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Totally Together

The Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household

February 24, 2009 by  

7 daily chores to do to keep your house neat and tidy

Ah, chores. They are such a necessary evil. As I mentioned in my Clean Less, Play More post: I don’t like to clean. Instead, I choose to do a tiny bit each day to ensure that I never waste a day cleaning house when I could be out conquering the world.

Or answering email.

Our family has a list of chores that we try our best to accomplish daily. Now that the kids are old enough to help, they do. When I am sick or am away from the house, the kids and Adam step up and help maintain order in the house.

Sort of.

We’re still real people, and we don’t live in a museum.  I’m not going to lead you astray and say that I make sure the following tasks occur each and every day no matter what. I might burst into flames.

and the smoke detector started beeping last week and I haven’t replaced the batteries yet…

I came up with this Daily 7 after reading the Stephen Covey books. (I told you I liked to read personal development books!) I like how Covey breaks down complex tasks into 7 steps—not too many to get overwhelmed, but not too few that nothing gets accomplished.

Number 1: Make Beds Right Away

Number 2: Do One Complete Load of Laundry

Number 3: Empty All Garbage Cans

Number 4: Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty

Number 5: Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do the Same

Number 6: Bathroom Wipe-Down

Number 7: Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up

I have outlined all of these steps in the Totally Together Book in detail, but really they are quite self-explanatory.

Make Beds Right Away

The second you climb out of bed in the morning, make it. It’s such a wonderful feeling to have accomplished something at 6am. Teach your children to do the same—if beds are made daily, they don’t get destroyed as easily, and it really takes less than a minute to pull a sheet taught and straighten the comforter. If you haven’t already done so, streamline your bed linen to the bare essentials. There’s no need for 50 decorative pillows or an elaborate stuffed animal collection. Really.

Do One Complete Load of Laundry

A complete load means one that is washed, dried, folded, and put away. I’m not trying to be mean; I’m trying to be realistic. It is no fun to save all the laundry for one day a week and not be able to leave the house. Do a little each day, and you will no longer waste away a beautiful afternoon because you are stuck inside tackling a mountain of clothing. I hate ironing, but have found that if I iron clothes while slightly damp I save  a ton of time.

Empty All Garbage Cans

On our honeymoon, Adam promised he would empty the garbage cans every single day without being asked. This hasn’t happened. It actually kind of pisses me off. Instead, the kids help with the wastebaskets in the bathrooms and their bedroom, and I take out the kitchen garbage every morning after emptying the dishwasher. If I fill it again during the day, I put it right in the middle of the kitchen with the recycleables and hope Adam trips over it. I’m kind of mean like that.

Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty

I don’t know what it is, but if you put something, anything, into the sink, other pieces of flatware are magically drawn to it and all of a sudden the sink is completely filled and rendered useless. Instead, take the time to put your dirty items into the dishwasher right away, or wash the item quickly by hand. It really doesn’t take that long. Just do it.

Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do The Same

My friend Alison homeschools her nine children. I love Alison. I met her before having children of my own, and she is hands-down my mommy idol. She shared with me once that the secret to parenting is to remember that your goal is to raise capable adults. Chores are not only okay, they are necessary. Model good behavior for your children. Take the time to put your shoes all the way into the closet and hang up your coat. Once you are putting your own things away, your children will be more likely to follow suit.

Bathroom Wipe-Down

This is my favorite. I keep a container of disinfectant wipes in the bathroom, and wipe down the toilet (inside and out) every day. If it’s been a particularly um, busy day—I will do it twice.  This keeps me from never having to scrub out the toilet with one of those scrubber brush things that I find beyond disgusting. I also quickly wipe down the shower stall and bathroom floor. After showering, use an item from the dirty clothes pile to dry the shower walls and door. This will keep mold and soap scum from accruing. Now use your damp item to quickly mop up the bathroom floor. Dust and hair will disappear and will keep you from needing to mop.

Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up

Before retiring for the night, do a super quick once over the living spaces of your house. Recycle the magazine left on the coffee table, and stack leftover drinking glasses in the dishwasher. Put the couch cushions in order, and fold the blanket. You will wake up much happier each morning if you aren’t greeted to last night’s mess.



Want even more? Buy the book! Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life is available now. This handy-dandy weekly planner will hold your hand throughout the year and will give you all the reminders and helpful prods you need to have the Very Best Year, ever. No need to wait for the New Year to start your organization mission, you can start at any time. Enjoy!

Post a comment · 114 Comments »


114 Responses to “The Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household”

  1. cakeburnette on March 3rd, 2009 9:28 pm

    I think I need to take out a billboard (or full-page ad in the newspaper) that says this:
    “the secret to parenting is to remember that your goal is to raise capable adults. Chores are not only okay, they are necessary.” I swear, too few people I know seem to understand this AT ALL. The last thing I want to be doing in my golden years is taking care of grown children who are incapable of taking care of themselves. But I know people who will be….

