How to Plan an Efficient Apartment Cleaning Schedule

By Victoria Robertson on January 12, 2020

A clean home is half the battle in college, and it’s typically lost by the students that attempt to fight it. This happens for a number of reasons, but the most common being living with roommates and attempting to stay on top of cleaning by yourself.

For this reason, it’s important that you (and your roommates) put together a solid plan for efficiently cleaning your apartment and ensuring that it not only gets clean but that it also stays clean throughout the year. While it’s not going to be anyone’s favorite task in starting out a new year, it’s something that needs to be done and will benefit everyone involved.

While this may sound easy enough, it’s typically easier said than done, which can create issues for you down the road. So, to avoid said issues and keep your home as clean as possible, the below ten steps will help you to develop a cleaning plan that you (and your roommates) can adhere to, all year long.

So, without further ado, here is how you should plan an efficient apartment cleaning schedule for the 2020 academic year.

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1. Make Realistic/Achievable Goals

One of the biggest faux pas when making goals is to make goals that aren’t attainable. You always want your goals to be a little bit of a reach, but still realistic and achievable.

For instance, committing to cleaning your apartment every day is not realistic. You’ll most likely get sick of it and everyone will stop doing so within a few weeks. However, committing to cleaning once a week is both achievable and realistic, as this gives everyone plenty of time between cleanings so that no one gets burnt out, but everything still stays clean.

Remember that any goals you set, such as how often you clean, will need to be within arms reach, and they’ll need to be that way for all of your roommates. So, get together with them and work out a schedule that works best for all of you, otherwise, you’ll find yourselves quitting the cleaning process before it even begins.

2. Get Everyone on Board

Before anything else, you’ll want to ensure that all of your roommates are on board with your cleaning plan. Just because you want a clean space doesn’t necessarily mean they do, which can create issues for everyone. For instance, does anyone else even care to have a clean living space? Who all will be included in the schedule and who will not be?

For this reason, you should all communicate with one another and decide what is going to work for everyone else. What does everyone expect out of one another? Is everyone good with the plan?

Is there anyone that’s not on board with the plan? If not, what will it take to get them there? Basically, you should all be on the same page, because, if you’re not, there are only going to be more problems for all of you down the road.

3. Set Up a Realistic Schedule

After having the above conversations, you can set up a schedule that’s realistic for everyone involved. Remember that, as college students, everyone’s schedule is going to be different, which can make coming up with a schedule a bit of a challenge.

You should ensure that everyone chooses a day that works best for them to clean up around the apartment. If no days line up, you can do certain sections (or tasks) on each day. Remember that when you’re dealing with a group of people, setting up a schedule isn’t an easy task. Just be patient and ensure you’re accommodating everyone’s schedules.

Also recognize the fact that not everyone will always be able to adhere to the set schedule. Vacations, study sessions, concerts and other plans will pop up that could inhibit a person from cleaning on their given day.

Just make sure that you have a plan of action when those instances come up (such as sharing the responsibility or changing the cleaning day(s) for the week).

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4. Share the Responsibility

Sometimes, it’s about more than just coming up with a schedule telling everyone when they need to clean. It’s really about responsibility and ensuring that everyone is doing their part to keep your living space as clean and inviting as possible.

For this reason, you should always be sharing the responsibility of cleaning, and help out when you’re able to. Just because it’s not your day to clean doesn’t mean that you can’t help out and pick up furniture so your roommate can vacuum underneath it. Or even pick up a rag and help your roommate dust.

Pay it forward when you’re able to and ensure everyone’s working together to keep things nice and clean, both with the schedule and without it. Share the responsibility as much as possible and you’ll find rather quickly that things move more smoothly when you do!

5. Plan for Events and Visits

College is a time to experience everything, which is why most of your roommates aren’t going to be hanging around the apartment too often. There’s just too much out there for them to do!

With that in mind, you should always be on the lookout for ways to work around those special events. Just because someone has an event or a trip planned doesn’t mean that they can’t help out and clean, just that you need to be flexible and work around their plans.

In addition, you’ll want to work together to ensure that any time someone’s significant other, friends or family members come to visit, they are visiting a clean apartment. To do so, make sure everyone sets up a visitation schedule so cleaning days can be adjusted for those weeks to make sure everything’s taken care of before they arrive.

The more you’re able to plan ahead, the happier everyone will be!

