How To Keep A Clean Home: Daily Chores

Keeping a Clean Home: Daily Chores

Keeping a clean home. Definitely easier said than done, right? Especially when you have little ones at home.

Being a home manager and homemaker is something that I’ve really struggled with for most of my married life, especially at the beginning of my time as a stay at home mom. It still does not come naturally or easily to me, but I have embraced my role as manager of my home and realized that I need to view my role as my job, my work, and treat it as such.

In order to do a job well, it’s important to have routines, and things in place to help make our jobs easier. As my dad likes to say, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.” And this can be applied to keeping our homes clean as well.

So, I’ve developed a routine of daily chores that I strive to do every day to stay on top of keeping the house clean, keep things from getting too out of control, and keep my home a pleasant place for my husband and my family.

How to Keep a Clean Home: Daily Chores

This is what I write on my To-Do List every morning:  DW, B, L, Bth, P, D, C, S, T.

This is what it stands for, and this is the order that I try to get them done each day:

• DW – Empty the Dishwasher.  We strive to fill the dishwasher each evening after dinner or before bed and run it overnight.  I try to empty the dishwasher as one of my very first tasks in the morning.

• B – Make the Bed.  Having your bed made in your room takes less than 5 minutes and makes the whole room look better, more clean and presentable.

• L – Work on Laundry. I try to take care of one or two loads of laundry per day. So this can mean putting clothes in the wash, switching clean clothes to the dryer or hanging them on the line when it’s nice out, or folding and putting away a load of laundry.  I strive to keep on top of the laundry every day so that it doesn’t get too out of hand.

• Bth – Wipe the Bathroom. Wiping down the bathroom on a daily basis is pretty important when you have young, potty training children. Usually I spray my homemade multipurpose cleaner on the sink, toilet, and any spots on the floor, and quickly wipe them down with a rag. Then I sprinkle a little baking soda into the toilet bowl and scrub it around a few times. Not a major deep cleaning, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, but a little maintenance goes a long way.

• P – Take care of Paper.  We probably all have a place where papers just seem to pile up no matter what we do.  I try to sort, recycle, file or put away papers from this place in my home every day so that it doesn’t turn into an unmanageable mountain of paper.

These first five things I try to do first thing in the morning, to help us get off to a right start each day.

• D – Do the Dishes.  Including putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher (the reason why it’s so important that the dishwasher gets emptied first thing in the morning!) and washing dishes throughout the day, or especially in the evening before bed.

• C – Kitchen Counters.  Keeping the kitchen counters cleared and wiped off.  Especially at the end of the day before bed. (Both the dishes and the counter are actually most often taken care of by my amazing hubby who has taken on the role of cleaning up in the kitchen in the evenings – I am truly blessed!)

• S – Sweep or “swiffer” the floors. I try to sweep or swiffer the floor at some time throughout the day, every day, because we have a dog who sheds and two kiddos who are unbelievably messy eaters, and a mama who is prone to spilling things.  Sweeping under and around the table and in the kitchen is a daily necessity.

• T – Dining Room Table. Clearing off the table at the end of the day and wiping it down, so things don’t get piled up on the table, and so that we have a clear space to begin each day.

These last four things are normally done at the end of each day. I try to keep up on the dishes throughout the day and sweep once after lunch, or later in the afternoon.  But, dinner dishes, the counter, and the table, are all usually the last tasks that we do in the evening.

There are days where all of these things get done well and at the appropriate time throughout the day, and I feel good about the way the house looks if someone were to just stop by.

Then, of course, there are days where almost nothing on my list gets done well, or at all, and the house ends up looking like a tornado went through it by the end of the day. Those are not my proudest days, but I want to be honest in saying that I am not a perfect homemaker (far, far from it!) and my home does not look clean and presentable all the time.

If a whole morning goes by and it’s already late in the day, and I haven’t gotten any of the tasks completed, I will just start at the beginning of the list and work through it as best as I can, just like it would if it was first thing in the morning. Although by this point, some of the tasks may take longer than they should if I had taken care of them first thing.

