Season's Cleanings: the Index Card System

Flashback Summer: Season's Cleanings - the Index Card System - home maintenance and chore tips

Today I've gotten my mother's permission to repost her index card cleaning system, a practical and easy way to maintain your homes cleanliness without having to put much thought into it.  This system allows you to utilize your few spare moments throughout the day to get some of those bothersome chores done and remember the less frequent monthly cleaning that helps a home stay in good condition.

Personally, this has been a major part of my learning curve since I've graduated college. I feel like the clutter piles up, and use to wait until it was a disaster zone until I made time to clean it (which usually took a while by that point).  I've implemented this index card system, and I think it's helped my husband and I a lot in making the most of our time.

To implement the index card system, you'll need:
- an index card box with two tabs
- index cards in four different colors  
(I've created the fun, retro-inspired printable cards and tabs you see in the picture for you guys!  Click here to download the chore cards and here for the dividers.)


Flashback Summer: Season's Cleanings - the Index Card System - home maintenance and chore tips

First, label the divider tabs: Weekly, Monthly   

Next, on a separate sheet of paper write down every cleaning task you can imagine that needs to be done in your home.  For example:
Mop kitchen floor
Vacuum living room carpet
Dust furniture
Organize Food Pantry
Clean out closet
Organize "junk" drawer
Bleach counter tops
Clean under the refrigerator
Clean oven
Mop bathroom floor
Scour bathtub/shower
Clean bathroom
Sweep garage floor
Organize garage
Sort clothes (keep, store, give away)


Approximate how long each task will take you.  For example:

Sweep and mop kitchen floor-20 minutes
Vacuum living room carpet-30 minutes
Dust furniture-30 minutes
Organize Food Pantry-30 minutes
Clean out closet-1 hour
Organize "junk" drawer-10 minutes
Bleach counter tops-20 minutes
Clean under the refrigerator-10 minutes
Clean oven-20 minutes
Mop bathroom floor-20 minutes
Scour bathtub/shower-10 minutes
Clean bathroom-30 minutes
Sweep garage floor-10 minutes
Organize garage-1 hour
Sort clothes (keep, store, give away)-1 hour



Flashback Summer: Season's Cleanings - the Index Card System - home maintenance and chore tips

Now divide your index cards based on color.  For example: green cards are 10 minutes, red cards are 20 minutes, yellow cards are 30 minutes and blue cards are 1 hour.

Write down all your 10 minute tasks, giving each task its own card.  Continue with the 20 minute tasks, 30 minute, etc.  For example:


Top right of card:  10 min.
Middle of card: Organize "junk drawer"



Flashback Summer: Season's Cleanings - the Index Card System - home maintenance and chore tips

Now create two sections in your box by placing the "Weekly" tab at the front and the "Monthly" tab behind it.

Put all your "Weekly" tasks in time order starting with pink 10 minute cards, then blue 20 minute cards, etc. Do the same for the "Monthly" tasks.  For example:

WEEKLY: Scour bathtub/shower-10 minutes
WEEKLY: Sweep garage floor-10 minutes
WEEKLY: Sweep and mop kitchen floor-20 minutes
WEEKLY: Bleach counter tops-20 minutes
WEEKLY: Mop bathroom floor-20 minutes
WEEKLY: Vacuum living room carpet-30 minutes
WEEKLY: Dust furniture-30 minutes
WEEKLY: Clean bathroom-30 minutes


MONTHLY: Organize "junk" drawer-10 minutes
MONTHLY: Clean under the refrigerator-10 minutes
MONTHLY: Clean oven-20 minutes
MONTHLY: Organize Food Pantry-30 minutes
MONTHLY: Clean out closet-1 hour
MONTHLY: Organize garage-1 hour
MONTHLY: Sort clothes (keep, store, give away)-1 hour



Flashback Summer: Season's Cleanings - the Index Card System - home maintenance and chore tips

Now as you are going through your day and you find yourself in between errands or the next event, check your watch.  Do I have 10 minutes?  Maybe 20?  If so, pull one of the cards and do the task on it.  When you have completed it, move it to the back of the section.


Flashback Summer: Season's Cleanings - the Index Card System - home maintenance and chore tips

Work through the cards whenever you have small increments of time.  If you have children, add a section for them.  They can pull cards, too, which helps them focus on a specific task.


What do you guys think?  Would this be a potential strategy to help you with your routine home cleaning?  Do you have any other tips and tricks you use to keep your cleaning organized?

If you'd like, you can read my mother's original post on her blog here.

7 comments

  1. This is a fantastic idea! I love your vintage cards that glam up a boring job!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm really glad you like them! It's worth the work then!

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  2. I need some help in this area! I used to have a spreadsheet but it failed. I might try this x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I'm glad you've found this helpful!

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  3. I've never seen anything like this before, great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kariss! My mom is a pretty smart cookie!

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  4. Terrific idea! Many thanks to you and your mom for sharing this great system with us.

    ♥ Jessica

    ReplyDelete