A Very Detailed House Cleaning Post

Most people outsource their house cleaning as they get older and have more financial resources, and here I am going the opposite direction.

After 10+ years of having our house professionally cleaned once per month, I've decided to try to tackle this on my own. Due to our having three dogs, the feeling and smell of a perfectly clean house each month lasts about one evening. By the next day, I would say the house feels back to it's normal state. We have paid on average $200/month, so for $2,400 per year, has it really been worth it? I'm not sure. 

While I have enjoyed not having to deep clean the big-ticket items (dusting, scrubbing shower in master bathroom, etc.), I still do regular maintenance throughout the week. I also have 700+ hours in my PTO bank at work now, which gives me a lot of freedom to take one day a month off of work to dedicate to this.

To give some background to our specific situation, Brian and I split almost everything in our marriage 50/50 in a traditional sense and we both work full-time. He generally handles the outside/yard, finances, repairs/home renovations, and the dogs' evening routine. I handle most child-related stuff, inside the house (laundry, minor cleaning), grocery shopping/cooking, and the dogs' morning routine. We each obviously step up when needed (e.g. he took over cooking for 2-3 years when Cam was young because I was struggling in this area).

We have a 3,400 square foot house that stays mostly neat in appearance. I would welcome guests anytime without feeling like I need to do any pre-cleaning, but I do typically run the vacuum and light candles if I know guests are coming over. Due to three super-smelly, super-shedding dogs, I have to vacuum multiple times per week.  Our home's style is mostly earth tones, masculine, natural materials (wood, stone). It's not white, bright, and light like many houses you see today, which probably helps conceal that it's not squeaky clean. I hate kids toys and plastic junk so we have none of that lying around.

I looked through my phone to find pictures of a "normal" state of our house and honestly our house looks clean in its normal state:

Yet if you were to vacuum the "clean" house above, you would get this:

So that's the starting point. For July, I selected a date and reserved it as PTO on my work calendar. I created an Excel spreadsheet checklist to inventory all of the cleaning tasks that I needed to get done and sorted it by room. I also added a section for bi-monthly tasks such as cleaning inside the fridge, cleaning inside of foyer closet, etc., since I didn't feel like that needed to be an every month thing.

I made a mental note of things I liked best about the professional cleaning. I loved the clean smell of first coming home and the bed feeling freshly made that night (like a hotel bed). I actually went to YouTube and watched several good house cleaning videos with tips, tricks, and how to make your bed the same as a hotel (pro tip: tightly tuck in those sheets!).

Here's how the first month of cleaning my own home went down:

We had just gotten home from vacation at midnight the night before my cleaning day, so there was more laundry than normal and I slept a bit later. I started cleaning around 10am and needed to leave by 3:30pm to pick up Cam from camp and the dogs from the vet. We were getting a new roof installed that day, so literally dust was falling from the ceiling for a few hours which made me have to adjust my plan. 

From 10am-12:30pm I accomplished the following:

- washed and dried bed sheets in all bedrooms
- cleaned inside of fridge/freezer
-decluttered entire house
-cleaned Cam's room, sorted his bookshelf
-emptied dishwasher

From 1-3:30pm I accomplished the following:

- made all beds
-2 additional loads of laundry & folded them (clothes)
-vacuumed entire upstairs
-wiped down all surfaces in three rooms
-fully cleaned the guest bathroom

A few pictures of the grime inside the fridge/freezer that I never really noticed until emptying it:

Here's the beds after I made them and tucked in all the freshly-washed sheets:

Here's what I didn't get to and felt like I needed about 3 more hours in order to accomplish:

-Deep cleaning kitchen
-Mopping floors
-Cleaning master bath

I had to save these tasks for a later day, so truly I will need about an 8 hour day blocked off next time. Overall, for the tasks I was able to get to, I felt like I did a better job  than the pros since I could focus on what I knew needed prioritizing (since it's my own house!). 

And sadly, I was not able to walk in the door at the end of a long day to a perfectly clean, fresh-smelling home, since I had been the one there all day doing it myself! :)