I would rather spend a cool fall evening on the patio with a glass of wine than clean the house.  Yep.  I said it.  I’d rather play Monopoly with the kids, have a date night with my husband, or spend a weekend with my family in the mountains.  Seriously – I could fill this entire post with things I like better than cleaning the house.  And I would bet your list is just as long!  Despite my endless Pinterest search for the best house cleaning tips, I couldn’t find a solution to motivate me.

Once in a while I would get this burst of motivation and spend two days straight just cleaning the house.  And then I would get completely burned out before I’ve tackled it all. But most of the time, I put it off for one of the other gazillion things I’d rather be doing.  And every time I put it off, I soon regret it.

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So how do you keep on top of the cleaning the house, and not miss out on all the family fun?

You make a fun family activity out of it!

When my kids were 5, 7, and 9, I figured there was no reason they can’t be right there with me.  If we tackled it as a family, we could knock it out a little at a time.  I’m sure I was way overdue getting them involved, but better late than never, right?   And really, it wasn’t to clean my house.  It was to clean OUR house.

Aaand then  I remembered how distracted they get.  It was like herding cats.  Wait, what room are they cleaning now??  (Turns out the 5 yo was back in the playroom, in the middle of a pile of books and toys all over the floor).  Then all three wanted to vacuum at the same time.   45 minutes later, they each vacuumed the same spot over and over while I finished everything else in the room.  But it got done. Woohoo!

But they were all excited to help, so that was a total win.  45 minutes was a little too long to keep their attention though.  They each needed just one job to stay focused and on task.  Keeping them all in one room with me contained them and I knew what they were all doing – and we could do it together.  As a team.

If keeping a #cleanhouse takes away from valuable #family time, try this simple strategy Click To Tweet

We Needed A Plan – With A Time Limit and A House Cleaning Schedule

We broke it up into something more manageable for all of us.  No more than 15 minutes spent on one space each day and one job for each of the 5 of us (yes – Daddy joined in too!).  I know, I know –  fifteen minutes doesn’t seem like enough time.  You’ll be shocked at how much can get done in such a short time when you are fully focused!

First, we made “zones” – one for each day of the week.  Depending on what fits your schedule, this could be 4 days or 7 days.  Because we wanted to reserve weekends for adventure, we chose to do 5 spaces:

  • Living areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchen
  • Bedrooms
  • Guest room & Hallways

Then we wrote down 5 tasks for each zone, making sure each space had a few appropriate chores for kids.  I used that to create a house cleaning schedule for our family.

Rotational jobs are things that don’t really need to be done each week (ceiling fans, baseboards, window coverings).

This works because it can be modified for your family and your home.  Any part of this can be changed to work for you.  Do you need more zones, want to spend less time per day, or have more days in the week to get it done?  No problem!

Conquer chores and get more family time with this 15 minute plan. Our house cleaning schedule is made with chores for kids to get the jobs done quickly!
our family schedule

Using this weekly schedule does mean there are a few daily jobs need to go into the plan too.  Anything that just can’t wait a full week.  But these are generally quick and easy and already part of our daily habits.

Ready to create a plan for your family?  Download a blank house cleaning schedule here!

A Few Keys to Success

  • A cleaning basket with supplies and made just for them makes it all a little more exciting.  I surprised my kids with baskets I decorated for them, but they may have had more fun decorating it themselves! Something small and inexpensive is all you need.
  • If someone finishes before the 15 minutes are up, help someone else to finish their job.
  • Prioritize any chores not finished in the 15 minutes the next time you clean that space.
  • Have a small reward for immediately afterwards (10 minutes extra screen time, stickers, bubbles), especially as you are in the process of making this a daily habit for your family.
  • Keep it interesting by rotating chores from week to week (so they all get a turn to vacuum!)
  • Kid-friendly tools can introduce them to the “grown-up” jobs – my favorites are these Norwex towels that clean without the chemicals and this stick vacuum that even the little ones can handle.

