Practical Cleaning Routine Tips for Any Schedule

Practical Cleaning Routine Tips via Clean Mama

I talk a lot about my cleaning routine and what tasks to do on different days and how to complete those tasks, but how about specific ideas for ways to implement my cleaning routine into a variety of schedules? Today I’m going to share some simple tips and tricks for how to incorporate a cleaning routine. Let’s not dispute whose schedule is more difficult to fit a cleaning routine into, but let’s talk about HOW to incorporate a cleaning routine because figuring out WHEN to clean can freeze up the progress.  I’ve included some helpful posts that you might like to take a peek at as you’re reading as well.  You can always find the current month’s FREE cleaning calendar at the top of my free printables page!

A little bit about Clean Mama’s Cleaning Routine:

I love a clean house, but when people live in a home, cleaning up is constant.  That’s where a cleaning routine is essential – simple tasks completed daily and weekly really keep the cleaning to a minimum so I can spend time with my family and not cleaning.  With minutes a day and a plan, homekeeping can be enjoyable, simple, and easy to fit into your busy life and schedule.  In case you’re curious, I have been implementing this cleaning routine for nearly 15 years – as a newly married, full-time working gal, a full-time working out of the house mom, a stay-at-home mom, a traveling working in and out of the home mom, and now a work-at-home mom with three active kiddos.  This routine is for anyone that’s busy and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning.  It may need to be tweaked for your life and schedule, but if you want to spend a couple minutes every day with a little homekeeping, the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine is for you!  Remember, it’s just ‘everyday a little something’!

Practical Suggestions for Implementing Clean Mama’s Cleaning Routine:

If you work outside the home and get home late or leave early (or both!) and are exhausted and have no energy to put a cleaning routine into place, my best suggestion is to start with 5-10 minutes before you leave for work and 5-10 minutes when you get home.  Start with the daily tasks and work on completing them every day.  If the daily tasks are overwhelming, just start with one – one load of laundry from start to put away, pick up clutter, check floors, or wipe counters.  Add one every week and before you know it you’ll have built a little routine into your schedule.  Once you feel like you’ve got a good handle on daily tasks, start adding the weekly cleaning tasks – Monday is bathrooms day, Tuesday is Dusting Day, etc.  Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and do what you can in that amount of time and forget the rest.  Keep going and before long you’ll have added this step to your routine as well.  If you feel like you can add more time, and get more accomplished, increase your time to 15-20 minutes.

If you work 12 hour shifts or an unpredictable schedule, you might need to double up tasks and tackle two or three on your days off so you truly don’t have to do much on the days that you are at work.  A cleaning routine can be accomplished, but give yourself grace while you’re trying to figure out what works best for you.

The following post might be helpful if you’re trying to find a good rhythm for your routine:

Six Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean via Clean MamaSix Things I Do Every Day To Keep the House Clean

Studies show that taking breaks throughout the day can actually help you be more productive.  Choose specific times to take homekeeping breaks and throw a load of laundry into the washing machine or unload the dishwasher.  These little breaks will get your body moving and might just help you be more productive during the day.  I find it most helpful to get my homekeeping tasks out of the way early in the day so they don’t get pushed to the back burner and not completed.  Find YOUR time to clean – do you get more accomplished with little chunks of time throughout the day or do you do better by getting it all completed before you start working.  Figure out what works best for you!

Feeling Overwhelmed Try one of these simple tasks via Clean Mama
Feeling overwhelmed?  Do One of These Simple Tasks

If you are at home all day with kids or if they are at school for part of the day, you know that the house is most likely in a constant state of flux and mess or potential mess.  ENJOY it, but if you need to have it tidied up during the day (I do!), my best suggestion is to implement times during the day when the kids tidy up their messes and you do your daily/weekly tasks.  Complete tasks during nap time or when kids are playing independently.  Building time to clean up into your schedule is the best way to find the time to clean.  If you don’t plan cleaning, you’ll get to the end of the day and realize you didn’t get anything done and feel defeated.  I find that seasonal cleaning is really helpful to get that everything’s cleaned all at once feeling.

