share post

Four Daily Routines: How I keep my house “clean enough”

by | Aug 8, 2009 | Domesticity, Organization

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

Four Daily Routines: How I keep my house "clean enough"

How to keep a house clean

When I was a younger mom, I was forever making up lists and methods to keep track of everything from organization to daily routines. I had notebooks and files and all sorts of systems involving complicated color coding and chore tracking devices. The problem was, once I would get the systems all set up, I would fail miserably at using them. I had made housekeeping more complicated than it needed to be. I felt like I was always behind and my house seemed on the verge of chaos.

In my endeavor to live life more fully, I’m always evaluating things I want to incorporate into my life and what things I DON’T want. I want to have a beautifully decorated, clean and organized home, but there are other things in life that are important to me too. I want my home to be in order so I am free to nurture relationships and enjoy living, but I don’t want to be a slave to my housekeeping routines.

So, how do I balance it all? I keep it simple.

Over the years I’ve found I can focus on four basic housekeeping routines that work for me, and I’m sticking to them. I can add other things, of course, but these are the tried and true basics. Some I learned from Flylady, some were ideas from other books I read as a young bride and many are just my own ways of doing things. By breaking it down and doing what works for me, I feel I can manage my life, instead of my house taking over my life.

Four Daily Routines: How I keep my house "clean enough"

Here is what I focus on every day:

1. Morning routine. I have found that having a regular morning routine works best for me. This involves at the very least: some quiet time, making the bed, taking a shower (hanging up my towel when I am done, of course!), putting on very simple makeup and getting dressed right down to my shoes. I always toss in a load of laundry as I am getting dressed. I find if I start out the day with those few things, I am ready for anything and feel energized to tackle my day! You can read about my MORNING ROUTINE in more detail here (with tips for establishing your own morning routine!).

2. Clean sinks. I learned the Fly lady system back when my son was born. I was taking care of him and my two grade school girls and during the day I was watching my nephew who was born five weeks before my son. All that and working part-time! With four kids taking over my tiny house, I ran into frustration over having too much to handle. Fly lady to the rescue! She broke it down for me and I listened: clean and shiny sinks, always. Interestingly, it was the same exact advice my mom taught me as a young girl! Every night we clean the kitchen. We put away dishes, load the final dishwasher load of the day, wipe off counters, and polish up the sink. There is nothing like waking up to a clean kitchen to make your day feel less overwhelming from the start.

I follow this principle both in our bathrooms and the kitchen. Something about striving for that shiny sink keeps me from letting dirty dishes pile up in the kitchen and icky stuff like hair and spit discouraging me every time I pass through the bathroom.

Click HERE for my secrets and tried and true tips for cleaning a white sink (without harsh chemicals!)

3. Cleaning frenzies. Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I have utilized what we call “cleaning frenzies” to give our home a quick clean up every day. A cleaning frenzy might last ten minutes or even up to an hour. But everyone participates, including the kids. We run around picking things up, putting things back, and generally tidying things up.

Sometimes we focus on one room; sometimes it is an entire house frenzy. Sometimes it is a task frenzy, like dusting or cleaning all toilets! It works like a charm to make a big impact in a short period of time. Even one “10-minute cleaning frenzy” a day keeps the frustration away.

4. Little bit of laundry. I’ve found that putting in at least one load of laundry every day helps me to stay on top of it. I take it all the way through to putting it away! It’s not overwhelming to do a little bit every day. NOT doing the laundry is what is overwhelming!

If I have my basic routines down, my home stays “clean enough” most of the time. Keeping up on things means I rarely feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done! When my home is maintained on a daily basis, it is really easy to add in a few extra tasks now and then to really shine things up or get things organized.

But if I let my daily routines go, my house soon spirals out of control. My house isn’t perfect by any means, but I am OK with that. It is CLEAN ENOUGH! I’m sticking to my tried and true basics. No more complicated chore charts for me! I promise, my four daily routines work!

What are your tried and true routines? What is your biggest area of frustration in keeping your house clean?


How to Clean A White Sink (3 Secrets, Without Harsh Chemicals)

How Do You Keep a Clean House with Dogs?

How to Clean Up Your House in Five Minutes

The Toxic Secret Hiding in Your Clean House

Four Daily Routines: How I keep my house "clean enough"

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my NYT Bestselling book on homemaking and being content with your home, called Love the Home You Have.

Four Daily Routines: How I keep my house "clean enough"

And, my book Make Room for What You Love, which dives into your daily schedule, simplifying, decluttering, and organizing your home and life! 

Four Daily Routines: How I keep my house "clean enough"


  1. Emily

    I loved this post the first time (still remember it!) and love it this time, with the twist of new photos.

    • Melissa

      I’m so glad you are still around Emily!

  2. Patty

    I follow the same basic four that you do! Something I think of often is a sign I once saw that said, “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.” Over the years it has allowed me time to be with my kids or even to just sit on the sofa for a few re-energizing moments.

    • Melissa

      I love that. So much easier to break it down and have LIFE left over to LIVE!

  3. Funky Junk Interiors

    Biggest frustration? Pet hair. No solution yet. Swiffer works ok, but I need something that vaccuums, not swiffers. I’m on the lookout for the perfect rechargeable stick broom that won’t scratch up my hardwood floors.

    Tried and true method? Kiddos out of the house while I clean, so I can get it under control.

    Never broken rule? Spotless kitchen. After every meal. The entire upstairs is open floor plan and you can see everything. If there’s potatoes from the garden on the coutertops, they have to go too. Clean kitchen means a clean upstairs. A place for everything takes care of this.

    I LOVE your four routine rules. I’m going to post them and remind myself to do the same. Things get so out of control here so fast it’s unbelievable. No laptop time until the 4 routines are done would be another good rule for ME. LOL


    • Robin

      Pet hair….I agree – 3 house rabbits, 2 dogs, 1 hamster equals ALOT of fur. It makes huge tumbleweeds that show up spontaneously and I could vacume twice a day…..

      I love the FLYLADY method – it is great when I was a SAHM all the time – but now trying to work PT and Work-OUT and can’t do it all….I think the no computer until all else is done would be a good addition…

    • Cat

      Hi! You know what I found works great on my pet hair problem (I have an exploding white chihuahua and dark hardwood floors)? An electrostatic non-disposable dry dust mop and a hand vac. I dustmop the floors and every few minutes as I go, stop, turn the mop over and vaccuum it (and the little growing pile it was pushing around), then continue with the mopping. I only need to hand or machine wash the mop head once a week or so. It works brilliantly. No waste, nothing to throw out besides emptying the dirt cup of the hand vac and it’s surprisingly quick. :o)

    • Tony

      Might try a Roomba? They have one specifically for pet hair. We had one for a few years…worked great! Put it in the room, shut the door and in about 40 min, the room was clean…course that didn’t work on furniture too well….but might be worth a thought…

      • Jessica

        Dyson vacuums are amazing as well!! If there was a fire, I would grab my family, animals, photos and my Dyson!!!

    • Teresa

      I love my Rumba. Don’t know what I did before! Of course it doesn’t work on the furniture. I schedule it to run daily and I love how it picks up the dog hair. When I first got it we had carpet, and it doesn’t do a deep clean but it keeps the surface clean and tidy. Then we got hardwood and it is a little noisy but I still love it. I schedule it to run the minute we are to leave the house….. that way if the dog getting sick or leaves a mess it is more likely it will be after Rumba is finished. Another bonus is it makes you more aware of leaving stuff on the floor because it does eat it and it stops and you have to un plug it. But it hasn’t damaged anything yet.

    • mary

      The best thing I have found for picking up all of the pet hair (I have 2 dogs and a cat) is the SwifferVac. It is a vacuum and swiffer in one and only takes minutes for me to have my floors hair and dirt free! The vacuum picks up the big pieces while the Swiffer pad gets the rest! So easy and works great!

    • Denise

      My go to vacuum for pet hair is Hoover Linx… I couldn’t live without it! I’ve got a dog that sheds beyond belief!

  4. Amy

    I love your routines. Mine are pretty similar. I try to pick things up before going to bed, but it doesn’t happen very often! I do at least feel better when the sink is cleaned.

  5. Janet

    I follow the clean kitchen rule as well. Waking up to a clean kitchen makes the day start without immediate obstacles.