Seriously, these are the best cleaning products I’ve ever bought.  These Norwex cloth towels are ready for the toughest jobs with just water.  No chemicals! And the stick vac?  So awesome!  Takes care of all the dog hair, works on hard surface and carpet, and uses almost no storage space.  I’ve never owned a better vacuum!

the perfect tools to get kids involved in cleaning the house
Norwex Envirocloth doesn’t require any chemicals, which is perfect for the kids
the perfect tools to get kids involved in cleaning the house
This lightweight vac is easy for kids to maneuver and doesn’t take much room to store (but still has all the power you need – even if you have pets)


Most importantly, this method for cleaning the house has instilled a sense of responsibility in the kids.  They are proud of what they can accomplish when they are in charge of a job!

Conquer #cleaning once and for all with a method that gets the entire #family involved! Click To Tweet

The verdict?  This has turned into one of my favorite house cleaning tips!

15 minutes and one area isn’t too much for any of us.  Even when someone don’t feel up for it, they know it’s just 15 minutes (or just 1/2 a TV show!).  And it’s much easier for them to know we are done when the timer goes off instead of “we are done when it’s all clean” – because that could feel like forever.

Ok, now that you have some extra time on your hands, you can get out for that family hike!  Need some tips?  Here are ideas for planning the perfect hike with the little ones!

What are your favorite chores for kids or house cleaning tips?  Let me know in the comments!

Conquer chores and get more family time with this 15 minute plan. Our house cleaning schedule is made with chores for kids to get the jobs done quickly!

32 comments on “How to Get More Family Time with These House Cleaning Tips”

  1. I’m with you on the long list of things I’d rather do and the 5-yr old playing in a newly-created mess! Thanks for this post. I’m always looking for ways to effectively include my girls in the cleaning process. I like the specific time and duties schedule 🙂

  2. These are some great tips! It’s funny how much my daughter enjoys using Windex. She thinks spraying things is fun. I do some things to help with house cleaning, like I don’t go to my bedroom without taking something with me to put away. Little things here and there certainly help!

    • We did that too for the longest time, but it was really taking away our weekends. But we were so pressed for time on school/work nights that we felt like we had to do it on the weekends. This method is a happy medium 🙂

  3. Using rotating cleaning zones–daily and weekly–were one of my best parenting moves! All I had to do to get some semblance of order was to say, “Okay, clean your zones!” I love your tips and chart! Good job!

  4. Nice! Love the schedule. We have 4 girls and of course it is always me doing the cleaning. My 2 older daughters are at an age where they could start to help on these things. Will give it a try! Thanks so much!

  5. I don’t have a family, but I need to put these to work for myself! Love the idea of breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks every day 🙂

  6. Great tips! I am a perfectionist to the point where I would put things off if I couldn’t do them all and completely, which meant that they never got done. The 15 minute trick is very helpful, because it gives me permission to just do a small chunk and move on.

  7. As I am starring at my disaster of a kitchen I really needed to read this. The kitchen always gets me because it gets used ALL THE TIME. I think I will start giving each person a kitchen chore each day. Maybe then, finally it will be clean. Then next I will attack mail buildup.

    • That is a great idea! The intent is really just to break the work into small chunks of time so it doesn’t become overwhelming. I have yet to tackle the papers too – I might need to add that as a job for one of our spaces!

  8. My wife still works, so the house cleaning falls on me. I like the way you broke down the cleaning into simple tasks. I can focus for 15 minutes here and there. I will use your schedule as a guide. The one chore I hate more than anything is dusting. If you have any tips to make it easier, I am all ears.

    • It really does make it easier. The simple tasks and the short amount of time aren’t overwhelming at all, so we are so much more likely to get it done.
      I’m with you on the dusting! I just started using Norwex towels that use just water instead of Pledge or other furniture polish. I like that it is chemical-free, but I also find that the fibers of the towels pick up the dust a little better than other cloths or paper towels.

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