    • Kimberly in NC on November 23rd, 2010 2:04 pm


    • Jean on November 28th, 2011 6:13 pm

      I think first you’d have to teach some people the true meaning of the words “capable adults.”

    • Mary on April 10th, 2012 9:37 am

      Yes. I wish I had that mindset when the children were little. I wish my mother had followed that rule even more. I couldn’t even make a bed when I got married. :)
      Fortunately my four turned into successful, self sufficient adults in spite of me. That is definitely a Golden Rule for parenting.

  2. Sera @ Laughing Through the Chaos on March 5th, 2009 12:45 pm

    I love this concept. These are all really easy, manageable tasks, and I can definitely see where it will help to do them each day.

  3. Becky on March 5th, 2009 3:59 pm

    Ohhhh, I love it. My 2009 resolution that I am desperate to maintain (yah- it’s March, but I’m trying!!) is to get order into my crazy house. These are reasonable, achievable and maintainable for anyone to do! I am loving this!

  4. Leslie on March 5th, 2009 6:32 pm

    I am years older than you are … my two children are grown and on their own now, but I was amazed to see that over the years of parenting I somehow incorporated many of your ideas into my own daily routine. Especially the bed making!

    For me, the before bed ten-minute clean-up is what I refer to in my mind as the “final three.” That includes; 1) set the coffee-maker to have my coffee ready brewed when I wake up; 2) put out my clothes for the gym – which is where I head first thing after my coffee; 3) brush and floss and rinse.

    You are on a good path …

  5. Catherine on March 5th, 2009 7:07 pm

    I was just diagnosed with adult ADD and keeping house has been one of the most frustrating, tear inducing hardships for me. I wrote this list down and posted it on my fridge. I KNOW I can do these things every day, thanks so much. really.

  6. Marita on March 6th, 2009 3:57 am

    A great list.

    Only quible I have is regarding the dishes.

    We do not have a dishwasher and I’m not handwashing one or two items here and there throughout the day. The part of Australia I live in is in the middle of a dreadful drought and we are on very strict water restrictions. I make sure to wait until I have a full load of dishes to wash to make the most of the water used. Generally once a day I wash all the dishes.

    Same goes for laundry, never put the machine on unless it is full, otherwise it is just wasting water.

    One day we will hopefully have a grey water recycling system and be able to recycle all water used in our house (shower, washing machine, sinks) to flush the toilet.

    • Jean on November 28th, 2011 6:17 pm

      Here in Texas we aren’t yet on severe water restriction, but our drought is becoming so severe that we soon may be. For those who do have dishwashers, remember that modern dishwashers don’t require you to rinse the dishes first; just scrape them of leftover food and sauces with a rubber spatula.

    • Sasha on September 6th, 2013 3:37 pm

      I do something that Flylady suggests in her book. I keep a little plastic dish bin in the cupboard under the sink, and (usually!) put dirty dishes in there. That way the sink is empty. When it’s time to do the dishes, I take the dish bin out, fill it with water and a squirt of soap, sometimes I let it sit and cool off a bit, and then I wash the dishes with the water off. I put the soapy dishes in the sink next to the dish bin, and rinse them off whenever that area gets full.

      It seems like the dish bin holds a lot of water, but apparently compared to an open tap as you’re washing it uses much less water this way. If you have a larger load of dishes the dish bin full of water can usually be reused.

      To Stephanie–I don’t understand how you clean the toilet! Don’t you have to clean under the water line, too?

  7. robin on March 6th, 2009 4:15 am

    Hi,here is a great tip. Here in Israel we don’t use a top sheet,like we did in the states,just a duvet.It makes it really easy to make the beds right after you wake up.Even the kids can do it by themselfs.

    • Jenna on March 5th, 2009 8:38 pm

      I was diagnosed with adult ADD 4-5 years ago. One book that I read that really made a difference was Delivered from Distraction – some ADD traits are actually positives – usually creative, spontaneous, fun people – just have to buckle down & get some stuff done so the world doesn’t fall apart. Good luck!

      • Stephanie on March 5th, 2009 6:38 pm

        the coffee pot! what a great idea!
        xoxo steph

  8. Louisa on March 6th, 2009 9:09 am

    This is a great list, Stephanie. I have been married a long time and do most of the things on your list, like make bed as soon as I get up, empty sink,(except I do soak dirty pots overnight.) set up coffee pot at night, and do a before bed check. What I don’t do but will try to incorporate is laundry and wastebaskets every day,
    and bathroom wipedown.

  9. Rachel on March 6th, 2009 9:42 am

    I love the bathroom wipe down suggestion! I hate the bathrooms because they always turn into such a chore, but this might help save me from that.

    Do you have any recommendations if you married a guy who never did chores growing up, and can’t understand how the house doesn’t just clean itself? I hate doing all the cleaning myself, and it’s a bad precedent to set for my kids.