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6. Set Up a Plan for Accountability

Always ensure you are holding yourself accountable. Always. Whether it’s you yourself or your roommates, you need to make sure you’re doing your part, especially if you’re asking others to ensure they are doing theirs.

To make this a bit more structured (and easier to call someone out for slacking), you and your roommates should come up with a method for holding each other accountable when it comes to the cleaning schedule.

How do you let a roommate know it’s their day to clean without offending them? And what happens if someone isn’t pulling their weight? What is the plan to correct the issue? Without having a plan put in place, it’s easy for someone to stop doing their part and get offended when they’re called out on it.

With a solid plan in place, everyone is on the same page, and the risk of fighting and other, similar issues decreases.

7. Know When to Pick Up the Slack

Sometimes, you’re going to find that you need to pick up the slack for someone else. This could be because they simply aren’t carrying their weight, they didn’t do their job correctly or, most likely, there’s a reason they’re unable to assist that week (such as illness or vacation).

The truth is, there are a variety of reasons why someone wouldn’t be all that helpful, and it’s important that you’re prepared for those instances and don’t brush them off and let the cleaning fall to the wayside.

Basically, you need to be able to be flexible and pick up the slack when it’s necessary without getting angry or offended. You can even develop a plan with your roommates in the event that someone’s sick, to ensure you take turns picking up the extra slack so one person doesn’t get stuck doing everything, every time.

The more flexible you are when it comes to the cleaning schedule, the more likely everyone is to remain happy, content and, ultimately, on track for keeping everything clean without any issues.

8. Make it Fun

Not all cleaning has to be hard work. In fact, if it is, you’re going to find that everyone’s getting burnt out faster than they’re able to clean a single room. This can be quite a problem if you’re looking to keep up the cleaning schedule throughout the academic year.

For this reason, you need to ensure that you are making the process fun and exciting and that everyone’s not miserable. You might find that listening to music, creating a competition or even making the cleaning process a game are some fun options to change things up and keep everyone on their toes.

Don’t let yourself (or anyone else) get burnt out, and make sure that you’re making things as fun as possible. Because let’s be honest, it’s cleaning, but you can make anything fun, right?

9. Make it Fair

Another potential issue when it comes to cleaning is that individuals can feel as if the cleaning schedule isn’t fair. For instance, if you have split up the apartment by room, but someone has the entire kitchen, they may feel overwhelmed with having to clean the stove, oven and other surfaces that everyone uses.

In addition, someone may have to clean the bathrooms, but not want to do so. There are plenty of opportunities for such issues to arise, which is why it’s important that, when coming up with the cleaning schedule, you keep everything fair.

So, for instance, if one day you have someone scheduled to clean bathrooms, the next week, this assignment should go to someone else, in order to keep everything as fair as possible. Make sure everyone is in agreement and all assignments are deemed fair by everyone involved before you decide to move forward with them.

10. Keep Things Organized – 2000

It’s so easy to keep things organized nowadays, but it’s still easy to forget as well. When you have developed a fool-proof cleaning schedule, you still need to make sure everyone adheres to it, understands it and has access to it. (Because let’s be honest, everyone will forget what their day is really quickly).

So, posting a schedule on the fridge or creating a calendar app that everyone has access to and that issues reminders, will help everyone to stay on top of their cleaning duties, and allow you to pick up the slack when you need to.

The more available the schedule is, the more likely everyone is to follow it, and the same goes for organization. A disorganized, not well thought out schedule is going to be tossed to the wayside sooner rather than later, which is why you need to ensure you are as organized as possible from the beginning, setting an example for everyone else and eliminating the confusion before it even begins.

Keeping your apartment clean is a group effort, and the longer you put it off, the more difficult it’s going to be to implement the changes. For this reason, the above ten steps are a great starting point in terms of developing an efficient apartment cleaning schedule.

From here, you and your roommates should have a conversation about what’s going to work best for all of you and how to keep yourselves accountable throughout the year so that everyone’s on the same page.

A clean living space has been proven to help cognition, which is going to help you with your homework down the road. So really, it’s in your best interest to do as much cleaning planning as possible!

It might feel like a lot of planning for something as simple as keeping your living space clean, but as I’m sure you’ve learned over the past few years, things can get out of hand really quickly if you don’t have a realistic and achievable plan in place.

So, rather than stressing out and spending hours deep cleaning your apartment before your family comes to visit, just make sure that everyone is on board with your plan and everything stays as clean as possible throughout the year.

So good luck to everyone, have fun and happy cleaning!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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