How Having a “Catch-All Day” Completely Transformed My Cleaning Routine

published Mar 2, 2023
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When my husband and I were looking at houses, trying to find one we could imagine raising our children in, we got to tour a four-story Victorian mid-terrace house. Honestly, it was beautiful. Huge rooms, high ceilings, and views across the valley. My husband was in love, but I wasn’t so sure. “When are we going to find time to clean it all?” was all I could ask.

We didn’t buy the Victorian terrace, but even our modest three-bed semi-detached home has double the space (and double the floors) of our old apartment. Add in a baby with two working parents and my worries about keeping on top of the cleaning were still alive and well.

So I devised a plan. I would do a different room each day: the kitchen on Mondays, the bathrooms on Tuesdays, and so on. Of course, I thought to myself as I packed up my old apartment, I would also do less-frequent chores on a separate schedule, stay on top of the laundry and dishes, prepare nutritious meals for my family each night, be a present parent, do a great job at work, plan enriching family activities on weekends, maintain friendships, arrange regular date nights with my husband and, of course, prioritize self-care. Can you guess how well I managed to keep up with that daily cleaning plan?

That’s when I came across Becky Rapinchuk’s (aka @CleanMama) routine. As well as daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning tasks she builds in a Friday “catch-all day.” It was like a light switched on in my brain. I wasn’t giving myself enough time to do everything. 

Cleaning is never going to be at the top of my priority list (which includes things like “spend time with my daughter” and “important work deadline”). Nonetheless, our home does need some level of cleanliness — both for hygiene and for my sanity. So I assigned rooms into four days: kitchen on Mondays, bedrooms on Tuesdays, bathrooms on Wednesdays, and living areas on Thursdays — and I reserved Fridays to catch up with anything I missed through the week.

Most weeks, I need the grace that a catch-all day gives me, but Rapinchuk also uses it as a motivator to keep up with the other daily chores. “I like it as a reward too so that if I do get everything done during the week, I don’t really have anything to do,” she says. 

That way, you can take some Fridays off, or do those less-frequent deep cleaning tasks when you have a “free” Friday. “It really allows you to just say, it’s not always gonna get done every week or every day — and that’s okay,” says Rapinchuk, adding that it also allows for real-life things to occur, such as sicknesses, last-minute plans, and all the other surprises that can throw us off routine.

Do you have a cleaning “catch-all day”? Tell us in the comments below.