    • Danna on November 16th, 2011 4:37 pm

      I married one of those. There is hope! Start small with 1 easy 5- minute job and gently ask your husband to help you do it every day. Like folding laundry or putting away the dishes. Keep the focus on the time you are spending together building your home–not on the crappy job his mother did in raising him. I “timebox” chores by saying, “we get to watch TV (or whatever) after we’re done.” After he gets in the habit, add another job. Keep at it and remember to lead by example. There’s no rush. It took him ### years to develop his current habits, so plan to spend a few years developing new ones. Just be sure to keep the housework simple and fast. Don’t be picky. It doesn’t really matter how the towels are folded, as long as they fit in the drawers.

  10. Ice Cream on March 6th, 2009 11:21 am

    I have always always thought of chores as a morning thing. No play until work is done, sort of thing. Well it wasn’t working, hasn’t been working for several years now. We recently started doing an evening clean up like you mention here and it has completely changed the workload around here. Every morning we wake up to a tidy house and it is easier to keep it tidy now. LOVE it!

  11. Kimba on March 6th, 2009 2:09 pm

    I love your 7 habits of highly successful mamas! Glad to say I do many of them, but with my one year old try to do the laundry every other day. One thing I don’t do is wipe the bathroom down every day and that makes A LOT of sense. Kudos! And best of luck to you with your new venture, it looks like it will be a great resource, thanks!

    • Stephanie on March 6th, 2009 8:39 am

      Great idea, Robin! I love duvets.
      xoxo steph

  12. Carrie on March 6th, 2009 6:40 pm

    I love these ideas! However, some of you may be shocked to discover that I almost NEVER make my bed, and I’m okay with that. I do have good reasons…my dog spends most of the day in the bedroom while my fiance and I are at work. The bed is her playground, as she is a wiener dog and loves to burrow. Needless to say, I feel that making the bed is a waste of time because when I get home it looks like my dog ran a marathon under the covers. Also, my bed is my sanctuary and sometimes I love to just come home from work and grab a lap desk and do paperwork in my bed. It’s just so comforting to be under a warm fuzzy blanket, even if you are working on your taxes. I do make my bed when company is coming, but other than that, I probably won’t ever have that on my chore list until I have children and curling up in bed during the day becomes a rarity. I’m curious though…is there anyone else out there who doesn’t make his or her bed on purpose? Am I the only one?

    • Erica on May 19th, 2012 12:22 am

      Hi Carrie,

      I am not a bedmaker, never have been. Doesn’t bother me either. I have 3 boys and I do not have them make beds either. We have a 2-story home and guests don’t go upstairs, which would be my only motivation for making a bed. It’s just not a priority here, so I agree with you!

      Erica :)

    • Lynn on June 9th, 2013 2:49 pm

      I do not make my bed on purpose!

      The only reason I make it is if I am dumping clean clothes on it to be folded. Then I wouldn’t want them getting lost in the blankets.

      I turn down the comforter to air it out. It keeps the bed much nicer-feeling.

  13. Nikki on March 6th, 2009 11:12 pm

    This reminds me a lot of… I like it

  14. Jen on March 7th, 2009 9:43 am

    STEPH! Did you know that under the “people who bought this book also bought” section on Amazon, 30 Day Shred is the first thing?? I don’t know why, but that totally cracked me up – I know (from your other blog) what a….ummmm…. experiance that has been for you.

    So excited for this site and the book!


  15. de on March 7th, 2009 3:35 pm

    Your list is a great one but it all sounds like you are a single Mom with no husband to help- What are his chores for the family’s home?

    I was the cooker- he was the cleaner- and it worked out really well- of course we had cross over chores but with both of us working it sorted itself out. The best part of it was he taught the boys how to do their own laundry and they saw their father (a big hulking 6’3″ guy) as not a sissy for doing family chores.

    I’m retired now- and my sons have their own homes and do the grocery shopping, cleaning or whatever chores need doing.

    The roles your children see you doing is how they define their own roles as grownups. Spread those chores around!

  16. Corrie on March 7th, 2009 6:01 pm

    I do most of these! I’m so proud of myself!!! =) The only problem is that I got all on top of everything, and was feeling good about my routine, and then…. found out I’m pregnant with #2. And I have a 9 month DD. That threw me for a curve. Sigh.

  17. Susan Henderson on March 8th, 2009 2:59 pm

    Any good hints on easily making a top bunk of a bunk bed? It can take so much time trying to make the bed up there!

  18. Jen from KY on March 9th, 2009 10:48 am

    We started using the “duvet system” when we got the kids lofts (IKEA of course) and it makes having a neat and tidy bed so easy. We also bought only white fitted sheets for the bottom – but colored covers for the duvets. It makes keeping the linen closet in order a little easier!

  19. Sandy Cooper on March 9th, 2009 8:38 pm

    How timely this is for me. I’m on a mission to take back the control of my house (which I seemed to have lost years ago). Most of these things I do, but not every day. Except the beds.