Spring Clean in 30 FREE Printable Checklist via Clean MamaSpring Clean in 30 Challenge

If you have children, get them involved in homekeeping.  It will make it easier for you to incorporate cleaning and they’ll help make the work a little lighter for you.  A couple things that work well at our house – take one activity out at a time, clean up before lunch/naps, clean up before dinner, quick clean up before bedtime.   Assign specific, age-appropriate tasks – laundry, dusting, making beds, cleaning up after themselves are all simple daily tasks that kids of all ages can complete with a little guidance.


Let's Clean House - 2 Free Kids Cleaning Checklists - Clean Mama Let’s Clean House – Cleaning With Kids (free printable chore cards)

Pick a Chore Jar via Clean MamaSimple Chore + Reward System (free printables)

What are your best tips for implementing a cleaning routine with your schedule?  What have you done that works?


  1. This, like all your tips, is so helpful! I’m not a naturally tidy person, but I get overwhelmed with a mess quickly. I’ve been following your cleaning schedule for the last few years, and it has been essential for helping to keep our home presentable – especially with kids!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for this timely post. I am mostly a sahm and have been for nearly 15 years. I work Thursdays and Fridays 4 1/2 hours in the afternoon. I am trying to get into a routine for cleaning and exercising. I did really well for a few weeks with your schedule, but then life got in the way and I am trying to get back into it. I really need to spring clean and organize my kitchen, so after this busy week is over, I will start on that.

  3. This seems very skewed or biased for SAHMs. In particular, the line that says “If you are at home all day with kids or if they are at school for part of the day, you know that the house is most likely in a constant state of flux and mess or potential mess.” That somehow implies that working women somehow must not get their houses as messy and it must somehow be easier for them. Clothes and dishes still get dirty still the same. You still have to cook and or pack three meals and bathe/clothe and feed everyone. You just have fewer hours in the day to do it.

    • I’m sorry that you interpreted it that way Angela, I have worked the cleaning routine from ALL the angles personally. An observation that I have as doing all 3 (WAHM, WOHM, SAHM) is that there’s more constant cleaning when the kids and I are home all day vs. when they are at daycare/babysitter. Yes, there’s still laundry, dishes, and messes with any schedule, I’m just trying to help people sort it out in any situation 🙂 And absolutely, there’s less time to do it if you are gone all day.

      • I completely agree. That was one of my first observations when I went from working full time to being a SAHM. My house seemed to get messy more quickly. The fact is, your house still gets dirty either way but it sure stays clean longer when the whole family is gone 10 hours a day (Work, school, daycare etc.) There is just no one there to make a mess. But both moms have to work hard. I too have an appreciation for both situations. 🙂

      • I am a WAHM of three boys. I feel blessed to have a job that I can do from home, but I do feel like things get out if hand extremely quickly, especially if the boys know mom is distracted, not to mention the extra paperwork I have to keep together! I really appreciate this article and the mention of breaks throughout the day. I think that would be super for me and good for my boys to have some attention as we complete a project together add they love to “help”.

    • Becky left several tips for Working out of the home moms earlier in the post. Many of my friends and I have the same complaint. When people are almost always in the house, it does get cluttered (or completely destroyed) a lot faster than the homes where people are gone most of the day. That just makes sense because if you are working out of the home then your small kiddos aren’t there to be dragging out toys and you can pretty much guarantee that whatever you clean in the morning before leaving for work will still be clean when everyone gets home.
      Becky has never written a post that was even slightly biased in tone. Sometimes going back and reading the post again helps you ‘head’s her intention much better.

  4. I’ve been following your site for about a year now, with the Start Now cleaning calendars, but as a Working Away from Home mom, I could never convince my husband (a fommy) that a cleaning routine was a good idea. I’d print the calendars and bring them home, just to have them clutter our counter tops or fridge.

    I had my second baby the day after Christmas and moved to a Work at Home mom and then we moved 2 states away. Since we’ve been here and I’ve been at home, my husband asks for a list and I give him the daily ‘big’ job and the little ones (laundry, dishwasher, garbages) and he actually does them. We’ve been here 3 weeks now and it’s been incredible how much nicer it’s kept things for us!