  6. Shannon

    Oh wow! I love the clean sink idea. I am gonna try that. I feel very overwhelmed trying to keep my house tidy during the day. I have two young children that seem to have a trail of debris following them every place they go. I also try to leave the kitchen clean when I go to bed, because I hate waking up to a mess in the kitchen.
    The one rule I love, and try to stick to is the 5 minute rule. I apply it to everything from cleaning to projects. 5 minute rule: What can you do in 5 minutes. Thats it.. pretty simple. I find myself amazed though at what I can get accomplished in that short of time. Thanks for this great post!

  7. Keelie

    Seriously, thank you SO much for sharing this. I am a mom to 2 small kiddos and have never been the best at keeping things clean…or even “clean enough”! I have been thinking I needed to make some elaborate chart or something similar to help me, but I think implemementing these simple routines will help me a lot.

    I know this isn’t logical but I get frustrated cleaning something that I know is going to get messed up right away and I also don’t like to start a task for fear that I will be interrupted and not be able to finish it. I think maybe I need counseling? lol

    Sorry, this is getting long, but I also wanted to share a little thing a friend of mine shared and it is called 15 thing cleaning. You do 15 things and then you stop. 1. put up dishes, 2. start wash, 3. pick up all toys on the floor, etc…You do that once a day. Supposedly it helps keep things “clean enough,” too. I haven’t tried this yet:)

  8. Pam

    I love your ideas! I am definitely with you on the “clean enough” idea! I really like the thought on keeping the sinks clean. I will have to try that!
    We also try to keep our rugs vacuumed in our main living areas – we struggle with pet hair around here a lot too!
    We have a saying around here – there’s normal cleaning and then there’s “Bunco” clean! That’s what I am getting ready to do – get the house Bunco clean! Argh!

    • Julie

      Funny, because we have regular picked up clean, and then there’s Mimmee clean–for when my husband’s grandma is coming over!

  9. Cathy

    Each day that I work from home, I put a load of laundry in the washing machine first thing when I go downstairs. Later, when I go downstairs to the kitchen from my office for lunch, I move the laundry from the washer to the dryer. By the time I finish lunch, the laundry is dry and I can fold it. Then, back to work in the office. This way, I get through about three loads of wash a week without it seeming to take any time and can finish the rest on a weekend day.

  10. Karen B

    I love FLYLADY’s system. It works great. Especially when I do it! ;-)

  11. anne

    I love all your rules, but to me the most important one is RULE no 4, we don;t have any rules in this house, but that is one that I try to install. It makes me feel very good and a great way to start your day!

  12. Debbie

    Melissa, I adopted FLYLADY’S system too. I always clean my kitchen sink, wipe it dry and put out a fresh clean dish towel. And my husband is the one who introduced me to playing a song and see how much we can get cleaned before the song ended. He used to do that with his sisters as he was the oldest and quite responsible. I love to keep my house organized and clean and yet …I don’t allow myself to become a slave to it. I always love to visit your blog.

  13. AmyE

    “Imperfect housework still blesses your family”. My favorite flylady quote of all time … can be applied to so many things. Thanks for the reminders … I should work on the shiny bathroom sinks!

  14. Claudia

    I agree with pretty much all of you. After my children were grown and gone, I have no one to blame on the untidy messes. What??? couldve it been me then too? No, Im sure not. *coff*

    Seriously though, my biggest pet peeve is a better vaccume for my stairs. I have a very wide and steep set of stairs that require vaccuming, (probably more than they get) My big ol good “sucking” vaccume is just that too big, I somtimes get to working it back and forth and swear its going to topple me down the stairs.

    If anyone knows of a great carpet fluffer/ yet has good suction let me know– ugggh the little hand held dirt devils do NOT do the trick.

    Great post!

    TTFN~~ Claudia ♥ ♥

    • Laura

      For stairs, I have a hand-held Eureka vac (model #71 “Easy Clean” with “riser visor”) designed just for stairs. When you flip up the visor, it exposes the beater bar in such a way that you can vac the risers without turning the machine sideways. It’s heavy for a hand-held, but it does a terrific job, and it has an extra-long cord. I use the hose attachment to get into the joints. My full-sized vac is a Dyson Animal, and this little Eureka has comparable suction, as well as a dirt cup and washable filter. Works great on pet hair and really fluffs up our old carpet. Much more powerful than a dust buster, and you can use it on lots of things besides stairs.

  15. Jeni

    Thanks for sharing what works for you! I think I’m going to give FlyLady a try. I have a 3 year old and an 11 week old, and while my house isn’t terribly messy, certain things aren’t getting done. We’re definitely not in a housekeeping routine yet – I’m hoping as my son’s schedule gets more regular, a home routine will be easier!

  16. Vickie H.

    Very nice post! I live and die by that clean sink business: I am just neurotic about that sink being empty and clean ALL THE TIME!!!
    Dog hair is a big issue around here…constant battle…I feel like I go to bed sometimes with a broom still in my hand. A pet peeve I have is not immediately unloading the dishwasher when the cycle is completed or folding the laundry as soon as it is dry: I know we have all known people who “live” out of their dishwashers and their dryers…not at my house….each of them MUST be ready to accept new items at the drop of a hat….it would be too irritating to me to have to unload the dishwasher before I could put more dirty dishes into it! I said I was neurotic! Love your blog…always the BEST posts!

  17. Elizabeth S

    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and all your decorating ideas :) I wish you could come help me decorate my house!!!
    I am a new (well after a year and a half) wife, and I follow the exact same routines as you :) I need to incorporate a few others into my life… I need to be better with the quiet time & less with the computer time!!
    My kitchen is my thing – if it’s clean, I can do anything! Can’t wait to read everyone’s ideas!!

  18. Peggy

    Great Ideas. The cleaning frenzy one reminds me of when my children were little we would do what we called a “ten minute pickup”. We would set the timer for 10 minutes and everyone would help tidy up. It broke cleaning down into a small amount of time that the kids could see an end to. Worked great.

  19. AmberDusick

    Thanks so much for this list. I love how you broke it down to four simple goals. I relate the the “write up elaborate and organized lists and plans and then fail miserably” so much! I tried flylady after my son was born but failed miserably at that too. I didn’t have time to check all 100 emails they sent! The thing I have the most trouble with is the kitchen cleaning at night. I’m always so tired after dinner (we usually eat late) that dishes are nearly always left until the morning. Perhaps making this simple change will make all the difference. Oh yeah, and laundry. I have no trouble doing laundry…it is folding it all and putting it away that I fail at. Piles of clean clothes wind up in corners of our rooms. Not good.

  20. Andrea

    I use a similar system to keep my house clean enough. I also to a “quick tidy” in the mornings – I stand in the middle of our great room and do a quick visual sweep. Whatever I see laying out gets put away. It’s amazing how quickly I can set the room to rights if I remember to do this every day!

  21. Sarah

    My best trick for keeping my house orderly is to make a day for each major task.
    Mondays I clean the kitchen and change/wash sheets
    Tuesdays I clean bathrooms…or A bathroom or A sink
    Wednesdays I gather trash, wash towels and dust
    Thursdays I sweep and mop
    Fridays are a day of rest
    Saturdays and Sundays, anything goes. Laundry gets done every day as needed and spot cleaning and picking up toys happen off and on all the time.

  22. Stacey

    We actually do several of those things, I think the morning and evening routines, and our “10 Minute Clutter Cleaning” are the best ones that we do! I also make sure that I am not cleaning up for my kids, it really teaches them responsibility and frees you up to take care of other needed things… if they are old enough to get something out, then they are old enough to put it away!! But Kids aren’t the only ones who thrive better with a schedule or a routine, my Hubby and I do as well! I love your idea of throwing in a load of laundry in the morning as you get ready for the day…I’ll admit that doing laundry doesn’t rank high on my list of favorite things to do :), so maybe this would help me to be more productive!!

  23. alisha

    my list is very similar to yours! I never go to bed with the bathroom and kitchen sinks dirty. Laundry only gets done one day a week – every Saturday and bathrooms get a thorough cleaning every Wednesday.