    This really gets me thinking…Thanks so much for this!


  20. Katie Smith on March 22nd, 2009 1:37 pm

    I love the “Empty All Garbage Cans” section. I laughed out loud when I read that and I had to read it out loud to my husband. I do the same exact thing – leaving the garbage and recycleables out in the middle of the kitchen, hoping he will see them and take them out. It’s not mean, it’s necessary!

  21. Amanda on March 22nd, 2009 7:29 pm

    These tips are awesome! We just completed spring cleaning and these tips will be so helpful to keep our home the way it is right now. Thanks!

  22. Sandy Cooper on March 24th, 2009 9:23 pm

    OK…just wanted to give my updated input with the 7 habits. I’ve been putting them into practice for the last two weeks (I think) and I’ve made a few observations.

    1) With four bathrooms, I cannot wipe all of them down every day. The master bath alone is too huge for that. But wiping them down every two or three days is workable and still helps them to stay cleaner than they were when i was only deep cleaning them every week or every two weeks…or, or…..never mind.

    2) With three kids, I cannot only do one complete load of laundry a day and stay on top of it. I need to do at least two, usually three. Factoring in towels and bedding. Again, it’s better than what I was doing, which is doing all my laundry on one day, which turned into three days and 7 baskets. Overwhelming.

    3) The little swiffer dusters are great. I used to spend a lot of time dusting with a rag and polish. I just started swiffer dusting for five minutes every few days and my house looks so much cleaner.

    OK…that’s all I’ve got. Just wanted to share.

  23. Collette on April 3rd, 2009 10:50 am

    My first thought was, holy smokes! How much trash do you generate that has to be taken out every day! We have little trash cans in each of the bedrooms and bathrooms and I feel guilty when I take a half full WalMart bag out of each one on Saturdays. We have a larger can in the kitchen, and another in the office. Those are taken out on Wed and Saturday. And I live in Florida. And I don’t run the a/c. They don’t smell – I buy those “anti-smell” tall kitchen trash bags.

    The only exception is chicken. When I make chicken, the little tray it comes on goes STRAIGHT out to the outdoor can.

    But getting people to NOT put stuff in the sink is such a challenge! We have a graphics company – we make vinyl graphics (like on the back window of your car, etc) I made a decal for the bottom of the kitchen sink that says “Put it in the dishwasher!” Then I picked that one off and made a big red STOP sign! LOL Reminds people, without being heavy handed about it all.

  24. Debbie @ Cheaper By the Bakers Dozen on May 5th, 2009 8:36 am

    I love calling that genre of books Self Development. Sounds so much more intentional than Self Help – which sounds like one should be in a rehabilitation center!

    Great ideas! And the comments are worth their weight in Pledge.

    I’m a natural born organizer/cleaner, so my challenge is to let ‘good enough’ be enough – then get down on the (clean) floor and play with the children.
    Because this is my challenge, I actually make a list of games/activities to do with my kids and check it off when I’ve played one. Sick…I know!

  25. Lindsey on May 5th, 2009 4:16 pm

    Hi, I followed you from your crockpot challenge and love love love you! I am soon moving from an 800sq ft town house to a 2000 sq ft house! Going from me and my toddler girls to me, my man and his son, my toddler girls and our combined music equipment! I will be putting all of this into play as much as possible when i make my big move!!! I am already pretty good about no dishes in the sink and (thank God) he is fabulous at the bed making! The challenge will be teaching the children but i really like what you had to say about giving children resposibilties! I can’t wait to report back… hopefully successfully! Also, i am a HUGE advocate for the swiffer wet jet! When i run out of spray i take an old windex bottle and make a half fabulouso half water solution and the house always smells nice! My challenge has always been laundry! But he seems to be on his game with that too so i think all will be fine! :) Once again…you are my blogging hero!

  26. bearing on May 14th, 2009 8:31 am

    Your article intrigued me, but I didn’t like #5 (too involved!) so I subdivided it into seven ways to clean up after yourself. Here it is:

    Number Five Subdivided

  27. Judy on May 28th, 2009 7:59 am

    “After showering, use an item from the dirty clothes pile to dry the shower walls and door. This will keep mold and soap scum from accruing. Now use your damp item to quickly mop up the bathroom floor. Dust and hair will disappear and will keep you from needing to mop.”

    I like your advice except for this one. If I am understanding, you would wash this piece of clothing and wear it again? I’m not a germophobe, but unless it was washed in hot water and bleach, I could never wear something that had been used to clean up the bathroom floor. I use paper towels or old rags.

  28. Zoya on December 27th, 2009 11:16 pm

    hello Stephanie,
    I found your slow cooking website a couple weeks ago and i really like. I’ve even bought the Little Dipper and i love it! Thanks!

