4 Basic Housekeeping Routines


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 beautiful 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.

When I was a younger mom, I was forever making up lists and methods to keep track of everything from organization to daily routines. 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.

Over the years I’ve found 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.

1. Morning routines. 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, 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.

2. Clean sinks. I learned the Flylady 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. Flylady to the rescue! She broke it down for me and I listened: clean and shiny sinks, always. 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.

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. A cleaning frenzy might last ten minutes or even up to a half 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. 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. Nightly kitchen clean up. Every night, almost without fail, 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.

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. I’m sticking to my tried and true basics. No more complicated chore charts for me!

I can do everything through him that gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NIV

©2009,Melissa Michaels

13 comments for “4 Basic Housekeeping Routines

  1. Danette
    March 1, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    that sounds like what my mom always enforced at home… leave the kitchen clean after dinner… 10 minute tidy-up… and things that I should try to incorporate into my life here at school as well!

  2. March 4, 2009 at 7:17 AM

    Thanks for sharing this! I am always making lists and then not have the time to implement them, only resulting in discouragement. 🙂

  3. March 7, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    Oh this is wonderful sweet sister Melissa!

    Our teenage sons have kitchen duty, they alternate weeks where one does all the dishes and the other puts away all the food, and wipes down everything (counters, table, placemats, cabinets, etc.) and takes out the trash.

    I’ve never considered the other methods you mention here, but am sure going to incorporate them! Thank you so much for these VERY practical mind-saving tips! 🙂

    Bless you sister,

  4. suzanna
    March 8, 2009 at 6:39 PM

    Always love reading the articles from CWO very helpful to me..thank you again

  5. March 12, 2009 at 8:31 PM

    I love the way you broke it down. I am the mother of two preteens and work full time out of my home. I find that my house gets completely out of control. One thing at a time and you’re right nothing is better than a clean kitchen in the morning! God Bless!

  6. March 16, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    Thanks for your comments, ladies! Glad you enjoyed the tips!


  7. Ingrid
    March 19, 2009 at 7:42 PM

    I graciously thank you for your pearls of wisdom. I am recently married and am thankful for ways to maintain my home easily so I do not get caught up in cleaning which can often take me away from my Lord or my husband. Thanks Again. Blessings!

  8. March 20, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    Love it! I didn’t finish the first paragraph before I knew flylady was a part of your routines! 😉 I’m a flybaby myself! Isn’t she amazing!
    Thanks for all the tips!!

  9. March 21, 2009 at 9:14 AM

    Wow! You manage it really well.
    I liked the idea of cleaning frenzy a lot. As every one chips in and the work gets done quicker.
    Mostly it is the mum who is cleaning up always.
    What you said about waking up to a clean kitchen, is also so true. Nothing puts me off more than a dirty sink, filled with dishes, in the morning.

    Good tips! Thanks for that.

  10. April 1, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    Hi Melissa, I enjoyed your posting and agree wholeheartedly…. I, too, find keeping a basic routine really helps to stay on top of things. A little every day works better for me than trying to leave it for a one-day cleaning frenzy which feels too overwhelming, too exhausting.

    I’m planning to do my deeper spring cleaning that way too — a little extra every day in April, so that I’ll be ready for my garden in May (I live in northerly Alberta, Canada so spring comes slowly).

    BTW, I followed you here from your own site!

  11. debbie maness
    December 24, 2009 at 7:13 PM

    Thank you for your tips.

    I’m new to your website.

    God bless!

  12. Laura
    September 22, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    I married a man with 3 teenage sons 18 months ago. I have never been married before and do not have children of my own. What a change. I worked myself to death almost the first year, but this year things are working so much better. Some tips that I find very useful:
    1. We all are only allowed to use one cup a day for tea and coffee, and one glass for water/ cooldrink. This cuts down on the amount of dishes generated.
    2. The boys all do “kitchen duty” twice a week – cleaning up after dinner, loading the dishwasher, cleaning pots that won’t fit in the dishwasher, cleaning counter tops and stove, hanging up dishcloths, etc.
    3. The boys are not allowed leaving anything personal in the public areas of the house (lounge, kitchen and dining room). My husband works from home and the boys are all homeschooled, so there is much potential for their things to be left lying around. I have thrown things in the dustbin that were left in the punge. Now I collect those things, and if the boys want them back, they have to buy them back. Otherwise the things will be given to charity.

    These 3 rules make for a regularly tidier house that only needs dusting and vacuuming once a week. It’s MUCH better for my sanity and therefore my husband’s and the boys. 🙂

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