  24. Shelia

    This was a great post! I loved hearing about your morning routine. As I get older, and I’m getting pretty old!, I find I’ve slowed down with my housekeeping. My children are all grown, married and out of the house so I just kind of want to do what I want to do! Doesn’t always make for a clean house! I think I’m going to try and follow your plan!
    I may be old but never to old to learn a new trick! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  25. PamperingBeki

    Oh Melissa, this is perfect timing!

    I was just telling my husband today that I’m feeling overwhelmed. And that while most people do Spring cleaning, I get the urge to nest in the Fall! It’s hitting me big this week!

  26. Sara

    I have assigned a certain time to each “zone.” I don’t go over! Some days, especially after we’ve been sick and things have slacked, the limited amount of time won’t clean the whole “zone” but generally each day gets better and better, until there is extra time left over. So when the timer dings….done with that “zone” no matter what. Than move on to the next timed zone.

    ex: Kitchen 30 min
    Living/Dining 20 min
    Master Bed/Bath 15 min
    Kids rooms/bath 20 min

  27. Christi from Charm & Grace

    I really, REALLY needed this post right now. With just taking our home off the market, we are in “let down” mode from having to keep it perpetually clean. I am trying not to let things get too far gone (as far as the daily chores are concerned), but we are also trying to do a few “projects.” I love the cleaning frenzy idea… with 5 of us in the house, getting things done should take no time at all if we are focused.

    Thanks again for sharing all your wonderful ideas.


  28. I'm Julia

    I am such a warm weather fan, not at all looking forward to the fall. When I get on a roll nesting varies with, well, I really don’t know what. Hunh. But I do have one habit I try to stick to daily. I never pass something that needs to go to another room… I try never to be empty handed, unless everything is in it’s place. In short, I make my steps do double duty.

    I love your idea of the frenzied cleaning/straightening. Wonder what my husband’s going to think of that the first time I initiate it? Tomorrow, I think I will do just that.

  29. Angela

    Melissa, I loved your four step routine. I have tried the cleaning frenzy — and it so works, I just need to do it on a more regular basis.
    Thanks, Angela

  30. heather

    my biggest frustration is laundry. HELP

  31. Debbie

    I recently saw a to do list that said “do 1 thing and do it well today”. I thought this is what I need for my house! So every morning in my head, I don’t actually write it down, I vow to complete one thing really well. Whether it’s laundry, dusting, vacuming, cleaning the bathroom, etc. I do one thing and I do it well!

    Also, I always keep a clean kitchen sink and sweep the kitchen floor every night after dinner.

    Great post thanks for sharing!

  32. Jenna

    I really appreciate this post – great reminder! I try to do the morning routine idea. If I do, it seems that everything else kinda falls into place. My kids will play “10-minute tidy” if I institute it before bed. It’s amazing how much progress we can all make together in just 10″. Also, when I get really frantic, I listen to FlyLady’s crisis cleaning podcast on my iPod. I giggle at the way she says things & it takes the stress away.

    Every two weeks I have a reset day – I declutter the entire house for the morning & then cleaners come in the afternoon to do the floors & the bathrooms.

  33. Kris

    Thanks for the tips. I couldn’t agree more. A clean kitchen in the morning is like a great cup of coffee. You can sit and relax while enjoying both.


  34. Annie

    I too love a morning routine, and it seems that this summer has gotten me into a cleaning funk. I need to get back in my groove so that my laundry doesn’t topple over on me. Either that or just tackle a bit at a time and invest in some extra undies for when I am behind. :)
    Thanks for the great tips!

  35. Dawn

    I love this post! We just did the cleaning “frenzy” this morning!!!

    My niece was born on Tuesday, so we were at the hospital most of the week, and when we weren’t there I was at work for 12 hour days! In this house, if mom doesn’t make sure it gets done, it doesn’t get done!!! Sooo, that led to being verrrry behind on housework this week. The cleaning “frenzy” got it all done and made sure that the kids were made accountable for their messes.

    Now, if someone could tell me how to eleiminate pet hair, I’d be a happy happy girl!!!

  36. kjquilts

    The first really important rule for me is to have a place for everything! If everything gets put back in its place at least things look neat and organized.

    I like to keep my bathrooms and kitchen clean. Wiping them down daily insures a guest won’t find any surprises. Make the beds every morning. Do a load of laundry a day. My problem is the floors and dusting!

    I’m not the best housekeeper in the world but I try…I have so many other things I want to do!

  37. Amanda

    What’s my biggest frustration with keeping my house clean. Well really what’s my biggest frustration in the world. I’ve got one word for you LAUNDRY! Laundry, laundry, laundry. Ok maybe more than one word, and not the biggest problem in the world just in my house. I’m thinking of making the kids wear uniforms or all black. Then it would be simpler.

  38. Diane Costanza

    I have been flying with flylady a little under a year as well and I now love how my home apears. Keep flying!!

  39. Emily-Sarah

    Great advice to repeat! I think it’s automatic for some of us to want to make cleaning/tidying complex. As you mentioned re: systems — we think we must have astute methods and charts. And for a lot of us (or me, anyway), it means setting oneself up for disappointment and failure (and then crumpling up the charts).

    Something that’s helped my mindset is on my first-ever retreat a couple weeks ago, a sign in the cottage stated “We invite you to co-minister with us. …” And it asked if we would tidy/clean AND pray for the next guest(s). It sure gave cleaning a new and better spin! Cleaning with a higher purpose! So I’m striving to think of cleaning my own turf with that in mind: Praying for my hubby and our little boy … and also praying for visitors/friends/family who come by — and remembering that when the door bell rings unexpectedly, I am a more relaxed “host” when we’re sitting in a tidy space! It may sound silly, but assigning some “sacredness” to chores truly can help my attitude. (Not to say that my house is in total order. Still working on that one.)

  40. Jacqueline

    I love your four basic routines! Your words about cleaning up the kitchen at night was a good reminder, as I have somewhat dropped that idea lately resulting in frustrating mornings. Being a mother of four busy children, I have had to find simple ways to keep life in order while still maintaining relationships as priority. One idea I adopted last spring was to work each day on my home as if company were coming in thirty minutes! This allowed my scattered brain to focus and get a lot done in a small amount of time.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  41. Tami

    If housekeeping gets behind here, I take out the garbage and recycling and then change the sheets. Go to bed and tackle in the morning… because sometimes after a busy week just this little start helps on Friday night when everything is a mess and I am overwhelmed.

  42. Dawn - Hydrangea Home

    Hi Melissa,
    I basically follow the same rules as yours! It does work. The house isn’t perfect but I don’t have time for perfect and have had to accept that long ago!
    But as the kids get older, they help out more.
    I find the summer a great time for getting much needed help around the house. I give each of my kids a little list a few days a week. No nagging for me and they love to cross things off.
    Hope you are getting back to normal!

  43. Lisa

    I love this post. It was so freeing to hear someone else who has a few simple things they do each day to keep their house clean. I realized I get too wrapped up in creating a complicated daily schedule that I just can’t keep up with. As I read what you wrote, I realized that I already do all those things, and our house is just fine! I love what someone commented about her house being clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. That is so great! Thanks for the insight into your cleaning routine. It was so refreshing and encouraging!

  44. Kim... and Her Coffee

    So happy to have found your wonderful site! LOVE this post…. Especially since we’ve just moved into our new home. PS ~ looking forward to Fall right along with you.

  45. Casey

    I love your routine! I think I will start to follow it, I’ve been doing the sink thing for a little while already, I love clean sinks! and I try to make my kitchen clean for morning, it really does make mornings so much brighter just having it clean already

  46. Cheri Peoples

    I am the same way. I am always an octopus-with 4 kids and home schooling 2 of them but we get it all done and no one has missed a meal.

    Sorry-I’ve been out of commission — terribly sick for over a week– but do you want to know how I cut my grocery bill in half? go to Cut your grocery bills now plus I have a give a way and a new MckLinky party starting Monday

    Its So Very Cheri

  47. The Blushing Hostess

    I am a little bit of a task master with my self and others. The kitchen needs always to be immaculate, so I clean as I go, and it helps that the dishwashers is always emptied right away. The beds and rooms are tidied each morning, sinks wiped down after we get ready in the morning. The vacuum gets runs every other day just before I take a shower, and the rest of the cleaning is done, as you note, in frenzied states, on the opposite days at about 10 minutes morning and evening. We have two tiny girls and two shedding dogs – believe me when I tell you, we cannot afford to miss a day!

