Keeping a Clean Home, Part 3: My personal cleaning routines
Here is how I manage to keep the house clean. It's simple, really:
Be productive. (I.e., Work hard.)
Want the final details? Here you go! :)
First, I stay home a lot. I go out one morning for a couple hours to run errands and go grocery shopping. Only going shopping once a week saves a lot of money, by the way! I also go out one morning for a couple hours to teach some music lessons. I spend most of my days at home. Don't ask me how someone can manage housekeeping, cooking, homeschooling, and family time when they're away from home all day and out every evening. Going away a lot (for me) means last-minute meals and not much time for schooling, cleaning, or playtime with the children.
Secondly, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to put forth effort and work hard to be productive. Working fast (without compromising the quality of work!) is one of the best ways to fit cleaning into my day. If I work slowly, it could take all day and night.
If you've already read "Keeping a Clean Home, Part 1: How I simplify my cleaning tasks" and "Keeping a Clean Home, Part 2: Motivation ideas", then feel free to glean from my personal cleaning routines and practices. I'm sure they won't all work perfectly for your home, which is why this is the last and least important post in this "series"! :) Also, when reading about how I clean, keep in mind that we only have two small children. I'm sure my methods will change as the years pass! :)
We don't have a dishwasher, and I usually do a fair amount of cooking (from scratch) each day, so even though we have a small family, there is usually a reasonable amount of dishes to be done.
I always wash dishes at least once a day. If I need a particular dish, or have an extra moment, I might wash them more than just once during the day. (For example, if guests are coming, I try to have all the dishes washed before they arrive!)
Regardless, I try to have every last dish washed before I go to bed. I leave the dishes to drain in the dish drainer on the counter, and put them away the next morning when they're dry. I very rarely towel-dry dishes. Often, I even stack clean rinsed dishes in one of the sinks to air dry, when the drainer has reached its limit! :)
We have both carpet and linoleum (and concrete, on the enclosed porch!) floors. I use my Dust Buster daily around the kitchen table, after each meal.
Once a week, I vacuum all the floors in the whole house. I remove and shake out rugs before I vacuum. I mop the linoleum and then replace the rugs (I use a "Ready Mop"). With the use of the hand-held Dust Buster (and an occasional spot-mop), I am able to just do the floors once a week, unless something majorly drastic happens! Our floors don't show the dirt, we have a small family, and we keep our shoes out of the house.
We have one bathroom, and I clean it thoroughly once a week. I do the floor when I do the rest of the floors. I clean the sink, counter top, and toilet (bowl and outside). I usually clean the shower, though sometimes I'll skip a week on that. If the bathroom looks dirty before a week is up (it usually does!) I'll do some quick-cleaning (using a cleaning cloth and some vinegar or something mild) to hold it over.
I wash full loads of laundry, and sort by whites and darks. I also have loads of work clothes and cloth diapers. I was diapers every 2-3 days. I wash work clothes every 3 work-days. I wash bed sheets every 3 weeks or so. I hang most of my laundry outside or on a wooden rack in the house to dry. In the summer, I can do several loads in one day. In the winter, I do about one load per day, just whenever the last load is dry. I have a no-nonsense approach to stains and pre-treating laundry.
Dusting is my least favorite task! I "try" to dust once a week. I do the whole house at once. Usually we have someone over that often, and so I get it done. If no one's coming over, I skip the dusting! I use a Swiffer cloth to dust. I usually wash the cloths and re-use them.
Cleaning windows, vacuming spider webs, or other infrequent tasks
I do things like cleaning the windows, sweeping the garage, washing walls, vacuuming spider webs, etc. just whenever I see they need done. Usually it goes something like this: I notice that there are spider webs around the kitchen walls/ceiling. I make a note to vacuum spider webs. In the next week or so, I make time to do it.
Note: I am a one-day housecleaner. One day each week, I spend a couple hours cleaning. I do little things each day, but all the major stuff (vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, etc.) is done at once. I have tried schedules where I would clean the bathroom one day, vacuum the next, dust the next, etc. I just constantly felt like I was behind. I like having the house complately cleaned and then relaxing for a few days. I think that's just my personality. Something entirely different might work for you! :)