A 15-Minute Weekday Routine That Completely Takes the Stress Out of Cleaning

published Nov 20, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

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I love cleaning early in the morning before the sun or my three children wake up. I find the process of cleaning calming and almost therapeutic. I set a 15-minute timer, clean one area of our 750 square foot apartment each weekday, and then move on with my day. My 15-minute Weekday Deep Cleaning Routine provides me with a feeling of accomplishment before the hustle and bustle of my day. Before the clock hits 5:45am, I feel like I’ve already tangibly shown love for my family.

Cleaning Routine: Before Kids

I’ve always enjoyed cleaning. Before my wife Emily and I had kids, I looked forward to my cleaning marathon on Saturday mornings. I would put in my headphones, listen to a great podcast, and clean for hours. After a long week, it felt great to work out the week’s stresses while scrubbing baseboards and sanitizing surfaces. I’d work my way from the back of our apartment to the front of the apartment while my wife simultaneously worked on other household tasks. In a few hours, we would have a perfectly clean apartment that we could enjoy for the weekend, and the cleanliness could be maintained until the next weekend.

Credit: Sarah Crowley/Apartment Therapy

Cleaning Routine: After Kids

When my oldest two daughters turned 3 and 1, I realized that my cleaning routine marathon would no longer work. I started to dread cleaning. I love my daughters dearly, but they were like walking tornados who were also fascinated with all of my cleaning supplies. I quickly found that the few hours it once took to clean the apartment quickly multiplied! I also found that my weekend cleaning marathon took time away from us being able to spend time together as a family. So I had to figure out another way to clean. Enter: a brilliant new routine guaranteed to make our lives so much easier.

How we transformed our cleaning routine

My wife and I had a conversation about how we could realistically streamline some of our household routines in order to enjoy more family time and make our chores more efficient. We both agreed that we were willing to put in a bit more work during the weekdays so we could have larger free blocks of time during the weekends to spend together as a family. We also realized the optimal time to complete most of our tasks was when the girls were sleeping.

I brainstormed the idea of starting a daily cleaning routine where I could clean one room in our apartment each day instead of cleaning everything on the weekend. I decided to start shifting my sleep schedule to wake up a bit earlier, and add cleaning to my morning routine.

My weekday deep cleaning checklist

We developed a Weekday Deep Cleaning Checklist by thinking about each of the rooms in our apartment and naming the cleaning tasks required weekly. The kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms, and miscellaneous rooms (for us, it’s the playroom) each require a different set of cleaning tasks, so it’s nice to have the list organized in an efficient way. I spend about the same amount of time cleaning each week as I did before, but now I have my cleaning routine broken up across the week instead of all concentrated on one day!

I’ve been able to maintain this weekday cleaning routine for three years now and it has eliminated the need for hours long weekend cleaning marathons. It has also completely eliminated the mental headache of trying to remember what was last cleaned when. 

Download this cleaning checklist print-out to help keep your daily tasks organized too. 

Bonus tip: set the timer!

Before you embark on the journey, here’s the most important thing I’ve learned: set a timer before you clean. Setting a timer motivates me to clean in hyper-drive as it’s as if I’m trying to “beat the clock,” like in a game. I set my daily timer for 15 minutes and, with laser focus, clean as diligently as possible until the clock runs out. While cleaning, I consult my list of cleaning routine tasks by area, and then add on additional tasks if I have time remaining.