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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:

  • Analyze what is or isn’t currently working for you.
  • Prioritize what to work on first.
  • Learn tips to help break things down into bite-sized chunks for better efficiency and manageability.
  • Find ways to problem-solve key cleaning concerns or habits.
  • Figure out your “Why” or reason to stay consistent and motivated.
  • Tailor your routine and habits to match your schedule, house, personality, lifestyle, and top things you wish to work on.
  • See examples of personal goals or habits to achieve along with the methods that were used to turn them into a reality.

PSST… You may want some paper, a journal, or a computer/tablet to work along with certain sections.

Skin to Conclusion

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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

  1. Write down ways you’ve gotten better at cleaning or tasks you seem to do well at. This might include new cleaning habits you’ve adopted, recent changes in your routine or schedule, or even areas of your home that have stayed cleaner for longer or just seem easier to maintain in general.
  2. Underneath each item, journal or note how these accomplishments make you feel compared to the way things were before you made significant changes. Also, list how you feel these accomplishments or changes have benefited you and your household. (Optional)
  3. Are there certain things on the list that you might be able to apply to other areas of your home or life? If so, how?
  4. If you live with other people, are there things that you appreciate that they do around the house or feel they see and appreciate about you? (Optional)


  • 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?

  • Determine what needs improvement and why.
  • If you have certain rooms or tasks that you adamantly dislike doing or procrastinate on, consider listing them and what it is you don’t like about them.
    • You can even vent about how they might make you feel.
  • Set realistic and doable goals, breaking them down as needed.
  • Try to keep things to a minimum; you can always work on other things later down the road.

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.

Improvement Examples


Assess & Problem Solve

  1. Write down areas, habits, routines, or any other cleaning-related issues that are a concern or you feel need improvement. You don’t need to list every issue; just focus on things that bother you the most or feel more of a priority.
  2. Beneath each item, briefly detail the issues and what bugs you the most about those issues and why. Don’t be afraid to list how it makes you feel (i.e., frustrated, annoyed, angry, confused, etc.).
    • Include any problems that may be somewhat outside of your control, such as budget, another household member, etc.
  3. Underneath each issue, list ways you might be able to work on or remedy the issue.
    • For instance, if dust is an issue, some solutions might include dusting more frequently or stacking it on top of something else, like vacuuming days.
    • Or, if you’re bad about cleaning out the fridge, try doing it more frequently for quicker work by stacking it with something like Grocery or Trash Day.
  4. Pick 1 to 3 issues that you’d like to work on for the time being and highlight them.
    • Note: Keeping things to a minimum can help you to focus more effort on those tasks while allowing you to feel less overwhelmed.
  5. Figure out how you’ll be dealing with those three issues or research methods on how to best deal with them.
  6. Come up with a game plan and a routine, such as how often you should address the issues you’ve picked to work on and how to best go about it.
    • If you hate doing a certain chore, could it be that you may need to do it more often and before things get too dirty or built up?
    • Are there things that you be doing too often that you could do less frequently, giving you the chance to focus on other concerns?
    • Would it be more beneficial to do certain chores weekly, monthly, quarterly/seasonally, bi-annually, or annually?
    • Would someone else be willing to take on a certain task?


  • 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

  • Why are you doing this?
  • What do you hope to change/gain from the experience?
  • What will the benefits be when it comes to consistency, implementing certain changes or habits, or having a schedule for these tasks or in general?
    • Examples: Doing ____ will make the _____ easier to maintain, the house will stay neater, and it’ll require less effort to stay consistent than to wait for long periods, etc., giving me more free time.

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

  1. What tasks will you be working on?
    • You can do this in any way you see fit, just make sure not to take on too much at once to avoid overwhelming yourself.
    • Tasks can be implementing a schedule for yourself, adopting new habits, eliminating old habits, or working on routines (i.e., morning, evening, weekly, etc.)
  2. Pick the top-priority issues or things you’d like to work on first.
    • If you plan to work on one or two things at a time, just worry about the first task for now if it feels easier to do so. This is usually best when dealing with tasks that may involve several things to get into the habit of or change.
      • For instance, keeping a clean kitchen might be a goal that you need to work on gradually and in steps. If this is the case
  3. How do you plan to work on those tasks or goals?
    • If you’re not quite sure but have a few ideas to consider, then go ahead and list those ideas. You can always experiment as time goes on and adjust accordingly.
  4. Figure out how frequently you need to work on those tasks.
    • How often should you be working on those tasks? Yearly, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or as needed?
      • Keep in mind that you’ll want to stay consistent enough with certain tasks that things don’t get too messed up, requiring more effort to clean later.
      • Consider Maintenance Cleaning, which usually involves cleaning more consistently but doing so quickly and not as thoroughly as a deep cleaning. You can then deep-clean said area or item (e.g., fridge, bathroom) less often and it should be far easier and faster to do.
    • Remember: You can experiment and change things around.
    • You can either add this task(s) to the appropriate set cleaning schedule (i.e., monthly cleaning routine or chores list) or try setting a digital reminder for yourself on your phone or home devices.