These are the tasks around my home that I strive to get done each day. And I have found that when I do them with regularity that it does help me to keep on top of things around my home, and helps our home to be a clean and presentable place for us to relax, spend time together as a family, and host others in our home.

What tasks or chores do you strive to get done each day to help to maintain your home?  What do you do when you have a day that you don’t get things done the way that you had hoped or planned to?

Want to learn more about homemade and green cleaning? Check out my 31 Days to Green Clean Series.

28 Days to Hope for Your Home!
Are you overwhelmed by the mess in your home? Check out 28 Days to Hope for Your Home! I have used this book and found it to be EXACTLY what I needed to help me whip my house into shape!

Interested in learning more about how we manage our home on a day-to-day basis? Check out these post:

The BEST Way to Fold & Organize Your Kids’ Clothes!

How to Completely Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters!

Conquering the Laundry Pile: Catch Up and Create a System that Works in Just One Week!

Or Check out these Popular Posts:

10 Reasons Our Family Wants to Live with Less Stuff

How to Use Castile Soap All Around Your Home

10 Reasons I’m the Worst Mom EVER! 

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A great system for maintaining your home, without cleaning all day long! How to Keep a Clean Home: Daily Chores at

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Post Updated: 11/12
Linked to: Works for Me Wednesday at We are that Family!


  1. Kristy says

    It is funny you posted this… I just joined a small group at church, going through Marcia Ramsland’s “Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay That Way!” this past Saturday. Your post is right in line with what I’ve read so far in the book and watched on video in group. Your list has made some connections for me and given me fuel for the fire as far as ways to get started. I stay home with our 7 month old and strive to spend as much time with her as possible, but as I stay home, feel I need to keep up on cooking, cleaning, etc as well for my husband and all of us. It’s so hard to find that balance and I want to get things under control now while there is only one little one around so I am better prepared when there are more children in the home. Thanks so much for your post! I’m positive God sent me to your site a few weeks ago :) How I truly wish you were my neighbor so I could spend time picking your brain and getting to know you more!

    • Emily says

      Thanks Kristy, you are so sweet. It sometimes is hard to find a balance between spending time with our children and managing our homes. One great idea for getting things done around the house when you have a little one is to use a carrier, like a Moby Wrap, mei tai carrier, or Ergo to wear your baby. You keep them close to you and content, while you are still able to get some things done. My Moby Wrap was a life saver when my son was younger, and I used to wear my daughter when she was a toddler on my back to clean our old house to get ready for a showing when we were trying to sell it.
      You can check out my posts on babywearing – I highly recommend it! :)

  2. says

    Your list looks a lot like mine. I just learned to do this stuff this year, and it has saved so much time! I just found your blog, and can’t wait to look around!

  3. Abby says

    Hi, I just found your blog recently and am enjoying it a lot- thanks!

    I’ve thought before about running my dishwasher on a schedule, every night like you mention- but it’s not always full. From the green/frugal side of things, it seems like I should wait until it is, so it runs about every day and a half, I’d say- sigh. Maybe you have more dishes than me? :)

    • Emily says

      Hi Abby,
      With four people in our family eating 3 meals a day (I pack my hub’s lunch in reusable containers that get washed in the dishwasher), plus snacks and cooking from scratch, I guess we do have a lot of dishes – our dishwasher is usually full every evening, plus we have dishes that we have to wash by hand. I agree, that dishwashers should only be run with a full load, and on the occasions that we don’t happen to fill the dishwasher at night, I will wait and run it the next day. But then I usually run into the issue of dishes piling up in my sink.
      What if you ran it every other night and just washed the extra dishes by hand? (Not that I would do that because I hate washing dishes, but it’s just a thought). :) Sorry that’s not more help, but I hope that you can work out a schedule that works for you and your family! Thanks for stopping by Live Renewed!

    • Sherry says

      It took me a very long time to be able to turn the dishwasher on every night when it wasn’t crammed full of as many dishes as it would hold. I now turn on the dishwasher every night (full or not). I empty the dishwasher every morning while the coffee brews. I have to say the mornings when there aren’t a lot of dishes to unload sure makes for a pleasant start to my day.
      I’m very frugal, so doing this was a giant step for me.

