How Often Should Chores Be Done? + How to Define “Clean” for You


Whether you’re a new homeowner, in a new phase of life, or just find yourself in need of some structure and consistency in caring for your home – we all eventually find ourselves asking:

How often should chores be done?

How often do I clean everything in my house?

How often do maintenance tasks need to be performed?

What household chores should be done daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, semi-annually, annually?

It’s a lot to consider.

While there are MANY resources available online, I have done my best to compile the most exhaustive list of potential home cleaning, maintenance, and decluttering tasks – all in one place.

In Part 1 of this post, you will see over 100 household chores and tasks outlined with a recommended frequency based on the general consensus online.

However, remember that this is simply a recommendation and only a starting point.

In Part 2, we will discuss how to choose wisely how frequently you perform each task in order to make the most of your time and create the biggest impact on your home environment and budget.


PART 1: HOW OFTEN SHOULD CHORES BE DONE 

Bedrooms

Declutter master bedroom and closet(s)Annually
Declutter guest bedroom and closet(s)Annually
Declutter bedroom #2 and closet(s)Annually
Declutter bedroom #3 and closet(s)Annually
Declutter bedroom #4 and closet(s)Annually
Rotate and/or flip mattress in masterSemi-Annually
Wash pillows and comforters in masterSemi-Annually
Rotate and/or flip mattress in guest roomSemi-Annually
Wash pillows and comforters in guest roomSemi-Annually
Rotate and/or flip mattress in bedroom #2Semi-Annually
Wash pillows and comforters in bedroom #2Semi-Annually
Rotate and/or flip mattress in bedroom #3Semi-Annually
Wash pillows and comforters in bedroom #3Semi-Annually
Rotate and/or flip mattress in bedroom #4Semi-Annually
Wash pillows and comforters in bedroom #4Semi-Annually

Bathrooms

Deep-clean bathroomsAnnually
Clean, declutter, and organize bathroom cabinetsAnnually
Wash bath matsMonthly
Wash shower linersQuarterly
Disinfect bathroom trash cansQuarterly

Kitchen

Declutter and clean pantryAnnually
Declutter and clean kitchen cabinetsAnnually
Disinfect kitchen trash canMonthly
Disinfect refrigeratorMonthly
Clean dish rack and/or wash drying matMonthly
Sharpen knivesMonthly
Clean microwaveMonthly
Clean garbage disposalMonthly
Clean range hood filterMonthly
Clean kitchen backsplash and disinfect surfacesMonthly
Clean dishwasher filtering screenMonthly
Deep-clean dishwasherSemi-Annually
Deep-clean ovenSemi-Annually
Deep-clean refrigerator (including coils)Semi-Annually
Clean small appliancesSemi-Annually

Laundry Room

Deep-clean surfaces in laundry roomAnnually
Declutter and organize laundry and cleaning suppliesAnnually
Clean washing machine, and de-lint dryerAnnually
Wash clothes hamper liner(s)Semi-Annually

Office and/or Electronics

Declutter desk(s)Annually
Declutter bookcase(s)Annually
Organize paper files, and shred any unneeded documentsAnnually
Clean computers and electronicsAnnually
“Declutter” electronicsAnnually
Declutter office suppliesAnnually

Exterior and Garage

Winterize and store lawn/outdoor equipment and furnitureAnnually (late autumn)
Flush hose, and turn off outdoor water faucetsAnnually (late autumn)
Winterize sprinkler systemAnnually (late autumn)
Cut back shrubs and treesAnnually (spring)
Check driveway and/or patio for cracksAnnually (spring)
Prepare lawn equipmentAnnually (spring)
Inspect roofing for shingle damage, leaks, etc.Annually
Inspect attic insulation and check for any water collectionAnnually
Check and clean dryer vents (and other exhaust vents to exterior of home)Annually
Repair or replace siding, and touch up paint as neededAnnually
Inspect fence and/or outdoor structures for needed repairsAnnually
Check trees for interference with electric lines and houseAnnually
Repair porch or deck (treat wood, replace screens, etc.)Annually
Clean outdoor furniture or equipmentAnnually (spring)
Clean outdoor door matsAnnually
Oil garage door, chain, and hingesAnnually
Clean gutters and downspoutsSemi-Annually
Clean and declutter garageSemi-Annually
Pressure wash houseAnnually
Check exterior drainage, and inspect foundationAnnually
Check and replace window screens as neededAnnually
Test garage door auto-reverse featureQuarterly

