July 28, 2007
Those dreaded weekly chores really aren't so bad if you accomplish your daily chores during most of the week. Likewise, if you keep up with your weekly chores most of the time, your seasonal chores will be a snap.
Some people prefer to do all of their weekly chores on one designated cleaning day, while other people (like me) prefer to spread them out during the week (e.g. Monday: paperwork; Tuesday: Kitchen; ... Friday: Groceries). If you work, it is probably easier to do a little each day rather than have to waste your day off cleaning your house. Keep that day clear, so you can go out and enjoy it. If you don't work (at least for a paycheck ... us moms do lots of work), cleaning everything on one day may actually work out better for you, so you can have one day a week with a clean house before the kids mess it up (and you can really get the kids involved on "cleaning day").
Some people clean their house room by room, carrying a cleaning tote from place to place, doing everything that must be done in that one room. This way they know that there is at least one perfectly clean room in the house. Others clean based on activity regardless of the rooms involved: vacuuming everything one day, cleaning all the hard floors the next day, dusting everything the next day, and so forth. These individuals may not have a room that is 100% clean, but the work usually gets done much faster. I do a combination of both. For example, the kitchen and bathroom I clean completely while the dusting and vacuuming of the entire house, regardless of the room involved, gets done separately. This method works best for me because of my cleaning style, and I have made this checklist to reflect my method, but use whatever method works best for you.
Of course, "weekly" isn't always the best word to use when it comes to chores. Some people prefer to do all of their chores every other week. Some people like to split up the list, dusting, polishing, grocery planning, etc. one week, and thoroughly cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, etc. the next week. Feel free to divide it all up as you wish.
The kitchen needs to be clean to protect you and your family from germs. You don't have to become obsessive about it, but it should be a priority.
Clean small and medium appliances
The first thing you do is figure out which pieces of each appliance can be thrown into the dishwasher; make technology work for you. Then wipe them down, making sure you get off any splatters or buildup. This is one of those chores that is largely cosmetic for many appliances, but in the case of mixers, food processors, and similar appliances it actually helps prevent the spread of germs, and cleaning out your toaster and toaster oven can actually prevent that nasty burning smell and even fires (I actually had a friend who almost lost her house because of a dirty toaster).
Wipe down large appliances inside and out
This is best to do just before grocery shopping, so you can
empty out your refrigerator and clean up any spills, fuzzy growths, or
crumbs. Wipe out your oven weekly and scrub out any tough, burnt-on
spills to get rid of that mysterious burning smell every time you bake.
It's wise to do this for any other large appliances too to keep germs
from having a place to grow.
Clean out the dishwasher filter
Some people do this every day, but I'm lazy. Make sure your dishes aren't covered with food when you put them in the dishwasher, and you can get away with doing this just once a week. If you don't keep your dishwasher filter clean, you could end up with clogged lines in your dishwasher (which can cost a pretty penny in repair services if you can't fix it yourself) or you'll end up with food stuck to all of your dishes (sometimes the food isn't even from this week) even after you put them through a wash cycle.
Wipe down cabinets
I know some people do this during their seasonal chores, but when you clean your cabinets infrequently then end up with a horrible greasy, grimy buildup (and if you've ever cleaned cabinets that haven't been cleaned in awhile, you know what I mean) that can take half a day to scrub off. It's much easier to just wipe them down once a week, making sure you get off any drips or food particles. Don't forget the hood over your stove.
Clean counters, backsplashes, tables, and chairs thoroughly
You should be wiping down your counters and tables every day, which makes this job much easier, but you also need to do a thoroughly cleaning to deal with stains, stuck on food, crumbs you missed because they roller under the bread box, and such. You may also want to disinfect the counters, but if you've been cleaning them daily, it probably isn't necessary.
Mop the floor
It should already be swept daily; now it's time to mop. Mopping your floors ensures that you won't end up with unsightly grime, stickiness (which is quite annoying when you walk), or any buildup of food (such as the fruit juice that you thought you cleaned up completely but actually missed a spot) that might attract pests.
Clean the sink thoroughly
You wipe down your sink every day, but you should also give it a good, thorough cleaning to get rid of stains and any stuck on food particles or grease buildup.
Sharpen your garbage disposal blades
This is the easiest chore of all. Just throw some ice into your garbage disposal and turn it on. As the blades chop up the ice, they'll also be sharpened. Having sharp blades ensures that your garbage disposal will effectively puree the waste you throw down the drain rather than ending up with tiny chunks that end up clogging your drain.
Clean your drains
You don't need to get out the plumbers snake (unless your drains are extremely clogged). Just pour equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar down your drains (baking soda first, vinegar second) and the mixture will help keep your drains clean, reducing the need for that plumbers snake. Some people like to plug up the drain until the fizzing stops.
Clean showers and bathtubs
If you've been rinsing them out every day, this won't be very difficult. In many parts of the country, not cleaning your bathtub or shower means you'll eventually have lots of mold and mildew (it's not pretty and can sometimes smell pretty bad). You also need to get rid of any grime, soap scum, and hard water buildup, so you won't have to scrape it off later.