  4. Kristy says

    I just ordered a sling wrap carrier and can’t wait to try it out with little E while I’m cleaining! Thanks for the suggestion :)

  5. Abby says

    Thanks, Emily. We do a lot of our dishes by hand, husband is quirky that way….maybe I should shove more in. I always seem to be playing the shuffle game- you know, full on top but not on bottom or vice-versa! And, yes, I wait for a full load and then the next meal have a load and half so dishes sit on top waiting for a spot in the next load, sigh. :) Thanks for your thoughts- it’s encouraged me to think out a better strategy…it’s the biggest thing left not worked out around here, and then I tend to let it slide.

  6. says

    Thanks! There is one thing about your list that baffles me…is there a specific reason you empty the dishwasher and then make the bed? It seems that then you just have to come all the way out into the kitchen and then go back in the bedroom and then come back out. (But maybe somebody else is still in the bed, or something?)

    I like to know why people do what they do, the way they do it, ’cause maybe I can learn something new!

    • Emily says

      Hi Rachel, your question made me laugh! Yes, it is true that it seems a little counter productive, but also yes, there is usually someone still in my bed – aka my hubs. I usually get up first, and earlier than everyone else in the fam, so I can have time to myself to get stuff done. I don’t actually empty the dishwasher very first thing in the morning, but once I start my list of tasks, that’s usually the first one I tackle, especially if hubs is still in bed. Sometimes I make the bed first and then empty the dishwasher while the kids eat breakfast, it just kind of depends on the day. :)

  7. says

    I love your quote – “don’t work harder, work smarter”.

    I’m in a different phase of homemaking since both of my kids are in school full time. However, I realized today that I have routines in place (thanks to that I don’t even think about anymore.

    For example while I start one load of laundry I clean in my zone for 15 minutes and I sweep and mop one section of my house which takes 15 minutes. Then the laundry is done and I can hang it up to dry.

    I’m glad you found a system that works for you…I too was overwhelmed in the beginning!

    • Emily says

      Thanks Kristia!
      Yes, there are definitely days that things run more smoothly than others. Today is not one of those days…
      It it bad that my son is playing with the broom, instead of me actually sweeping the floor with it? :)
      Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to see more of you!

  8. Mandy Hays says

    This is a great post to help me from being overwhelmed. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and when my home is not “in order”, they flare up to the point I don’t want to anything. These steps seem doable and I would love for you to share your weekly/monthly tasks you do as well. I would appreciate having a practical guide that is not too scary or daunting. Thanks, again!

  9. Joyce says

    Hi, I just found this blog from looking at today’s blog about “garbage.” I really have to try this; I, like the woman above also suffer from anxiety issues and get really overwhelmed by the cluttered state of my house, so I just don’t do anything! I also have Chronic Fatigue, so some days I just can’t get to much of anything besides cooking dinner. As I am into eating/cooking Real Food, I am often if my kitchen up to 5 hrs a day, and don’t have time to do anything else, and can’t focus on anything else! One of my biggest problems is my 8 year old daughter who is really into arts and crafts and can destroy my whole dining room in less than 15 minutes and I just can’t get her into the habit of picking up after herself! Not being able to keep my home under control makes me feel like my life is out of control and definitely has a negative effect on my self esteem. I just checked out FLYLady (Finally Loving Yourself) for more tips on organizing, etc.
    thanks so much, Joyce

  10. says

    I found your blog online and browsed some of your other posts. I just now added you to my Google News Reader. Maintain the nice work. Anticipate reading more from you later on.

    • Emily says

      Hi Nancy,
      No, as of right now it is not a part of my daily routine to wipe down the bathroom every day. I have thought about the fact that cleaning the bathroom would be easier if I maintained on a regular basis, but I also feel like I just don’t have any extra time these days to add to my routine. Right now my bathroom gets a complete cleaning once a week before we host a small group for our church at our house. Other than that, I kind of rinse it and wipe down as needed – I usually use some time while the kiddos are in the bath to clean whatever obviously needs to be cleaned.
      Thanks for your question!

