I’m not good at homemaking. I didn’t get great home-training in things like cooking and house-cleaning. My mom just did them herself most of the time and we did our own rooms. And it certainly doesn’t come naturally to me! So I use a zone-cleaning system based on the FlyLady method and one of the biggest parts of that system is CLEANING CHECKLISTS! Room-by-room cleaning checklists make sure everything gets done. And BONUS–they make sure everyone else is able to help you too! To be honest, there’s a lot of deep cleaning chores that I almost never get to. Some days in the spring and fall it’s all I can do to keep the farm mud mopped off the kitchen floor! But in general, I’m able to keep our house livable day-to-day if I stick to the checklists.
When we found ourselves home full-time due to quarantine, it became imperative to have some type of routine to structure our days–for learning and cleaning! I’ve already shared printable versions of our weekly routine and our weekly assignment sheets for the kiddos with their light homeschooling plan. Here’s the cleaning checklists that you might have seen previewed in that post!
Part of their weekly plan also includes helping with the housework. I developed these printable Room-by-Room Cleaning Checklist Chore Cards for them to help knock out our weekly basic house cleaning. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after lunch they are each assigned a room in the house to clean up. They have to go through that room’s cleaning checklist as they clean. If we rotate each child through 3 rooms a week, every room in the house gets hit at least once a week! On Saturdays and Sundays, I try to go over all the rooms again myself quickly, just to hit any problem areas (like the base of the toilet!).
It’s important to me that the kiddos learn to follow the cleaning checklists in order because they are written to work the room from the top to the bottom. No point in vacuuming the floor and then dusting the ceiling fans!
If you take a look at our daily routine, you’ll see that the kiddos all have chore time at the same time each day. So I keep at least 2 sets of all cleaning supplies around, if possible. For bathrooms, I actually keep all 3 cabinets stocked with bathroom cleaners. This means we can all knock out our chore areas at the same time each day and everyone can move on to free time at the same time. Nothing will start bickering like one child waiting on another child to finish with the mop!
How to Use These Cleaning Checklist Chore Cards
There are a couple different ways to use these cleaning checklist cards. The FREE PRINTABLE file contains 2 version of the cards.
One is small, index card-sized cards, 4-to-a-page, with one extra chore card that’s blank for you to use.
The second version is each room on a full-sized 8.5 x 11 sheet and also includes a blank page.
We use the 4-to-a-page version. I print it on regular paper and slip it in a page protector for each child. (Note: We use heavy-weight page protectors so that I don’t have to replace them all the time. We’ve been reusing the same box over and over for several years now.) Then they are assigned a chore card per day on their weekly assignment sheets and they pull it out and check it off as they complete. They keep the same printed sheet in their binder until they have cycled through every card once. Then they get a new sheet.
We have 3 bathrooms, so one full “cycle” of chores would include using the bathroom card 3 times. They just use a different color pen each time they do a bathroom. But you could easily use the blank card to add an extra bathroom. Or just make their cycle include only 1 bathroom.
In the file you’ll also find full-sized pages for each room. This might be easier for younger children, or to use as a “family cleaning binder.” You can use dry erase markers on page protector sheets as well.
You can also print the cleaning checklists on cardstock, laminate and hole-punch them, and put them on a binder ring. Using dry erase markers, you could wipe and reuse them. This would work for either size you prefer.
Cleaning Checklist Products We Use
I use a mix of commercial and homemade products for cleaning our house. I also use a mix of disposable and DIY reusable products. It depends on what kind of time I have and how far behind I’ve gotten on my cleaning routines! Most commercial disposable products are easier for the kids to use right out of the box. Teaching them to use DIY or reusable products can take a bit longer at first, but that upfront time will pay off later.
We also use Weiman’s Stainless Steel wipes for our appliances and their Leather Conditioning wipes for our couches. I honestly don’t use commercial glass cleaner anymore, although we keep Windex with vinegar around because my husband prefers it for our vehicles and if he’s washing, I don’t comment!
More Natural DIY Household Cleaner Options
Most of these have a more sustainable replacement as well, which I prefer to use as I have time. Sometimes these DIY products can include extra steps you’ll need to supervise your kiddos with at first. For example DIY Swiffer cloths and disinfectant wipes usually have to be squeezed out before use. Reusable cleaning cloths have to be put separately in the laundry rooms so they don’t mess up clothing.
I have transitioned completely to a vinegar-water cleaning solution with reusable microfiber cloths for all our windows, door glass, and mirrors. Just 50/50 water and distilled white vinegar. Sometimes I add some tea-tree or lemon essential oils, but honestly, the vinegar smell fades as soon as the liquid is dry.
I also prefer to use vinegar and water on our hardwood floors. You can use the same mix of 50/50 water and distilled white vinegar with your own DIY reusable Swiffer pads. Or you can use a spray bottle and squirt-and-mop with a dry microfiber cloth on your Swiffer. The squirt-and-mop method takes a little more supervision at first.
Here’s a DIY Lysol wipe recipe, using paper towels. Paper towels are still a disposable option, and these days can also be hard to find! So you could always go with a fully-washable, reusable option. I haven’t done this one yet. I get lots of “help” with the laundry too, and you have to be careful cleaning rags don’t get washed or thrown on top of good clothes!
Here’s a tutorial for washable, reusable Swiffer Duster refills. You could just use a dusting rag, but I find that it’s easier for the kids to have a light hand with the Swiffer wand when going over light fixtures or hanging art frames. And they would need extra help reaching the ceiling corners and fans anyway. In our house we go through a lot of these–so. much. dust. and pet hair! So these washable flannel refills is on my short list as soon as I get through this COVID working-homeschooling-farming phase!
Click here and download your Room-by-Room Cleaning Checklist Chore Cards.
And let me know how you decide to use them!
Look for more help with Kids and Chores? Our farm kids pull their own weight and then some around here! Check out some of our other Kids and Chores posts for more tips and resources…
Letting the Work Provide the Reward (Natural Consequences AND Natural Rewards)