Soak fixtures in bleach if moldy
Sometimes your fixtures can get moldy from being damp all the time. If yours are starting to look moldy, soak it in a bleach and water mixture. I personally use 1 part bleach to
2 parts water because it works best for me (I
keep trying safer cleaners, but I haven't found one that
really works), but you can use weaker solutions if you wish.
Soak fixtures in vinegar if covered with mineral deposits
If you notice that your shower head isn't working like it
used to or that a white crust is building up on your
fixtures, you have hard water deposits. To get rid of them,
you can usually just soak your fixture in pure vinegar. For
tough deposits, you may need to soak it overnight, and tough
deposits may need some scrubbing and additional soaking.
Nobody likes to do it, but it must be done. You need to clean the inside as well as the outside. If you use bleach tablets or some other drop in cleaner in your tank, this job is a bit easier, but then you can't use the water in the back of your tank during emergencies. There are leave-in cleaners that fasten to the inside of the bowl, but I personally have not had much luck with these. You'll need a toilet cleaner of your choice and a toilet brush to scrub the inside of the bowl. If you have a lot of build up, you can just leave the cleaner in the bowl for awhile to do it's magic. Don't forget to disinfect the handle of the toilet because germy hands touch it frequently, with every flush.
Wipe down counters and backsplash
I've you've been doing this every day, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to this. Just consider doing a bit more of a scrub if it looks like it needs it.
Clean sinks and soap dishes
Just as you cleaned your bathtub and shower, clean your sink, and don't forget the soap dish. If you've been wiping out your sink daily, this should be easy.
Sweep and mop floors
You would be surprised to see all the lint and hair that builds up in a bathroom, and the floors often can use a good cleaning once in awhile (not necessarily every week in, but you should try to clean it every week if you have children or boys in the house ...
why oh why do they pee all over the floor like that?).
Just as you cleaned the drains in the kitchen, clean your bathroom drains with equal parts of baking soda and vinegar, adding the baking soda first.
Polish all fixtures
Finally, just to make the place look put together, shine those fixtures.
Vinegar works well too if you buff it.
Dust / Polish / Wipe Down
Go through your house room by room and do everything all at once. This is a lot easier than getting out your polishing / dusting supplies every time you want to clean a room.
Get rid of cobwebs
I must admit, I like my spider webs outside of my house. They may look creepy and unattractive, but during the summer they catch lots of flies, mosquitoes, and other bothersome bugs. I let them stay as long as the spider who lives in it isn't poisonous. Inside the house, though, those spider webs just collect dust. If a spider is living in it, I apologize to it and move it outside, hoping it will spin a web outside to catch some of those bothersome bugs. Then I use a duster or broom to brush the cobweb away.
If you have a heating or air conditioning system, then you have
vents. Don't forget the vents directly on your wall heaters, space
heaters, window unit air conditioners, air purifiers, etc. Dust them all
Tables, bookshelves, desks, and anything with a potentially dusty surface gets dusted. A duster (synthetic or made of feathers) does just fine in most cases and are fun for kids, but slightly damp rags work better but require more effort. I use my duster most weeks but bring out the dusting rags once in awhile to make sure everything gets a good dusting. When the rags come out, I polish my wood.
We often neglect our electronic devices when it comes to cleaning, but they need it most of all. Dust them to keep components inside functional and to avoid potential fires from dust and hair building up on things like power sources. Wipe them down to keep them looking brand new.
Light fixtures and shades
It's amazing how much dust can cut down the light. I usually go over my light fixtures, shades, and even the light bulbs with a duster once a week and bring out the rags when it looks like it's time for a thorough cleaning. I'm always surprised by how much brighter lights seem when the fixtures and shades are clean.
Ceiling fans are known for being dusty, which can really make allergies horrible. Just go over them with a duster once a week, and they should be fine. You don't have to polish them unless you really want to or if it's obviously dirty because most people don't even notice a dirty ceiling fan.
Inside windows, sills, shades, and blindsI admit that I don't do this every week, but I try. Clean windows brings more light into the room and gives you a better view of the outside. Cleaning the sills, shades, and blinds just makes the room look cleaner and reduces allergies.
Knick-nacks If you don't want to clean your trinkets, then put them in a curio cabinet with glass doors or get rid of them. Otherwise, you'll just have to dust them because dust really destroys these items over time (especially antiques) in addition to
making them look dirty. Polish them when necessary.
If you dust your frames (and the glass or picture in them) frequently, you won't have to worry about polishing it often (assuming nobody goes around touching them and getting finger prints all over them).
Dirty mirrors are just one of those things that you may not notice outright but really makes the room look undone. When you clean them, light is reflected better, so the room actually looks brighter and crisper.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces
Items like remotes, phones, keyboards, computer mice and doorknobs are often the site of many germs that cause illness. I suggest using a commercial spray disinfectant on these surfaces, and do it daily instead of weekly if there are sick people in your home to reduce the chance of spreading the illness to other family members.