  48. Julie

    Wow, do I agree with the lady who sai she didn’t feel up to cleaning the kitchen after dinner!! When my husband gets home from work, our evening flies by. By the time we get the kids into bed, I don’t want to stand back up! I’ve got to get better though & I guess some of that comes from being prepared for dinner so you don’t make such a mess of the kitchen to begin with. Great ideas–I’m going to focus more on these things & see what happens!

    • paige whitley

      How old are your kids? Maybe they can do the kitchen, or at least part of it. My oldest two are just 12 and 8, but they store up leftovers, clear the dishes and wipe the table, and wash whatever dishes are in the sink (handwash)> They leave the pots and pans for me. I usually fill those with soapy water and leave them over night and wash them up the next morning.

  49. Abbie

    Gotta love FlyLady! I don’t do all of hers, but what I do really works!

  50. janice

    I would have guessed you were a Flylady fan from the way you said you get dressed right down to your shoes! I’ve been a fan for years, since the day I realised I would soon be lving with CHAOS (can’t have anyone over syndrome.)

  51. janice

    I would have guessed you were a Flylady fan from the way you said you get dressed right down to your shoes! I’ve been a fan for years, since the day I realised I would soon be living with CHAOS (can’t have anyone over syndrome.)

  52. Gayle

    I’ve been in the nesting mood myself, I think it is the cooler air in the pacific northwest right now. It feels like fall is around the corner! Several years ago, someone told me she did a “3 minute bathroom” every day. I ask her what was that and she said, she simple sprayed everything down and wiped the bathroom down every day. It took 3 minutes top. I tried it, and she was right. I do it every day, even the days I work. It’s no big chore and a clean bathroom is a simple but wonderful blessing.

  53. Stephanie

    LOVE this post! I have been looking for something similar to help me stay on top of things, as I have let things slide lately. Plus. I love knowing how others are able to stay on top of things!

    Now, when I am on top of things, I love to set a timer for 15 minutes and get as much done as I can in that 15 min. I try to do this 3 or 4 times a week and take a different room each time. It seriously makes a world of difference and I am amazed at what I can get done in that time span!

  54. Yvonne

    I make housecleaning simple. I assign a room or two a day to clean and if I get that room done on that day I’m done. No more! I try to do one extra job each week in each room (i.e clean out a drawer or a shelf in closet). Since I stick to this no room every gets way out of hand in my home.

    Since I live with two boys who can make things very untidy (especially in the summer months), I’ve just started a 15 minute mandatory clean up after supper. I expect them to work hard at cleaning up their messes. If they don’t, I add more time on the timer. They’ve learned to work slavishly and just get it done and over with. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 15 minutes if you have a 13 and 12 year old pitching in.

    My house generally is pretty clean and organized and I find I have time for other more enjoyable things than cleaning.

    • Jill

      You’re teaching your children really wonderful skills!!

  55. Tara

    I love the idea of the cleaning frenzy! Must give that a try. :)

  56. Chele

    I have pretty much all steps you have down. I have 4 kids as well and it can get so overwhelming!! The only thing I need to start to do again is get myself together in the morning! Thanks for sharing Melissa! I love this post!

  57. Krys

    You are SO right! A clean and shiny sink is da bomb!
    Just yesterday I came home from a weekend at the lake house and went right to the supermarket to do the grocery shopping for the week, and I saw SoftScrub disposable pads – no idea what the exact name is, but I bought ’em – without a coupon! I had a vision of just swiping them over the sink when necessary…
    Went home, put the food away, deep fried some eggplant (yea, not baked!), made dinner, washed the dishes – and cleaned the sink.
    And my kitchen just sparkled! Even though I did nothing but clean the sink! It smelled clean, it looked clean and I could see myself in the clean and shiny sink!
    (Then I went upstairs and moaned and groaned about how much dust could accumulate in the 2 days we were gone…)

  58. Hasley

    I agree about the nightly kitchen routine. Nothing worse than starting your day with a cluttered drying rack. (I also try to get coffee maker loaded so I can just flip it on after I come back from my a.m. run.)

  59. hill upon hill

    I like your ideas.

    Morning: Prayer, shower, washing on…..children………quick wipe of bathroom, dining table and kitchen. Washing out.

    Every second day: static mop to deal with wooden floors and cat hair.

    Job of the Day:
    Mon: dust our bedroom, children do their own.
    Tues: Try very hard to put away all laundry!
    Wed: wipe surfaces in kitchen (include top fridge) and laundry.
    Thurs: Better clean of bathroom/wash towels.
    Fri: dust living areas/hallway, sweep entrance.
    Sat: Vacuum high traffic areas, sometimes a bedroom if lucky or children helpful!

  60. Beverly

    When I was a young bride, I read a book called The Joys of Homemaking. The author encouraged readers to follow rule #4–tidy up before going to bed, otherwise you started the next day an hour or two behind. I still pick up even though my kids are grown and gone. I don’t want to look at a mess first thing in the morning.

    One of the first things I do each morning is make the bed. If the bed is made, the rest of the room doesn’t look that bad even if it’s untidy. I grew up w/o a dishwasher; my mother kept a sink of hot soapy water and washed up as she cooked. By the time dinner was over, all that needed washing was what was on the table.

    Little things add up and make a big difference!

  61. Puna

    Melissa, this is wonderful, wonderful. It’s always a challenge and my biggest problem with a clean home is getting my kids to help. I don’t want to nag…but it’s necessary since it’s not their favorite thing to do.

  62. Eileen

    When I was a young bride I tried to be perfect too, but real life gets in the way of perfection every time, doesn’t it? My house is always “clean enough” and making sure the kitchen is tidy each night before bed is critical, as is making my own bed each morning before I go to work. We do the end-of-the-day pick up too.

    I remember how houses for families used to be SO much smaller than they are now, and I think we just have too much stuff these days and that we feel we need a lot more room to live in. What helps me the most is keeping down the clutter at all times. Most of us have too much “stuff” and not enough storage for the stuff – I’m no exception. This makes me crazy and is the primary source of a messy house for me – so my “keep it simple” approach involves good built-in storage in my home, and less “stuff”! I also am a big believer in giving to charities like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and so good things that aren’t being used anymore are given away to others that will use them, good business clothes that don’t fit (eek!) go to charities that help dress women who are trying to get into the work place again but do not have funds for a professional wardrobe, excess furniture or other larger home goods goes to newlyweds in our family who are just starting out and have nothing.

    Now, if I could only apply that rule to the man cave – aka the “garage”!!!

    Blessings ~ Eileen @ Star’s Fault

  63. Amanda

    Thank you!! I needed to read this. I am a (fairly) young mom with a 3 year old and a 19 month old at home with me all day. It is hard to find something that works. :) Loved this post!

  64. desiree

    Cleaning frenzies!!!!! what a good idea, you gave a great blog, I added it to my inspiration for your home list on my blog ;)
    all the best

  65. cathrin

    great post! i really appreciate reading your post and all the comments other ladies have written. i’m still trying to figure out my own routine after being a homemaker and wife of 2 1/2 years. i’ve always had ambitions of writing the lists and charts to make sure everything gets done in a timely fashion, but even that has been too daunting of a task — in part because i knew i would fail to execute it even if i did ever get it done. i just don’t work that way. the quick easy routines are undoubtedly the way to go! i’ve tried my hand at making the bed in the morning and throwing laundry in every chance i get. i try to stay on top of the dishes — particularly since its one of my husband’s pet peeves. my biggest anxieties are undoubtedly when we are expecting guests — that’s when i cram a 30-minute panic frenzy just before their arrival. general upkeep of routines would definitely alleviate that though. i’m not one for assigning specific chores for specific days. that requires more accountability than i know how to hold myself to. i need some flexibility in my schedule. daily routines definitely the way to go, though i may try out this fly lady deal you ladies keep talking about. couldn’t hurt. thanks again everyone!

  66. Melinda

    Huh. I came here from The Mother Load, and I just realized something. I’m doing your 4 routines already. My house is *clean enough,* and I didn’t even realize it. :D Thanks.


    • Fiona

      For those with pet hair problems, get a Roomba. It’s a bit pricey, but worth every penny. I use mine 2x a day so I feel like it’s already paid itself off. I run it in one part of the house when I take the dog out for a walk and then I set the timer to have it run while I’m at work. Best. investment. ever.

