How To Make Your Own Cleaning Schedule

Photo by DanBrady

Housework is a fact of life. I’ve tried not cleaning, and the elves don’t come out and do it for me.

I don’t want to have to remember what to do when I’m housecleaning. I find it a mindless task, but if I rely on my memory I will forget something. I have found that lists are the best way to handle it.

The Problem with Pre-Made

There are two fundamental problems with premade cleaning lists such as the ones Flylady provide. (Please note I am not picking on Flylady, but her system is the most widely recognized.) These problems are not being for my home specifically, and having only two frequencies: weekly and monthly.

While Flylady does encourage you to adapt the lists to your own home, you’re still locked into the cycles. Plus you’re never told specifically how to adjust the list.

In this article, I will show you the general ways to create a list, and show you how I constructed my list for my powder room.

How To Create One

There are general principles to creating a list:

  1. You need to be physically in the space you are creating the list for. Without being there, you will rely on memory and overlook things you see often.
  2. Start at the top and work down, then move clockwise from the door. This is to give you a full sweep of the room.
  3. Write as you go. Worry about order later.
  4. Know how often you clean an area now, and know if it is enough. Be honest in both answers.

Example: My Powder Room

As I stand in the door of the room, I see a fan above me. Then there is the chair rail, the molding and the floor. Going clockwise around the room I see three shelves on the wall (holding bric-a-brac), a window on the wall opposite the door, the cabinet above the toilet, the toilet and the sink. Above the sink is a mirror and light, and to the right of the door the light switch. Here is my list:

Item Now? Ideal
Exhaust fan 12 mos 12 mos
Door as needed 6 months
Chair rail 3 months 3 months
Molding 3 months 3 months
Floor 3 months monthly
Rugs 3 months 3 months
Shelves, dust monthly monthly
Window monthly 6 months
Cabinet dusting monthly monthly
Cabinet contents monthly 3 months
Toilet monthly monthly
Light monthly 3 months
Mirror weekly as needed
Sink weekly weekly
Switch monthly weekly

As you can clearly see, some of my items need more cleaning, and some need less. By going through the room in this detail, I can not only make a complete list of what needs to be done, but also how often it needs to be done.

Photo by DanBrady


  1. Lillian says

    Flylady is based on the “slob sisters” books – Pam Young and Peggy Jones. The list you created is how Pam & Peggy recommend you start the houscleaning listmaking process LOL

    • LJ says

      Yes, you are right. Where I deviate from the Slob Sisters is that I set a specific time frame for a task. If my memory serves me right, they still had the daily/weekly and monthly “lists” in the card file, and you got the choice to “skip” tasks for a few times before being forced to do it.

      I’m still working on how to serve up my housecleaning tasks in a manner that doesn’t make me think whether or not I need to do it right then, or wait. Flylady approaches it with the attitude that you every task on the list regardless, because it will be less work than waiting until it’s dirty. But if the area is still clean, why clean it again? It’s just wasted effort, in my book.