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5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day — Even When Life is Stressful

Does this season of your life feel overwhelming and stressful? Try developing these five daily habits to add a little more order and structure to your life! They make such a difference!

Are you in a period of life where it just feels like everything is overwhelming and out of control? Like you just have too much to do and too little time?

But you try as hard as you can to cut some things from your life and schedule and you just can’t come up with anything to cut?

Maybe you have a newborn and a toddler. Maybe you’re in the midst of a personal crisis.

Maybe things are really stressful at your job. Maybe you’re caring for a special needs child or an aging relative.

Maybe it’s a thousand other things…

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I get it. I really do.

Some days, some months, and some years, life is just very exhausting and stretching. Sometimes, you just wish you could find a way to run away to a very quiet, clean place where you don’t have to worry about bills or work problems or kid’s struggles or health issues or any other things that can weigh us down in life.

If you’re in a season of life where you are feeling overwhelmed or if you would just love to find a way to have a little more order and structure in your life, I encourage you to develop the habit of doing these five things every single day.

They might seem so simple — and they are! — but if you’re not doing these on a daily basis, commit to making them non-negotiables for 3-4 weeks and see if it makes a difference for you.

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 1. Write a Short To-Do List

If you don’t have a plan, there’s a good chance you’ll live life just spinning your wheels and putting out fires. Pre-determine a few top priorities for each day and write these down on your to-do list.

I suggest no more than 5-7 items on your to-do list each day, otherwise, you’re probably setting yourself up for defeat and frustration.

5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

2. Make Your Bed

Truth be told, this is something I’m still working on myself. However, I’ve been much more committed to making this a priority after watching this video. (Yes, go watch it. I’ll wait for you!)

Isn’t it amazing how such a simple thing can make such a big difference? 5 Things to Do Every Single Day -- Even When You're Overwhelmed With Life 3. Get Dressed in Something That Makes You Feel Great

Anne Bogel and Dear Abby Leigh have both written on the importance of “dressing for the life you want to have” and I think there is a lot of truth in this. When you put a little effort into how you dress, it can impact your entire day.

I want to write more in-depth on this topic soon as making dressing nicer a priority in my life in the past six months has actually made a huge difference in my productivity and overall outlook on life.

I’ve found that I get more done, I feel more energetic, and I just feel happier. It might almost sound weird, but I dare you to try it.

5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

4. Do One Load of Laundry From Start to Finish

So, this is also something I’m still really working on. And I need about five more years of success before I should be preaching about anything laundry-related. 🙂 But what I can tell you is that by watching the Simple Homemaking Video Course that came as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and then by following the advice to follow through and finish all the parts of laundry every single day I’ve experienced incredible freedom this past week.

I honestly had no idea how much being 3-5 loads behind on laundry all the time was dragging me down.

5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

5. Keep Your Kitchen Clean

When my kitchen is clean, it feels like my whole house is pretty much clean. When my kitchen is messy, the rest of my house can be clean, but it will feel like the whole thing is a wreck.

Maybe I’m the only person who is this way, but I can’t encourage you enough to develop a system for keeping your kitchen clean. Just at least try it and see how you like it!

What works for us is to make sure the kitchen is completely clean twice a day. At night before bed, I load and start the dishwasher, wash/dry/put away any larger items that won’t fit in the dishwasher, and wipe down all the countertops and table.

In the mornings around breakfast time, I unload the dishwasher, re-load it with breakfast dishes, and wipe down/clean up anything that needs to be cleaned. Throughout the day, as we use plates/cups, we rinse and stick them in the dishwasher — which means that, for the most part, our kitchen always looks pretty clean.

And a clean kitchen makes me so happy!

5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day

Bonus: Take 5 to 15 Minutes to Do Something for YOU

Carve out a little time each day, if possible, to do something that fills you up. Whether that’s reading or napping or chatting with a friend or journaling or texting a friend or gardening… whatever it is, take time to refuel and refresh yourself so that your tank is not depleted.

But Wait! Is This Really Realistic?

Now, you might have read through all of those above and thought, that’s great, but I just don’t have time to implement any of that right now. Well, I wanted to show you a practical example of how you could accomplish all of it with minimal time and work each day.

So here’s an example of a morning and evening routine that wouldn’t require much extra time and effort but would allow you to accomplish all five of these things every day, plus more:

Example Morning Routine

  • Get up, make your bed immediately, and make coffee (unload the dishwasher while the coffee is brewing).
  • Spend 10 minutes journaling/praying/reading while you’re sipping coffee.
  • Start a load of laundry.
  • Do 10 minutes of quick exercise (maybe a YouTube video workout or a walk or run around the block).
  • Shower, get dressed in something you love, do your hair and makeup.
  • Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.

Example Evening Routine

  • Load the dishwasher, start it, and wipe down all the countertops.
  • Fold and put away the load of laundry you washed and dried in the morning.
  • Lay out your clothes for the next day.
  • Take 5-15 minutes to do something you love.

See? It doesn’t have to take hours of time!

Just being a little more intentional with your morning and evening routines to make sure you accomplish these important daily tasks can not only help you feel more organized, it will keep your house cleaner, and probably help you feel a lot less stressed.

What items would be on YOUR Daily Top 5 List? I’d love to hear!


Want some practical help with setting up your day for success? Be sure to grab a copy of my brand-new online course, Make Over Your Mornings.

This 14-day online course includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects and is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process.

If you’ve ever wished that you could figure out how to get more done, have more organization in your life, and find time to spend on things you love, the Make Over Your Mornings Course is for you. Find out more about it here.

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  • Amanda says:

    I see your heart reaching out to me through this post. I appreciate it and I’m going to try my best, although it will be hard because we have a few limitations. Like you mentioned, I have a newborn and she is up at all hours of the night, we live in an apartment so we do our laundry at our friend’s houses because they graciously offered because of the expensive, and we can’t run the dishwasher everyday because we simple don’t use enough dishes in a day to fill it. Just doing one of these things some days is a challenge but I’ll give it my best!

    • Tracy says:

      My daily must-dos are similar to Crystal’s, but things are different when there is a newborn in the house! Then, my list looks more like:

      1. Keep the kitchen decently clean
      2. Shower at some point in the day and put on something clean

      There will be plenty of time for everything else later 🙂

    • Sophie says:

      Hang in there. It gets SO much easier. If I were you I’d focus on a shower, relatively clean kitchen, and just one tiny thing just for you 🙂

  • Great list! The one I struggle with the most is getting dressed in something nice every day, but it’s something I’m working on. I completely agree about the making time for yourself. Waking up an hour earlier than everyone for some me-time has made such an incredible impact on my life- it’s easier for me to be patient with the kids and attack the day with gusto.

    • julie says:

      Yes, the getting dressed in something you love is hard if you have all worn out garage sale items, mismatched socks with holes etc. We send our kids to a Christian school and it honestly zaps away any room for extras. I know we’re doing the right thing but yes, I feel old, frumpy and not worth it. My husband was just telling me that he needs new socks because he’s on his feet all day and I’m not. True, I sometimes can sit at my teacher aide job but it does make me feel “less than”. I don’t have a smart phone or any phone since I lost my trac phone (totally my fault, oops!) I do recall feeling more put together on the days I wore nice clothes when I used to teach full time before having kids. I do believe this is true but I don’t believe it’s possible for everyone with their financial situations.

      • Ellie says:

        Julie, I’ve been right where you are! But I learned a few tricks, such as yard sales and goodwill half price days and church sales where you can ask to help sort in exchange for taking your pick. I’m saying in this, as in anything, if it’s important to you, sweetheart, there are ways to make it happen. It is so important to hold your head high and feel good about yourself!

        • julie says:

          Thanks Ellie! You are so sweet. Yes, I need to make work of caring more for myself. I tend to take the leftovers after the kids have gotten new since they grow. The trouble is I then rationalize not getting better shampoo, caring for my nails, no longer buying myself make up and moisturizer. It gets to be where I need more and more because I haven’t kept up on it. I need to look at garage sales again. Thanks.

      • Carrie Grace says:

        Julie and anyone else fitting into her shoes,

        MAKE YOURSELF a priority!

        Your family and those around you NEED YOU!

        Since garage sales generally aren’t a year round option, how about finding someone you know who is the same size as you and wears the types/styles of clothing you like and offering to buy their items from them for say a dollar a piece before they would donate them or yard sale them, etc? Chances are they would be more than happy to let you “peak” at their bag to see if you had any interest in anything before they donated. Just a thought…

        AND don’t forget about Dollar Trees, if you have them in your area or dollar stores in general for cute hair accessories. You would be amazed how different you can feel just by changing your hair up in small ways and it only costing you say $5.00 for at least five different accessories.

