Slow Home: Cleaning Rhythms

Slow Home: Cleaning Rhythms - Episode 148 of The Slow Home Podcast

In the final of our cleaning related episodes (I know many of you have found these really helpful, which is awesome, but I’m not going to lie – I’m looking forward to not thinking quite so much about cleaning again as of next week!) Ben and I look at our rhythms. Specifically the rhythms we’ve developed at home that allow us to stay on top of the home maintenance and ensure things never get overwhelming.

It might seem like over-engineering, but I’ve been using a version of this rhythm for years now, and while it’s changed as circumstances have shifted and the kids have gotten older, it’s served me incredibly well and it means we can minimise:

    • the amount of time we spend thinking about cleaning
    • the overwhelm that strikes when there’s a build-up of jobs that haven’t been done frequently enough. (A bathroom left for a month takes much longer to clean than a bathroom that’s cleaned once a week, for example)
    • the stress and willpower factors involved in cleaning – I don’t need to think too much about housework at all, but simply go through the rhythm that’s in place
  • the chance of things ever getting truly out of hand which in turn means cleaning takes less time, less energy, less product, less of everything.

In order to work out our rhythm, I simply wrote down all the weekly housework tasks and split them up over the days of the week that make sense for us. For you it might be a matter of doing all the housework on a Saturday morning or a Thursday afternoon because your schedule doesn’t allow for it to be split over days. Whatever works is the order of the day here!

And, despite the fact that I feel like this is very dull, I’ve been assured that this stuff is interesting to some of you, so I’ve written a simplified version of our rhythm below, to give you an indication of how this actually looks in practice:


    • Clean kitchen (15 min) – tiles, bench tops, microwave, cupboard doors, fridge door, stove top
  • Wipe bathroom vanities with towel and change towels (2 min)


    • Change bed sheets as needed
    • Wash linen
  • Laundry


    • Clean glass (10 min) – shower screens, back doors, mirrors
  • Admin/bills


    • Clean toilets
  • Dusting


    • Clean bathrooms
    • Vacuum
  • Mopping as needed

(Almost) Daily Tasks

    • Wipe kitchen benctops
    • Wipe bathroom vanity
    • Sweep
  • Laundry

Less Frequent

    • Oven
    • Fridge
  • Pantry

This week’s action is simple: write a list of all the home maintenance tasks you need to do each week(ish) and then spilt them up in a way that works for you. Delegate and schedule as needed, then stick to the plan for a week and see if it reduces stress/mess/cleaning time. And let me know how you go with it – I’d love to hear!



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6 Responses to Slow Home: Cleaning Rhythms

  1. I made it a goal for March to start doing certain household tasks daily (or essentially daily), and it has made a big difference with how clean our house is staying! I chose dishes, clean off the kitchen table, sweeping the floor and wiping down the kitchen benches as the priorities. But I just had a baby so everything has fallen by the wayside for now.

    I am going to save this list and come back to it once life settles down a bit again! Smaller chunks are way easier for me to cope with rather than doing them all on the same day.

  2. Thanks for this, it’s really helpful. I’ve been trying to work out a way to start getting on top of cleaning our home (with 3 young children, not an easy task as there seems so little time!) and most approaches on the web are room based which seems impossible to me – getting the hoover out every single day?!? This approach – i.e. activity rather than space – might be the key to me getting it sorted. Food for thought! Thanks. And I love your podcasts!

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