    The best part? My husband now sees that a routine works and today, without being prompted, he said, “Okay, on the list today: Bathrooms.” THANK YOU CLEAN MAMA!!

  5. I work about 12 hours a day. I’m a full-time teacher and a coach after school. I look after and live in my parents vacation home. I set a timer for 30 minutes every morning to try and get the Daily Tasks done. I spend my Saturdays trying to do the Weekly Chores (along with errands) so I can rest on Sundays). I used to try to do the Weekly chores in the morning but I found that I would run out of time. For instance, cleaning the bathrooms, I would get through half of them and the cleaning supplies wouldn’t leave the bathroom until I finished on the weekend. So now I just do all the weekend chores on the weekend.

    When I was a student, I would study for 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. Because it’s important to recharge by being physically active, I always cleaned during these 10 minute periods. This might help for the work at home moms.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hey there! I’m really interested in reading this post, however I can’t seem to get it to load on my computer, phone, or iPad. Any ideas?


  7. Thanks so much for your site! I work outside of the home 40+ hours a week, have no kids, but have a very busy husband and two big, active dogs with dust mite allergies. I took your suggestions on how to build a routine, but in reverse. Meaning I do the weekly tasks, and am slowly building in the daily tasks. Why? Immediate need. Two big dogs means the house naturally gets dirty really quickly. Hair, dirt from outside, and slobber accumulate rapidly and the overall appearance of the house can go from clean to dirty in just a couple days. To make things more difficult, they both have dust mite allergies which can quickly turn into big medical issues. This means their bedding needs to be cleaned at least once a week, and dust on the floor and surfaces needs to be kept at a minimum. This routine has been a godsend!

    One adjustment I made was to the frequency of laundry. My husband and I don’t accumulate too much laundry, so doing laundry every day would mean I would be putting two things in the wash. I do laundry 4 times a week, instead. Saturday gets two loads, because I actually have time to do it.

  8. Donna Kay says:

    Thank you so much for this…most cleaning schedules are for SAHM and I’m a Working Single Woman – a grandmother – so most schedules don’t fit me and I still need one – this helped me very much…I love your blog and all your articles…THANKS!

  9. Keeping the home clean can be a real struggle! That’s why it’s so important to have a routine. I also find that all-in-one products such as vapor steam cleaners can go a long way in streamlining the process.

  10. Dolores Kimble says:

    I really needed you blog. I finally feel like my house is clean again, and I actually like my beautiful home again. For quite a while it had gotten so messy and cluttered that I really didn’t enjoy it anymore. I am a teacher and have summers off so I have used this time to get a handle on storage spaces. I have been looking up decluttering articles and have decluttered most of the spaces, cabinets and drawers in my house. It feels so great! Thanks!

  11. Hi:

    I should have seen this post before I retired.

    I tried several methods to keep my house clean. I was mostly successful but I need a real schedule adapted to my needs.

    Now that I’m retired (since July 24th) I find that I can’t enjoy summer as I’m catching up on most of the tasks I could not do while working 9 to 5.

    I love your page, your blog and your printables.

    I’m a proud member of your Homekeeping Society and even if I don’t follow it to the “T”, I’m always happy when I receive your e-mail telling me I can now download the new month printables.

    Thanks so much.

  12. nice tips, thanks for sharing

  13. Hi there Becky:). I so enjoy reading your blog. I am overwhelmed and tried tapping on the things to do when you are overwhelmed:) and couldn’t get any thing to load

  14. I work outside my home Monday through Saturday, leaving my home at 7:15 am & not returning until 6:30 pm.
    Fixing dinner, throwing a load of laundry in & loading the dishwaher are about all I can manage after work before I am asleep in a chair. In the mornings I do desk tasks – paying bills, answering correspondance, balancing the check book, etc. On Sundays, I grocery shop, strip beds, wash sheets, do yard work, wash windiws…it is never ending.
    I’m still trying to figure out when to dust, vacuum, & maybe toss the ball to the dogs, let alone give my DH a tiny bit of attention.
    I’m going to try Ashley’s suggestion to set a timer for 30 minutes & hopefully get a few more things done in the mornings.