        The clothes don’t make YOU, YOU, YOU DO! Let your INNER beauty show! Same with hair care products, you would be amazed at the “knock offs” these dollar stores come up with! And more important than the make up, don’t forget to SMILE : ) YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Blessings and BE STRONG!

        • B Dudley says:

          TRUE TRUE TRUE!!! You can also swap adult clothes for kids too! If you have a friend that has kids younger trade those old kids clothes for a bag for yourself.

      • B Dudley says:

        I too hear your heart and am a stay at home mom who to cares for everyone else first…I have learned to cut my own hair…you tube is great for that and it still looks quite good. Also up styling my clothes is awesome…pintrest has great ideas to restyle old into new with very little sewing ability. Like Ellie said I shop the thrift stores and help sort as well. Another trick I have learned is the best of the kids old clothes I take to a resale shop that has adult clothes too sale them for credit then I can purchase something for myself their for nothing or sometimes replace something the kids need for free. Hang in there and take time to care for yourself…you are a treasured child of a king, your self image reflects who you are to those around you too, it will bless not only you but your husband and children too. Lord give this sweet lady a treasured blessing and help her to see herself as you do today.

  • Jessica says:

    Crystal, are you reading my mind this week?!

    My top five:
    1. Hug and kiss my husband
    2. Hug and kiss my kids
    3. Pet my cat. His purring is so calming!
    4. Brush and floss my teeth. I don’t feel clean unless my teeth are clean!
    5. Take a hot shower. It relaxes my muscles.

  • Attu says:

    But if doing laundry at the laundry mat every day doesn’t seem that realistic.

    • Yes, definitely tweak and adjust for what works best for YOU! Going to the laundry mat everyday is probably not the best use of time! 🙂

    • bdaiss says:

      I’d suggest rethinking this one if you work during the day as well. Most electric companies charge higher rates during the time you’re going to be doing laundry (5am-9am and 3pm-9pm…varies from provider to provider so check yours). Running you washer and dryer are highly energy intensive. You will see a significant difference in your bill. (We do about 4 loads a week for the 4 of us. Switching to only doing laundry on the “off hours” cut our bill by over $100/month.)

  • HappyMama says:

    I just love the homemaking articles you have been posting! Wonderful encouragement.

  • Emily says:

    I watched the Homemaking videos unsure if I would get anything out of it. I don’t mind laundry and thought I had it until control…except for the whole folding and putting away part. 🙂 I now have implemented doing one load of laundry from start to finish. I don’t allow myself to put a second load in the washer until the first load is put away. It is sooo helpful! I was surprised.

    I am looking forward to reading more about getting dressed for the day. I struggle with that one. I have so few outfits that I really like, so I like to save them for when I’m out of the house. I have heard so much about how this affects productivity. I will be interested to hear more about it. 🙂

  • Ann says:

    This sounds a lot like the flylady! I love the idea, but my steps are very different. I can’t make the bed because hubby is still in it, and I make the kids unload the dishwasher when they set the table for dinner.

    My morning list is reading a daily verse, praying for the day and my family, getting dressed and putting lunches in lunch boxes. My evening list is wiping down the counters and making sure ALL the dishes got done (some family members like to leave one for Elijah, and the cold dish water in the morning is just gross), packing my own and supervising the kids’ packing their lunches, and setting out clothes. The day goes much more smoothly.

    My biggest problem is now that the kids are older, they don’t go to bed before I do, so there isn’t any downtime away from them. I still haven’t figured that one out.

    • Lana says:

      The older kids staying up late is so difficult. I remember! We started just going to bed and leaving them up but they were so loud. At least we could talk to each other without interruption. It is especially difficult once they are in college and home on breaks. They are used to doing what ever they want and being loud until all hours. I hope you figure it out and find a better solution than we did!

      • Bar says:

        I’m just past this stage..empty nest. You’ll find lots of quiet then and while it is not as horrible as you might think, you will miss that noise!

        • Lana says:

          You ate so right about that! Our nest had been empty for 2 years and I have finally stopped listening for them. We are loving it!

    • Amy R says:

      Oh my!!! I am just entering this stage and as much as I love my oldest, I feel like I’m about to lose my mind. There is NO quiet time! No time alone with my husband. I also have a 4 year old who wakes before the sun.

    • L. B. says:

      We are entering this stage and I am so relieved to hear other moms struggling with this! We have so cherished the evening time alone once the kids are in bed and seeing that time starting to shrink is hard. We don’t have many dates away from the kids and our evenings alone have kept us sane. It will end up being a major adjustment on our part, for sure.

  • Jennifer says:

    I think having a routine with 5 things alone is a stress reducer. Something “normal” in the midst of craziness at times. For me, my list is as follows:

    1. drink 100 ounces of water a day
    2. exercise every day (some days only for 10 minutes if that is all I have time for)
    3. wear something that smells good. I do agree with getting dressed into something that makes you feel good, but I can just put a spritz of perfume on a feel instantly better. I wear it every day and have several body sprays to choose from
    4. read a chapter in something inspirational every day
    5. write down 3 things I am thankful for each day. This brings everything into perspective for me.

    Having 5 routine things is so helpful and just seems to ground me!

  • Kelly Cox says:

    I agree to get dressed and ready for the day (plus make the bed!) is a way to help feel more prepared.

    My 6 Steps:
    1. Make Bed
    2. My devotional time (with coffee!)
    3. Help my husband out the door to work with coffee, water and his lunch. (Also, we pray each morning before he leaves!)
    4. Hair and makeup (while I listen to a podcast!)
    5. Blog work for about 30 minutes
    6. Out the door for the day!

  • Jana Shugart says:

    Where did you get your shirt in the “get dressed in something you love” picture? It’s super cute!

  • Julie says:

    Great post and it came at the right time for me. God Bless !!

  • Nichole says:

    I’m interested more in hearing about #3. I’ve been thinking about checking out Dressing Your Truth that you had a giveaway for.

  • Diane says:

    Bed making is not a priority since we use the beds for afternoon naps, too. My husband and I have in the last few weeks really focused on cleaning the whole kitchen before bedtime. It really helps to not spend prime morning time washing lots of dishes.

  • Charlene says:

    Hubby is still in bed when I leave for work and he does not make the bed… I usually don’t have a clean kitchen. That’s something I could work on. Good pointers. I need to think about these and implement them. Especially when summer break comes. I find that I keep a pretty good routine during the school year, but when I’m off and kids are off over summer, I don’t get much done. I need to be more intentional this summer about having a plan.

  • Tasha says:

    I am loving this list. It really doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore.

    • Sonja says:

      Agreed! the sample schedule made it seem much more do-able. The kitchen is where I struggle most, and in a completely open floor plan it is a real downer to have it be messy. We cook at home a lot, so there are always dishes. I will try working your plan until our magical dish fairy shows up one day. (I’ve always wished for one!)

  • WilliamB says:

    You don’t say what sort of difference this is supposed to make. Is it supposed to make one feel that one has accomplished something in the day? Is it supposed to make one feel less stressed? Help one get more done? It’d be easier for me to determine if this is for me, if I knew what it was supposed to accomplish.

    (Although I have some opinions on whether the list fits me and my lifestyle – make bed yes, fabulous clothes no – despite not knowing what goal it’s supposed to help me achieve.)

    • Here’s the last paragraph of the post (I know there was a lot in the post so it was easy to miss):

      “Just being a little more intentional with your morning and evening routines to make sure you accomplish these important daily tasks can not only help you feel more organized, it will keep your house cleaner, and probably help you feel a lot less stressed.”

      Also, I should probably clarify that I wrote this list more for the overwhelmed woman — though I’m sure many of the principles would probably work for anyone.

      • WilliamB says:

        Thanks – you’re right, I did skim toward the end. And it was clear that that’s who your main audience was – and leaning toward SAH, too. Doesn’t matter. Much of your blog is, but there’s a lot for the rest of us to learn from, or adapt to our situations.

    • Janai says:

      I think it would help me to feel productive and motivate me to do more 🙂

  • Diana says:

    I’m really curious. I see a lot of people recommending strategies like this, and most of them have a youngest child above the age of 3 or so. I feel like most of them say, “I floundered for years, but here’s what finally works for me” and I feel like saying, “No, what happened was that your baby grew up!” 🙂

    Is this (not specifically your strategy, but the idea of definitely having 30 straight minutes for a routine in the morning and 30 energetic minutes in the evening) really doable when all your kids are little, and especially when one of them is a baby? I actually do okay most mornings, but if I’m up 5 times the night before so I sleep in till the kids wake up, then all bets are off. And after supper at night the kids are very needy and if I wash dishes, they whine and cry. And so I play with them instead (which I love) but by the time we get them in bed I can hardly fathom even taking 15 minutes to finish the kitchen.