  67. Cassie

    This post was encouraging. Thanks.

  68. Jeannette

    My rule is to do a little each day during the week, before work and after work, making sure house is maintained and laundry done by Saturday morning. This way Saturday and Sundays are for fun, adventure, worship and fellowship, simple tasks on weekends like light meals and keeping things neat is all that is needed.
    Of course this was not alway the case as when my kids were small that wasn’t always possible

  69. The Crazy Suburban Mom

    You know, I have been thinking a lot about this and I don’t have a method. Which is why I believe I’m always in the process of crisis cleaning.

    I do believe I need a few things to follow – and one of them needs to be something along the lines of ‘the kitchen needs to go back to square one’ after dinner.

    I dont mean eat off the floor clean but so many times I wake up to disaster in the morning and that has to stop.

    Ill get on this for fall, thanks for the reminder

    .-= The Crazy Suburban Mom´s last blog ..Monday Estate Sale Finds =-.

  70. Marisol

    Yes, it was probably mostly you. As it is mostly me. I am living alone since all the kids flew the coop and I still have too much laundry, too many dishes to wash, too much dust, too much vacuuming, etc., etc. I am like the other poster’s kids who have a trail of debris following them around. As an only child, my mother followed along behind and cleaned up my messes because she didn’t trust me to do it right….and apparently she was correct because I still can’t get it right. Of course, I raised four children, numerous dogs and cats and have a huge yard ( mostly pay to have maintained but do some gardening), things she never had to contend with. I still have 2 dogs and now just 3 cats so they produce a lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I daily wash dishes, twice, and clean all surfaces, and vacuum kitchen floor. I straighten up my bed but don’t officially “make it up”. I clean litter boxes (3) every day and wash them once a week. I keep the bathroom picked up and wipe it up daily, cleaning toilet twice a week. I vacuum dog beds and shake the furniture throws, straighten living room daily and dust and vac once a week. A nap is essential in the afternoon because I am really quite old and don’t sleep well at night. I walk the dogs daily, and sometimes just putter around picking up stuff and wiping and swiping where it needs it. Sun room gets a monthly going over as does the basement. I get out quite a bit, shopping, lunching with old friends and visiting family occasionally. Don’t let the house consume your youth and that of your kids, dust you will always have with you, your kids you won’t.

  71. Annie

    Funny, I just wrote about cleaning up and getting rid of unused “things”. I love the idea of doing enough because that could mean different things to different people. My biggest frustration at the moment is having too many “things”. I am trying to live a more meaningful life with less. And I am finding that routine helps. Just as you said doing things the same each day or each week really helps. I look forward to keeping up with your writing.
    .-= Annie´s last blog ..Possessions =-.

  72. Insomniac Mummy

    I’m struggling to keep on top of any kind of routine at the moment as my 4 month old and a 2 year old who doesn’t nap seem to take up most of my time.

    I used to follow the basic flylady principles and really need to make the effort again. Not only for my house, but also my sanity.

    Thanks for prompting me to try and get organised.

    .-= Insomniac Mummy´s last blog ..Motherhood, Social Circles and Social Media =-.

  73. Busy Mama!

    What a fantastic post..thank you!!

    Growing up there was six of us kids and mother would wake us up at 5am! we would play music and clean the house for 40 minutes (while mom made breakfast for the clan) mind you that is six kids cleaning.. so, for an individual that task would have taken them 4 hours. Making seven beds, dishes, laundry, ironing, dusting, vacuuming, 4 bathrooms, sweep and mop, take out the trash we even had to sweep outside and water the garden. The house was always CLEAN and ready for guests at anytime during the day.

    Now as a mother with young children what use to be a daily chore at my parents home (which seem to take less than an hour) takes me WEEKS!! it seems like there is not enough hours in the day.
    I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have a whole day to devote to house cleaning. But I do the best that I can, to keep semi clean house. I wake up an hour before the kids to do a load of laundry make breakfast. While the kids and hubby are getting ready, I clean the bathrooms and make beds. By that time it’s already 6:30am and I need to start getting ready for work. I get home around 4:30 start making supper, while its cooking. I vacuum and dust the family room and tidy up the rest of the house. By that time it’s 6pm and hubby and the kids are coming back from work and daycare.
    Dinner time! bedtime! and family time! we put the kids to bed, and start doing the dishes. If, we’re lucky!! we get 30 minutes together.

    On Saturdays I, tidy up the house house and make breakfast while the kids sleep in a little extra two hours. Which I do so much cleaning and cooking with in those couple of hours. Which I’m done for the rest of the day! :-)

  74. jessica

    I love this! I have several friends who can never seem to keep up w/their homes. They all have SO much to do and WAY more laundry than anyone they know. The common trait I’ve seen in all of these women is that they seem to “deep” clean everytime they clean so that every chore becomes this big, long ordeal,nothing else gets done, and the house is still a wreck at the end of the day. I even have a friend who washes all her dishes BEFORE washing them in the dishwasher. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into her house and the dishes are still there from the night before…it’s exhausting to me. I do a little everyday and I’m never overwhelmed. Thank you for writing this. I hope you struggling homemakers can just relax and keep it “clean enough”.

  75. Michelle

    I am going to try to establish a morning and night routine because I tend to now only do the housework when I get bursts of energy to do one tornado cleaning…and then it falls and falls into disrepair after.

    For the clothes: I have decided I will not remove the load without folding each thing coming out of the dryer. Not put it in a basket to fold ,but if i take it out of there, I don’t put it down til it’s folded. So I sit on a chair or my fitness ball, take out one thing at a time, fold one thing at a time, and make simple piles on top of the dryer. This tip can work for others if they wash and dry loads according to whose clothes (if the family is too large to do a simple 4-6 groups of tops, bottoms, undies, towels or something similar).

    That way once I am done folding, I know push comes to shove I can stack the piles neatly on the shelves in my closet until I feel like hanging them, and I am never overwhelmed by a huge pile of 3-4 loads of clothes to be hung/folded! Plus sitting down allows me to not feel rushed (to get off my feet) like putting them away is an obstacle…instead I can take my time comfortably and focus only on what I am doing and take pride in a job well done. Sitting down slows me down to the moment…standing has me thinking of what else i could be doing and how long it’s going to take to get to them all.

    I am definitely going to try and work on never going to bed with a dirty kitchen…and putting the dishes away first thing in the morning, because that IS exactly how the dishes pile up in the sink in the first place, because there is nowhere else to put the dirty dishes when the washer is still half-full of clean ones! Nice one.

    For the bathrooms I have Tilex which works wonders, you spray it on the counters, sinks, bath, toilet…leave and do some other housework or something for 30 minutes to an hour (open that bedroom window though cause the fumes are strong) come back and wipe everything down or let the shower spray rinse it all away and voila! Everything is white and clean and mold, bacteria, mildew, etc are history. Just do that twice a week and you should never have to scrub down everything again.

    My papers in my room are still a problem but I will deal with them over the weekend.

    Definitely if the floors are kept clear, the bathrooms and kitchens kept clean, and the clothes are only washed as fast as you can fold them out of the dryer, I will have a place that is visitor-ready almost anytime. I am also trying to pass my hand (with a cloth or wipe in it, of course, lol) over things one at a time once or twice a week…like instead of wiping down everything at once, just one day the entertainment center and its electronics, next day the computer desk, next day the microwave (if i didn’t grab it while doing the kitchen that night)…just one thing so that i am not overwhelmed with everything to do at once.

    I need a system for keeping my bedroom in order though. The paper clutter to be specific.

    • Donna

      I’ve always done that; my mom basically did as well, although since her laundry wasn’t technically in the house, she did put hers in a basket first to take in the house but it was never just sat and left; you always just sat right down and folded and put away everything; I don’t even do the basket thing either; just like, just fold as take out, pile on dryer and washer, take and put away – never understood these piles of laundry around – may have other issues but not that – too, like my bedroom and clothes and paper

  76. paige whitley

    One load of laundry at minimum every day. “Busy B’s for boys” :boys make their beds, boys get dressed for the day, boys read their bible (that’s before breakfast) Me showered and dressed, bed made and floor picked up. Kitchen counter completely cleaned off and dishes completely done at least once a day, not always at night time. 10 minute tidy, pick up something that isn’t where it belongs and put it away. With four boys and myself doing this for 10 minutes we can get a lot of stuff put away in a small amount of time.