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

  • Don’t hesitate to experiment. If something isn’t working or appealing to you when it comes to cleaning, organizing, or home management, there’s probably another (or better) way to go about it.
  • When in doubt, do your research. Chances are good if you can’t find or think of a solution, someone else likely already has. You can find loads of tips here and on other sites online, in books, on TikTok, and even on Youtube.
  • If you like to have more structure or aren’t sure where to start with cleaning, consider learning about different cleaning methods. You can also make a personalized hybrid version by mixing more than one or tailoring methods to suit your life and preference.
  • Our lives and circumstances are constantly evolving and changing. Expect that the same to apply to your routines and schedules, too, and adapt accordingly.
    • It can be helpful to create a routine or schedule that is flexible. This way, you’ll feel less frustrated and more prepared to tackle or even embrace those changes.
  • Go easy on yourself and others. Cleaning is just like any other necessity that benefits our health, mental wellbeing, and overall life. And, as with any other skill, it can take practice and time to get the hang of it, whether by you or others you live with.
    • Also, keep in mind that everyone is different and may prefer to do things another way. This is why it’s good to learn to adapt as best as we can or find a work-around.
  • Own it. Treat cleaning and managing your household and life as a hobby, lifestyle change, or a new and useful skill to continue to improve upon.
    • Hate dusting? Find a way to make it easier, faster, and more tolerable.
    • Don’t like some other chore? Learn how to work around it, ninja style.

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)

The Situation

Below are some of the kitchen concerns I had over the years as well as my thoughts and feelings associated with them.

  • The kitchen always felt cluttered and messy.
  • It often felt like I was the one doing all the work, including much of the cooking.
  • I never seemed to be able to keep the kitchen clean.
  • It took a lot of time to clean the room, not to mention a lot of effort.
  • I was typically cleaning other people’s dishes, including personal ones like glasses or plates used outside of general meal times. Because of this, I sometimes (or often) felt taken for granted.

The Solution(s)

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)
Bed making

The Situation

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

  • I disliked making the bed in general, often finding found it to be too much work. You know…effort. Pfft.
  • Doing the bed reminded me that I need to wash my bedding more often. AKA more effort.
  • Making the bed felt like it took too much time. I may not have much of a life, but who wants to waste time, right? Right.
  • Having the bed against the wall or in difficult positions made things more difficult to make over the years, adding to my fits of procrastination. It was my excuse and I was sticking to it.
  • At the same time, I hated how it made my room look—especially when the rest of the room looked clean, otherwise. Sigh.
  • I didn’t feel relaxed in my space, which didn’t help my mood or sleep. Double sigh.

The Solution(s)

  • Try to make the bed as soon as I get up, or at least before heading downstairs.
  • Keep it simple — have a minimal amount of items to handle, stash, or otherwise move.
  • Buy bedding and have it set up in a way that I really, really like. So much that I want to make the bed every day.
  • Don’t strive for perfection. If you put off making the bed because you were taught or always have seen people who smooth the sheets down or create the perfect folds and crease, then don’t do it.
    • Start with just pulling the sheets and blankets taught to get the lumps out and making sure the pillows look neat and tidy, and skip the tucking, smoothing, and creasing.
    • This made a huge difference in the way I felt about making the bed.
  • Find more bed-making tips and hacks here (new tab).

Benefits Gained

  • I feel more relaxed and more likely to sleep better in a tidied room due to less visual clutter and over-stimulation, which can often increase stress.
  • Having fewer things to wrangle while making the bed means that it’s faster and easier to make, often only taking a minute or less.
  • I never have to worry about folks seeing my room due to the bed not being made.
  • I feel more inclined to keep the rest of the room looking neatish.
  • I always have a ready-made bed to sit on to relax, read, get into at night, etc.
  • See more reasons and motivators to make your bed here (new tab).

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 Solution

  • Got a lighter-weight vacuum, but eventually went with a cordless vacuum.
  • Worked up to maintenance vacuuming the main areas of the house daily for about 5-7 minutes, making sure to work around other chores if need be (e.g., dusting, heavy cleaning).
    • Main areas typically include the kitchen, dining room, main hallways, living room, and other general areas that get the most traffic.
    • For 2-story homes, such as what I’ve lived in for the past few decades, it helps to just do the entire downstairs. Small homes or apartments can even be done daily or every other day to their entirety.
    • I do not move furniture items, such as ottomans, kitchen chairs, large baskets, etc., on these light vacuuming days since it’s mostly for maintenance cleaning.
  • Do a more thorough vacuuming jo once a week and/or as need.
    • This usually means moving those smaller furniture pieces mentioned above and moving more slowly with the vacuum for a deeper cleaning job.
    • I will often make sure to clean furniture pets stay on at least once a week, if not daily.
  • Sometimes vacuum the kitchen at night briefly if there’s a big mess to avoid it being tracked everywhere.

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.