    Anyway, I am not intending to complain! 🙂 I love my kiddos but I would love to have a clean kitchen too 🙂 I really think your non-negotiables are great and my goals every day actually include most of these. When I get them done, I feel on top of the world 🙂 I’m just wondering if babies in the house means a person should adjust her expectations 🙂

    • Can your husband help out at all — especially at night? Not sure if that’s an option, but that’s worked well at our house. My husband (bless his heart!) also did some of the nighttime wakings with babies and toddlers and now when Silas is up multiple times per night with asthma.

      And I think you figure out what works for YOU. Maybe that’s paper plates for dinner or only cleaning up the kitchen in the morning?

      Here’s a post that might encourage you and others who have babies and toddlers:

      • Jenn says:

        I can totally relate to Diana and I also have another wrench to throw into the equation. What if you are a single mom and don’t have someone to help out? My littles are 4 years and 10 months old, and the baby is still waking up at night. I agree that it’s super hard to find a 30 minute segment to do the routines you suggested, especially the morning routine. I do “sleep in” also until the kids wake up, which is like 6:15. I know that many readers might have spouses, but some do not. I would appreciate any helpful hints.

        • We have a lot of single moms who read here, so I’m hoping some might chime in with some thoughts and advice. My inexperienced thoughts (because I haven’t walked in your shoes, so I can’t say for sure what might or might not work): maybe just stick to 10 or 15 minutes of a morning routine? And only focus on the top few things that would make the most difference for you — whether that’s taking 5 minutes to refuel yourself, 5 minutes to do a quick clean of your kitchen, and/or 5 minutes to fold some laundry? Or maybe swapping babysitting with another mom every other Saturday and just doing the bulk of your laundry and housecleaning then?

          I can only imagine all you have on your shoulders. I encourage you to just do the best you can do, love on your babies, and take time to get rest and refuel your tank. I’d say that’s much more important right now than a bed that’s made, a clean kitchen, or staying caught up on the laundry.

        • Jenn, are you able to get up 30 minutes earlier?

          I used to sleep in until mine were up, too (I had a small child who woke up at 5:20 at the time). Then one year my husband ended up teaching a 6:00 am class. He had to leave at 5:20. He showered at 4:30. If I wanted to shower, I had to get up before him, so I got up at 4:00 that year. I was pregnant with our 5th, and my oldest was 7.

          I learned that year that getting up before the children made a HUGE difference in my day. I no longer have to get up at 4, because my husband doesn’t leave so early in the morning, but I have since worked at being up before the children so that I can put a load of laundry on and get showered and dressed before they wake. It makes me calmer and less stressed. I didn’t start the day feeling like I was behind.

          Alternately, you could shower at night, and try to get up 15 to 20 minutes before the children to put on a load of laundry and get dressed.

          Then, while you are making breakfast, you can start dinner in the crockpot.

        • Jenn,

          Can you get up at 5:45 instead? Then you could start a load of laundry, get in the shower, and be dressed before they are awake.

          Alternately, you could shower the night before, and get up 15 to 20 minutes before they are up, start the laundry and get dressed then.

          I used to do the same thing–wait until the children came in–but one year my husband was gone every morning at 5:20 (and I had a small child that woke at 5:20, too). He showered at 4:30. If I wanted time to be showered and dressed, I had to get up at 4:00. It made a huge difference in my routine.

          I no longer have to be up that early, but I do still get up before the children. When I do that I have found that I feel less stressed and more able to conquer the day.

      • Diana says:

        Aw, you are all so sweet! Thanks for your encouragement, everyone 🙂 You’ve all got me thinking now… 🙂

        Crystal, yes, my husband is actually really good about helping out when he can. He’s in grad school right now, so evenings are often not the best time for him to help. I just want to make sure he gets the credit he deserves–he’s amazing! And we do use paper sometimes (maybe should do more!) I just wish I could cook in paper dishes so I could throw those away too!

        And Jenn–although I’m definitely not a single parent, these long study and class evenings have helped me have a lot more sympathy for those of you who are! Hugs to you–what you do is incredibly difficult 🙂

        • Barb says:

          Try some one pot meals for less mess to clean up.

        • Emilie says:

          line everything with aluminum foil…even your crock pot, it saves so much time from cleaning. i often spray mine with cooking spray. Try to double a recipe when you make it, then you don’t have to wash the pots and pans twice. I always double taco meat, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, meatloaf etc. One less meal to prepare later too.

      • Diana says:

        I’ve still been thinking about this 🙂 (Does anyone else’s brain do that? Get stuck on something and not let go till you figure it out?! 🙂 ) Like you were saying, maybe these things are good starting points for my goals in this season, but I word them differently for this season I’m in. For example, instead of saying “clean kitchen twice a day,” I say, “do dishes for 10 minutes right after supper.” That’s long enough to make a dent in any size mess! And I bet it would often lead to getting the whole thing cleaned up.

        And actually, it looks like the kitchen is my biggest hangup! I already make a to-do list (LOVE it!), I know I could make the bed if I remembered (I usually forget because I don’t go back in there very often), I almost always get dressed, and I have no problem relaxing during the kids’ naptime. Ha 🙂 I really, really loved reading all the below comments with everyone’s ideas and suggestions. It’s kept me from being content (but upset with) status quo and blaming kids. But it’s also good to realize that many days are truly different than the day of a mom with older kids and to be okay with that.

        Hard to keep all those thoughts in balance! 🙂 Thanks for all you do, Crystal and I’ll go re-read the link you put there too 🙂 (I know I’ve read it before but it’s been awhile!)

    • Diane says:

      When my twins were infants I stayed in bed as late as they’d leet me. I bed share, which helps but still is exhausting nursing twins all night. I think with a baby, you feed them and change diapers , wash diapers if cloth, and then I tried to do one load of laundry , one load of dishes and make supper, usually a simple crock pot meal. I showered daily or nearly daily with babies, too. Most of that can be done with 2 minutes hear and there. I don’t get 10 minutes for anything but try to do what I can in snatches.

    • Hi Diana,
      Sometimes I feel that way too. Although I don’t have a young child, I do have a son with autism and a chronic auto-immune condition. This makes our days feel very full and totally overwhelming sometimes (and I am totally guilty of saying, “Well, their children don’t have special needs, of course they get it all done.”) 🙂
      I wanted to respond to your comment because, in my humble opinion, it’s not just that the babies grow up. It really does take years to mature as a homemaker. I love your attitude and spirit to just let things go and focus on your babies. It is always OK to just say, “My little ones are still little and I am just going to embrace this season and not clean my kitchen at night.” I would never say you shouldn’t. But if a mom is in a situation where she is not comfortable with it, or feels like she is drowning, I think it is really, really helpful to follow this advice. Small, little, practical, doable baby steps (with tons of grace thrown in) help us learn over time, how to keep our homes and lives under control. In time it gets easier, maybe because the littles grow up, but in my experience, it is easier because I am just better practiced at making it a habit.

      • Diana says:

        Thank you! I really like what you said about getting “better practiced at making it a habit.” I know I’ve got tons better habits than I did before the kids were born, so maybe I’m on the way?! 🙂 Glad to know I’m not the only one where it takes years!

    • Jennifer says:

      I can definitely relate to your current season of life and while I haven’t mastered any of these items fully yet, I would say that the list is 100% doable. I have three children, 2 boys who are 8 & 10 years old and are very involved with various activities including travel baseball and a newly two year old daughter who doesn’t regularly sleep through the night still. I run a home daycare that comprises 6 kids, 2 three year olds, 2 two year olds and 2 under one. My days are filled to the max yet I have been working toward incorporating these things (as well as several other things like cleaning our one bathroom everyday) and it can be done and has increased my quality of life. I no longer have to spend my weekends cleaning while my family goes to enjoy their activities because enough happens daily for our home to maintain the cleanliness 🙂

      • Diana says:

        Yikes! That’s a lot of kids in one house 🙂 But if you can keep up with cleaning with all them (do they play with each other well?) then maybe I can figure out a way in ours too 🙂

        • Jennifer says:

          Hahaha, yes my house feels smaller by the second as the day goes on! They play as well as any 2-3 year olds can pla together 😉 The trick is to keep them busy…we have learning time daily, outside time, creative play, art, music, dramatic play, games, you name it!

          But seriously the thing that has helped me is to put one new routine into practice at a time. Do it for a week or two then when it starts to become natural, add another one. Before you know it, you are sort of on auto pilot and won’t need to spend any extra energy just thinking about it all! I will also say that Crystal’s book about being in survival mode helped to get me on the right path 🙂

    • Emily says:

      When I had an infant, a 2 and a 4 year old my top priority was getting dressed for the day and doing my hair (even if that didnt include a shower) some how just doing that always gave me more energy. I am not a glamorous person. I dont wear makeup or really nice clothes but just putting on some jeans amd a shirt I like and and shoes always made my day go so much better 🙂 Good luck!