  11. says

    I found the link to this article via a mention on the Simple Organic blog :) :) This is a great article and I”M going to bookmarkt it :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  12. nettie powell says

    hi,i love clean,i cant stand dishes in sink,unmade beds,or any kind of out of place stuff,i have alot of things i enjoy,but cant even get into a book if the house is a mess,ive heard you can read anytime anywhere,but im one of the ones that cant when things around the house need to be done,anyone else this way?would love to hear from you.i like this site.nettie

    • Emily @ Live Renewed says

      Hi Nettie, I’m definitely not like that. :) I know people that are, but I’m just a procrastinator and would rather do anything else than clean! I would probably feel better if I finished all the cleaning before sitting down to relax, but I just can’t always make myself do that! Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Amy says

    Thanks for this list. I recently read an article that talked about doing your least favourite task first thing in the morning then it won’t be hanging over your head all day. For me it’s putting away laundry. I think I’ll move that up in the list.

    • Emily @ Live Renewed says

      I’ve heard of that too Amy. Mine is probably wiping down the bathroom, but I don’t want to do it before everyone uses it in the morning, so I usually wait until later – definitely don’t want to have to do it twice!

  14. says

    Thanks for sharing this tasks list. This is really a big help in keeping our house clean and organize most especially to busy persons. Great Tips!

  15. heather says

    Thank you for this post!! As a stay at home mom of four (ages 9, 7, 3, 2), I struggle daily with keeping my home clean. I like to have my house tidy and dinner done or close to done by the time my hubby gets home from work however that doesn’t normally happen. What you said about looking at keeping my house as my job really struck a cord in me! I’ve only saw it as something I have to do and something that I struggle with. After reading this, I’m changing my perspective. I will look at it as something I get to do and an opportunity to set a good example for my kids! Hopefully they will see that and help a little more willingly

  16. Stephanie says

    Do you have a plan that details the deeper cleaning stuff?? Like dusting etc.. I have tried others but they overwhelm Me!!

  17. Kelly Flores says

    I just found this article on Facebook. I just have to say thank you for letting us know we are not alone in the cleaning battle. Especially those like me, who has not made cleaning a first priority, except the Kitchen & bathrooms.

    When I was teaching full time and gave birth to my twins, my house was close to spotless, except for the black lab mix who was kept out of the living room until the twins were walking. I was a germaphobic new mother back in Dec 2006 and for the first 4 years. My husband and I both worked full time and we split the house cleaning duties. This worked very well until the twins started Pre-K at 4.5 years old. They started bringing things home that they made and I just had to hang it up! Fridge covered, walls, counters stacked, and I felt guilty if I threw anything away.

    Then I had an accident at work and was not able to use my dominant hand for a year. I had reconstructive surgery and was not able to write or hold a pen from August through March. It cost me my teaching position, and the house cleaning took a beating too. A year later I had full use of my writing hand once more, but no one called for interviews. So here I am 2 1/2 years later, still looking for work, and planning to go back to college. My husband stopped helping clean house when I lost my job for he felt I should do it all since I was not working. Medical reasons now make it hard for me to stand for long periods of time, and mobility in itself is a chore. I need a dual knee replacement but do not have medical. I clean the best I can, and my 8 year old twins do help with chores too, but I have needed a good routine to simplify.

    How often would you vacuum, like you sweep? I need a good vacuum, but the dog sheds a lot, and they do not last long. She does get brushed every other day too. Now if I just knew a way to get my husband to clean up after himself again and stop thinking I am his maid.

    Happy New Year, and God bless!
    Kelly Flores

  18. Susie says

    This sounds magical and almost possible, but I have 3 children at home that are incredibly messy, they are 9, 5 and 18 mos, and I spend much of my day homeschooling the older 2, I feel like I am always playing catch up… There is simply NO motivation to really clean after the kids go to bed, because I find that I am seriously constantly working from sun up til long after dark… So messes remain and I hate it :(. There are many reasons too complicated to list here as to why my 9yo is not a reliable source of help, but she does what she is able.


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