    On to cleaning– I’ve been trying to work out a system to clean our house and keep it clean without cleaning the whole day, which is hard with a 6 mo old, and so far yours sounds the best and simplest. Before I found your system I had been doing a few of the things but not all. i will try doing all the 7 things now. Thanks a bunch :)

  29. polly on December 29th, 2009 5:32 pm

    I see “DD”s and “DH”s mentioned in many responses… translate please? thanks!

    • Stephanie on December 30th, 2009 3:38 pm

      Hi Polly,

      sure! DH, DD, and DS are message board abbreviations. They translate to Dear Husband, Dear Daughter and Dear Son. I have no idea how they originated, but when you hang out on the internet, you’ll notice that they are quite common.
      xoxo steph

    • Debbie on October 24th, 2012 8:22 pm

      D*** Hubby
      D*** Daughter
      D*** Son

      insert “ear” “arn” “umb” as needed. There are more as you can guess!

  30. Jennie on March 13th, 2010 9:17 pm

    Quick question re: the toilet – how do you clean the bottom (the part that’s covered in water) without using a toilet brush? Do you stick your hand into the toilet water with the disinfectant wipes?

    • Stephanie on March 14th, 2010 10:25 am

      Hi Jennie–okay, this is what *I* do—-but by all means, do what is comfortable for you! I wipe the toilet rim and underseat with a clorox wipe, then flush the toilet. While it is draining and refilling, I use the same wipe to go under the rim and the water line with the clorox wipe. Then I bag it (I don’t flush it down) and wash my hands really well. I can see how this would wig a bunch of people out—so if you’re more comfortable with a brush or one of those brush disposable thingies, then use that. I worry about the waste with the disposable brushes, and the kids playing with a traditional one.

      oxo steph

  31. Pam on April 23rd, 2010 2:27 pm

    I do like these but I am so lucky to have an HE washer. It holds 3 loads of laundry (I never thought a household appliance would be the center of topic, or envy, with company either!) and with its spin cycle happening an extremely high rate of speed, the clothes come out much dryer than a regular washer. Washing daily would be a waste of energy & resources for me. So I would suggest, if you can get a HE washer – do it!

  32. Anu on August 10th, 2010 11:04 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I have struggled to find something similar that works for me. I tried flylady and while that is great it just didn’t work for me. It was all too much and I got overwhelmed. This gives me something I can focus on and feel successful at the end if the day! I can’t wait to hear more advice from you.

  33. Kim on October 4th, 2010 11:00 am

    Thank you so much for your blog. I’m really enjoying your processes. I have a question about doing one load of laundry a day. Do you collect all of the dirty laundry one day and sort, or just collect one load each day? I have four kids and so there is never a shortage of dirty laundry….but storing all of the loads takes up space! Collecting each day seems excessive! This might be a remedial question, but I’m really having difficulty figuring our the best way…

    I really like the “one complete load a day” idea though because my laundry day is typically Monday with the idea that it will all get done that day. What usually happens is that the following Monday I am still finishing up from the last week, and my family room is constantly in a “laundry folding” state! HELP!

    • Stephanie on October 4th, 2010 12:15 pm

      Hi Kim,

      Okay. What I do is just grab stuff and throw it all in together each day. If I’ve got sweaters or Adam’s shirts that can’t be tossed in, I put them aside in a laundry basket (our machines are in the garage. in our last house we had a laundry room, and I did the same) and get to them when time allows. If you’d prefer to presort, there are those presorting basket things you can buy and have the kids sort themselves, then take out a load at a time to wash. or just have separate laundry baskets.
      if you aren’t worried too much about presorting, you can have the kids put the laundry directly into the machine, then just start it when you’ve got a full load.

      some of my friends do: kid A one day, kid B, kid C, towels, delicates, etc. would that be better for your family?


      • Kim on October 21st, 2010 11:26 am

        Thanks so much for the many laundry ideas, Stephanie. We are on vacation right now, but I’m excited to try them when we get back (is that sad?). Anyway, I’ll let you know what ends up working best.


  34. Amber on January 6th, 2011 3:17 pm

    So STEPHANIE when you do sweep/mop/vacuum? Third to sinks and toilets-the floors always seem to be the dirtiest thing in my home. I assume you still take one day per week to change the bedsheets? Is that the day you do the floors because floors seem to need to be done daily at my place, maybe it’s just the climate I live in-very dusty.

    OH, AND TO THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T LIKE TO MAKE YOUR BEDS BECAUSE YOU TAKE A NAP IN THE AFTERNOON: you can still make your bed in the morning and then when you get done with your nap that is a good opportunity to straighten it up a bit but don’t make it fully, leave the bed TURNED DOWN for nighttime. You might even get all fancy and spray the linens and leave a couple of dark chocolates (or the chocolate calcium chews with magnesium, both minerals that promote sleepiness) on the pillow. My therapist read some study that said that most people who reach and maintain a healthy weight have pleasant nighttime rituals. A cup of herbal tea and a turndown chocolate would qualify.

