Fall … my absolute favorite time of the year! Imagine the smell of cinnamon apples baking in the oven; the sight of leaves turning to beautiful colors of orange, red and gold; reading as a family by the glow of candlelight, while darkness falls in the early evening; and children giggling as they enjoy hot cocoa with gooey marshmallows. Nowhere in this cozy picture do you want to think about cleaning your house or finishing the laundry. All you want to do is enjoy the crisp, cool days of fall and make memories as a family.

Our family is able to take pleasure in this wonderful season because we have daily cleaning routines. Our cleaning routines are dispersed throughout the day, in increments of ten minutes or less. This helps us to clean with little time or thought. These routines have become such a habit and a natural part of the day that we don’t even think about the fact we are cleaning. It is almost as if the house is cleaning itself. And by teaching my kids these routines, we are now able to accomplish more in less time.

Having a cleaning routine in place makes me more intentional with my day so I can get more accomplished. I also have more energy and patience, and our home is more peaceful and organized.

Start Your Own Daily Cleaning Routines

  • Decide what you want to accomplish in a day. My personal goal for the day is to finish my cleaning and laundry before my husband gets home so we can enjoy the evening as a family. And then my husband and I can enjoy our quiet time together after our children go to bed.
  • Arrange the tasks in a way that you can most logically accomplish them with little time or effort. Example: throw a load of laundry in to wash first thing in the morning, then switch loads before school starts. Clean and straighten the bathroom as you get ready in the morning. Clean the kitchen following each meal.
  • Try to make each task ten minutes or less. Short, quick tasks are easier and less daunting.
  • Schedule a task around the same time every day to help with consistency—even if it’s not the same task. I sometimes dust and vacuum at the same time of day on alternating days, since those tasks do not have to be done daily.
  • Consider the ages of your children, and then incorporate them into the routine. You would be surprised at how helpful really young children can be when helping dry dishes and putting up clothes. This is great training for them; and even though it may be extremely time consuming now, it will pay off in the future.
  • Post your cleaning routines where they can be seen until they become a habit. I personally need a visual reminder of what I should be doing, and when I should be doing it, or else I will forget. And here is a bonus: once your children’s routines turn into habits, they will usually do them without fussing because it will just be a normal part of their day.
  • Add a ten-minute quick-clean at the end of the day so your house will look pleasant, and you can begin your relaxing evening. At 4:00 PM every day, we do a quick ten-minute pick up, vacuum with a light rechargeable vacuum, dust, and put away laundry. And I have learned that it is OK if a particular task is not finished by the end of the day. I can just finish it the next day. If my house needs any extra cleaning, I will usually add no more than thirty minutes of extra time on Friday. But because my daily routine keeps my house clean, I don’t have to do this very often.
  • Save complicated tasks such as decluttering or deep cleaning for another time of year. Enjoy the fall.

Post your cleaning routines where they can be seen until they become a habit. With your house clean and a plan in place, you won’t feel guilty or feel that you are leaving something unfinished. Now, make a list of those fun fall things that you have always wanted to do, but have never seemed to have time for, such as: baking cookies together, going for a walk, picking apples, and going to a pumpkin patch. Enjoy your newfound free time, and make great fall memories with your family.

Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.

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Sharla Orren lives with her family in Arkansas, where her husband, Robert is a minister. She loves homeschooling her two boys, ages 15 and 10.