  • To avoid scrubbing, dust at least twice a month; however, adding it to your weekly cleaning chores would likely work best.
    • I worked my way up to dusting once a week, though some rooms get twice a week if I feel up to it.
  • Don’t bother with being meticulous; it’s maintenance cleaning. Just a quick once-over will do.
  • Make sure to run the duster over as much as possible, from ceiling fixtures and furniture to baseboards, doors, cabinet fronts, etc.
    • It’s far easier and faster to dust than having to scrub things later.
  • Divide dusting up into sections
    • I typically choose to do it floor-by-floor one day in the week and upstairs another day of the week.
  • Find a 360-degree duster and one that actually attracts dust and can maneuver well around items.
    • Recommendation: Swiffer 360 with an extension rod or microfiber duster.
  • Learn to work from top on downward to avoid dust falling onto already dusted surfaces.
  • Make sure to move in one direction around the room, which speeds up the process and ensures everything is dusted.
  • Do dry dusting more consistently since it’s faster and my preferred method, but also mix in wet dusting every now and then.
  • Perform wet dusting for more thorough dusting at least every quarter, if not monthly or bi-monthly to get all surfaces and to avoid build-up.
    • Wet dusting is essentially using a barely damp cloth to clean surfaces, furniture, glass, knickknacks, etc.
  • Add something fun into the mix, like listening to music, chatting to someone, listening to an audiobook, etc.
  • Vacuum when finished.
  • Get a good-quality air purifier(s) that’s suitable for the room it will be in.
Perks & Incentives
  • Allowing myself to just quickly do a once-over with a Swiffer 360 once a week throughout the house, even if I have to split it up from floor-to-floor or section-by-section, feels faster, less tedious, and is something I feel I can do each week.
  • The more often I dust, the better and faster I get at it.
  • Dusting is now something I don’t mind doing, and sometimes I even find it relaxing.
    • Much of this is due to adding in elements that I enjoy, such as listening to music or a podcast, and because I found a dusting method that works for me that lasts.
  • Improved allergy issues.
  • I rarely have to scrub any surfaces since I eliminate the need to do so by dusting more often. It’s usually sufficient to run a lightly damp cloth once over surfaces a few times throughout the year, such as on doors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, baseboards, etc.
    • This is because surfaces tend to get dirty when dust and dirt mix with humidity in the air over time, creating grime or buildup commonly seen on baseboards, furniture, glass, etc.

#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.


  • Invest in good-quality microfiber glass-and-window-cleaning cloths and a good polishing cloth.
  • Avoid cleaning outdoor windows when it’s hot or the sun is shining on them.
  • Clean them regularly, such as once a month to at least every season, preferably be for they have the chances to get too dirty.
  • Dust glass surfaces and mirrors prior to cleaning them, which prevents lint and other debris from smearing.
  • Split the task up by floor or sections, if necessary.
  • Exterior windows that are hard to reach can be done less often.

Perks & Incentives

  • Glass is always looking sparkly-clean, which helps when looking outside, the inside somehow looks neater, and it even puts me in a good mood.
  • Cleaning the windows more often means that I become more practiced at it and they don’t require as much effort to clean.
    • It used to take me an hour to clean exterior windows at our old house, which was a single-story but had a lot of huge windows to clean. Once I got the hang of doing them, it would usually take me about 15-20 minutes to get the job done.
  • Using microfiber cloths and polishing cloths speeds up the process, especially the more you use them and work away at the residue left behind by cleaning sprays.
  • Polishing cloths and microfiber can provide a streak-free finish, and a good polishing can provide that added wow-factor that you won’t get from traditional methods.
  • We save a lot of time and/or money in the long run.



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:


The Recap

  • Acknowledge any habits, methods, or areas where you already do well or feel you’ve improved.
    • Can you use some of these changes, habits, or methods in other areas that you struggle with?
  • Assess areas that might need work, improvements, or changes to help make your habits, cleaning, and overall household easier to maintain and more efficient.
    • Journaling can be a great way to determine what you need to work on, or even what you may need to do with other members of your household to help things run more smoothly. Just keep things civil and be kind.
  • Consider splitting your cleaning routine and schedule up into smaller chunks. This might include having a night, morning, and weekly cleaning routine, or even tossing monthly, quarterly and yearly schedules in, too.
  • Consider maintenance-style cleaning to do more consistently but more quickly and less thoroughly, which can be used in-between the less frequent deep-cleaning sessions.
  • Making a manageable cleaning routine can also mean dividing up goals or tasks that you want to improve upon into more manageable chunks.
    • This can often be done by breaking things up into small cleaning sessions or through daily, weekly, or even morning and evening cleaning routines.
  • Create a game plan but don’t hesitate to experiment and make changes as necessary.
    • This might include writing the smaller, bite-sized chunks into the rest of your routine, or creating a routine(s) from scratch based on issues you want to work on.
  • Learn to treat cleaning as a hobby or something to improve upon, as well as something that can enrich your life.
  • Know that you may have to make changes as your life changes, and that’s perfectly okay.
  • Focus on making your cleaning schedule and routines work around your needs and schedule — not the other way around.

Have any good cleaning incentives or motivators? Let us know in the comments!

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