Developing Systems for Cleaning & Maintaining Your Apartment or Home

I'm really not a fan of cleaning. I definitely function better in a clean home, but I'm not the one to actually get it done, and if I do get it done, I'm going to make sure it's done as fast as possible (meaning t-minus 15 minutes). 

I like to think of myself as the CEO of my home and just like any successful CEO does, they surround themselves with a team of individuals who complement their strengths so they can focus on what they are uniquely qualified to do. 

I could opt to be the one to clean the house, but I choose not to. Why? Because it's not something that brings me joy, it's not something I'm uniquely qualified to do, and ultimately, when I run the cost-benefit analysis, and ask myself,

"Can I delegate cleaning to a third-party and use that time to work on income-producing activities that leave me at a net gain?"

Answer: "Absolutely, YES." 

 Photo Courtesy of Instagram, @tobieornottobie

Photo Courtesy of Instagram, @tobieornottobie

Because of this, we have a maid service that comes to the house twice per month. They clean the entire house, top to bottom, for about $20-$30 per hour, for about six hours. This allows me to focus on other things I'm uniquely qualified to do AND turn a net energy gain (like teach piano lessons, freelance, photography, design, relax, etc.) while consistently maintaining a clean and functional home. 

With that said, my "cleaning team" is only one part of my home cleaning operations. There are certain tasks that require daily, monthly or yearly maintenance that do not pass the "benefits of delegating" test. So with the assistance of my planner, some kombucha, and one hour, I calendar out the remainder of my cleaning tasks for the upcoming year.  

To some, this may seem a bit "extra," but something I learned as a classroom teacher is that routines and procedures are EVERYTHING when you want to be efficient and make the most of the time you've been given.

You can do so much more in a class period (in a day, week, month, year or your LIFE) if you take time to strategize where you need to go, how to get there and the amount of time it should take. 

This includes maintaining a clean and functional home. 

Getting to this point has definitely been a process. I started small with first getting into a routine with my closet by adopting a capsule wardrobe. Once I had that routine down, I expanded into Feng Shui by starting out with the Marie Kondo de-cluttering, "Does it bring you joy or does it annoy?" method. Because I took the time to establish these habits & mindsets, a lot of the cleaning just flows naturally with regular maintenance and minimal effort. 

 Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

To set my cleaning schedule, I really looked internally to what brings me peace in my home environment. I really appreciate routine and a sense of completion at the end of each day. It brings me a lot of peace to wake up every morning to a fresh, clean, well-lit home so I can engage in meditation, enjoy my breakfast and gear up for a productive day. This became the inspiration for my "daily task list." 

From there, I went room by room and examined what needed to be cleaned and set a time-table for it. Anything that was really time intensive and/or I don't have the proper tools and/or knowledge for, I marked to delegate.

Between the maid service, this checklist, and being relatively clutter-free, daily cleaning takes max 15-20 minutes. Most days less than 10 minutes. Having really efficient cleaning routines has also been one of my really important pre-requisites for having kids. Time in the classroom taught me that kids thrive when their environment is clean, organized, and consistent because it gives them the space to explore, learn and grow. Having clarity about your own cleaning routines & procedures allows you to develop easy systems to teach your kids (and possibly, your partner too :-) ).

 Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Which, as a side note, having a clear cleaning system really eliminates the whole conflict over who cleans what and when and the whole "nagging husband or wife" syndrome. I take a lot of ownership over the operations of our home to give Alex the space to do what he needs to do outside the home. I usually have it under control, but during seasons where I'm busy with my work, all I know is to do is communicate areas where I need someone to cover, and he's right there willing to help.

In the beginning of our relationship, I used to be really passive-aggressive and regularly held resentment when it came to cleaning the house (or apartment). However, when we (1) shared our individual "cleaning stories" and the expectations of the environment in which we were raised, (2) co-created our vision for what cleaning would look like in our home, (3) agreed on who was best equipped to take the lead on this project and (4) what tasks would be delegated, when and to whom, all of the passive-aggression (on both sides) ended. 

Here's my current cleaning checklist and an editable .pdf version if you'd like one too!


I hope this can be helpful to you, your family and your home!