In order to accomplish this freedom, I have adapted my weekday schedule to take care of all of my cleaning activities. Minimizing the number of items in my house, has made the cleaning process much easier. I try to spend less then 30 minutes total a day cleaning. But I clean every weekday. Which I think makes my house cleaner than most.
Laundry – I have a separate hamper for colors and whites in my closet. Then I wash a load as soon as a hamper is full. Doing one load at a time, I can start a load prior to fixing dinner. Then switch it to the dryer right after dinner. I set a timer on my phone to go off five minutes before the timer on my dryer. So that regardless of what I am doing, I know exactly when the clothes are dry. I will remove the clothes quickly, fold or hang everything while it is still warm. This prevents me from “fluffing” the clothes several times and wasting electricity. The idea of my routine is to never have more than one load of laundry to do in a day. I strive to have all of the laundry done for the week on Thursday evening. Last thing I want to do is plan a whole day around laundry for the weekend.
Dishes – Joshua Becker wrote a great post on not using a dishwasher over at Becoming Minimalist. The post has some great click through links. But honestly I’m not that disciplined. My approach is to never go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. I think people hate doing dishes when there is two or three days worth of dishes in the sink. But if you clean everything right after dinner everyday, the task isn’t so daunting. I like to clean as I cook or bake to minimize the number of items that have to be dealt with later. I hand wash some items. I use a few high dollar knives that should never go through a dishwasher. (Jules Clancy has a great post on kitchen knives at The Stone Soup). Cutting boards and cookie sheets don’t fit well in dishwashers, so they are usually hand washed too. I also wipe down the counters after doing the dishes. This is the only chore I still do on the weekend.
Sweep and Mop – I live in a small house. The only solid surface floors that I have are at my front door and the kitchen. I don’t use the front door regularly to get in and out of my house. So I only sweep and mop this area once a month or so. But the kitchen I do every week. My pantry is big enough to keep a broom and a Swiffer Mop in. I usually do this Monday night. The weekends I tend to dirty the floor the most. Spot cleaning spills are done immediately so that they don’t get tracked around the house.
Vacuum – I never vacuum the whole house at one time. I could probably do my whole house in 30 minutes. But this would fill up all of my time that I want to clean for a day. So I break the house up into four parts. Monday night is the two small bedrooms. One of which I use as my sons game room. Tuesday is family room. Wednesday is living room and study. Thursday is master bedroom and bath. I vacuum the main hallway in my house every weekday. I know that is overkill. But it is small and connects all of the rooms in my house. It gets the most traffic in my house. So it is just a good place to start.
Bathrooms – I clean the two bathrooms every other week. 100% of the products that I use come from the recipes in Annie Jean Brewer’s ebook The Minimalist Cleaning Method. Not only is is cheaper but it cleans faster and without the flowery smells in most commercial products have.
Dusting – I have very few surfaces in my house that require dusting. I use one of those Swiffer dusters. It works great and just takes a few minutes to finish.