    • Beth says:

      I only have one little (almost 13 months) & one on the way but one strategy I’ve learned that gets the whole morning off better is to get him in the high chair with “clean snacks” (dried fruits/veggies & cheese rather than fresh or other messy foods). That buys me enough time to get the dishwasher part of the routine out of the way & fix a good breakfast. Im sure I’m gonna have to figure out something completely different when Button arrives but for now this works.

    • B Dudley says:

      Yes do adjust but even when my kids were little my list was much the same…bed made if my husband was not in it…dress before kids awoke to before we had breakfast…alone time when it was nap time…10 min workout…a short devotional…a shower….a cup of coffee whatever was needed…then the remainder of the half hour i would use for one chore… vacuum, kitchen, laundry, bathroom I would usually pick one a day to do….then dishes came with the kids there with me…they learned to play while I did those things the highchair in the kitchen or bumbo whatever you have…i would give them a pot and a wooden spoon they would make music…or a set of plastic cups to stack, sort, and by the time they were 2-3 they helped unload the silverware, put away Tupperware etc.I had to adjust my expectations instead of a neat stack for the Tupperware, a drawer where they could toss it all in had to work for a few years. Now they are 6-8-11 and we do the kitchen together after meals in 10 min or less, so it does get easier…it used to take me 30 min or more sometimes, as sometimes they needed to be held or something I also made dinner early when they were younger even if my husband and I saved our plate for after they were in bed we could have them fed and the kitchen clean while they were happy. Then we could it later if we desired as he works on call and is not always home at dinner this worked well and we only had ours to clean late. Hang in their and treasure the cuddles and remember the house is to be lived it does not always have to be perfect and sometimes one item may not get done for the day and it can be at the top of the list the next day

    • Jess Connell says:

      “I feel like most of them say, “I floundered for years, but here’s what finally works for me” and I feel like saying, “No, what happened was that your baby grew up!” :)”

      Haha! Very true.

      Funny, too, because I’m one that (while I do have older kiddos) is still having littles, and so, in many ways, I’m still in “survival mode” of having little ones and having to face those hard daily realities that those whose babies have grown up aren’t still having to reckon with. Though my mothering and home management have gotten more streamlined and “successful,” the things that make newborn life & life with littles difficult have not gone away, and that is a major “to do” on the to do list.

      I read through this and thought, while helpful, this advice is not always applicable for the mom of little ones, or the postpartum mom. Too many unessential things on the list (bed making, clean kitchen). There are seasons where survival is what you can accomplish, and that is a-ok. As a mom of a newborn and even one other child, unless you have in-home help or maid service, your kitchen is just flat out NOT going to be clean all day. And that is A-OK.

  • I LOVE this! Thank you for making this so practical. I actually feel encouraged that there is more than enough time for these basics…
    I really appreciate your heart to help other mommas, especially those of us overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

  • Jessica says:

    I’m the mom with the baby and toddler. 🙂 I am happy to see that these are things that I have been working on these past few months. I only get around to making my bed one day a week-the day that I wash the sheets!
    Thanks for your encouragement. I am loving being a stay-at-home mom with this baby even though there are hard days.

  • Ashley says:

    Hi Crystal! I love this article! I have a couple questions for you. What are you drinking in the glass with the schedule (it looks yummy!) and where did you get your cute vase/jar with the writing on it? Or if you made it, what did you write it with? Thanks!!

  • Sarah says:

    i love this list. My routine is very similar but I struggle with the Dressing in something that makes you feel great. Because I stay home with my daughter and she’s really the only one that sees me (besides my husband when he gets home), I feel silly dressing up. I would like to go to a minimalist wardrobe to help but I don’t even know what pieces I need. It’s my goal to get better at this.

    • Annette the Elder says:

      Sarah, I remember that stage of life, but even your tee-shirts and jeans can fit well and flatter you with the right color and cut. My mother once told me it was important to smell good to your children, so I tried to use cologne lightly most days and put on lipstick and blush. Even if it was the mailman with a delivery, I felt ready to open the door cheerfully . Have a pretty sweater to use when chilly, maybe a pretty hair clip or earrings for jewelry.
      I am heading to retirement soon and need to think about the routines each day again when at home.

  • Donna says:

    Missing the only thing that is a must for me and that’s my time with God! Reading my bible before I am out of bed is the most important thing every day!
    Also I am not a load every day laundry let’s on that ends up with either moldy clothes or wrinkled clothes. I do it all in one day and that’s the only way that works for me!
    I do agree having a made bed and clean kitchen are very important to my daily sanity if I am in those rooms when I am not then its about what room I am in and how picked up it is! Spending 10 minutes to just pick up a room van turn me from grumpy mom to happy mom!

    • Kristen Bukowski says:

      That’s me! Try to get to my bible reading before lunch at least. With a cup of coffee of course 😉 I also found doing all the laundry in one day is most productive for me. And I pick up where I’m at, which usually means if I have to put something away in a different room then I start on that one!

      *and a made bed and picked up kitchen make me feel like I accomplished something in my day 😉

  • Brooke says:

    do you have any helpful advice for where to shop for good quality yet affordable clothes? I want to start dressing better but don’t even know where to look for reasonably priced, quality, modest clothing.

    • I find great things at garage sales!

      The other night I was at a women’s function at church and a woman complimented me on my outfit. I was wearing a blouse and a pair of pants that were both purchased at garage sales for $1 each!

      Facebook garage sales and thrift stores are another great option, though usually higher-priced than local garage sales.

    • Jennifer says:

      I haven’t had any success with it but I know a lot of professional women who find great, fashionable clothing at Goodwill.

    • B Dudley says:

      Lift up Thrift Store
      Resale Shops
      Garage Sales
      MOPS Clothes Swaps
      ROSS clearance…I have picked up new dresses and jeans for as little as $2.00!
      As for modest that can be hard…We often modify adding straps or additional length to skirts…and find that athletic style clothes can still be cute and are often more modest. Good Luck! Also Pintrest has great ideas for up styling what you have

  • Summer says:

    This is great! And whatever you are drinking in the picture of your To-Do list makes me want some! It looks so refreshing and yummy! 😉

  • Mary Kirby says:

    Great ideas EXCEPT for leaving clothes in the dryer all day. Wrinkley clothes do not make me happy!

    • Susan says:

      That’s exactly what I was going to say. If it’s sheets or towels I might leave it in the dryer longer, but with clothes we fold/hang immediately when the buzzer goes off. If it sits in the dryer all day it will just get wrinkled.

      Years ago a close friend of ours had a fire in their home that was caused by the dryer. Ever since I *never* run the dryer when we are asleep or not home.

    • Stormy says:

      I was thinking the same thing — I never leave clothes in the dryer so they do not wrinkle. In fact, I only put my clothes in the dryer for about ten minutes so they are not dripping wet, then take them out and hang up everything (on hangers for clothes that go in the closet, over the drying rack for clothes that get folded) to dry.

      Dryer is not running for an hour, so that saves electricity, and the clothes last longer since they are treated more gently, plus since it takes much less time, keeping up with laundry is much easier.

  • CJ says:

    My top 5 (note: I dont have a hubby or kids):
    1. Hug my kitty – he always makes every day better
    2. Take time to appreciate something beautiful – a flower, the sunshine, etc.
    3. Read
    4. Listen to music
    5. Realize that if today is hard, maybe tomorrow will be better 🙂

  • Ruth says:

    Going through life changing experiences is what I call lessons. What we learn from them we take with us to the next one. We become wiser individuals if live without regrets. If and when we feel down, tired, stressed, or all three is when the guilt comes in. I treat this with meditation. 15-30 minutes a day is all we need to get us through. I feel relieved, relaxed, happy, and full of positive energy with this regimen.

  • Kate says:

    We do things SO differently! It’s interesting to read through the comments and see other people’s habits. I always wait until after breakfast to make my be so the sheets can air out. I put on walking clothes as soon as I’m up on weekdays to make sure I walk, but then leave them on so I can get a few dirty jobs done(weeding, scrubbing, etc.) that I can guarantee I wouldn’t do in a cute outfit. My to-do list is completely reasonable, but might have 30 things on it. Some might take an hour – walking, ironing – but others might be 2 minutes but I just need to remember to do them – put away that thing that’s been sitting out for a week and just needs to go to the basement, sew on a button. I also include any dinner prep that I can do earlier in the day to make the evening go more smoothly – shred cheese, cut up fruit, etc. I also never run a dishwasher/washing machine/dryer when we are not home AND awake. The risk of flood or fire is far too great for me.