  77. Jessica

    Ok, I’m going to go check out fly lady in just a second. This is the third time of heard of her in two days! Apparently I have been out of the loop! I agree, clean sinks AND making the bed always make me feel better!!

    Windex is my best friend! I HAVE to clean our glass table every day as well as our back sliding door. I wish I could skip it but they get bad so fast! Anyone else fall in love with a glass table at the store and then regret it!!!!

  78. Becky E.

    These 4 routines really keep it simple. I like FlyLady also; however, I overwhelm myself with trying to do all her routines from the get-go.

    Now if I can figure out how to keep the paper trail down to a few steps…!

  79. S. Davis

    I have a black, granite-look sink in matte finish – so there is no sparkle to be had, other than the faucet. :-(

  80. Charlotte

    I love your rules, I always have a clean sink before I go to be at night.

    I struggle to keep up with the washing, I do have a dryer, but try to use the clothes line as it’s more environmentally friendly and clothes last longer.

    My biggest challenge is the floors, we have a large house, with the bedrooms, hall and lounge being carpet and the rest being tiles. I find that it takes around 2 – 2.5 hours to vacuum the house and then mop. With a two year old, this is just not feesible, so invariably the floors get left and really only get done one every couple of weeks. Other than the floors, the house is pretty organised and clean.


    • Peggie

      Charlotte, instead of doing all the floors in one day break it up into five days and JUST five days, not six, not seven days. Day 1: Sweep/mop kitchen floor. Day 2: Sweep/mop bathroom floors. Day 3: Vacuum hall and lounge. Day 4: Vacuum half the bedrooms. Day 5: Vacuum the rest of the bedrooms. Shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes each day for a large house. It’s easier for me to find 20 minutes each day to do a chore than it is to find 2 1/2 hours once a week to do the chore. And the other two days of the week use that 20 minutes as “me” time.

  81. mejust

    Sadly, nothing works for me…I have a husband, our 19-yo, 13-yo, 7-yo, 7-month old, 73-yo father, 64-yo MIL, two little porch dogs, and a full time at-home job (medical transcriptionist over 10 years now), and I swear I do nothing but clean, work, and take care of everyone’s needs nonstop! I have no life at all due to this and I’m so miserable! I HATE that when I’m finally done working for the evening (typically 12 or 1 a.m.), I look at my house and want to cry, but instead I clean it and try to make the best of my 5 or so hours of interrupted sleep…I’ll be dead by the time I’m 40 for sure…

  82. mejust

    Oh, and thanks for letting me vent ;)

  83. Michelle

    When I was growing up my mom would always give us a specific # of things to pick up/put away, i.e. everyone clears 5 things off the table, everyone picks up 10 things in the family room. It always worked really well. I remember as a kid liking the number system because it assured me that there was an end it sight and we wouldn’t have to clean forever! It’s nice to do as an adult as well :)

  84. Michaela

    Love this! Definitely still trying to find the balance of house keeping in my first apartment. I’m a clean freak, but my roommates are the opposite! I just need to learn to adapt (: The shiny sink is very important and I do the same thing at night for the kitchen. I almost can’t sleep if I know there’s dirty dishes!

  85. Angel/TaDa!Creations

    Oh, this was PERFECT for me! I’m going to adopt the shiny sink rule too. I already do the morning routine and cleaning fenzies, but I say it differently “let’s clean for 20 minutes like companies coming.” I need to start doing the kitchen clean-up every night too. That’s the hardest part because come 6pm I’m exhausted. I’ve got a 2 year old, twin 5 year olds and I watch my best friend’s infant and 2 year old 30 hours a week plus my sewing business in my spare time.

  86. shanna

    wow,this is really what I need! I love the idea of a cleaning frenzy (might work better than a chore chart) and a keeping your sinks sparkling! Also, making up your bed each morning does help – need to start doing that again! Love this blog, more I read happier I get with it!

  87. Deborah

    For years, I have been clean enough and very happy with it. I never even heard of “Fly Lady”. I do something each day…ie: Monday – laundry, Tuesday – kitchen, Wednesday – floors, Thursday – Dusting, and Friday – Bathrooms. Each job takes less than an hour each day of the week. I can do it any time of the day allowing for appointments, work, etc. Each family member knows that “if you lay it down, you pick it up.”
    I stay caught up and my home is always ready for company.

  88. Cathy

    When my two daughters were young I taught them to vacuum, dust and clean bathrooms. I grew up in a large family and everyone pitched in. Our cleaning routine consisted on everyone (hubby included) agreeing on a cleaning time during the weekend. I would make out a list consisting of every room in the house. The first person who showed up got to pick their task. When that was checked for completion, they got to pick what they wanted to do next. The whole process took less than an hour. I usually took on the most difficult jobs. So grumbling wasn’t too bad. The girls quickly learned to do a good job the first time so they could move through the list and be on their way faster.

  89. Katie

    I like this. Mine is having a clean kitchen before I go to bed. It doesn’t happen everything but at least 3-4 days a week when I wake up to a clean kitchen…ahh it makes me so happy :)

  90. Debbie

    My how I’ve missed visiting your blog! So glad I stopped by today. I was a fan of Fly Lady too. And yes, I always try to keep my sink clean and then dry it. And a clean dishtowel is an essential. :) My husband turned me on to the mad dash. He would play a fast song and we’d have to completely clean up a room. It made it such fun!

    Blessings and love to you,

  91. Lara

    Found this post through Simple Mom. I really like your approach. There’s a part of me that wants to be like you described at the beginning of your post, but in the end I’m much happier and things are smoother if I stick with my daily routines. Like you, I have a morning routine and a nightly routine. In the morning, I aim to be dressed, unload the dishes, start a load of laundry and tidy our bedroom. At night, I tidy up the living room and clean the kitchen.

  92. Kayla

    Hi Melissa,

    I just wanted to tell you how truely inspired I am by this blog post. I really appreciate you putting all this in perspective for me. I am pretty new to marraige (2 1/2 years) and I am constantly finding my house spinning out of control on a daily basis. I don’t know why I don’t do these routines already. I get up every morning with my husband before he goes to work and make him breakfast and then I sit down in the living room, put on some tv show, and fall back asleep until I have to get ready for work. I could easily straighten up the bedroom, unload the dishwasher, and throw in some laundry before I start getting ready instead of going back to sleep. Half the battle is getting out of bed in the first place, right? My nightly routine would definitely have to include vacuuming and of course loading the dishwasher. Dishes and vacuuming are the bain of my existance. I don’t mind vacuuming, however, I have a golden retreiver and it is a constant thing, running around after him, cleaning up ALL his HAIR! I am seriously thinking of investing in a Roomba or a Dirt Dog. That would probably be the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Also, dishes just kill me, I can’t help it, I just HATE them. But really, when I think about it. How hard is it to just rinse them after I’m done with them and put them in the dishwasher? Right now, after I finish this comment, I am going to make a list of my own daily routine to stick to, maybe my next craft project can be to turn it into a pretty, decorative sign as a constant reminder. Again, I can’t tell you enough, thank you SO much!

    • Melissa

      Kayla, I am so glad this post helped you and I hope as you try out simple routines, you will find you actually enjoy the result so much that you can’t help but do them every day!! You can do it!! You are so welcome!

  93. Jeanine

    I just stumbled upon your blog last week in my usual de-cluttering blog reads and feel at home already. :)
    I have three littles and have been contemplating ‘cleanliness’ a lot lately. Something about so much time indoors with the seasons and three littles under the age of 5, makes you feel crazy about the topic.
    I’m happy to see that most of what I do is already listed…and completely agree about the cleaning frenzy. Once a week or so I muster enough go-go to drop all other activities and simply bust out a clean house. It doesn’t last long at this stage of life…but its therapeutic.
    Loved this post. And loved reading all the comments. I’ll definitely be back for more.
    I also shared a link to this post via my link share yesterday. If you want to check it out, it’s at:
    Thanks again.