    • I would even just start with 10 minutes/day for things like vacuuming and just get done what you can. Best of luck!

    • Janice, I remember what it was like (before kids) and wondered how I’d ever have time to get everything done. Now we have a bigger place and 3 children, and I homeschool them all. So we are making big messes all day from crafts to science experiments, and messing up the kitchen at least 5x a day. This has forced me over the years to do just what Becky says-use little snippets of time to do what must get done. A load of laundry must get done daily for me to not get overwhelmed (also I pared down our wardrobes which makes it unlikely we’ll face mount washmore again). The kitchen gets a swift clean up and wipe down after meals and snacks, dishwasher on right after dinner, bathrooms wiped down daily as part of our evening routine(just 1-2 min per bathroom), a day to wash the sheets and vacuum all the rooms, etc. It is so much easier to do it all as part of our routine; we go on auto-pilot. There are still times we must deep clean, but these habits keep the home tidy and sanitary. It also takes time to train the children, but it is worth it-the oldest can do their own laundry now. Do not worry that you feel overwhelmed with your schedule now. It is normal. Just start one small habit like making sure the kitchen is clean right after dinner. Next you can make a habit of wiping down the bathroom sink and folding laundry while you watch TV or whatever it is you want to get done most. Before you know it, you’ll be getting things done and not worrying about catching up-your little habits will eventually be enough for basic upkeep. I still learn new things.

  15. I’m seeing so many comments from WAHMs and I would love to know how to get some work from home myself. I used to edit but there just wasn’t enough money in that area for all the time I was putting in. Suggestions would be much appreciated!

  16. Linda Coulter says:

    Hi there,

    The lists are great but there isn’t much help for women who have shift working husband’s. My hubby is on a 4 day on 4 day off roster with two of those shifts being night shift. I can get no cleaning done when he is sleeping all day as I can’t make too much noise. I have thought about shifting the cleaning schedule each week by two days but that isn’t feasible when I work 3 days a week either. Not to mention that when he is home and we have a day off together we will usually have something planned. I am muddling along but there is no routine. Any suggestions would be appreciated

    • Hi Linda!
      That’s a tough one – do you have a fan or noisemaker going where he’s sleeping? That might help to drown out a little bit of the noise. I think that the biggest task that you wouldn’t be able to tackle would be cleaning the area that he’s sleeping in (a bedroom?) and vacuuming. My recommendation would be to do what you can while he’s sleeping and put things away or finish up when he’s awake. Do your best to figure out a routine that works – start with mine and adapt it as necessary to work for you 🙂

  17. Kathy Cooper says:

    Your cleaning routine works for me and I get alot accomplished. I tried flylady and it didn’t work for me. Thank you

  18. I love your tips and clean simple routines, have you ever written cleaning tips for chronically I’ll make. Like you can’t double up on tasks, you have to take rest breaks, and kids nap time is your nap time. And some days days or weeks you just have to spend in bed. Thanks to you, I may not get much else done but my bathrooms are clean 🙂

  19. Can you work on a method for chronically ill Moms, the ones of us who have less energy everyday overdo on the days we have energy.

  20. I have also found that my cleaning routine has needed to change as life changes. Sometimes I need to stop and figure out why I am not getting things done and its usually a change in the household schedule. I also love setting a timer, it helps make the job feel shorter and not so dreadful if its only for a few minutes and you feel like you have accomplished what you wanted! Thanks for all your cleaning help Becky!

  21. Thank you so so much for your monthly free calendars. I love to clean and love a tidy home but always struggled because we lack a schedule. I’m sometimes a sahm, sometimes a wahm and sometimes run an in home daycare depending on the season. My husband works shift work. Every Routine I found called for a more set schedule. Yours is basically just do it. Just sometime every Monday I clean my bathroom. When hubby has Monday off but I don’t he can do it. When I have daycare kids I do it at nap. When I’m a sahm I do it early before the kids get up or even once they are in bed. It doesn’t rely on a set schedule – just do it. Thank you. Thank you. Just…..thank you.

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