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
|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 master||Semi-Annually|
|Wash pillows and comforters in master||Semi-Annually|
|Rotate and/or flip mattress in guest room||Semi-Annually|
|Wash pillows and comforters in guest room||Semi-Annually|
|Rotate and/or flip mattress in bedroom #2||Semi-Annually|
|Wash pillows and comforters in bedroom #2||Semi-Annually|
|Rotate and/or flip mattress in bedroom #3||Semi-Annually|
|Wash pillows and comforters in bedroom #3||Semi-Annually|
|Rotate and/or flip mattress in bedroom #4||Semi-Annually|
|Wash pillows and comforters in bedroom #4||Semi-Annually|
|Clean, declutter, and organize bathroom cabinets||Annually|
|Wash bath mats||Monthly|
|Wash shower liners||Quarterly|
|Disinfect bathroom trash cans||Quarterly|
|Declutter and clean pantry||Annually|
|Declutter and clean kitchen cabinets||Annually|
|Disinfect kitchen trash can||Monthly|
|Clean dish rack and/or wash drying mat||Monthly|
|Clean garbage disposal||Monthly|
|Clean range hood filter||Monthly|
|Clean kitchen backsplash and disinfect surfaces||Monthly|
|Clean dishwasher filtering screen||Monthly|
|Deep-clean refrigerator (including coils)||Semi-Annually|
|Clean small appliances||Semi-Annually|
|Deep-clean surfaces in laundry room||Annually|
|Declutter and organize laundry and cleaning supplies||Annually|
|Clean washing machine, and de-lint dryer||Annually|
|Wash clothes hamper liner(s)||Semi-Annually|
Office and/or Electronics
|Organize paper files, and shred any unneeded documents||Annually|
|Clean computers and electronics||Annually|
|Declutter office supplies||Annually|
Exterior and Garage
|Winterize and store lawn/outdoor equipment and furniture||Annually (late autumn)|
|Flush hose, and turn off outdoor water faucets||Annually (late autumn)|
|Winterize sprinkler system||Annually (late autumn)|
|Cut back shrubs and trees||Annually (spring)|
|Check driveway and/or patio for cracks||Annually (spring)|
|Prepare lawn equipment||Annually (spring)|
|Inspect roofing for shingle damage, leaks, etc.||Annually|
|Inspect attic insulation and check for any water collection||Annually|
|Check and clean dryer vents (and other exhaust vents to exterior of home)||Annually|
|Repair or replace siding, and touch up paint as needed||Annually|
|Inspect fence and/or outdoor structures for needed repairs||Annually|
|Check trees for interference with electric lines and house||Annually|
|Repair porch or deck (treat wood, replace screens, etc.)||Annually|
|Clean outdoor furniture or equipment||Annually (spring)|
|Clean outdoor door mats||Annually|
|Oil garage door, chain, and hinges||Annually|
|Clean gutters and downspouts||Semi-Annually|
|Clean and declutter garage||Semi-Annually|
|Pressure wash house||Annually|
|Check exterior drainage, and inspect foundation||Annually|
|Check and replace window screens as needed||Annually|
|Test garage door auto-reverse feature||Quarterly|
Home Maintenance and Safety
|Check / service heating unit||Annually (late autumn)|
|Check and replace weather-stripping on doors and windows||Annually (late autumn)|
|Clean / service fireplace and/or chimney||Annually (late autumn)|
|Purchase winter supplies (driveway salt, shovels, etc.)||Annually (late autumn)|
|Winterize air conditioning system||Annually (late autumn)|
|Check / service air conditioning||Annually (spring)|
|Check plumbing system for leaks||Annually|
|Have a professional inspect and clean hot water heater||Annually (winter)|
|Repair caulking or grout as needed||Annually|
|Clean aerators on faucets||Annually|
|Tighten loose screws (handles, door knobs, shelves, etc.)||Annually|
|Test outlets, and replace any broken covers||Annually|
|Check all locks and deadbolts||Annually|
|Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank if needed||Annually|
|Inspect electrical cords for wear||Annually|
|Treat home for pests||Monthly|
|Check fire extinguisher(s)||Monthly|
|Change HVAC filters||Quarterly|
|Run water and flush toilets in unused spaces||Quarterly|
|Check water softener, and add salt if needed (hard water areas only)||Quarterly|
|Test water heater pressure relief valve||Semi-Annually|
|Check water shutoff valve||Semi-Annually|
|Check rubber seal in toilet||Semi-Annually|
|Test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, and replace batteries as needed||Semi-Annually|
Household and Miscellaneous
|Reverse direction of ceiling fans||Semi-Annually (spring + autumn)|
|Clean baseboards and walls||Annually|
|Clean windows and blinds||Annually|
|Clean doors (interior)||Annually|
|Clean decorations and/or wall art||Annually|
|Disinfect door knobs and light switches||Monthly|
|Clean and sanitize all toys||Monthly|
|Clean and sanitize all pet toys||Monthly|
|Wash pet food and water bowls||Monthly|
|Clean and disinfect garbage and recycling bins||Monthly|
|Dust fans, light fixtures, vents and ceilings||Semi-Annually|
|Clean vacuum cleaner and other cleaning gadgets||Semi-Annually|
|Vacuum furniture, and spot-clean / wash cushion or pillow covers||Semi-Annually|
Other Rooms and Storage
|Clean, declutter, and organize coat closet(s)||Annually|
|Clean, declutter, and organize linen closet(s)||Annually|
|Declutter living / common areas||Annually|
|Clean and declutter dining area / china cabinet / butler’s pantry||Annually|
|Clean and declutter craft room||Annually|
|Clean and declutter media room / home theater||Annually|
|Clean and declutter game room / play room||Annually|
|Clean and declutter mudroom||Annually|
|Clean and declutter bonus room||Annually|
|Clean and declutter storage area(s)||Annually|
|Clean and declutter foyer or entry||Annually|
|Clean and declutter workshop||Annually|
|Clean and declutter home office / study / library||Annually|
Basement (if applicable)
|Clean out window wells of debris||Annually (summer)|
|Empty basement duhumidifier||Monthly|
Additional Decluttering Tasks
|Declutter decorations and holiday decor||Annually|
|Declutter and organize medicine||Annually|
|Declutter toys and electronics||Annually|
|Declutter gift wrapping supplies||Annually|
|Declutter mail area, command center, and/or “junk drawers”||Quarterly|
Bonus: Common Daily/Weekly Tasks
|Tidy common areas||Daily|
|Charge electronics used daily||Daily|
|Clean dishes / run dishwasher||Daily|
|Tidy kitchen and wipe down counters||Daily|
|Prepare and set out items for tomorrow, including food||Daily|
|Water and tend to house plants||Daily|
|Put away dishes / unload dishwasher||Daily|
|Tidy bedroom and bathroom||Daily|
|Take out trash for pick-up||Weekly|
|Clean floors (sweep, mop, and/or vacuum)||Weekly|
|Dust furniture and surfaces||Weekly|
|Change bed sheets||Weekly|
|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.
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
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:
- Quarterly and/or seasonally
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