Home Maintenance and Safety

Check / service heating unitAnnually (late autumn)
Check and replace weather-stripping on doors and windowsAnnually (late autumn)
Clean / service fireplace and/or chimneyAnnually (late autumn)
Purchase winter supplies (driveway salt, shovels, etc.)Annually (late autumn)
Winterize air conditioning systemAnnually (late autumn)
Check / service air conditioningAnnually (spring)
Check plumbing system for leaksAnnually
Have a professional inspect and clean hot water heaterAnnually (winter)
Repair caulking or grout as neededAnnually
Clean aerators on faucetsAnnually
Clean drainsAnnually
Tighten loose screws (handles, door knobs, shelves, etc.)Annually
Test outlets, and replace any broken coversAnnually
Check all locks and deadboltsAnnually
Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank if neededAnnually
Inspect electrical cords for wearAnnually
Treat home for pestsMonthly
Check fire extinguisher(s)Monthly
Change HVAC filtersQuarterly
Run water and flush toilets in unused spacesQuarterly
Check water softener, and add salt if needed (hard water areas only)Quarterly
Test water heater pressure relief valveSemi-Annually
Check water shutoff valveSemi-Annually
Check rubber seal in toiletSemi-Annually
Test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, and replace batteries as neededSemi-Annually

Household and Miscellaneous

Reverse direction of ceiling fansSemi-Annually (spring + autumn)
Deep-clean floorsAnnually
Clean baseboards and wallsAnnually
Wash curtainsAnnually
Clean windows and blindsAnnually
Clean doors (interior)Annually
Clean decorations and/or wall artAnnually
Disinfect door knobs and light switchesMonthly
Clean and sanitize all toysMonthly
Clean and sanitize all pet toysMonthly
Wash pet food and water bowlsMonthly
Clean and disinfect garbage and recycling binsMonthly
Dust fans, light fixtures, vents and ceilingsSemi-Annually
Clean vacuum cleaner and other cleaning gadgetsSemi-Annually
Vacuum furniture, and spot-clean / wash cushion or pillow coversSemi-Annually
Wash blanketsSemi-Annually

Other Rooms and Storage

Clean, declutter, and organize coat closet(s)Annually
Clean, declutter, and organize linen closet(s)Annually
Declutter living / common areasAnnually
Clean and declutter dining area / china cabinet / butler’s pantryAnnually
Clean and declutter craft roomAnnually
Clean and declutter media room / home theaterAnnually
Clean and declutter game room / play roomAnnually
Clean and declutter mudroomAnnually
Clean and declutter bonus roomAnnually
Clean and declutter storage area(s)Annually
Clean and declutter foyer or entryAnnually
Clean and declutter workshopAnnually
Clean and declutter home office / study / libraryAnnually

Basement (if applicable)

Clean out window wells of debrisAnnually (summer)
Inspect basementAnnually
Empty basement duhumidifierMonthly

Additional Decluttering Tasks

Declutter decorations and holiday decorAnnually
Declutter and organize medicineAnnually
Declutter toys and electronicsAnnually
Declutter gift wrapping suppliesAnnually
Declutter mail area, command center, and/or “junk drawers”Quarterly

Bonus: Common Daily/Weekly Tasks

Tidy common areasDaily
Charge electronics used dailyDaily
Clean dishes / run dishwasherDaily
Fold laundryDaily
Tidy kitchen and wipe down countersDaily
Prepare and set out items for tomorrow, including foodDaily
Water and tend to house plantsDaily
Put away dishes / unload dishwasherDaily
Make bedDaily
Start laundryDaily
Tidy bedroom and bathroomDaily
Take out trash for pick-upWeekly
Clean bathroomsWeekly
Clean floors (sweep, mop, and/or vacuum)Weekly
Dust furniture and surfacesWeekly
Change bed sheetsWeekly
Laundry (clothes, sheets, towels, misc.)Weekly

Interested in generating a custom schedule of these tasks?

Get only the ones you need, however often you choose to do them, delivered to your email through Home, Clean Home. Learn more here.

how often to clean everything in your house, household chores

PART 2: HOW TO DEFINE THE IDEAL “CLEAN” FOR YOU

I have written about this several times before: I am a huge proponent of customizing your cleaning schedule to meet your home’s needs, your time constraints, and your personality.

With so many cleaning schedules out there (including the recommendations above), we can easily put a lot of pressure and burden on ourselves to measure up to other people’s standards.

However, I want you to approach your cleaning schedule with a sense of empowerment, freedom, and discernment of what’s best for your family and your situation.

Your home is a tool that serves you by providing shelter, a place of rest, and a space to gather. All of your efforts in maintaining, cleaning, and decluttering should primarily support those goals and serve you both mentally and physically. And you’re in charge! 🙂

To make a cleaning list/schedule that really works for you, you can let go of others’ expectations and:

  • Choose which tasks apply to you / your home, and omit the rest
  • Change how often a task “should” be done in your home

(For help generating this automatically, don’t miss the info at the end of the post.)

3 Categories of Caring for Your Home

In Part 2 of this post, I want to introduce you to 3 ways to think about cleaning. Each will help you decide how to customize, adjust, and prioritize tasks to accomplish your goals – efficiently and effectively.

