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The Cleaning System That Works

I created the Adaptive Cleaning System because I was tired of expecting too much from myself and then failing. I would make to-do lists that were for my “ideal” self- the one who had tons of time and energy. I have chronic conditions and also live with times of

depression and anxiety, so I was rarely having those “ideal” days. My house would get super overwhelming because I could never stick to my to-do lists. I’d finally get enough energy to at least attempt to make progress in my home, but I’d end up completely exhausted and feeling like I hadn’t accomplished much. It was a cycle that was beyond discouraging.

Once I began making to-do lists that matched my realistic time and energy, I saw slow but powerful shifts in my home. My low capacity lists enabled me to keep forward momentum in my home without totally exhausting me. My average capacity lists helped me prioritize

on days when I had a bit more time and energy. I even began to have some higher capacity days too, so I made a cleaning list for those times so that I could be as effective as possible. I choose which capacity list to follow based on how I feel each day, and it has kept me consistent.

With this system, you will discover that you don’t have to do major cleaning to see big results. Here’s a basic overview of the documents you’ll find in my Adaptive Cleaning system.

There are monthly sheets that organize the deep cleaning, with each week focusing on a different part of your home. I don’t include dates for the monthly sheets, so you don’t feel pressured to do the tasks on certain days. I simply have four tasks listed for each week. You can spread these throughout the week or work on the tasks on the weekend, depending on what works best for your schedule. You can pick one task to work on each week or complete all four tasks. There is no pressure to be perfect in the adaptive cleaning system- everything you do makes a difference.

There are two formats I’ve included for deep cleaning. There are months where all the capacities are listed, using “1” as low capacity, “2” as average capacity, and “3” as high capacity. In this format, you can review all the options, like a menu, and choose which task correlates to your time and energy.

There’s also a format with just one capacity per month for people who like seeing only one option at a time.

On all the deep cleaning sheets, you will see “5th week tasks” at the bottom. I always start a new month on the first Monday. In months with five Mondays, I use that fifth week to declutter. You will find various categories to focus on in the final row of the deep cleaning sheets, and you can devote as much or as little time to decluttering as you have.

I have a weekly format that shows you all the daily and weekly cleaning tasks at a glance. There is also a blank spot for notes, which you can use to write the monthly deep cleaning tasks you’re working on (or whatever you’d like.)

The daily plan sheets are for planning multiple facets of your day, along with the cleaning tasks. There is an option for color for those who like a more visual breakdown.

There’s also a black-and-white option in case you want to print the pages.

  • The #1 tasks are almost always “low capacity” tasks. When I’m at low capacity, I can typically devote 5-15 minutes to the various tasks. The #2 tasks are almost always “average capacity” tasks. When I’m at average capacity, I can typically devote 15-30 minutes to the various tasks. The #3 tasks are almost always “high capacity” tasks. When I’m at high capacity, I can typically devote 45 minutes + to the tasks that need extra time. *The only time 1, 2, 3, don’t designate capacities is for certain Weekly Tasks (ex: pick what applies under the Living Things task). In addition, since everyone’s laundry routine is different, the 1, 2, & 3 tasks provide options to work on laundry in various stages, even if it’s just hanging clothes that are lying on a chair in your bedroom.

  • Gratitude: Even 3 words of gratitude make a positive difference in your day.

  • Nourishment: You can use this space to plan meals or to record what you ate that day after the fact in order to create a future meal plan.

  • Getting ready: This can be as simple or complex as your capacity allows, but even changing into a clean pair of comfy clothes helps start the day.

  • Review Plan: One of the biggest stressors is to be caught off guard by what you need to do. Reviewing your planner or calendar at the beginning or end of the day keeps you mindful.

  • De-stress: This space includes options to release stress from your mind & body.

  • Prep for tomorrow: Starting your day on the right note is much easier if you prep even a little the night before. This is something I’ve only recently started to prioritize, and it makes a big difference in my mornings when I can barely get my eyes open!

  • Bedroom: It can take as few as 2 minutes to make an impact on your bedroom.

  • Floors: Floors can get gross fast, so there are daily options to either spot clean food spills & such, sweep smallerareas, or vacuum where needed. If you don’t need to work on your floors daily, there’s also a weekly task for floors, as well as monthly tasks.

  • Laundry: You may do laundry daily or once a week, but picking a task daily from the laundry list will keep buildup from happening.

  • Kitchen: Cleaning the kitchen can be difficult, but the routine of getting dishes clean & putting food away will give you a good start for the next day.

  • Weekly Task: Each day of the week will have specific tasks. Pick what applies & what matches your capacity.

  • Monthly Task: There are four deep cleaning tasks scheduled every week. These can be spread out through the week or tackled on the weekend, depending on your schedule. You can work on all four tasks or pick however many you have the time and energy for.

  • Have Fun Today: Life can’t just be a slog. Most people don’t think they have time for fun, but with intention, you can make it happen. If your day is crazy, jot down a 15 minute fun activity on line 1. If you can squeeze in 30ish minutes, put that on line 2. If you have a couple of hours, schedule that on line 3. Either way, prioritize having fun.

  • Future Happiness: Bigger happiness goals have to be planned for. Choose to do one small thing to work towards daily when you’re able. You can work on triggers, listen to a podcast, read a self-development book, or work on that secret dream you’d love to make happen.

I also have daily cleaning sheets that don’t include personal tasks and only focus on the cleaning aspect of things. Because the monthly tasks change from week to week, all the daily cleaning sheets will have an empty space for you to write in the monthly deep cleaning task you’re working on.

If you want to check out the system, you can click the link here:

If you’ve got questions after reading this blog post, please email me at I’m happy to help you in any way I can!

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