  • Cathy R. says:

    I really appreciated your post and know that having a routine will help me feel positive and less stressed about my day. I’m going to start this and tweak it to my needs. It is just myself and my husband. We are empty nesters and both are unemployed and job hunting. We both need positive energy and less stress, and less guilt (about not doing anything) as we go about our days. I believe it will show in our interviews too. Thank you!!

  • Amie says:

    I think this is good advice, and I especially like the all hands on deck approach. Another blog suggested the fly lady schedule and we adapted it to our needs. My husband works second shift and I work first shift. We share the responsibilities. I do appreciate my husband, but I am amazed by the amount of women I have known who can’t believe my husband cooks and cleans, too. I admit that I do take on more responsibilities than he does, but it’s crazy to think that one woman should do it all. I certainly couldn’t do it alone. We have assigned chores for the kids as well.

  • Dorothy Conway says:

    These 5 are essential, but I would add get the trash out. Every day I empty all the wastebaskets into my main kitchen can and when that is full I take it out.

  • Maria says:

    Great info!! Just shared!!

  • Domenique says:

    Make my bed. (I used to insist on this but somewhere I gave up.)
    Hug my kids and tell them I love them.
    Brush my teeth and wash my hair. I don’t feel nearly as scuzzy with clean hair and teeth.
    Stop being in such a hurry, slow it down a little, I’m not getting there or getting it done faster, I’m just more frazzled.
    Get outside… I always feel better in the sun.

  • Holly Urbach says:

    My grandson came to live with us a year ago when he was 18 months old. At that time, my youngest child was 19. I had to reach WAY back in my memory banks to when a more consistent routine was part of life. I also decided to go back to college at the age of fifty-one! Not having much time AND having a toddler made routines non-negotiable! Thank you for always encouraging your readers and followers with practical ways to carve out a peaceful, efficient life!

  • Anna says:

    Love these posts! Thanks.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Truthfully that does sound like hours in the morning.
    I think the morning is really whatever works for you just as long as it works.
    I get up, get the kids up, start some coffee, flip through facebook while I try to rub the sleep from my eyes, get the family out the door and then myself ready and out the door for work. If I feel up to it I’ll start a load of dishes that may not have made it in the night before because it is suppose to be the kids chore but we all know how that goes especially during the school week because education always comes first. If I feel up to it I’ll mess with the laundry… It really comes down to if I’m up to it about the only thing I really make sure of is I check the greenhouse (and later the garden when everything goes out). Why stress before work? I don’t mess with makeup they pay me to be good at my job not to sit there and look pretty (does help I am constantly going out into the plant so putting on a hard hat doesn’t leave much room for messing with hair either). I don’t mess with what I want to wear I mess with what I have to wear why worry myself trying to figure out what to wear.
    That’s for ME though! Everyone is different! I take the little bits of quiet time I get in the morning and hold onto them for dear life to keep my sanity.

  • Claudia M says:

    I feel like such a failure after reading this. I think the only thing that I actually accomplish on this list is getting dressed in something half decent and even that doesn’t always happen because I’m 5 months pregnant and nothing fits anymore. And about making a to-do list, if I made one, loading and unloading the dishwasher and making my bed would be on my list and even that sometimes I feel like by the time I get around to making my bed I will be time to get back in it.

    • Beth says:

      You’re not a failure! I’m right there with you at 5 months & nothing fitting. I try to measure how my body feels that day. If I can get one thing in that is plus normal I feel like a success. If not throwing up is plus normal, that’s my success for the day. I’ve menu planned the same meal & never got around to cooking it for almost a week now but I’m not a failure (sometimes I have to put those words on mental repeat) because life has happened & gotten in the way of cooking. You & I CAN do this & work our way up to this list. 🙂

    • Kate says:

      Claudia, you are NOT a failure! I’m afraid Crystal was a bit misguided in her title, even if her intentions were good. Telling anyone who’s not in the exact same situation as yourself what she or he “should” do is not helpful or kind. Set what goals make sense for your family and strive for that. If you don’t make it some – or even most – days, that’s okay, at least you tried. Personally, when my kids were little(and every day since), I HAD to have a shower every. single. day. My outfit was almost always a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, but the shower was non-negotiable. My mother has always said that when your kids are little, as long as your space is safe and clean enough to maintain basic standards of hygiene, that’s all anyone can ask.

    • Claudia {Hugs!} — Please know that you are not a failure.

      I’m so sorry if this post discouraged you. Please forgive me… my intent was to encourage, not discourage.

      There are seasons of life and you are in a hard one. When you’re exhausted from pregnancy, just do what you can — even if it feels like it’s hardly anything! — and give yourself grace.

      Growing a baby is a LOT of work and a big job and accomplishment in itself. So rest in that and do what’s best for you, your body, and your baby. There will be plenty of other seasons where you’ll be able to do more. Just do the best you can do and please don’t feel badly if it looks completely different than someone else.

  • kariane says:

    These are great suggestions! I will have to think more on the clothes suggestion, though. Like you, I’m not a big clothes person. 🙂

  • Miriam B says:

    These are great tips. However, I would have liked to see exercise or some kind of movement on the main list. If you aren’t actively taking care of your body, it won’t really matter in the long run how clean you’ve kept your kitchen or how well you stayed on top of the laundry.

  • Kelly says:

    these are very good ideas….but I just don’t think its something I can feasibly keep up with…I work outside the house 5 days a week…the kids (18, 15,& 13) are suppose to help with chores and one kid has dish duty all month long…it was the only way to cut out arguments and screaming/yelling fights. I DO like the write out 5 things to accomplish list…..and I will try and make bed every am since hubby is neglecting it…it was thing I asked him to do and he is not following thru so I guess I’ll just try and do that as well…..some of this is MY fault…because I work full time outside of house I get up and make two older girls lunches and help get breakfasts going…and then get hubby’s lunch done…its major MOTHER’S GUILT..but I would rather be doing those things than at my other job..its not feasible right now at all, again conscious decision on both hubby and myself but there are times that i kind of wish I made other decisions….like now… but it is not to be so I need to keep moving forward and quit feeling sorry for myself. the other reason there will be issues getting these things done is we are all soooo busy….all 3 girls are in activities or work(oldest) and while its a good thing they are busy it is just wearing on me…its never ending..I honestly cannot say the last time we sat down at dinner table..that makes me sad..we use to do this at least 4-5 times out of 7…I know as they get older it is harder to do this..but alot of communication is lost when you don’t come together as family for food…in my opinion. anyway…sorry if this is a downer but its reality right now….but I like reading your posts and will continue to strive for better times with family.

  • Kandice says:

    Hi there! Thanks for the tips! This week Im working on making the bed everyday, keeping a clean kitchen and 5-7 things on the to do list.
    It is true when the kitchen is clean the house also feels clean. Im a single mama to a 1 year old. I cannot wait until she gets of age where she can help with chores! lol
    Have a great day!

  • Rosa McCants says:

    Thank you for ideas and motivation they are inspiring.

  • Amanda says:

    I have a week old newborn at the moment but thankfully I started making a habit of a couple of these before he was born(laundry & making bed).

    Since I’m in that weird stage of what clothes fit I’m just wearing anything clean and functional for nursing at this point. Most of my pre-pregnancy clothes I thrifted and/or donated since I’m going to work on putting my wardrobe capsule together. That should help a ton on the getting dressed part.

    The little me-time I can get, usually when I’m nursing, I read my verse of the day and read my Joyce Meyer devotional. This has made a huge difference in my day and mood. Especially now with the ever-changing schedule that comes with a newborn. I am a to-do list and calendar maniac so I’m learning to be content without all the control of my day. I’ll certainly go back to my lists but leave wiggle room.

    Love this list you put together and will come back to it I’m sure. Would you mind sharing where you got that lovely vase with the ” you are beautiful…” written on it?

  • Sarah says:

    I do my best to keep the kitchen clean. We can usually get it cleaned once a day in the evening after dinner.

    I have definitely found that dressing nicely makes me feel better about myself, so I try to do that as often as possible, even if I do regularly run out of time for makeup.

    My struggle is finding time to myself. I already wake up at 5:45 am on weekdays in order to be able to get myself and two kids ready, plus make their lunches. I rarely get coffee or breakfast before they go to school. I would love to work out or do a devotional in the morning, but there’s no way I could wake up earlier. It’s already super difficult to wake up at 5:45. And once the kids are in school, I work from home until I pick them up.

  • April says:

    The only thing i don’t do daily is laundry…i have to go to a laundromat so it’s all done at once…unless someone (ahem, husband) spills something(usually soda) on the bed…

  • I learned both my am and pm routine from my mother.
    1. Unload and load the dishwasher first while making coffee and boiling eggs (at least protein)!
    2. Gather trash from all rooms and bag in one main trash bag and put by door to take out on my way to car to outdoor large trash can.
    3. Make the bed now so it has time to air out and it helps with fewer germs and bacteria growing(mom was an Rn)
    4. Eat one boiled egg and toast and coffee then Make lunches and wipe down counters and put any new dishes in dishwasher to run when full.
    5. Dress for work and take out trash and leave .
    My mother was never a stay at home and we all had chores and learned that doing a little
    at a time and keeping up instead of all at once. I still follow a morning and evening routine daily.