  • Preventative – needs to be done to keep things maintained and prevent repairs and other issues
  • Preferential – focuses on what makes you feel at-home and at-peace in your environment
  • Proactive – makes it easy to clean, rather than letting messes build up

1. Prioritize preventative maintenance. 

Let me start first by saying that preventative maintenance items are usually best done as recommended. Many are related to the structure of your home, function of important systems, and your family’s safety. Examples include:

  • Changing HVAC filters
  • Inspecting or servicing home systems and appliances
  • Checking fire extinguishers or smoke detectors

By taking care of these items, you will save significant time and expense by avoiding issues and repairs down the road.

Fortunately these tasks don’t make up the majority of the tasks involved with taking care of your home, nor are they usually time-consuming.

Prioritize these preventative tasks in your cleaning schedule by adding them first.

2. Prioritize areas that make the biggest impact to you.

This is the “preferential” cleaning – something we don’t always give ourselves freedom to consider, but that is essential to making a cleaning schedule that works for us.

One of the most empowering frameworks I’ve come across for choosing what to clean and how often to clean it is Melissa Maker’s “MIAs”.

Melissa, author of Clean My Space and a blog by the same title, defines “most important areas” – MIAs – as the areas in your home that make the most difference to you when they are clean and/or tidy.

Using the categories & tasks above, think through the areas of your home – on two separate bases – to identify:

  • Which areas do I feel most stressed or unsettled when they are messy?
  • Which areas do I feel most stressed or unsettled when they are cluttered?

These important areas will tell you what to prioritize and clean most regularly. If it bothers you when it is messy, set a regular task of cleaning it. If it bothers you when it is cluttered, set a regular task of tidying it.

Secondly, after you identify the specific areas, consider how often you notice these things being unclean/untidy. This could be daily, weekly, monthly, etc. This will give you insight into how often you need to address these areas. 

You can find Melissa’s worksheets as part of her book – or you can actually get a free audio version with the PDF worksheets by following the instructions here. (Scroll down slightly and click on “I want to clean more efficiently and effectively.“) I was so excited when I found this resource!

3. Choose the minimal amount of cleaning WITHOUT creating more difficult messes. 

There is a lot to be said for regular cleaning: it prevents messes and build-up getting so strong that it takes MORE time for us to clean it than if we had handled it in the first place.

For example, a male friend of mine in college went months without cleaning his bathroom. (I do not recommend. 😉 ) When he eventually got around to cleaning it, he spent an entire weekend scrubbing the black grime from his tub and all the build-up around the bathroom.

I’m sure this is not the situation you find yourself in, but it is important to remember that regular cleaning is easier and less time-consuming than if we procrastinate the task too long. By sticking fairly close to the recommended frequencies, you will probably save yourself time and effort overall – plus, have the pleasure of enjoying a clean space.

However, on the other hand – we can also commit ourselves to cleaning so regularly that it can feel pointless if there’s not a lot of evidence that the area needs to be clean. This will only lead us to procrastinate, do a half-hearted job, feel resentful or unmotivated, or even give up entirely on our schedule.  

I’ll give you a quick example from my pre-kiddo life. Before our son was born, we steamed our floor every other week. However, with just two adults at home primarily in the evening, not much mess built-up in that time. It felt like a waste of time, and I would regularly put it off. So, we eventually switched to a deep-cleaning once a month with spot-cleaning as needed in between. When it rolled around, I felt like it needed to be done, and I gave it a good effort. That’s the main point. (It probably goes without saying that now I can’t even get a week without steaming our floors thanks to our toddler in the house!)

So, like many things in life, I recommend finding the balance between these extremes. Clean proactively (to avoid messes) but only as often as needed (to make the most of your time). Be kind to yourself by setting realistic, productive, minimalist goals. 🙂

Similar to your MIAs, consider how long it takes until you notice each area in your home becoming unclean. Let this timeframe roughly determine your personal frequency of cleaning that space.

4. Work your ideal frequencies into natural routines that work together. 

Lastly, once you have a good idea of the tasks needed to care for your home, as well as roughly how often you’d like to do them, compile these tasks into routines.

The simplest way to group these is as follows:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Biweekly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly and/or seasonally
  • Semi-annually
  • Annually

Routines help us avoid tasks piling up that “we’ll do later”. It tells us when “later” is – which ensures our home stays clean, tidy, and maintained, without carrying around the mental burden of all those unknown tasks.

► Let Home, Clean Home help!

After several times of manually compiling my own cleaning schedules – assigning frequencies, breaking out tasks into different seasons or months, getting the rotation *perfect* so I wouldn’t have to worry — I decided to create a tool that could do this automatically.

If you’re interested in having a custom cleaning schedule generated based on your input, check out all the details here.

  • Over 110 household tasks to choose from
  • The recommended frequency pre-selected but COMPLETE power to adjust or remove tasks
  • Delivered to your inbox in seconds

Also don’t miss these supporting resources:

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