How Zone Cleaning Changed My Life (and a FREE Zone Cleaning Printable)

Are you tired and frustrated with having a messy house that no one ever seems to want to clean? Today I’m going to share with you how zone cleaning changed our family and I have a free zone cleaning printable as well!

Are you tired and frustrated with having a messy house that no one ever seems to want to clean? Today I'm going to share with you how zone cleaning changed our family and I have a free zone cleaning printable as well!

Zone Cleaning is a simple concept in which your home is broken up into different sections to make it easier to clean. Breaking the home into smaller, easier-to-manage areas that can be cleaned daily will help reshape your mindset on what is possible when it comes to keeping your home clean.

I’ll be honest guys…my house was starting to become pretty messy. It seemed like no matter how much stuff we decluttered, the mess was still there.

And seriously…those Legos hurt to step on!

Plus, when I did have the kids do chores in the house, there was so much whining and complaining, you’d think that we were part of a Berenstain Bears book. It wasn’t good.

At the beginning of the school year, I decided that I’d had enough.

It wasn’t that my kids didn’t know how to do household chores or that they NEVER got done. It was that they rarely got done, and the complaining was enough to make me never want to do them again.

So I created a Zone Cleaning Chart for our family to follow. I don’t want to get overenthusiastic about a cleaning routine but seriously…this has been life-changing.

Zones

How to Make Zones to Clean

Start by making a list of all of the areas in your home that need to be cleaned. It should look something like this:

  • Bathroom
  • Mudroom
  • Kids Bedrooms
  • Master Bedroom
  • Laundry Room
  • Dining Room
  • Front Porch or Deck
  • Living Room

The next part will take a little time. You’ll need to break each room down into the tasks that need to be done. Don’t just write down daily tasks, write down everything that should be done on a regular basis.

This really depends on your home but here are some examples:

  • Clean shower
  • Dust ceiling fans
  • Clean out the fridge
  • Organize the freezers
  • Clean the toilets
  • Dust the living room
  • Vacuum the hallway
  • Sweep the dining room
  • Clean out the closets
  • Wipe the bathroom sink
  • Wipe down major kitchen appliances

Don’t put things on your list that you think other people think you should do. Only add what you REALLY want and need to do on a regular basis.

Zone Cleaning Checklist

How to Prioritize Your Zone Cleaning List

Not all tasks need to be done every day, or even every week. On our zone cleaning printable list, we only chose tasks that need done daily and weekly. We all have enough going on without trying to plan on the next 6 months of cleaning in our lives so that’s enough for us!

Group the areas that need to be done daily so you can have them all in front of you. Then put together the daily tasks into “Zones” that logistically make sense. Do not add any more tasks to a single zone than one person can do in a day. Here’s an example of Zone 2 in our home:

Pick up all blankets and pillows and put back on couches.
Clean up the living room floor.
Turn on the vacuum in the living room. 

Yes, I have a Robot Vacuum and yes, I love it.

This grouping of cleaning makes sense for a single zone because it’s all in the same room, the living room.

When you create your own zone cleaning checklists you can make them as long as you want or as short as you want. I think it all depends on who will be doing the cleaning and how long you want it to take each day.

Weekly Zone Cleaning

Weekly Zone Cleaning

Anything else on your list that doesn’t NEED to be done daily should go in the weekly zone cleaning list. These are items that aren’t necessarily in a particular zone, but are additional areas of the home that need to be cleaned and need to be on your zone cleaning schedule.

How to Organize the Daily and Weekly Zone Cleaning Schedule

If you want to arrange your zone cleaning so that it coordinates with days of the week, you can do so. This might be helpful if you have mostly weekly tasks (or tasks that are ok to only do once a week) and if you are the only one doing the cleaning. In that case, you might organize it something like this by the day of the week.

Monday: Kitchen Zone
Tuesday: Living Room Zone
Wednesday: Dining Room Zone
Thursday: Bathroom Zones
Friday: Everywhere Else Zones
Saturday: Outside Zones

Personally, we have areas in our zones that need cleaned daily and I have several cleaning helpers so splitting the zones into specific days of the week didn’t work for us.

Our Zone Cleaning Checklist

How We Do Zone Cleaning

We currently have 3 daily cleaning zones in our home. They are very originally named: Zone 1, Zone 2, and Zone 3.

