Cleaning may be one of the least fun "adulting" things to do, but it must be done!

I grew up with two younger siblings and I’m convinced that my parents had more kids only because they wanted more hands to do chores around the house. We shared all chores, from vacuuming the stairs and living room to scrubbing down our communal bathroom. Now that I have my own house, growing my own help is sounding better and better since it’s now nearly impossible for me to clean a whole bathroom in one go.

Until then, I have to be satisfied with a four-week cleaning cycle.

The four-week cleaning cycle breaks up the big chores into smaller tasks so that you don’t get so overwhelmed about doing the whole chore that it doesn’t get done.

As with all things, sometimes it’s better to look at each detail rather than the big picture. It causes less anxiety, at least for me, and keeps you from questioning how long it’s been since you washed your comforter (because, let’s be real, it’s starting to smell and looks a little discolored and is that because it’s been six months since it was washed or because I’m gross?).

Cleaning may be one of the least fun "adulting" things to do, but it must be done!

I’m going to copy a system my old work used to do in numbering the weeks and assigning certain tasks to them. We’ll use the following distinctions:

  • E1/E2: Every other week tasks, distinguished by what week in a two-week span they are completed
  • M1/M2/M3/M4: Monthly task, distinguished by what week in a four-week span they are completed

Now we have to figure out what chores need to be broken up. For me, laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, and vacuuming are the chores I struggle to stay consistent with. I’m going to use those three to work out this schedule and what needs to be completed when.

Some might disagree with the frequency of these (by the way, looking up comprehensive cleaning schedules will force you to realize that there are things in your home that you’re not cleaning or even knew needed cleaning, so it’s best to avoid those), but this is what I’ve figured out we can handle as a household.

Weekly:

  • Laundry: clothes, towels, pillow cases, anything else you sleep with close to your face
  • Full kitchen wipe down

Every other week:

  • Vacuuming (different floors, different rooms)
  • Laundry: sheets, mattress cover

Monthly:

  • Bathrooms (toilets, sinks, tub/shower, floors)
  • Laundry: duvet cover/comforter, mattress protector

So here’s how I break this down, with the “X” as when you should complete the task:

After four weeks, you’ll have cleaned your whole bathroom, washed your sheets twice, vacuumed your whole house twice, and cleaned your comforter. There are, of course, other chores to be added to the cycle (like a litter box or daily chores), but I’ll leave that up to you and your needs.

I’ve found that scheduling tasks and giving myself structure helps me feel less overwhelmed by chores and from feeling like a failure of an adult. To make sure I don’t miss anything, I put everything into a calendar (specifically Google Calendar). I like that I can have it on my phone, set recurring events, and have the alerts all go off at the same time so I know what our Sunday (our get-stuff-done day) looks like.

Putting chores on a cycle helps me know what’s coming up, what I’ve already finished, and what I don’t need to worry about for a few weeks.

I also recommend using the house calendar to schedule other recurring events like car maintenance, bills (even if they’re on autopay), and birthdays. As a visual person, it’s nice to have everything on paper and not roaming around my brain where there’s a high chance it would be forgotten or celebrated on the wrong day.

A four-week cleaning schedule can be adapted to your needs or the frequency you feel comfortable completing each chore. It keeps you on track and sure of what you’ve done and what needs to be done. And it makes you feel like an organized, mature adult, which can feel like a challenge sometimes.