My Cleaning Process and a $500 Give Away!

This post is sponsored by the makers of Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes, the quick and easy way to clean and disinfect your home!

I get a lot of emails asking about my cleaning schedule after I wrote about my typical day on Joanna's blog. I truly do not love cleaning, but I know that I'm so much happier with life when my house is clean. Don't you feel the same way?

A couple years ago, right after I had Claire and when Gracie was old enough to really start doing some damage, I was feeling like I would never have a clean house again. (I also thought there was a good chance I would never get to sleep through the night again. :) good times) I was picking up the house all week long it felt like, and then I would do all my laundry and deep cleaning on the weekends. That meant my Saturday was completely gone and that the house was totally dirty again by Monday morning. Stresses me out just thinking about it.

Then one time I was visiting a friend's house who had three rambunctious toddler boys. I walked into her house for the first time and my jaw dropped. Her house was CLEAN. Like, I'm not talking about tidy - tidy is not always possible during the day with kids, but it was clean. She is one of those amazing mothers who is really active with her kids, so I knew she didn't spend all day neglecting her boys to clean the house. I was surprised and a little jealous of her sparkly floors so I begged her to share her secret. She laughed and said she kept a chore chart, which I thought was hilarious! What grown woman has a chore chart?! Suddenly I had to have one!

I copied her chart and have been using a slightly tweaked version ever since. I can't say that I'm always following through here, but when I do, my house is practically spotless and best of all, I don't feel like I am cleaning all the time - which honestly was the hardest part for me of being a stay at home mom in the early years.

It looks like a lot, but I think even on the most intense days I'm only spending 30 or 40 minutes in aggregate cleaning (though we live in a 1500 sq ft apartment, so your home might require a little more time). I've listed the chart here below, and here's a simple printable version.

So the basic idea is this: there are daily chores - easy things you should take care of almost habitually in the morning and in the night, and then there is a single special chore of the day. Most of these chores end up getting done once a week (for example, every Monday I do a deep vacuuming of all our rugs. I took only one interior design class in college and I only remember a handful of things from that class. One of them was a tangential comment my professor made about vacuuming. She said that you should go over the same area on a rug SEVEN times super slowly to get it clean. Isn't that just nuts? I don't do that, but I do try to do a slow vacuuming on Mondays.). Friday though is the swing day, where you rotate in chores that need to be done less frequently, like scrubbing the microwave.

I'll walk you through today's cleaning schedule. It's Tuesday. I wake up and make our bed. It won't get done unless I make it as soon as I get up. The girls are getting good about making their beds too. After I finish getting ready I wipe down the bathroom counters and the sink. While I'm making the kids breakfast I empty out the dishwasher.

Then life happens and the house sort of falls apart during the day.

Then at night the girls help me clear the table and load the dishwasher. Michael does the trashes. Once the kids are in bed I quickly sweep or vacuum the kitchen and dining room and I might pop into the living room too. I keep a wet rag with me and as I go I'll spot clean the floor. My goal is fast and furious cleaning!

And here's where my baskets come into play. I keep them everywhere. I really love this basket that I posted about yesterday because it is super sturdy and holds its shape. I zip through my house every night with this basket, throwing in every misplaced item, then going back to each room once and put the things back where they belong. It takes me just a few minutes to pick up a day's worth of clutter this way. No more running back and forth and back and forth from room to room putting things away. Try the basket method - you'll never go back!

Plus - another bonus of having your pretty baskets out in every room? If you have a friend coming over right away, you can just corral everything in the basket super fast and no one's the wiser.

Once the house has been de-cluttered, I do my chore of the day (today was cleaning the mirrors and windows), and then I'm done! It might sound like a lot, but I promise it isn't. When I'm consistent with this schedule, I never have to do one of those marathon cleaning days to get back to ground zero. The house never has a chance to get really dirty, so the cleaning never feels like a true chore. It feels easy and, dare I say it? Pleasant?

So that's my approach to cleaning in a nutshell. I know we all have our special tricks, and I'd LOVE to hear yours!

Today's super-sized give away is $350 to Target AND $150 to the Container Store and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment sharing your favorite cleaning or organization tip. I can't wait to see what you guys do to keep your spaces sparkling! Any other crazies out there with a chore chart? :)

Contest ends March 22. Winner will be announced on the 23rd. Contest rules can be read in full here. Good luck!!