  35. Mary Williams on January 7th, 2011 9:04 am

    I love this idea! Even though it is just my 2 year old son and I, we can totally benefit from following this! I featured this on my friday favorites

  36. Sherry on June 30th, 2011 3:55 pm

    When do you run the vacuum or sweep the floors? And how often do you do this?

    • Stephanie on June 30th, 2011 4:33 pm

      Hi Sherry, we have hardwood and I spot clean a few times a day when we’re all home. I use a clorox wipe or the like to get crumbs up from under the table, dust from behind the doors, etc. I usually do this while I’m on the phone. :-0
      for real vacumming or mopping I do it about once a week.

      I try to keep shoes off in the house and if we’re eating in the living room in front of the tv (where there is carpet) I spread out a beach towel or large comforter to catch crumbs and then shake it outside.
      when we’re all home on the weekends or during the summer there is a lot more “stuff” that’s tracked in, but usually can keep on top of it by spot cleaning.

      hope this helps a bit, steph

  37. Kimber on July 31st, 2011 7:53 am

    I just found your website and I think it can teach me a lot… Love your Daily 7! Thanks for sharing. Now, what’s your plan for actually cleaning/dusting/vacuuming/mopping, etc. ?? Can’t wait to read more on here.

  38. Kyla on August 15th, 2011 9:45 pm

    My first time visiting your site. I am really impressed. I’m not a huge blog follower or really a blog follower at all but you just made my bookmark page with this ” Adam promised he would empty the garbage cans every single day without being asked. This hasn’t happened. It actually kind of pisses me off. ”
    Totally cracked me up! My hubby didn’t promise everyday but said I would never have to take out the trash and like your house this hasn’t happened. To be completely honest I really didn’t believe it or expect it but it actually kind of pisses me off every time I’m emptying an overflowing can!
    Thanks for sharing.

  39. Paulie on August 31st, 2011 8:56 am

    Thanks a mil for this. I heard about you through another blogger money saving mom. Your ideas are fantastic!

  40. Cathy on September 3rd, 2011 6:04 pm

    I just purchased your book and I hope it helps me get my act together. I have been slacking over the past few years. Of the daily 7, my biggest obstacle is I don’t own a dishwasher (not as big a deal) or a washing machine/dryer. There are a couple in my building but every time I go down to use it, someone else is already there. I may have to adjust doing one complete load of laundry a day to maybe a load every two-three days.

  41. Kristi Kain on September 18th, 2011 7:32 pm

    I love your sense of humor! Totally like mine! Thanks for this SIMPLE list that I need to print and remind myself to do everyday….now what to do with that scary paper trail that grows and grows and grows and becomes lots of paper mountains! EEK!

  42. Lynette on February 7th, 2012 12:10 pm

    Hahahaha. I love your comment about the garbage and your husband. My husband also made a promise of that nature…and he too must not remember it. To make matters worse, he has stopped parking in back of the house so I can’t even leave it on top of the stairs of the deck for him to trip over. I have to nag and nag and nag and then just take it out myself. My son is 5, soon he will have a new job. :-)

  43. jane on March 21st, 2012 9:56 pm

    Why on earth would you take the time to empty all your trash cans every day? Do you not recycle or do you some how generate an ungodly amount of trash daily? I don’t get it. Personally, I’d substitute “sweep the kitchen floor” for that chore. The kitchen floor is usually a disaster by noon in the summer and certainly by 5pm during the school year.

    • Kathy on July 4th, 2012 10:33 am

      I agree Jane. I can’t imagine generating enough trash to empty ALL the trash cans in the house every day, unless they’re very tiny trash cans. I just substituted empty the compost bin. We have a countertop compost pail that gets emptied daily. Sweeping the kitchen floor is another good substitute, as is emptying the litter box, for those of us with cats.

      I do take out smelly trash, such as meat scraps or anything else that would stink up the kitchen before the bag gets full. Our bedroom and bathroom trash cans are mostly paper trash (tissues, Q-tips, and such) so they definitely don’t need daily emptying. I don’t allow food trash to be put in the bedroom or bathroom wastebaskets.

  44. Selena on July 17th, 2012 8:16 am

    Hi Stephanie, I just found your website and as a mother for 4 children ages 9,6,5,and 4, everything I have read so far has been very helpful… I have been trying to find chores for my children to do on a daily basis for awhile now and I have to say that yours is the best… Thank you very much for sharing all your ideas with me and my family… Thanks again, Selena…

    • Stephanie on July 17th, 2012 8:33 am

      Hi Selena,
      I’m happy you found me and thrilled I can be of help to you in some way. xoxo steph

  45. Rachel Hindle on March 6th, 2013 5:08 am

    very helpful and certainly some things i will adopt for my own house, great blog amen!