  • Sandy Parker says:

    I like your list, but I would never do laundry every day. If you have a large family it would be best to do it. I fail sometimes to keep my kitchen up. but I aspire to do so.
    1) Kitchen before I go to bed.
    2) Make Lunch & Tea for me instead of coffee.
    3) Clean the bathroom
    4) Make the bed
    5) Read for 20 minutes.

  • Awesome list!

    After slipping into the horrible habit of letting the dishes sit overnight, I knew something had to change. I stopped letting myself turn on the laptop or relax with a book until *after* the kitchen was tidied and the dishes washed. It was hard at first to get out of the bad habit, but it’s been four years now and I can’t imagine going back! It makes such a world of difference to wake up to a clean kitchen. 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    I have been trying stuff like this for years and failed every time until I read a book on how to make microresolutions – a small concrete activity that you piggyback on something you do everyday. Instead of starting out by saying ” I will clean the kitchen everyday before bed” which in reality is a whole bunch of different tasks, I added one item – leaving a cup of water in the microwave for morning tea. And since I was already walking back and forth in the kitchen with the cup I carried the silverware to the drawer in the process. Wasn’t planned, but it just seemed natural while carrying out my resolution. Then of course, it seemed silly not to put the dishes away as well. So one mircroresolution led to a cleaner kitchen by accident while simply putting that cup in the microwave 🙂 Now I can’t go to bed with dishes in the drainer, it has become a habit, and I have moved on to other resolutions and creating other new habits. The book is “Small Move, Big Change” and you can probably find it in your library like I did. Now I have moved on to bed-making 🙂 – working on ways to fine tune a resolution so it is a natural progression of something else.

  • Tiffany says:

    THANK YOU. I think I’m just super stressed out right now, but I’m actually tearing up reading this and the comments after. Yeah, haha…What THE?!!! I have a 7 month old and an almost 3 year old, and I am drained. Why didn’t I think of these simple things; I think I make things harder for myself! I’m going to try these – especially trying to dress better, and keeping the kitchen clean. A dirty kitchen almost immediately puts me in a bad mood, but I haven’t really tried a system to keep up with it throughout the day. I like that fact that I feel like I could actually do these things if I just think about it! I’m hoping for a big pick me up. Thanks again for the read!

    • You are so welcome! I’m grateful it was an encouragement to you! {Hugs!}

    • Elizabeth D says:

      I feel ya! I have an 8 week old and just 2 year old (I’m writing this at 2:35am while nursing). I already make my bed (eventually) and a To-Do list, but REALLY need to work on the other three.

  • Oh Hey! Blog says:

    Nothing makes me feel a little glimmer of hope than crossing something off a to-do list. Even the tiny insignificant things, just marking it off gets it off my brain and I feel I’m getting somewhere! Fab tips. Life sucks sometimes haha.

    Megan ||

  • Whitney says:

    I rarely comment but just had to let you know how encouraging this post has been for me. I saw it a few days ago and only had time to skim the large text but it has truly made a difference. I’m glad I came back today go read the post in it’s entirety. I have been through the hardest year of my life. Our third child was born with severe medical complications and came home with a tracheotomy and a g-tube. When she was 5 months old and we were finally finding a routine with a special needs infants as well as our 3 year old and 5 year old, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. Less than 5 months later, he was gone at 52. He was my main source of support other than my husband and I have been a mess since losing him. Our daughter had her 4th surgery 5 days after he died and will soon have surgery #7. All of this to say, I have gone from being the mom who had it mostly together- homeschooling, crafts, baking, a company ready house to becoming a mom who sometimes can barely pull myself out of bed. My husband has picked up my slack without complaint but I know my mental state weighs on him as well. Since reading this post, I have worked to implement making a list each day and I’ve spent more time taking care of my home than I have in months. Thank you for sharing. While I’m sure these things seem simple to some, they are a great jumpstart for this falling-apart mom.

    • Natasha says:

      God bless you!! I don’t know what I can possibly say to help you but I read your sincere comments and just wanted you to know your in my thoughts and prayers. I know you are struggling, but know that God loves you and others are there to help you too! I can only imagine what that struggle must be like, but this is a great article and I plan on using it myself. Don’t
      Give up, your very strong and you will make it through this!!

    • Chryl says:

      Whitney, you ARE carrying a load right now, dear lady. I’m praying God will give you the extra strength you need. I also understand how hard it has to be losing your Dad. I’m so sorry for your loss. Know that you are an inspiration to others. Crystal’s advice is well-timed for me, also. I just want to especially encourage you to take that 15 minutes or more (if you possibly can) for yourself every day. I pray God will use that time to calm your heart and cover you with His comforting and rejuvenating presence.

    • Lourdes says:

      Whitney, I am so sorry to hear how tough things have been for you lately. I hope and pray that things will turn around for you soon. Do you have a friend who could come over even if for just one hour a week to watch the children so that you can get a break? Asking for help (for myself) is something I find very difficult to do but I think it would have a great impact on your week. Good luck.

    • Michelle says:

      I have never commented on anything before and I’m not sure why I’m doing this now. Your post just really got my attention. I just want to say that I know some of what you’re going through and I want you to know that a total stranger is hoping the best for you. I hope these tips do improve your state of mind and it’s good that you want to make a conscious effort. Remember to go easy on yourself though… don’t feel guilty if you can’t always pull it off. Take it one day at a time, and celebrate whatever happy moment you can have.

    • elliesgirl1 says:

      May God walk through your house and make his presence felt strongly. Everything you have dealt with is major on its own let alone together. Give yourself a break and know this feeling of disorganization will pass. Let the house go a little…you need your strength for your children.
      Your feelings are completely normal. Extreme fatigue, sadness, worry, guilt. You are dealing with MANY serious issues. Take down-time to lick your wounds and recover. You will rise up stronger than ever. I know from experience. I will pray for you each night at 10:00. Feel for the strong positive energy I will send to you and God’s strength as he renews yours.

    • Rachel says:

      Prayers for you Whitney. I hope things have improved since you typed this a few months ago, but I’m praying regardless! Trusting God will bring beauty from the ashes in His time, as He always does.

    • Christi says:


      My heart goes out to you! Please know that I said a special prayer for you today. God loves you girl, and He’s always there to give you peace and hope!!

  • Kayli says:

    Thanks for this! I needed a little motivation right about now. Lol Also, something that I’ve found brightens your mood everyday is keep 1-3 small succulent plants in your house. They are super easy to take care of and the bright greens and colors (depending on plant) will lift you up every time you see them. 🙂

  • Alaine says:

    I do agree about the kitchen one! Everything else can be a mess, but I love my kitchen clean!

  • Faith Rojas says:

    Thank you so much for such a simple reminder, I have struggling with a few things and changes having occurred in my life overall. But I do agree with having my kitchen clean, I cannot go to bed and my kitchen be a mess or dirty dishes left for the next day – it is something that sets me up for depression. I work from home and that alone is new and has been taking some time to get use to especially when my entire life I have worked in office. But thank you for this, it has been a refreshing reminder of the things I loves to do for me & believe it or not has always been something that soothes me while doing it – sort of my de-stressor, weird I know lol. Thanks again and look forward to more of your cool ideas.

  • Nicole says:

    This is a great plan but it does not take into account the child factor. It’s much easier tondo these things when you aren’t getting kids ready for school, cleaning up after them, heading to appts, then getting homework done, dinner, sports, etc. maybe I’m just a total failure

    • Cary says:

      I was thinking the same thing! My husband works crazy hours and I have three kids, ages 9, 7, and 4. I’m pretty much a single parent when it comes to their food/bath/homework/sports! So I am solely responsible for the home upkeep also! I can’t ever keep up!!!!

      • Sarah H says:

        I am in the same boat. The hubby works so much and that leaves me to three kids to do everything for. This time of year is ridiculous with all the sports and everything for end of school. Just so drained mentally and just spent. I can keep up for a week or two but one bad day throws everything off and then playing catch up for a month.

      • Julie says:

        Thank you! Unfortunately, time management is not a skill I learned from my very organized mother (or perhaps not being so early on was a way of rebelling). I am going to work on these.

