A Clean Life: Your Clean Lists


Okay, it’s time to take a big step in our Clean Life plan…possibly a step that you’ve been waiting for. Yep, we’re going to start talking about actually cleaning! (If you’ve been dreading this part, don’t panic yet…just keep reading.) 😉

I truly believe that a lot of us “fail” at cleaning because we don’t have a solid plan. I also believe that we’re mostly not to blame for this lack of planning. Very few of us ever get detailed instruction on how to keep a clean home and peaceful life. Even if your parents (or whichever lovely people raised you) were absolute cleaning ninjas, they may have never explained their methods and reasoning.

But that is 100% okey dokey…because we’re going to get that all straightened out right now. And you’ll probably be pleased to find out that creating a cleaning plan is actually pretty easy to do!



What Is a Clean Plan?


It’s really simple, I promise!

A Clean Plan is just a (mostly) structured schedule and list of tasks that keep your cleaning on track.

I know, I know. It sounds like about as much fun as catching the plague, but I promise you that it helps.

How? How does it help?

Well, it prevents you from running about your home all willy-nilly…cleaning this, missing that…noticing that the baseboard in the kitchen has a bit of dog poo on it while you’re hosting dinner for your spouse’s boss….that sort of thing. (Hey, these things can really happen. I believe anyone with pets will back me up on this.) 😉

Not only does it prevent what I call “clean flailing,” it also gets “clean overwhelm” under control.

I think most of us have experienced that it’s-just-too-much-I-don’t-even-know-where-to-start feeling. Well, this is where to start.

So, yes, a Clean Plan….it will soothe your soul. 😉



The When


The first step of a solid Clean Plan is knowing when you’re going to clean each area of your home. I don’t mean you need an alarm set for 8:52 Saturday morning or anything like that. No, I choose to break mine up by weeks. For example, my January plan looks like this:

  • January 2 – 8: Kitchen & Broom Closet

  • January 9 – 15: Porches, Living Room, Dining Room, & Laundry Room

  • January 16 – 22: My Office, 1 Bedroom, Main Bathroom, & Hallway

  • January 23 – 29: John’s Office, 2 Bedrooms, & Upstairs Bathroom

Now, obviously, your plan would probably look a bit different than mine. You may not have two people with offices in your home (we both work at home, so two offices is really handy for us). You may have a different number of bedrooms or bathrooms or porches…there could be a lot of differences.

When you’re planning your “whens,” I do have some tips for you:

  • Most rooms actually do not need a thorough cleaning once a week. We put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves with this “clean the whole house once a week” concept, and the reality is that most of our rooms just don’t get that dirty in 7 days.
  • Start by making  list of every room in your home. Make sure you include porches and hallways…because they need cleaning, too.
  • Kitchens are almost always the room that needs the most time. Try not to schedule a bunch of other rooms for the same week.
  • Bedrooms typically take the least amount of time to clean, so you can usually add those to weeks with other rooms or do all of the bedrooms in one week.
  • Try to break the work up evenly over four weeks.
  • If you’re not comfortable breaking things up, fret not! Starting on January 29, I’ll be providing some guidance in this area. 🙂



The What


Now that you know when you’ll be doing things, it’s time to nail down what those “things” are.

Some rooms require quite a lot of attention (kitchens and bathrooms), while other rooms can be zipped through in just a few minutes (bedrooms and offices), but both types of room need a plan.

This is how I choose to handle things:

  • I use one piece of paper (or list in Trello or page OneNote…however you choose to keep up with things) for each room.
  • I take the piece of paper with me into the room in question…with a pen.
  • I look up, I look down, I look all around…and I make a list of tasks that need to be taken care of on a regular basis. In the kitchen, this would include everything from wiping the cabinet fronts to cleaning the window to mopping the floor, but it would not include things that I only do once a year or so (like cleaning under the refrigerator).
  • I remember that these lists can always be edited! If I notice that the ceiling fan in the kitchen actually gets a bit dusty every few weeks, I just go back to my list and add “Clean the Ceiling Fan.” (You can always edit! Don’t beat yourself up if you miss things the first time around…or the hundredth time around.)

I’ve made an example list for you of the tasks I complete each time I clean a bedroom:

A couple of notes about my list:

  • It might look like a lot, but each of those tasks takes about 2 or 3 minutes (or less) to complete. The whole “clean a bedroom” process for me usually takes under 30 minutes.
  • You may notice I’ve left some blanks there…that’s for adding in things I want to tackle that may not be part of the “regular plan.” For example, I may want to wash the comforters in each room that month…I would add that sort of thing in the blanks.

Your list may look different! This is just an example to get you started.



Your Homework: Create Your Clean Plan


Yeah, you knew it was coming…and you already know what your homework is. 😉

Get out that journal and create your Clean Plan.

And if that seems too overwhelming, feel free to use mine…with any adjustments you need to make for your own home. I’ll be sharing all of my lists in a couple of weeks…

Starting on January 29, I’ll be posting a weekly Clean Plan for your motivational and organizational pleasure. (Of course, every home is different, so you may need to make some minor adjustments.)

I’ll also be sharing bonus “Clean Challenges” (and you never know when there will be prizes!) on my Facebook page and through email. (More on the email bit coming soon.)

I do hope that you find the Clean Plan encouraging! And, if you are overwhelmed and stressed by the prospect of getting things clean, do know that I’m going to try to guide you through this as simply and painlessly as possible. 🙂



And never, ever forget that you’re awesome. Awesome!

The next step of A Clean Life will be posted on Wednesday (January 18), but I do hope you’ll join me before then to see some of the other shenanigans going on in my life…I’ll be bringing back Adventure Snacks and carrying on about all sorts of nonsense. 😉

You can catch up on previous Clean Life posts HERE.



Do you already have a solid Clean Plan? If you do have a plan in place, could it use some revising…or guidance…or motivation? Are you a “cleaning flailer?” (One who flails about willy-nilly while cleaning?) Would you be interested in a (free) printable guide for all of the steps of A Clean Life…because I’m planning to create one. 🙂

If you’re having trouble getting your Clean Plan set up, please feel free to ask for help! You can leave a comment here, email me at nerdinthebrain@gmail.com, or drop me a message on Facebook. I promise I’ll be gentle. 🙂



  • Judith F Watts January 16, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I love your “clean plan” seriously” I think it is great and doable. However, there are some of us who need a “physical helper” to go along with our plan! Wish you were here as mine! Love you, John and Grace.

    • Nerd in the Brain January 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      You make a good point! Some people aren’t physically able to do all of the cleaning they would like to…or they’re just really motivated by having another person around. Maybe I’ll have to do a post about having a “cleaning buddy.” 🙂

      We love you, too! <3


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