  94. Andrea

    Lol…how cool! We have the same routines! My house is always very organized and pretty much clean by doing the same things you mentioned. It’s nice to know other people think alike when it comes to arranging, cleaning and organizing a home!
    I’m a bit OC when it comes to organization, but it helps and makes things easier for me to clean, and to know where everything is at at all times.

  95. Jane Clark

    I so agree with the readers comments I feel that the best way forward is to do chores when you feel like it because then you will do a thorough job and enjoy it too and I always say if you dont get time one day there is always another. Rainy days are good for house work sunny days are good for well doing what you want to we dont get too many of them in England but when we do we really enjoy and we most definately don’t do housework!! Jane xx

  96. david

    A house is never really clean. just keep up the good work.

  97. Britt

    I am 21 years old with 3 children and a great husband plus a new puppy. It seems like no matter what I do my house is never clean. I could clean the house top to bottom spot less 20 mins later it is as if i never cleaned. I always look for articles in which to help me keep the house Clean. This was very helpful. I myself no matter what condition my home is The sinks are all ways clean. Can not handle dirty sinks. Thank you

  98. shelby

    Hi this is my first time visiting the website and I’ve herd some great tips to keep my house clean but some how I can’t keep on top of thing. I am a young wife with a two month old daughter hew is teathing, my husband goes to work at 4am and returns around 3 so it is dificalt to clean when he’s home so early we also don’t have a washer or dryer, any ideas on how to help me manage my house work befor my husband gets home

  99. sara

    I’m glad to see that your also a fly lady I myself am a flybaby just starting out and hope that by the time baby # 2 gets here in June ill have a nice clean house and no storage unit to pay for its getting expensive lol here goes nothing at least if I’m trying the best thing I’ll get out of it is a clean house

  100. MICK

    Finally! I’ve been telling my mom and others that I’m not fanatical about cleaning. My home is clean because I maintain schedules and standards. Some of my worst childhood memories involve “Saturday cleaning.” Who wants to spend the better part of the weekend cleaning? I find that scheduling tasks and returning items to their rightful places are key to sound home management. When the weekend rolls around I can be found doing fun things with famiily and friends and not doing “Saturday cleaning.”

  101. Mariah DeMarco

    This is a GREAT article!!! I was/am a list maker, chore list attempter, but THIS.. I can do this! Thank you so much! Forever grateful, Mariah

  102. Rose

    Absolutely LOVE this post. thanks for putting things into perspective.

  103. Amy

    Ha– I totally saw myself in your comments about making fancy routines and notebooks but not keeping up with them. Now I’ve come around to my own couple of daily tasks, and slowly but surely, I’m getting to the point that I don’t panic when the doorbell rings– things aren’t spotless, but they’re not a wreck, either.

  104. Peaches

    This is great information. I am always struggling with a messy house…Thanks!

  105. Emily

    I feel like this might be a stupid question, but how do you approach getting the family on board with this? I sometimes feel like my partner and I have different ideas about how to keep a clean house and I’m not sure how well he would respond to some of these ideas. In that case would you recommend going it alone? In my parents’ case, my mom is really the one who does all the cleaning anyway. Or is it really critical for home upkeep to have everyone on the same page?

  106. ana henry

    I am a single mom and when I was working and going to school nights I would have my son and myself do “commercial cleanups”. By the end of the day everyone wants to sit and watch a tv show sooo doing the commercials we had to get up and do something, take the laundry upstairs, put the dishes away, or whatever needs to be done. It is amazing how many things can be accomplished by the end of a tv show.

  107. Maggie

    Excellent post! When our kids were small, we’d do the cleaning frenzy for their toys. I called it the “Blitz” and we’d yell “Blitz, Blitz, Blitz” to keep up the pace!

  108. kay

    good read. a real breath of fresh air, thank you. i find that i always make lists and fail at following them. most days i’m overwhelmed. today, i am done with lists. i’ll hold on the clean sinks idear. dirty dishes are the most frustrating thing in the world when you have a small apartment and a toddler

  109. Jane

    Thanks so much for this- time to get on track for me :)

  110. Tiffany

    Clean enough is exactly what I want!! I loved this!!
    I do have one question- I have heard of the flylady system and started it a couple times but never really made it pass the first day or 2 because I am horrible at maintaining programs and such. What is your basic system for keeping the sinks clean and shiny, specifically the bathrooms? The kitchen sink seems a bit easier since I am usually the one using that sink and not as often as the bathroom sinks. But the bathroom sink seems to grow nastiness between each time I visit it!!!! (I live in a house with 3 boys.) Do you literally get out cleaner and rag each time you use it?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thanks Tiffany. I’m horrible at keeping up systems long term too! That is why I landed on these four simple daily routines because I was able to keep up with them. My mom was the one who really taught me about the bathroom sinks. She said they were easiest to clean when you wipe them out immediately after using them. She is so right, and you are right…they grow in nastiness when no one deals with them on the spot. Toothpaste is hard to clean out after it dries! I would say with your boys to make it a part of their responsibility to rinse out the sink after they use it. So, if they brush their teeth all they really need to do each time is take some water and swish it around with their hand to get their toothpaste and spit rinsed out. :-) If you had girls you’d add that they needed to remove the long hairs :-). I keep rags under the sink to make it easy to polish up the sink or faucet as needed. Now and then when I have a moment I’ll do a more thorough job and actually disinfect the sink. But at least if we swish it out immediately after use and polish up the faucet it always looks clean enough. Hope that helps :-D

  111. Jessica

    Love these tips! I do a lot of the same, although I am currently in the out of control phase post-Christmas! We started homeschooling this year and with 3 kids 6 and under spending many hours in our homeschool room, it has the potential to get out of control. I find that if we do a quick put away of all our school stuff when we’re finished for the day, it seems to carry over into the rest of our house and our afternoon/evening hours. I have the kids file their work each day and it seems to give them more ownership of an organized schoolroom. Here’s hoping it continues!

  112. Sara

    Thank you so much for sharing. The beginning of your post describes me exactly! I appreciate the pointers and look forward to trying them. It is nice to hear someone else say that these elaborate systems don’t work for them either; I have been very overwhelmed lately and it is nice to know I am not alone. Thanks!

  113. Lucinda

    Discovered Flylady years ago and it’s amazing what the shiny sink concept can do for you. If you can keep up with things during the week you’re not a slave to the house on Saturdays.

  114. LibbyP

    Grat list and great perspective!

    One thing I’ve taught my hubby and kids is to turn around and look, every time they rise from a sitting position, at the area they are leaving. My kids are now teens, but I started this fairly young. If they clean up after themselves, the house stays tidier. Doesn’t work all the time, but it works pretty often.

  115. KayBee

    My tried and true task is cleaning my kids bathroom. Without fail I do it while they are in the tub. I have two girls so hair bows, lotions and what nots are always in the counter. Also, the changing table this in there, so giving it a good clean makes me feel great! They are playing, I’m cleaning and by the time bath time is over all is put away. We start with a fresh clean bathroom every morning. I love it! And since I clean with natural products, I don’t worry about fumes.

  116. Miranda Grimm

    I used to stick true to cleaning up the kitchen every night before bed. You are right, it is such a stress relief to wake up in the morning to a clean kitchen. I really need to get back into that routine again – would help with anxiety!

  117. Sandi

    My doctor told me years ago that she had this saying in her house and since then, I have used it with my kids
    ( who are now in their early 20’s and have homes of their own) , my husband ( who ALWAYS leaves his stuff laying around), and even a couple of my co-workers (who tend to be close to hoarder status) . The. saying is OHIO which means. Only Handle It Once! Basically when you are done with something, put it back where it belongs right away, don’t set it on the table, or leave it somewhere, just put it away. It is amazing how picked up your house is and you very seldom lose things, ESPECIALLY if you need to use the hidden house key for some reason and the person who used it last, didn’t put it back ;)

  118. Steph Mackenzie

    If only I could convince my husband he has “10 minutes” a day to clean the house with me… If we had a daily cleaning frenzy our house would be clean enough… instead its embarrassing!

  119. Anita

    It’s great to be reminded that it’s ok for my house to be CLEAN ENOUGH. I have four boys under 8. So a perfect magazine house eludes me. My daily routine includes making the beds, cleaning the toilet ( I have four boys this is a must for us), wiping the sinks and sweeping the floors. I always clean up the kitchen after we eat.
    I used to to the whole complicated long cleaning list only to fail after the first week. Having a few daily routines that only take me half a day has definitely saved me time am stress.