    • Rachel says:

      Not a failure at all! I’ve got 5 littles at home ages 10 months, 3, 5, 7 and 9. My daily goal is usually just to have the kitchen look good when my husband comes home( travels a lot for business). I feel like I spend the vast majority of my life feeding kids, nursing the baby or cleaning up everything that happens that day in our kitchen. If I were to have a sparkly clean kitchen before bed , I’d have to spend several solid hours on it daily. Who has that kind of time? So it really feels like an all-day-thing. Sometimes I feel like doing it, but sometimes I don’t. And that’s ok.

    • Carole says:

      Oh No! You guys have it all wrong.

      I was a working single mom from the time my daughter was 5. She is grown and on her own now. But these habits are what kept me in control and sane.

      Kitchen cleaned every night
      Throw in a load of laundry while dinner cooks. Fold and put away during bath time. No wrinkles!
      To Do list very important. Include dinner.

      I was up at 5, and we didn’t get back home until after 6. None of these things take very long if you keep up with them. If you let it go, it becomes a disaster.

      How much time are you spending on Facebook and blogs and TV? Put the phone down and get something done! You will feel so much better, I promise.

      • Juliana says:

        I completely agree! It’s when I start to let go of this simple list (or some similar to it) that I get even MORE bogged down and frustrated. I have to keep up with the simple tasks (like 1 load laundry nearly everyday and the kitchen counters cleared morning/evening) or else my frustration level goes high.

    • sarah says:

      I have three kiddos (4, 7 and 9), and I definitely make them help. They all empty the dishwasher, pick up 50 things (trash or toys) and pick up their rooms. My parents never made me help and cleaning is SO HARD for me now. I hate it. My husband grew up cleaning and he even seems to enjoy it. I know there are personality differences, but I at least want my kids to know what needs to be done and help in that. Even my 4yo helps. That helps me so much that I’m not doing it all myself.

    • Brandy. M says:

      Never thought about a plant for “mental” relief.. Thanks! 🙂

  • nancy says:

    I DO make those little lists each night…small things I want to accomplish. I also add 1 or 2 BIG things…like cleaning all the windows on the outside of the house or straightening up a closet. I’m realistic…if I can get ONE of the big things done by the end of the week, I’m a happy camper!

  • Lisa holt says:

    i agree about getting into a routine etc!! Would LOVE to wear what makes me happy except I have a job where we wear all the same and it happens to be black!! It always brings me down. I try to keep things clean and together just sometimes I feel like I am a hamster on a whew and don’t get any where! My goal in the next months is to do just what is written here maybe I can feel like I will be able to get off the wheel and accomplish more !!!

    • Cathy says:

      I’m with you on the all black uniform. I’m a stagehand. But, I’ve found that I can wear cheery socks or underthings and it’s a little smile.. I’ve got a hamster wheel going as well, as I only have maybe 2 evenings a week that there aren’t other demands on my time. No one seems to ever understand that there are moments when they/what they want from me just can’t be the priority. It’s overwhelming. I wish you the best of luck!

    • Kathy says:

      My friend told me that it’s important to wear colors that make you feel good, and that if I had to wear dark clothes to work, I could at least wear what I wanted underneath. Makes all the difference!

  • Erika says:

    I’m 36 weeks pregnant with #3. #1 just turned 3 and #2 is 18 months. The chaos in my life is limitless. I am really going to try these things as simple as they sound…they’ll make a huge impact!!

  • Cary says:

    This sounds amazing, but I have 3 kids. Ages 9, 7, and 4. My husband works a lot, and when he is home he’s exausted. So it’s up to me to care for the kids, and keep up the house. I clean every day but it NEVER looks like it. I get so stressed! :-/

    • Kris says:

      So many of us are aiming for great. Sometimes we just have to lower our expectations tiny bit and aim for good. The point of this article is to give you some starting points. If we keep doing the same things and expecting different results maybe we should so something different even if it seems more time consuming. The most important thing is always to be a good momma. I doubt you are going to look back in twenty years and say I wish my house had been cleaner.

  • Heather R says:

    This is a great list and I am going to work on implementing it in my house however the making of the bed is impossible for me because when I leave for work in the morning my husband is still sleeping in it! LOL! I can’t tell you how much I want to have my bed made when I get home in the evenings but it just doesn’t happen.

  • Amanda says:

    I spend most of my day lying in bed nursing a baby. I know caring for and nurturing him is my main priority in life, but it’s REALLY hard to not be able to take care of our home.
    I shower every other day and he cries the entire time.
    It takes me all day to unload the dishwasher.
    I wash/dry the laundry, but I rarely seem able to hang up or fold it to put it away.
    I’m very fortunate that after working 11 hour days, my husband is happily willing to help clean up the kitchen after dinner as I bathe the baby and nurse him to sleep.
    The only time I can roll away from the sleeping baby and him not wake up is around 9-9:30 at night. By this point, I’m exhausted of course and it’s the only time I have with my hubby, if he’s still awake that is.

    Your tips sound great and easy to implement, but some days I don’t even get around to eating until 2 o’clock.

    Any advice for a momma with a high needs baby that won’t sleep without her??

    • Amy says:

      Hi Amanda,
      My oldest cried ALL the time unless I was nursing her. So, I ended up like you and I nursed all day. It was so rough! She also slept in our bed and made my life as a new mommy very exhausting and stressful. Following the book “The Baby Whisperer” helped fix the sleep problems. About the crying, my doctor just said she had colic and it would go away eventually. My mom told me to go off of milk because it was in my breast milk and making my baby’s tummy upset. I didn’t listen to her. I felt like I could not do even one more thing because my life was so stressful/chaotic.
      Fast forward 9 years to baby #4 and he had the same problem. I was beyond stressed out because I now had 3 other kids to take care of. My mom gave the same advice about going off milk. This time I decided to try it for just one week and see if it helped. Any more than that I couldn’t do. I needed my ice cream to cope with the stress! After 1 week my son was a completely different baby! I was convinced! I stayed off of milk the entire time I nursed him and he was a much easier baby! I wished I had tried that with my oldest! By the way, he has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance now that he is a little older.
      I don’t know if your baby has the same issue but it might be something worth trying. It made my life soooo much easier!

    • Sonja says:

      Amanda, have you tried a baby wrap/sling/carrier? I used a Moby wrap with my high needs baby, and it made life so much easier for us both. I could nurse her, carry her around with me & still have both hands free.

  • LOVE this. Little successes make all the difference!

  • danielle says:

    I have 3 kids- 20 months, 3 yr and 5yr, and my 5yr old is autistic. I’ve been going through a really rough time lately, but have recently started making my bed each morning and it makes me feel somewhat in control of my chaotic life lol. Your article is an intelligent and attainable plan to start taking back control in small ways and it offered me some hope this morning. Thanks

  • Tracy says:

    I agree with most of this article except for the laundry. I do not make my bed per se, just straighten it which is good enough for m e. My lists are in my head but generally get crossed off. My kitchen is maintained in a useable clean state. I actually have three outfits far my day, an at home comfy, a going to work, and a going out outfit.
    As for the laundry, I refuse to do laundry on a daily basis. I have 9 children ranging in age from 16 to 6 weeks. We do laundry on the weekends, anywhere from 6 to 12 loads. It gets folded and put away by the beginning of the week. I just cannot tolerate the feeling of never being done with the wash.
    As for the making time for myself, I will read a book or watch my favourite movie while I am nursing or in the evening at the kids are in bed.
    Life is chaotic with eleven in the house but having a plan and being organized helps. The best help is prayer and discipline. Even my 3 year old hauls his own laundry and even helps fold towels. He actually wants to fold everyone’s underwear. Children need to have chores and responsibilities if you expect them to grow into independent adults. Good luck all of you!

  • Nancy says:

    I do many of those suggestions every day and it makes feel accomplished. My suggestion to newly weds is to always make your bed, it makes your bedroom look so good!

  • Jean says:

    i have found the 10/15 works great. Set my cell phone timer.
    10 mins x2 bathroom-=20
    Den. 10
    LR. 10
    Sun Room. 10
    Kitchen. 10
    3 BR x 3. 30
    Utility Room. 10
    Total: 1 hr 40 mins
    1 load laundry daily

    I put timer on my cell. Hit start and stop when goes off in 10 mins. Actually look for things to fill time.
    I have each room set up in my cell reminders for daily so I check off. Feels great

    • Barb says:

      Love using a timer. I deal with depression & feel so overwhemed. the timer makes molehills out of my mountains 🙂

  • Mary says:

    I agree! I always believed a made bed instead of a mess is a must. Clean counters in the kitchen and a cleaned out sink too. For me, when there is chaos, that just gives me a feeling of anxiety. Spending a few minutes putting things away, picking up the coffee table, etc. instead of every surface covered with clutter is far worth it.

  • Maureen says:

    At least 5 out of 7 days a week I do these things. However my exercise is usually on the afternoon and I don’t have enough laundry to do everyday. I get up, make coffee, empty dishwasher, read emails, make todo list. I then plan dinner. No lounging around in my pjs either. It works, make it a habit, then it’s easy.

