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Looking for the ideal way to improve your overall cleaning routine and habits?
Analyzing strengths, weaknesses, routines, habits, household, and concerns can be a big help for those wanting to problem-solve big cleaning concerns or bad habits.
Assessing your at-home situation can also help you to create a cleaning routine that will work around your schedule and mood rather than the other way around.
In this step-by-step post…
In this post, we help you determine what areas need work when it comes to cleaning so you can work towards improving those issues while developing better cleaning routines and habits by focusing on some of the following:
PSST… You may want some paper, a journal, or a computer/tablet to work along with certain sections.
Phase One: Assess the Previous Year(s)
Reflecting on how well your cleaning regimen and habits may be or may not be working can be an excellent way to determine what might need adjusting.
This way, you can set about working on those issues in a more concentrated manner.
Step 1: Acknowledge the Improvements
Take the time to acknowledge and note areas where you and others in your household do well with cleaning. What habits or tasks do you find easier to do versus others, and why?
This is also a good time to consider what areas seem to stay cleaner in your home as well as tasks and/or habits that seem to work best or feel the most manageable to you.
Assess & Problem Solve
- Mindfulness can lead to motivation. Don’t be shy or hesitate to acknowledge and/or journal areas where you’ve made improvements. It can even be beneficial to note how you feel about certain things now vs. to the way things were before changes were made.
- Journaling about cleaning may feel a bit cheesy or pointless, but giving yourself a pat on the back allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment and being proactive, both of which can lead to further motivation.
- This can be particularly helpful if you struggle with ADHD or similar issues that may lead to a lack of dopamine and other factors that can impact motivation and executive function.
Step 2: Determine What Needs Improvement
What areas do you feel you might need to change or improve when it comes to cleaning in general, maintaining certain areas, or when in regards to your overall cleaning habits and that of others living with you?
NOTE: You can find examples of concerns or disliked chores that I experienced and how I worked to problem-solve them later on in the post, under Example Situations.
Assess & Problem Solve
- Be patient with yourself. Habits and making changes can take time to develop, good or bad.
- Remain flexible and lower your expectations. Lifestyles, needs, and environments can change frequently, even on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, expect your cleaning routine and household needs to change as soon as your lifestyle or circumstances change.
- Learnt o Adapt. If you find that the cleaning routine you’ve set for yourself doesn’t work—or maybe stops being as efficient later on due to things like schedules or personal needs—learn to switch things up and experiment as needed.
Phase Two: Know Your ‘Why’
As you try to figure out what you need to work on, it’s also important to know the overall goal or gain for doing it in the first place.
Your reason ‘why’ should be something you’ll benefit from emotionally and/or circumstantially, whether big or small.
Helpful Questions to Ask Yourself
Phase Three: Have a Game Plan
Once you’ve figured out what areas, habits, or tasks you want to actively focus on improving, take time to determine what steps you can take to problem solve or remedy those issues.
How to Formulate a Cleaning Plan
Note: If you’re attempting to come up with a schedule or routine for the entire house, rather than focusing on individual issues, consider writing down everything that needs to be cleaned based on the frequency.
Phase Four: Adapt & Go With the Flow
When it comes to cleaning and keeping your home organized, sometimes it means learning to look at things from a different perspective. It’s also wise to expect that you may have to switch things up as your life and household’s needs evolve and shift. This way you’ll feel less frustrated in the event that things do need to change and will likely feel more prepared instead.
Ways to Adapt and Alter Your Cleaning Routines
Example Situations (optional)
Here are a few situations and concerns that I personally went through at the beginning of my cleaning journey that concerned me the most. You’ll also find some of the solutions I used and any incentives that kept me going
Again, these are just example situations that I have used in the past or still use in the present. Do whatever works best for you or tailor things to suit your needs.
Cleaning Habit Goal #2: Daily Kitchen Clean-up (dropdown)
Below are some of the kitchen concerns I had over the years as well as my thoughts and feelings associated with them.
Solution #1: No Dishes In The Sink Policy
Setting a no-dishes-in-the-sink-unless-soaking-or-eating policy, where everyone able to do so needed to clean up their own dishes, silverware, and glassware in a timely manner, made a huge difference in my life.
I even gained a little appreciation from it after we all settled into the flow of it.
Around dinnertime, dishes needed to be put away before the kitchen was officially tidied for the night or they went to bed.
Solution #2: Clean As You Cook
Another helpful solution for me was adopting a clean-as-you-cook policy. This usually meant throwing things away and rinsing off what I could while cooking. You can find more information on this with our post, 21 Easy Ways on How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean As You Cook (new tab).
Solution #3: Trade-off On the Cleanup Duties
The after-meal cleanup, which was usually dinner, would be swapped around so that I wasn’t always the one doing it.
This usually meant the person not cooking would clean up cookware, serving ware, wipe down the counters, and hopefully clean the stovetop. That, or everyone would help clean up, like a spiffy team-building exercise. Woohoo!
Solution #4: Incorporate a Light Evening Cleaning Routine
An evening cleaning routine usually consists of clearing and wiping down the kitchen counters, prepping for any cleaning or events for the next day that I would likely do during my morning routine, checking to see if any appliance need tidying (kitchen sink), lightly vacuuming the space, and wipe the kitchen sink clean.