I have 3 zones because I have 3 cleaners. The older boys each have their own zone and David and I do the last zone or I do the zone alone if he is working. My youngest daughter helps everyone as they are working on their zones. She is still learning how to clean and needs assistance.

In addition to the daily zones, I have a list of weekly tasks.

Each day, I write who is in charge of which zone with a marker on our whiteboard in the dining room. No one does the same zone 2 days in a row. We clean our zones in the morning after breakfast but before school so we are ready to start the day.

Once the person has completed their daily zone cleaning, they pick one thing off the weekly list and complete that as well. I have 18 items on my weekly list. That means if each of us picks one thing a day, we have it all completed by the end of the week. (We take a break on Sundays.)

Zone Cleaning List

Results of Zone Cleaning

A complaint about cleaning is now rare in our house.

Seriously, it’s a miracle.

I’ve found that the kids like to be able to see what they are supposed to clean each day (on the whiteboard) instead of being told or nagged. The more they do the tasks, the more confident they feel in them but they aren’t getting bored with having the same task every day. (This was an issue before when for example, always had the same person on bathroom cleaning duty, etc.)

We start each day with a clean house and tasks actually get done instead of getting put off. The kids feel more of a sense of responsibility when they have their own zone that they are in charge of instead of just randomly cleaning.

Is my house completely spotless and perfect all the time?

Um no…

I have kids…

Kids that walk in constantly with muddy shoes and who still scatter their Legos like candy at a parade.

But do we feel like our home is cleaner and more organized and that everyone is pulling their part in the team? Absolutely.

Kids in the Water

Tips on Zone Cleaning for Families

Don’t try and overload each zone with too many tasks, especially if you are delegating the zones to your children. Our zones take about 5 minutes each to clean plus about another 5 minutes for the weekly tasks. It’s quick, easy, and painless when we are all working together towards the goal.

If you have children that are new to cleaning or you want tasks done a specific way you might want to create a detailed cleaning list in a cleaning binder or a step-by-step checklist for each cleaning task so they can learn. We chose to show our children the tasks and do it with them at first. Then we started inspecting after they finished to show them what we expected. Now they do it on their own.

Daily tasks are not meant for bigger cleaning jobs like spring or fall cleaning. Keep the tasks easy and simple so it feels quite effortless to do them.


Zone Cleaning has literally been life-changing in our home. As I mentioned above, the complaints are almost non-existent and my house actually looks semi-clean most of the time.

Not only that, my children are learning valuable life skills by learning how to care for a home as well as learning to work together as part of a team.

As a mom with autoimmune issues that tends to tire out if I over-exert myself too often, I knew that I couldn’t take on cleaning the entire house daily by myself. Not only was it not physically possible, but it was also silly for me to do since I have capable, smart children who can use these skills now and in the future.

Want a Zone Cleaning Printable template so that you can create your own zone cleaning for your home? Put in your email below and I’ll send it over to you!

I hope that this article and the zone cleaning printable inspires you to take back charge of the mess in your home and create your own, simple, zone cleaning plans.

Me and KadyMerissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm and ministry while raising special needs children on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.


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9 Comments

  1. This really speaks to me. I thought it might be a post about Fly Lady zone cleaning, which I try to follow. I do find though, that I want to clean other zones and wonder if I should just do a certain room a day. This will be great for the kids, and the parents short on time. Thank you!

  2. Thanks Merissa for the Zone Cleaning Checklist. When my kids were young I did my own checklist (not as elaborate as yours though) for my own kids (3 boys). They are grown, married and have children of their own children. They gave us 8 Grandkids (mostly boys).

    It really helped in their growing up and organization. They could find their own toys & cloths. I also got various storage containers, and shelving that helped them TONS too.

    Darlene Driedger Langley, Canada

  3. Nice Merissa! I like your system of having each child responsible for rotating help – wish I had incorporated that when my own were small. It’s so easy for a house to turn into chaos, but it sounds like you have a great way of not only keeping the place tidy, but also teaching responsibility to your kids. I bet they help teach each other too, as they develop faster/better ways of completing a chore. The Fly Lady’s system can be so adaptable. I follow the Secret Slob on Youtube, and it’s great to see how she adapted it to manage a house with three very little ones. I think that by the time your children are grown on on their own, they’ll have tidy homes and be responsible adults!
    Best wishes always –

  4. Thanks so much for the info! You are such an inspiration and I always look forward to reading your emails, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas! Your property looks beautiful!