Who doesn’t want a tidy, organised house? Household chores might feel overwhelming, but once you break the tasks down and work them into daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal lists, you’ll see how little time it actually takes to maintain a clean home.
Chore lists detail what needs cleaning and how often. If you often find yourself climbing Mount Laundry or waking up to a counter full of dinner dishes, you might benefit from using these chore lists.
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Daily chores help you stay on top of clutter and make your home guest-ready at any time. The daily chore list should be shared among family members so no one has to do it all.
- Make beds.
- Wash your dishes (by hand or in the dishwasher) after the meals. When dry or done, unload the dishwasher and put the dishes away.
- Deal with the mail. Do this on a daily basis to keep clutter under control. Sort out the bills and important papers. Recycle the junk mail and outer envelopes, and file the rest of the mail away.
- Vacuum high-traffic areas, particularly the main entries and kitchen.
- Clean kitchen counter tops and the stove top. Put things away and wipe them down.
- Clean up spills, dirt and other messes, as needed.
- Put things in their place — toss clothes in hampers, take dishes to kitchen and have kids put their toys away.
- Take out the trash, compost and recycle as needed.
- Do a quick wipe of bathroom sinks, counters and faucets.
One of the best ways to tackle weekly chores is to assign each chore a day of the week. For example, Sunday might work best as laundry day, so everyone has clean clothes for the coming week. If you know a particular day of the week is typically a busy one, assign a smaller chore for that day.
- Do laundry. That includes washing clothes, bed sheets and towels. Fold and hang clothes as soon as they dry to prevent wrinkles.
- Vacuum or sweep all floors, including the hard surfaces.
- Mop hard floor surfaces and dust mop hardwood floors.
- Dust. A quick dusting once a week helps reduce allergens and protects surfaces from scratches and wear.
- Thoroughly clean bathrooms, including the toilet, shower and mirror.
- Attend to your refrigerator and freezer. Throw out unused leftovers, pitch anything spoiled and do a quick wipe of the inside and rinse of detachable parts.
- Wipe down kitchen cabinets and appliances, paying close attention to handles.
Add these monthly tasks to your weekly chore list. But spread them out so you only add one a week to keep the extra work from becoming overwhelming. You can assign them to weeks — for example, clean your furniture the first week of the month. Wash mattress covers the second week, and so forth.
- Clean furniture. Vacuum cloth furniture, such as sofas. Wipe down wood furniture with cleaners. Treat leather furniture with a conditioner.
- Wash mattress covers, pillow covers, comforters and duvets.
- Clean the inside of your oven.
- Wipe down baseboards and moldings, doors and door frames.
- Wash ceiling light fixtures, and wipe fan blades.
- Clean inside the dishwasher with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.
- Dust, vacuum or wash window coverings.
- Wipe light switches, door handles and the surrounding wall area.
Chores to do seasonally
Spring is historically a time to clean all the winter dust and soot from a home. Though the purpose now is different, your house and your sanity still depend on a good seasonal cleaning and decluttering. Seasonal tasks typically can be done twice a year, in the spring and fall.
- Attend to your closets and dressers by donating items you no longer wear. Store winter and summer clothes in bins or in the back of the closest when out of season.
- Vacuum window screens with an attachment.
- Wash windows inside and out. Cleaner bottles that attach to your garden hose make this job easy — and fun for kids!
- Deep clean the fridge, freezer and pantry. Throw out expired items and scrub everything.
- Run a carpet cleaner and clean your rugs. Clean the floor under the rugs, as well.
- Clean under furniture. Move lighter pieces and use an attachment to vacuum under heavier items.
- Vacuum and clean out vents and their covers.
- Wash all pillows.
- Clean wood furniture. Better Homes and Gardens offers some instructions about what products to use.
It may help to make family members their own lists so everyone knows what is expected of them. Just remember to keep kids’ chores age appropriate.
You can also enlist the help of pros by browsing local home cleaners and housekeepers on Care.com.