here are some guidelines to make your next cleaning day less daunting.
#1 Plan ahead. Set aside one day each week to focus on the big chores that you know you won’t be able to get to throughout the week. Set a recurring event on your digital calendar or mark every Saturday on your dry-erase fridge calendar. It might be a good idea to set your weekly cleaning day before your weekly grocery shopping day so that the fridge will be clean and ready to fill up again. It’s also a good idea to set aside a day each month for chores that don’t need to be completed quite as often and a weekend each year for bigger annual cleaning tasks.
#2 Go shopping for supplies. Make sure to purchase any necessary cleaning supplies that you don’t have on hand far in advance of cleaning day so that you’re not scrambling to find what you need the day that you need it. Steer clear of messy cleaning supplies, like liquid laundry detergent that can easily spill or drip all over the laundry room storage cabinet. No need to add more work to your already long list! Order mess-free laundry detergent sheets online ahead of time instead.
#3 Make a list of chores. This can be a handwritten list in your favorite notebook or planner, or you can create a dry erase checklist to reuse every week. Separate the list into sections for each room and make a checklist for each item you need to do in each of the different areas. If you’re short on time, find a free printable cleaning checklist online. Use it as a paper copy, or you can use a plastic sleeve or laminate it to turn it into a dry erase checklist. Do the same thing for monthly chores and yearly chores. Another idea: If big lists make you feel dizzy, make a ring set of cards with one card for each room so you can narrow your focus. This also makes it easy if you want to split the list of chores between multiple people in your home. Pull the cards off the ring and split them up equally between roommates or kids.
#4 Watch and learn. Perhaps your parents never taught you how to properly clean a gas stove, or you just never really got the hang of home organization. Fortunately, there is an endless supply of instructional cleaning videos on YouTube to help you get started on your journey to a cleaner home. TikTok and Instagram are treasure troves of cleaning influencers ready to show you the best way to clean a toilet. If you are more of a hands-on learner, try hiring a professional organizer to work with you to set up organizational systems so that Future You knows what to do to keep everything in its place. There are even online classes that you can take to learn everything you need to know about cleaning.
#5 Gather supplies. The day before cleaning day, double-check that all of your supplies are ready to go. Make sure that your reusable paper towels are clean and dry. Check your vacuum and replace the bag or clean out the bagless vacuum canister. Wash your vacuum filter and set it out to dry. On cleaning day, gather all the cleaning supplies you might need and put them in a central location. As you move through the different areas of your home, only take the supplies you need for each room with you so you’re not unnecessarily lugging around your cleaning supplies tote from room to room.
#6 Make it fun. Sometimes, a little entertainment can go a long way to keep you on task. Listen to your favorite high-energy electronic music and dance while you dust the woodwork. Sing along to your favorite yacht rock ballads while you mop the floors. Catch up on your favorite true crime podcast while you wash the dishes. Watch a movie that you’ve seen dozens of times or old episodes of your favorite show while you fold and iron laundry. If you have kids and want to get them involved, offer to take everyone for ice cream or a smoothie when everything on the list is complete.
#7 Clean home, clean planet. Try to use eco-friendly cleaning products whenever possible, like sustainable laundry detergent with zero-plastic packaging. When decluttering, dispose of waste properly. Recycle old papers and receipts that you no longer need. Compost the old contents of your fridge as you clean it out. Donate old clothing as you organize your closet. Find out where to dispose of items like dead batteries, broken phone chargers and the obsolete laptop that’s been collecting dust in your basement since college.
Remember to stay hydrated while you’re buzzing around the house. If you start to get overwhelmed, sit down for a moment with a cold glass of iced tea and take a moment to recharge before you get back to work. With the right systems in place, that seemingly endless list of chores can indeed have an end in sight.