  46. Charlene on April 1st, 2013 10:09 am

    Forget #1. I was told not to make the beds as soon as you get out of it because things like dust mites love the warmth. The healthiest option is to throw back the sheets and covers, let the bed cool down (at least while you shower and eat breakfast), and then make it.

  47. julie on June 14th, 2013 10:22 am

    Ladies, these are some great ideas. I also try to do the once over approach on a daily basis, which keeps dirt to a minimum and means that you don’t have to spend hours cutting through grime. I try to go over the bathroom before I leave it in the morning, then next the bedroom. After that the kitchen gets its once over (clean dishes put away and dishwasher loaded). Then the laundry gets started. Once you do this on a daily basis it becomes routine and isn’t that big of a deal. It does mean that I don’t get out the door as quickly as other people might in the morning. Of course on a day when you have an early appt, you don’t worry about doing all of of it anyway.

    One thing I would add is this: to those of you complaining about your husbands. Does your husband go to work every day to support his family? Then thank the Lord for your husband. Thank your husband for working hard every day. Then if you are a keeper at home (not working outside the home) it is your responsibility to care for the home, not his. He is not working for you! You are the home manager, but he is not your employee, he already has a job! Be thankful that he does his job and then be faithful to do yours, which is keeping the home. This is a big job BTW. It is important too, even though in the eyes of the world it isn’t considered so. No matter. The Lord sees you and He knows that you want to love your husband and children and your home and to care for them. Be faithful to your calling. Your work is important. It helps your husband and is a great example for your children.

    If your husband promised to help you but isn’t, then I would sit down with him, just you and him alone. REspectfully explain to him what he promised and isn’t doing. In this case, I would say that the promise was not really a realistic one because as i explained in the earlier paragraph, he already has a job. His job is not the home, per se, though of course there are things in the home that a man must do that may be too difficult for a woman to do. (some repairs, for instance) But otherwise, the day to day chores are not his job. The world lies to us. It tells us that working at home is not enough, or that if we do, then the work all has to be 50/50. May I say that this is a bunch of bunk? No such thing. We are too busy to do the math, for one thing! Anyway tell him that you are letting him off the hook. Tell him you are hurt by his promise and not keeping it and see if he might apologize for making this promise. If so, forgive him. Tell him you are sorry for speaking ill of him in a public forum and ask his forgiveness. This type of love and openness will go a long way to making your home a happy one. Clean and organized is wonderful; clean and organized with peace in the home is even better!

  48. Cari on April 6th, 2014 7:21 pm

    I really need to do these every single day. I know I will be less stressed, but they still don’t get done daily :(

  49. Leah on February 3rd, 2015 11:59 am

    you are my new girl crush!! My mind has been in disarray and my home more recently as well and i just don’t find my OCD friends to be very motivational. But i am implementing the daily 7 today in our house. and since my husband leaves after i do in the mornings i will enlist him to make the bed…oh the wonder to walk into a room with a made bed i didnt have to do myself and start training my 7 year old to do his as well. I needed this because i cant do set schedules but this is great. Im simple and i know that just seeing a bed made will motivate me to do the rest of the 6 steps to stay on top of my game.

    • Stephanie O'Dea on February 3rd, 2015 2:29 pm

      :-) I’m happy you found me, Leah!

  50. Stephanie on March 6th, 2009 8:38 am

    I would agree with that, Marita! The important thing is to have a system in place that works for you—and it sounds like you do!
    We have super dear friends from Melbourne; I know how horrible the drought is right now.

  51. Beth on March 7th, 2009 8:56 am

    You’re not the only one. We don’t make our beds here, either. It doesn’t bother us because unless DD decides to take a nap (rarely) we aren’t in the room between getting up and going to bed. If I want to accomplish something that will inspire me and make a difference to my house, I’ll pick something like the bathroom or kitchen!

  52. Deborah on March 7th, 2009 3:32 pm

    I don’t make the bed either and for a similar reason. My cat loves to play on the bed. But also, I just don’t really care if the bed is neat. It’s not something I look at all the time; it’s not something company can see most of the time, and my morning routine is so hectic that if I stop to make the bed amid cleaning out the litter, feeding the cat, feeding the dog, etc. I’d never get out of the house. The only time I make the bed is if company is coming (just in case they go upstairs) and if I read in bed at night. Otherwise, I just flop in amid the messy sheets and blankets and conk out, hehe.

    I also don’t do the laundry once a day, but I don’t have kids, and my husband and I don’t produce enough laundry to need that sort of treatment, But, I love all the tips! I do most of the other things. The bathroom wipedown is a new one and one I will start doing right away.

    Another thing I do for the bathroom is to keep my toilet brush holder full of water with bleach in it. From there, I can just swish it around in the bowl once a day without having to add cleaning stuff to the toilet and the brush stays disinfected and white. The end result is a nice looking toilet brush and a toilet I only have to really scrub out once a month or so.