Vacuuming and Cleaning Floors
Do the whole house at the same time, and it will cut down on time spent getting your supplies out every time you clean just one room.
You can do this by just sprinkling baking soda on the carpet, letting it sit for awhile (at least 15 minutes) and then vacuuming it up.
Vacuum all rugs and carpets
Even if it doesn't look like it needs it, rugs and carpets have lots of dust mites, dust, and even annoying pests like fleas and other insect eggs, as well as crumbs that attract pests. All of this needs to be dealt with to reduce allergies and avoid any unexpected infestations
Vacuum furniture and fluff cushions
We shed lots of skin and hair (humans and pets) which end up on our furniture. Vacuum them to reduce allergens and the build up of hair, which eventually ends up on your clothes.
Sweep and/or dust all hard floors
If you have tile, linoleum, wood, or any other kind of non-carpeted surface, make sure you sweep or dust them to get rid of allergens and reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked around your home.
Mop / polish all hard floors
Floors should be mopped to keep dirt from getting tracked around the house as well as to give the room a cleaner feel.
For most other floors, use vinegar or a
cleaner appropriate for your floor type. For stone floors use a solution
of 2 tablespoons of borax and 1 quart of water. For hardwood floors, you
can use the vinegar, just a slightly damp mop, or a solution of oil soap
Sweep basements, garages, patios, walkways, driveways,
These are all the floors we almost always forget about.
They don't need to look perfect, but giving them a quick
sweep will making walking on them much more pleasant and
even help keep pests away.
If you do at least one load of laundry a day, you won't need to worry about most of this as a weekly chore, but I put it on my weekly chore checklist, so I don't forget to wash anything I may have missed during the rest of the week.
Launder bath and kitchen linens
Don't use fabric softener (except for making bath towels ultra
soft) because it reduces the absorbency of the towels and washcloths.
Don't forget to wash kitchen and bathroom rugs and your shower curtain.
Launder furniture covers and curtains
This doesn't necessarily need to be done weekly, but you
should definitely inspect them weekly to see if they need a
Launder bed linens
This usually gets done on the same day I work on the bedrooms. While the linens get washed, I sometimes spray the mattress with a fabric safe deodorizer if necessary.
Don't forget to wash the pillows.
I typically do this throughout the week anyhow.
Launder pet items
We often neglect Fido's pet bed or the cat's favorite blanket, but they need to be washed too. These items have lots of pet hair and dander (and don't forget those dust mites) that can add to allergies. Plus, this is where parasites, like fleas, like to hang out.
Wipe down washer and dryer
We often neglect our washer and dryer, but give it a wipe down once a week to keep it free from the lint buildup.
I usually do this night before the trash pickup day. Don't forget about those items to be recycled.
Empty all waste baskets in the house
Clean up after your pets
Empty litter boxes, clean up your pets' poop, toss out
old birdcage liners and rodent bedding, etc. Fluffy wants a
clean bathroom too.
Take trash out for pickup
This is when you handle all of the paperwork that has built up throughout the week.
If you have a "to be filed" box, this is when you need to file it's contents.
Update household organizer notebook
Calendars, schedules, addresses, and other items in your notebook need to be kept up to date. If you didn't update it as soon as you found out about the update, do it now.
Make sure you handle all of your bills if you don't take care of them immediately after they come in.
Update financial records
Some people do this on a daily basis, but if you don't then you need to do it now. Review your budget, balance your checking account, make sure that you actually made all the transactions you've been charged with, and be aware of your account balances.
I admit it; I'm always late with birthday cards, but making your greeting card sending a household chore makes it easier to keep from having to send out those belated cards. It's best to stock up on greeting cards for a variety of occasions or get greeting card software and make sure you have the necessary card stock, so you'll always have one ready to go if you suddenly discover that Aunt Betty's birthday is this week.
Groceries and Cooking
Make menus and shopping lists
Your should already have an ongoing shopping list posted on your refrigerator to get you started. Now, decide what you will need for the week (or however long it will be until your next shopping trip) by making a menu. Don't worry, the menu isn't set in stone, so you don't have to follow it exactly, but it's definitely good to have an idea of what you will be serving, so you'll have everything that you need. My menus are only for dinner, and I just buy a bunch of breakfast, lunch, and snack items for everyone to help themselves to. I make big dinners, so there is almost always leftovers for lunches.
Coupons and sales planning
If you clip coupons and work hard to get the lowest price possible on your groceries, then you need to sit down and plan it all out.
Once you've planned what you need to buy, go buy it!
Prepare batch foods and pre-cooked meals
For those of us who don't really want to be in the kitchen all the time, you can save time by preparing batch foods. You can prepare your own pancake mix rather than making it from scratch each time if you don't like the boxed stuff or a bag of shredded cheese for recipes throughout the week. You can also prepare pre-cooked meals, freeze them, and have your own frozen meals that just need to be heated up for those nights you just don't feel like cooking.