  120. Meghan

    I loved your title “clean enough” and a little name drop there, Flylady, who by now has likely guided a full generation of young ladies through the trials of homemaking. I also was very amused by your idea of a full family “frenzy” of cleaning, it feels so much better when the whole place is humming with work getting done.

    An organizing tip I learned from my mom was to keep a coil ring notebook in your purse or nearby at all times and write everything that needs to be written in one place, lists, tasks, thoughts, it’s like a brainstorm book.

  121. Taylor Strong

    I’m a little late in the game, but this post has inspired me to put together my own daily routine (and stick to it!). It really makes a difference when you can wake up knowing that you don’t have a pile of dishes and laundry to do before your first cup of coffee.

  122. maria smith

    I do the “clean enough” bit, but once in awhile I enjoy the luxury of a good cleaning service to get the nitty gritty done.

  123. Janet Fazio

    These are great tips. I try to live within what I call a 10 minute rule. If someone calls and says they are 10 minutes away and can they stop by, I can have the house in order. Morning routines make or break it for me. It takes 3 minutes to make the bed when I get up. It could take the entire day if I don’t.

  124. Ann

    What a wonderful and interesting read. Comments are just as useful and funny as well!

  125. maria smith

    I use the “cleaning frenzie” thing too. It works, as long as everyone is motivated. Once in a while we just run out of time and all I can do is call a cleaning service to pick up the pieces.

  126. Kart

    I’m still in the exhaustion faze. I had three barely two and under(not twins or triplets) and now three toddlers. Working part-time as a nurse… my hubs works over 80 hrs in one week, and then I work when he is off. My mom comes 1-2x per month for a few hrs. Now I just have to hire a few girls to help me. Very hard to get it done right now. Realize it is just a phase in my life. One major thing is to get rid of clutter!

  127. Cathy

    I keep a roll of paper towels in each bathroom and wipe out the sinks when I am done using them.

  128. Cathy

    I keep a roll of paper towels in each bathroom and wipe out the sinks when I am done using them.

  129. Annie

    Everyday quick cleans! I have nosey friends! They always comment on how clean my home is! But here are a few cleaning things that people might not do just because friends come over! Keep the inside of your cabinets straightened! Coffee cups all on one shelf, and handles going the same direction! People have commented when they go grab a coffee cup to make their fav K-cup coffee! Clean and wipe out ur microwave EVERY evening! No one wants to pop some popcorn in a dirty microwave! Medicine cabinets, towel cabinets or any other storage compartments in your bathroom,,straighten and organize the contents! When poeple come to your house and they have to use the bathroom, they do snoop behind closed doors. Spray ur shower down after every shower. Swiffer dust everyday! I keep a swiffer hidden in every room! 3 minutes a room, you will be dust free for when guests come over unannounced! And few last things that take only minutes! Make your bed every morning! Take the cloth or sponge that u ddid dishes with a wipe out your fridge! Drips and stains look bad when someone opens it to grab the coffee creamer! Sweep your kitchen floor every day! Trust me, it’s dirtier that you think! And one last thing that people may frown at, VACUUM once a week! I prefer twice a week Tuesdays and Fridays! The main 4 in this article are great, but my small fast simple list will always make your house look and appear as though you spent hours cleaning it! My grand-daughters call me the Queen of Clean…they have no idea how little time i invest to make it appear so neat, tidy and clean! Then once a month, yes only once, i invest a couple hours cleaning everything that wasn’t in this list, like pulling out furniture to dust and clean behind it! OK, there ya go! And wipe down, dust, scrub or whatever ya have to do, and make sure desks, cabinets, tables, TV stands etc etc etc are clean…not only do they collect dust, but they get dirty. Dont just swiffer or wipe them off, clean them! OK, Grannie Annie is done!

  130. Felina

    Thank you for this great post! I still struggle with keeping a clean house, I want it to be comfortable and welcoming.

  131. Maria Fisher

    I hired a maid. I used to think that a maid could not possibly clean my house the way I wanted it done. But guess what? She can! Well, mostly.. But she comes twice a month and my house is generally clean. It gives me time to do the big jobs like reorganizing closets and caring for the yard. And th3 more organizing and decluttering I have time to so the better my house looks. I am even thinking on cutting back to having her come once a month because I am becoming less and less overwhelmed with my house!

  132. Reena Lewis

    Thank you! I can totally live with my house being “clean enough”, I just never thought about it that way. I’m a big kitchen freak. If my kitchen isn’t clean, I pretty much don’t want to do anything but flop on my couch and think of all the reasons why my life is unfair. But, if I can make a promise to myself to at least work on having a clean kitchen (mainly the dishes in the sink) at the end of each day, I don’t have to get so down on myself.

    Sometimes, it’s just about changing your perspective…

  133. Katrina

    Great tips! As a mother I understand exactly what you mean! I think these routines will be of help in my house too, thank you!

  134. Stephanie

    All these are fantastic ideas! Which I do everyday! But that’s the problem. These are things only I, ME, ALONE, BY MYSELF do everyday… And that is VERY frustrating.. I “tidy” everyday so that at the end of the week I am not overwhelmed by massive amounts of cleaning to do… However my family just keeps on living while I clean up after everyone. AND I work full time as well! :/ Then I’m the only one labeled as “obsessed” with cleaning when the truth is, everyone else in my home just doesn’t care.. What do I do about that??! I’m driving myself crazy! Can I ever just learn to fit into being a pig like the rest of the people in my house??

  135. Christin

    I love taking some time the night before to set up my day: to-do lists, clothes laid out, kitchen clean, bag packed. Your four daily routines sound like something easy enough to follow, but also allow you to not be ruled by housework. Thanks for the tips!

  136. Jeff

    I like a clean house period. Some people just don’t clean up . Its uncalled for.

  137. Kris

    I love these tips!! It can be so hard to balance having a clean home while enjoying the other things in life.

  138. Pamela L Fishel

    Of course, this is my favorite website. I enjoy the posts from your daughters, too, but I love FlyLady! I tell people I have a self-cleaning house. Once you set your routines you fly through those tasks without thinking. Suddenly, I have time to write, paint, and quilt. Saturday is for family time, not cleaning. And Sunday is truly a day of rest.

  139. Theresa Wagar

    Wow! I didn’t realize my desire to have a clean bathroom sink every day was part of keeping things clean. Thanks for this. I do ALL of the same routines you do (and I make my bed every morning). What has been so fun is watching my two boys, now adults, continue the habits into their lives.

  140. Elizabeth

    I have many of the same cleaning routines. I hate to see a messy kitchen in the morning and frankly I do not like stuff laying around so every night before bed I pick up the house and it always makes for a better morning!

  141. Dee

    How will your daily routine change now that you are basically ’empty nesters’. I did see you have an adult daughter living in a downstairs apt. but seems you are still empty nesters. Few people full time in a home does make an impact; less mess but fewer hands for the work.

  142. Rachael

    Great advice! I remember the systems approach all too well, and the accompanying failures. Young moms are so hard on themselves- I wasn’t even very young and I was a vicious self-critic. We are getting ready to update some areas of our house, in preparation for a sale in the next couple of years, so cleaning up and paring down are both important these days. We have adopted a “pairing” system that I wish I’d thought of sooner – for example, the days we mop and vacuum get paired with dog grooming so grungy pets don’t dirty freshly cleaned floors. Painting rooms, one by one since I do most of my own interior painting, has been paired with moving every single thing out and only putting back what is truly appropriate for the person living there. It’s amazing how much square footage we’ve gained by doing this – I would recommend it even if you’re not moving, or even painting.

    • Sharon Hines

      I was hard on myself as a young mom, too. I seemed to think if I was going to stay home, I better have a clean home to show for it. Oh my gosh! Just saying that now sounds so wrong. But grace. :)

      I now follow 4 routines that are nearly identical to yours and I swear by them, too.



  1. Baby Steps to Organization:: Step One, Assess the Needs - [...] are the 4 Simple Housekeeping Routines that I shared last year. Those are the basic daily housekeeping routines I…
  2. My Secret House Cleaning Ritual REVEALED. - [...] already know about the four daily routines I use to keep my house Clean Enough, but I have a…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox