A 'catch-all' day transformed how I clean and tidy – here's why you should try this simple method
Having one ‘catch-all’ day a week is the secret to keeping a clean home, I found
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Although I find cleaning a meditative task (as you will know if you are a regular reader) even I don't manage to get all of my chores done during the week. In fact, I often find myself lagging behind with cleaning come the weekend.
I have tried to implement every cleaning tip in the game, from creating a set schedule to trying speed cleaning hacks and while they certainly get me part of the way, sometimes life is just busy.
Enter, the ‘catch-all’ day, a set day where I can freely catch up on any remaining chores taking a little pressure off getting everything done mid-week.
Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for six months, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers.
The catch-all day
The catch-all day method, pioneered by Becky Rapinchuk (opens in new tab) (a.k.a Clean Mama), is the perfect solution for those of us who have a full and busy week as it takes the stress off of keeping a consistent cleaning regime.
The method helps to take life’s surprises into account, meaning that even if I plan to clean a bathroom on a Wednesday night, for example, it doesn’t matter if I don't have time and need to move it back. The catch-all day is the perfect set period of time to get any task done with no schedule or routine.
Becky Rapinchuk (opens in new tab) created a cleaning regime out of necessity years ago, and once she realized it held strong through three kids, work schedules, and running a business, she started to share her cleaning secrets with others. Since then she has built a cleaning empire with Clean Mama, authored multiple cleaning books, become a go-to for cleaning advice, and launched her own range of cleaning products.
How I use the catch-day all
I like to use the catch-all day in parallel with a cleaning regime. For instance, I have a set schedule for changing bed sheets on a Saturday morning, cleaning the refrigerator on a Monday night before grocery shopping on Tuesday, and deep cleaning a kitchen on Friday night after a week of cooking from scratch.
However, this plan does not always work out – sometimes I do an extra gym class, or feel tired and struggle to get motivated to clean. The ‘catch-all’ day that I plan for a Sunday afternoon means that any tasks I put off can be moved to that time slot with no stress. Anything left unchecked on my weekly to-do list will still get done and my house is completely reset for the week ahead. It is also a great time to plan ahead both in terms of cleaning tasks and everyday to-do items.
I find that keeping a physical cleaning list really helps with a catch-all day. Something akin to a spring cleaning checklist visualizes all of my tasks for me, reducing the mental load, and helping me see what I didn't get done so I am not forgetting anything or repeating tasks.
Editable Weekly Cleaning Checklist | $1.94 at Etsy (opens in new tab)
This printable Canva template is editable and can be customized to your liking. Canva is a free easy-to-use design program where you can add your own colors, fonts, and lists.
One of the most reassuring parts of the catch-all method is the ability to move tasks back to next week if I don't get everything done in my catch-all period, as Becky Rapinchuk assures. If you clean something religiously every week but miss it once, it is unlikely to get so dirty as to pose a hazard. Simply pick it up again when it comes up in your cleaning schedule, or make it a priority on your next cleaning catch-all day. It really does take the stress out of cleaning.
Oh, and the best news? You can set this catch-all day to any day that works for you. If you like to rest on a Sunday but are free on a Wednesday night, pop it in there, and so on. I think of it as a little period of productive freedom.
The ‘catch-all’ day is the perfect solution if you find yourself trying to spring clean when overwhelmed or declutter when overwhelmed during the week. By blocking out a few hours on a Sunday afternoon in my planner, I know I will be free from distractions to tackle any remaining tasks and it helps to make cleaning and home organizing that bit more relaxing – especially when I put in my headphones and use it as time away from screens for mindfulness.
Clean Mama's Guide to a Peaceful Home | $10.62 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The creator of the popular cleaning website Clean Mama and author of Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home shows you how to establish systems and rituals to transform your home into a clean, organized and comfortable space for you and your family.
How do I keep my house immaculately clean?
It should come as no surprise that keeping a house immaculately clean requires constant cleaning. To keep it in a constant state of cleanliness, build habits to start cleaning up any area once you have finished using it, for example cleaning down cookers, counters, and washing up straight after cooking, wiping splashed water dry from a bathroom sink, and wiping down glass shower doors after every shower, as well as vacuuming every day. It is hard work, but it is doable with discipline.
How do you clean a little everyday?
If you are looking to keep your house clean in shorter bursts, then doing around 20 minutes every day can help you to clean a little every day without it taking up large swathes of your free time. Set a timer and work on one room at a time, such as tidying up a bedroom and vacuuming, for instance. You will be amazed at how much you get done in a short amount of time with no distractions.
The catch-all day has become a lifesaver in my house and makes cleaning that much more meditative for me each week. It is more freeing than the ‘different day, different room’ housekeeping schedule while also ensuring tasks are evenly spread. Plus, if I have managed to complete everything through the week, my catch-all day becomes a bonus day off. Will you be adding it to your routine?
Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for six months, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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