Cleaning.  The necessary evil.  I would love to be able to summons the cleaning fairies at night. Until I can get someone to help, I’m on my own.  I’m proud to say that I’ve found a routine that helps to keep the chaos at bay (at least for a little while).  Wondering how to establish a cleaning routine you can maintain?

Single ParentHow to create a cleaning routine you can maintain

As parents, there never seems to be enough time in the day.  You have to take care of the kids, the house, and try to find some time to take care of yourself.  As a single parent, that time is cut in half. I do not minimize the fact that this might be the case for two-parent households.  But for single people, it’s all on single parents to bring everything together without going insane.  I know that time crunch all too well.

Two weekends out of each month, I take the children to visit their father, leaving two weekends a month and any spare time during the week to get things done.  I find time to keep things clean in the midst of homework, grocery shopping, dinner time, bath and bedtime along with everything else on my list.


  • How much time can you dedicate?


  • What are your daily chores? (e.g. beds made, load of laundry, counters wiped, etc.) What are those things that if you don’t do them daily will make you crazy?  I’m already nuts, but for me I don’t feel like I can leave the house without the kids’ beds being made and a load of laundry in the washer (wet face towels make me crazy).  Make a list of all those must do chores and how long each of those tasks take.


  • Divide up all the other chores in your house over the course of the week. I usually think about it in two ways:
    1. Based on the number of rooms in the house (i.e., every Monday I’ll clean the living room)
    2. Based on the types of chores to be done. For example, vacuuming and cleaning all floors one day, laundry one day, etc.)

For me, it’s much easier to assign myself a room to clean top to bottom each day.  The key is to learn how much time each room takes.  For example, if you can dedicate an hour each day to cleaning and know that you can get the living room and bathroom clean in that hour, group those chores together.

  • Try to schedule your cleaning time at the same time each day. I get up an hour earlier than everyone else and get my chores out of the way.  It gives me a chance to get things done without anyone else around.  Plus even if I don’t do anything else, I’ve already been productive.  By scheduling your cleaning for the same time each day, you make it a dedicated part of your daily routine and are more likely to stick with it.


  • By scheduling time to clean every day, I find that I actually spend less time cleaning during the week. Plus, since the kids wake up each day to a relatively clean house, they are more motivated to helping me to keep things clean.


Once you’ve set up your routine, don’t feel guilty for not doing more.  You’ve set up a schedule and now you know you’ll eventually get to everything.  So why stress out about it?  Have a glass of wine instead.

Creating a dedicated cleaning schedule has been a huge improvement for me.  I’m much less stressed about how clean my house is and find that it’s cleaner with less time spent than when I was in round the clock cleaning mode.  Plus, like I said, the kids have been extremely helpful in helping me to keep things clean.

MAYBE OUTSOURCING IS THE ANSWERhow to establish a cleaning routine you can maintain

Sometimes no matter what we do, there still doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done.  The final answer may be to get some help.  If you work from home, it may even make sense economically.  How much is that time you spend cleaning worth?  If your hourly rate is more than he cost of a service provider, it may simply make sense to outsource.  Even if it does not make financial sense, it may well be worth the peace of mind of having a clean home.

When you have kids, keeping a clean house can sometimes feel like swimming with weights on.  No matter how fast you paddle, you feel like you’re not going anywhere.  Having a cleaning routine, can help to keep the chaos to a minimum…at least until the kids get home.


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