Spend Less Time Cleaning With One Small Shift to Your Routine

published Aug 28, 2018
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

I’ve been cleaning my house according to this room-by-room cleaning schedule for years. When I keep up with it, my house looks perpetually clean. But (spoiler alert!) I don’t always manage to keep up with it. And I’ve begun to wonder if a particular shift in my routine could save me time and give me the impetus to finish my daily tasks.

Why You Should Try Task-Based Cleaning, Instead of Cleaning by Room

The room-by-room method works well enough. I even make it a particular point to keep the cleaning supplies I need in every bathroom so that this tactic is as painless as possible. (Having to gather cleaning supplies is a big mental hurdle for me.)

But I wonder if by grouping the same tasks together over the whole house, I’d be more inclined to attack that one chore each day. I wouldn’t have to switch tools to accomplish each day’s tasks, and I’d “touch” almost every room in the house every day (which might help with picking up things that are out of place before clutter gets too out of hand in any one room).

Everything will still appear perpetually clean if I were to break up the days by task instead of by room: Dusting would happen once a week whether I do it in the bathroom every week or throughout the house each Monday, for instance.

I’m thinking a sample schedule could look something like this for me:


Dust surfaces (with a duster, and this means everything, including toilets and picture frames in every room)


Clean surfaces (this would be things like counters, glass, wooden tables, chairs, appliances, and again, toilets)


Vacuuming (every room with wall-to-wall carpet and all area rugs)


Mop other floors (vacuum first, and then clean wood floors and tile floors throughout the house)


Clean out fridge, straighten pantry, clear off desk, organize mudroom, maintain closets


Wash bedding


Rotate toys and books and plan for the week ahead

Another advantage of this strategy is that it’s so much easier to remember what I’m supposed to do each day. If needed, I could break up that day’s duty into small chunks of time that fit into my schedule—but I know throughout Monday, for example, to have my duster at-hand.

One thing that might need to be tweaked with this strategy is if you live in a multi-level home. In that case, it might be easier to group a couple days’ tasks together and stick to cleaning one floor at a time.

Do you do better cleaning by room or by task?