  53. Mel on March 7th, 2009 10:48 pm

    I don’t either… My brother’s allergist told him not to because a made bed is a breeding ground for dust mites.* My DD has the same skin allergies as my brother, so no beds are made here.

    *(I have no idea if that’s actually true, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

    I do straighten up the beds once a week and if we have company.

  54. Barbara in SC on March 27th, 2009 10:01 am

    We don’t make our bed, either. DH perspires a lot while sleeping, so we throw the covers back to the bottom of the bed so the bed can “air out” during the day. We straighten everything before getting into the bed at night. Also, I enjoy afternoon naps, and would just “un-make” my side of the bed each time I nap. If company is coming, we shut the bedroom door!

  55. Stephanie on March 7th, 2009 3:59 pm

    Hi De,
    oh gosh, Adam is the most helpful person around the house, ever. These are the family’s chores—whomever is around/available to help, does.
    it sounds like you had a wonderful home environment when your children were small.
    xoxo steph

  56. Corrie on March 7th, 2009 5:39 pm

    Hey Rachel! I’m sorry you’re having problems with Dh and chores!! I had a couple ideas, and if you don’t like ’em or can’t use ’em, I won’t be offended!
    – Can you make a list of daily and/or weekly chores and ask him which ones he’d like to do? Then put him down for those….
    – Can you make a general chore chart and include him, yourself, and each of the kids? And if the kids wonder why mommy and daddy are on there, you could just be like “we all forget things sometimes, and this will help us with that!” Or something like that.

  57. Marita on March 7th, 2009 8:17 pm

    A system that works is right. My dishwashing system has been slipping a little since oldest started school and our routine changed drastically. So working on a new system now.

    BTW I’ve submitted this site to Parent Hacks as a link for their Links of the Week post –

  58. Stephanie on March 8th, 2009 3:38 pm

    Hi Susan,
    we don’t have bunks right now, but a loft (we’re in the market for some bunks!) which has the same top bed problem. It seems to work the best to streamline bedding to sheets and a comforter with a duvet only (quite inexpensive at IKEA). That way in the morning all that needs to happen is the top sheet gets pulled straight, and the comforter/duvet straightened out. In the winter if we need an extra blanket, it gets folded at the foot of the bed. xoxo steph

  59. Amy on March 8th, 2009 7:37 pm

    corrie you will be just fine! I have 2 boys that are only 11 months apart. you make it work. You will always have enough clothing to do a load of laundry, LOL. Good Luck!

    We make the bed as soon as we get up and I hate dishes in the sink. If one is in there my DH thinks nothing should then be put in the dish washer! We do the 10 min before bed but do it right after the boys go to bed. We pick up all the toys and things. The one thing we do that was not on the list is pick the clothing out the night before and pre-pack for the day care. Makes things so much easier in the rush of the morning!

  60. Stephanie on March 24th, 2009 10:18 pm

    wow, Sandy! I’m really impressed with all that you are doing, and I’m so glad that things are working out so well for you. I absolutely agree 4 bathrooms to wipe down daily would be bonkers.
    is it bad that I’m jealous of the bathrooms?
    I’d love to have a bathroom all to myself. And a closet!

  61. Christina on March 27th, 2009 2:56 am

    I <3 Swiffer Dusters!

    Another favorite for quick-cleaning is the Pledge Orange wipes for wood. I have a lot of wooden furniture, and a lot of dust! It helps to wipe everything down quickly before company comes over – not only does the wooden furniture shine nicely, but the orange oil smell can’t be beat!

    My friend Joey also loves the new Pledge cat hair thingie – I really want one, but so far the only store in town that stocks them is one I boycott – I just have to wait for smaller stores and regional chains to get them in. But I thought I’d pass on the recommendation, because he said that they work really well, although he did mention that you have to be able to push hard, and it might be difficult for someone with smaller hands – which makes it the perfect job to pass on to the men in your lives!

  62. Stephanie on March 27th, 2009 8:57 am

    hahaha, thanks for backing me up, Katie! xoxo steph

  63. Stephanie on April 3rd, 2009 11:23 am

    lol, I love the decal idea! very clever. xoxo steph

  64. Sandy Cooper on April 10th, 2009 8:44 pm

    You’d only be envious of the bathrooms when they are clean. Trust me. The 4 bathrooms are much less glamorous when they are covered in pee, toothpaste and hair.

    Thanks for this plan. It really is working well for me. You rock!

  65. Stephanie on May 5th, 2009 8:44 am

    Lol, not sick, Debbie—-you know who you are and are doing what needs to be done for you. I find that admirable.
    The over-cleaning is a struggle for many, many people—-the fact that you can recognize that in yourself is huge, you should be proud of yourself.
    xoxo steph

  66. Stephanie on May 28th, 2009 9:03 am

    Hi Judy, you’re really only drying the floor with the clothing and picking up stray dust and hair. If you’ve got ickies on the floor, I’d use a disinfectant wipe. –steph

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