I like to keep my evening routine to about 5 or 10 minutes on average, but I might throw in a monthly or weekly task or do other things if I feel like it or happen to be on a cleaning roll.
The Benefits & Incentives
Benefit #1 : Multitasking Like a Boss
I no longer had to do as many dishes, particularly those belonging to someone else who is capable of seeing to their own mess. Bonus: This eliminates some potential feelings of resentment. Bonus #2: Others learn to be more responsible and considerate. Win-win.
Benefit #2: Look Ma’! No Dishes!
Clean-up at night became much faster, often only taking a few minutes. I also got to wake up to a cleaner-looking home, which helped me feel more motivated, productive, proactive, and happier.
Benefit #3: Hold Thineself Accountable-th
Keeping the sink clear of dishes not only set a good example for others in the household; it also helped to hold me accountable—meaning, I felt more inclined to stay on top of my messes. It was, after all, my idea.
Benefit #4: Rinse Not. Waste Not.
Rinsing dishes right away, or as soon as possible, also meant less effort on my part—especially when compared to letting food harden and set, which requires more elbow grease and time to clean up.
Benefit #5: You Dirty Rat
Keeping the sink clear of dishes resulted in others being more aware of their messes. which meant they relied on me less to do it for them.
It also held others more accountable since it’s hard to sneak in or hide a dish in an otherwise empty sink, making it more likely that they’ll pick up after themselves or would feel more obligated to.
And I think some saw the benefit of getting to things sooner rather than later and developing a routine, just as I learned over time.
Benefit #6: More Time, More Energy, More Motivation
Having dishes put in the dishwasher or cleaned up sooner rather than later meant a less dirty sink to clean later and gave me more time, energy, and motivation to do other things, such as clean the counters, vacuum, etc., without as much procrastination or disdain as usual.
Benefit #7: Gaining Unexpected Joy From It
Having some structure and routine in my life helped me in so many other areas, even just besides cleaning. I learned to apply similar methods to various areas in my life and even managed to reduce stress while finding time to do the things I enjoyed.
I even found that I enjoyed cleaning up the kitchen at night almost as much as I liked waking up to it looking clean. Somehow, listening to music or book as I set things up for the next day or wiped counters down, resetting the room, relaxed me, and even gave me some closure at the end of the day.
Waking up to a tidied kitchen also gives me a somewhat pampered feeling each morning. It’s almost like waking up in a fancy hotel or Airbnb. And not feeling like I had to pick up after myself or others, or even dwelling on the idea of having to before discarding it into the Procrastination Pile, makes me feel happy and productive, ready to start the day.
Find more kitchen-cleaning tips with our posts below:
Cleaning Habit Goal #2: Making the Bed (dropdown)
Making the bed was something I always struggled with while growing up and throughout most of my adulthood. That is unless someone was going to visit, in which case I would fall into the compulsive urge of spending forever deep-cleaning the rest of the house, trying to make it look as though we were always that clean.
It was like #IWokeUpLookingLikeThis moment but for houses.
However, over time, I eventually got sick of how messy it made my room look—more so after I finally had a bedroom set-up that was to my liking. I knew I needed to change and finally adopt the habit I’d spent the majority of my life dodging.
The Main Concerns
Find more bed-making tips with our posts below:
Problem-Solving Problematic/Disliked Chores
Sometimes what we dislike simply needs a new approach. Try to make it your mission or a game to see if you can make a task you hate or have a tendency to blow off into something you don’t mind doing so much or might even like doing.
In this section, I’ve gone ahead and listed some of the tasks I used to dislike the most and how I went about making them more appealing or at least more manageable.
#1 – Vacuuming
While it may seem counterproductive to someone who views themselves as lazy or adamantly against vacuuming, I found that I could control the pet fur, dust, and other factors bothering me if I vacuumed the main areas of the house daily or every other day.
The Perks & Incentives
Not only did this help me stay on top of cleaning, but I also found that I felt less resentful if the floor got messed up later in the day because I knew it’d get cleaned up the following day.
I also enjoyed that extra-clean feeling every day when I vacuumed in the morning as coffee brewed, thanks to the vacuum lines and knowing the floors were clean. It helped me feel proactive, productive, positive, and it only takes me about 5 to 7 minutes on average.
#2 – Dusting
As with vacuuming, dusting was likely one of my least favorite chores around the house. However, after moving to a home near multiple dirt roads and having multiple furbabies, I had to learn to like it.
Perks & Incentives
#3 – Cleaning Windows/Glass Surfaces
Cleaning exterior windows and even mirrors inside the house typically wasn’t an ideal chore for me to do, but I found myself being the only one to do it more often than not and need to find a quick way to do so.
Perks & Incentives
In this post on how to improve and revamp your cleaning schedule or cleaning routine, we discussed taking time to assess the good and the bad points of the previous year to see where there’s room for some improvement. We also discussed some other points which we’ve listed down below:
Have any good cleaning incentives or motivators? Let us know in the comments!