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The Case for Once a Month Cleaning

by Tiffany in Green Cleaning

The Case for Once a Month CleaningHouse Cleaning has got to be one of the most repetitive and thankless jobs on the planet; it has to be done, but who wants to do it? What’s more, who has the time?

Our schedules are so hectic these days that it seems we hardly have time for the important stuff; let alone daily housecleaning chores. So is there a solution? A few months back I heard someone taking about once a month cleaning and it was a light bulb moment. We HAD to try and see if this helped us in our home. I actually don’t dislike cleaning but with 3 messy kidlets and a husband who works long hours outside the home I was getting burnt out. Plus I work to, I just do it at home. That cutesy saying about rocking your babies instead of sweeping your floors isn’t so cute when your kids are getting older. Also my aversion to having company when the house is untidy was being challenged with the arrival of new neighbors who are always over at our place it seems. Thankfully there is a way that you can reduce your housecleaning to just once a month; mind you it is going to take a little advance planning, but it can be done.

Steps to Once-a-Month House Cleaning

Reducing your housecleaning to just once a month entails a good deal of organization and advance preparation, you are also going to have to enlist the cooperation of the rest of the people in your house, because it really will take everyone working together to make it work. It goes much easier if you come prepared to make it worth their while in the allowance department. I know some don’t like the idea of allowance but we use it primarily to teach money management and they know that helping out is required whether there is payment or not. Everyone who lives in our house has to contribute to its management.

Before you start your once-a-month housecleaning there are a few preparations that you are going to need to make. The first is making a list of the housecleaning chores that you normally do on a daily or weekly basis. Once you have made this list, split it up into chores that HAVE to be done on a daily basis (such as washing dishes, picking up toys, feeding the pets, etc. ) and chores that do not have to be done on a daily basis.

If you look at the list, chances are that you are going to find things like “cleaning the bathroom” and “mopping the kitchen floor” and things of that type. Let’s use cleaning the bathroom as an example: it is quite feasible to clean the bathrooms just once per month PROVIDED that the rest of the individuals in the house are willing to take steps to keep the bathroom from getting messed up before the month is up.

This means that towels will need to be hung up; that everyone who uses the sink will need to wipe it out with a sponge when they are finished (which will be under the sink) and that the last person to use the shower in the mornings needs to wipe it down. Clothing removed before showering needs to be tossed in the hamper (which is in the corner) and anyone who accidentally sprays the mirror needs to clean up their mess (rags are under the sink too).

As you can see, while it will take cooperation, there are also some things (such as having the right equipment in the right places) that will make the job much easier. Go through each of the housecleaning chores on your list like this and find ways that you can keep the chore from NEEDING to be done more than once a month. For things that need to be done daily or weekly we have the back bone of our cleaning system which is our 15 clean-up that every member in the house does daily. We do it together, turning on some music, and then assigning sections of the house. This means that main rooms are picked up and swept daily, dishes are done, plants and garden are watered, laundry is brought down to the basement, etc. Due to the once a month cleaning schedule we don’t assign bathrooms anymore with the exception of once weekly when the trash is collected and the toilet is cleaned in both bathrooms. We also don’t require any mopping unless the floors are really dirty. We actually have gotten lax on these cleanups since we moved into this house last September but part of our once a month cleaning plan was reinstating those sessions and making a chart to keep track of jobs more specifically.

Once you have made the necessary preparations to prevent the need of the chore being required more than once a month (and made sure that everyone is aware of what they need to do) you then need to make a housecleaning list of the chores that you can do once a month and estimate how much time will be required to do each one. Chances are that if you can complete all of your household chores in 1-2 days depending on the size of your house and the number of people in your household. Our once monthly jobs are mopping all hard floors, shampooing our carpeted areas with Dr. Bronner’s soap, cleaning and organizing closets and dressers, cleaning garage and basement, finishing laundry, washing windows, sweeping the porch and deck, cleaning walls and baseboards, scrubbing the kitchen and bathrooms, and all the bigger jobs that you don’t need to do weekly or that are much more manageable due to everyone being required to keep things cleaner on a daily basis.

Now, choose one weekend a month that you can devote to cleaning. Start early on Saturday morning and simply clean your way down the list, top to bottom. Now you have three weekends at your disposal – not to mention all your free evenings (minus 15 minutes for us); time you can use for the important things in life!

Now your turn. What cleaning method works best for your family?

  • I always clean my house only once a week because I am really home to mess it up.

  • Cindy

    I have a tendency to let the housework be on the back burner (also it is not my favorite thing to do).  It is just my husband and I now but after awhile it begins to show.  A couple of years ago I started a “one room a week” complete cleaning.  We only have four rooms plus one bathroom.  We have hardwood floors throughout the house so that means moving all the furniture and cleaning the room from top to bottom.  I also try to adopt a “if you notice – it do it”.  If there is a spill in the refrigerator I clean it up before it becomes dried on.  If there is a spot on the floor (we do have two dogs) I take a wet cloth and clean it up.  We also pick up as we go and do the dishes everyday.  The house stays reasonably clean this way and that is all we need.

  • Xyz

    Housekeeper twice a month. The End.

  • Angela H

    This is an interesting idea – although I don’t think we could leave most of our cleaning to once a month, I am sure that there could be some chores that could be done month with a little cooperation :-)  BTW, I found your site through
    Warmest blessings,

  • Shekhar

    very nice blog

  • Shekhar

    very nice blog

  • Kerisan

    Like the blog. Just wondering what type of carpet cleaner you use. We have a Bissel and of course it says not to use any other cleaners except those made by Bissel. Which of course is full of chemicals I don’t want to expose my little ones to. Anyone have any comments??suggestions???

    • We have a SteamVac but we had a Bissel for years prior and used our own soap in it too without incident. It started leaking after a few years so we Freecycled it to someone who could fix it. I think the reason they recommend their own soap is because you can’t use something that foams a lot… like with dishwashers. Dr. Bronner’s does not hardly foam at all.

      • Kerisan

        Thanks so much! I am going to give it a try :)

  • That’s sounds like a plan. Our house is pitiful these days, and the thought of surprise visitors makes me so anxious. You’re right though, it is better to break down the daily chores and do them diligently, otherwise you’ll end up sweeping and dusting for more than a day.

  • That’s sounds like a plan. Our house is pitiful these days, and the thought of surprise visitors makes me so anxious. You’re right though, it is better to break down the daily chores and do them diligently, otherwise you’ll end up sweeping and dusting for more than a day.

  • Wow. Your house is so much cleaner than mine. I can tell just by reading. I only clean once a month, but I don’t have any of these systems in place…I just wait till the bathrooms/kitchen/living room are so gross I can’t stand it any longer… ! 

    Seriously, though, I can’t imagine doing this with young kids like I have. Once they’re old enough to recruit to help, it sounds awesome. Right now for me to take a whole day to clean, I’d have to do it all by myself while my husband took my daughter out of the house. She can help clean–and she does–but she gets bored after about ten minutes and then she starts making more of a mess again. We stayed home with the intention of cleaning the house today, and I swear the house was messier by the end of the day than it was this morning! :)