  • Erika says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I am currently transitioning to SAHM after being a teacher for 10 years. I have been reading lots and lots of online blog posts about this subject but most feel so overwhelming. I am so scared that I am not going to be a good housekeeper/cook/have it together mom like I expect myself to be since this is the new role I will be playing. I like the 5 steps, 5 little tasks then if bigger items get done, then that is just an extra productive day; but if things are crazy then if I just get these things accomplished then I should feel good about the day. Again, thank you SO much!!

  • Denise says:

    You have no idea how timely this is for me. I only have one of my children at home now and he is nineteen and pretty self-sufficient. My problem has been an unexpected injury, eight weeks of waiting until the corrective surgery, and I am now entering my fifth week of recovery and only now feeling like I can get something accomplished physically. I work full time outside the home and those eight weeks waiting were simply doing my job and returning home to do nothing. You can only imagine how things have gotten in the past 13 weeks.
    Your suggestions give me an idea of where to start because right now it seems really overwhelming. Thank you for taking the time to post this article. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. I am going to work on my list for tomorrow 🙂

  • Hannah says:

    I love this! It’s funny because I just started trying to revamp the way I do things at home now my kids hit a new age bracket (toddler and almost-elementary schooler). Granted summer vacation through me a loop, but I find there IS something about getting dressed, making my bed and keeping the easily chaotic kitchen in order that really makes a huge difference on my day and productivity. My friend always told me “a load [of laundry] a day keeps the laundry at bay,” and it’s so true. This article is spot on!

  • Since I read your book last summer, I’ve been a big believer in having a to-do list for each day. I don’t always finish everything on it, but it gives focus to my day, and prevents me from forgetting the things I need to get done.

  • Katie says:

    Is it sad that I looked at the affirmations on that mason jar and thought “oh, that’s nice. I would like that, but I could never write it in petty let’s like that.. ” how’s that for ironic!? 😛

  • Marsha says:

    This is a great article! A few months ago, I set a goal of doing a load of laundry each day, and it works great when I do it. I don’t feel so overwhelmed by the piles any more. I also try to keep my living room reasonably picked up each day by spending 10 minutes on it each morning. That way, I don’t cringe if unexpected company shows up 🙂

  • Jane says:

    First of all, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Second, even little kids can take responsibility. Mine did all their own laundry from age 7.

  • Tracy says:

    Thank you so much for this!! I had a breakdown in January and only just beginning to get it together again. Over those 5 months I have tried so hard to get into a routine but it feels like the glue that held my thoughts together has dissolved.

    I have now designed a tick sheet based around your example routines and can’t wait to start ticking things off, ESPECIALLY, the shower. Crazy I know, but the mental breakdown has created some sort of barrier to getting in the shower.

    Anyway, many thanks for this 🙂 xx

  • Elishia C. says:

    The bed thing is so true! When I have had a not-so-great day and my bed is made when it is time to sleep it gives me a smile just before my dreams   I am almost always 3-5 loads of laundry behind with 7 people (4 of which are young boys lol). My kitchen kills me as well.   My lists are always loaded with more than 10 a day lol most from the day before. I am going to work on all these things for everyday, starting today! Thank you so much. I have 8 kids total, but only four of them all the time, but the four boys we have all the time are such a handful and I am getting my degree online and the youngest is almost 2 and still nursing.

  • Carrie says:

    Thanks for the tips def something to think about.. It’s just really difficult when I get up every morning at 430 to go to work for 8 hrs first have to get all the kids dressed and ready to go to babysitter(5yr old boy,4yr old boy,and 3yr old grl handfuls)after working all day I come home clean up whatever is dirty which os mostly everything because last night I was just too tired to finish everything. I get dinner out defrosting or going to tge store to get something to cook after dinner bath for kids story time then bed and now my night begins getting everything ready for tomorrow ..its way more than all that ..this was just a taste of things I go thru everday …I really hope I find some time to do some of these helpful things because i am litterly going crazy and I look crazy half the time …thanks for the post

  • I loved the video course that came with the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. The advice was amazing and has really helped me. I have started running my dishwasher and cleaning my kitchen at night before bed. I love waking up to a clean kitchen every morning! I have a laundry routine that really works for our family, so I’m good on that end. I do take about 10-15 minutes every night before bed to journal and read my devotional. In am learning to schedule time for myself each day. I have an almost 1 year old, so I usually schedule these things for when she’s napping.
    I need to work on the making the bed thing. It’s hard though, as my husband works til midnight, so he often sleeps 2-3 hours longer than I do. By the time he gets up, I’m so busy with our daughter and other things, I forget.
    I also need to work on the to do list. I’m so bad about this. I try to write one, but I never manage to stick with it. Maybe, if I make it part of my morning routine, I’ll do better with it.
    Thank you for all your wonderful advice!

  • Candice says:

    I definitely needed this! I always feel like I need to do so much, but I don’t know where to begin so I get overwhelmed really quickly. I hate starting ten things at once and finishing none of them by the end of the day. Just having some kind of guideline is immensely helpful!

  • Loretta says:

    Somehow no matter how hard I try or how many times I load the dishwasher the kitchen mess always gets away from us; gunk in the sink catcher thing, mugs on the counter, and a bazillion spoons sitting in the basin….

  • Karen says:

    I love the” complete a load of washing a day” it really makes sense. when I’m stressed it gets left in the washing machine and has to be re done, or it gets thrown into a basket, doesn’t get folded for days and then needs ironing.

  • Nancy Lamb says:

    I wish I could make my bed every morning. I can make MY SIDE, but the husband rolls over as soon as I get up — and messes that up too. When he gets up, his bedding is always tossed on my side too —- I grew up making my bed every day. I like it. It feels like I did something. The value in making your bed is you start your day having done a simple task that sets you up for productive and clear thinking…

  • sarah says:

    I asked my hubby what he needed me to do before he got home because he’s the best one in our family. He would come home and start cleaning. And then I would feel like a failure. He said that a clean kitchen, clear table and picked up living room made him feel like the house was clean. That made my job so much easier. I didn’t stress about getting the bathrooms clean because neither of us really cared unless company was coming or it was really nasty. I would add to read something every day. An article, a chapter, something! That helps me get my mind off my immediate circumstances. I read every night. Sometimes for just two minutes! It helps me sleep and it gets my focus off of myself.

  • siobhan says:

    Really love this. I had. Very tough time with the death of 6 people who were family and friends in the space of 2 year while being a sahm with a 1 and 2 year old and a husband that travels a lot with work. Here is my day:
    1. Get up and drink a pint glass of water I put beside my bed before I go to sleep.
    2. Make bed.
    3. Put on workout gear.
    4. Give girls breakfast. I have a natural protein smoothie and my multivitamin.
    5. Dress girls and I do 30min on treadmill with music on and girls dance alone!
    6. Have a shower and get dressed from a minimal wardrobe. The less choices the better but things I like. Just got hair cut into short sexy Bob and never looked back. So easy to dry and makes me look put together no matter what I’m wearing.
    7. Turn on laundry.
    8. Clean kitchen.
    9. I use a 30min load for all laundry. Everything goes in one load so no separating. So when finished kitchen, put load in dryer.
    10. I don’t iron or fold. I separate out the load of laundry on bed and just separate each family members clothes and then hang mine, throw girl’s into sections in drawers. Husbands in basket for him to put away or wear the next day. Everyone comments on how neat my kids look and it takes me 5min to put away laundry. I do one load a day and that is it.
    I have minimal stuff in our house so looks clean no matter what.
    I hope this helps someone out there.
    I loved this post and others. Keep up the great work x

  • Caroline says:

    When I worked outside the home, I was told to highlight the things I completed on my to do list rather than cross them out.
    The positive effect the highlighting what I had completed was significant. It made the to do list less intimidating.

  • Jenn says:

    I have a routine very similar to this that I started when my kids were littles. The best thing about it now that my kids are bigger (10, 8, 6, 4, 1.5), two kids unload the dishwasher first thing every morning, and then two other kids start a load of laundry and unload & separate the clothes from the dryer. after breakfast is eaten and cleaned up from, all the kids grab their laundry baskets and go put away their own clothes. When we somehow get out of this routine, it feels like we’re playing catch up the rest of the day.

  • Jill says:

    Thank you for this! I am in the middle of a divorce and am very stressed and anxious. This will make each day more one-day-at-a-time for me. Thank you!

  • Rebecca Brinkerhoff says:

    I read an article about making your bed supposedly helping you get of debt. I had never been a bed maker but we were in desperate need of being debt free. It seemed an easy place to star. We got debt free in a year!! I now make $8000 a year supporting my family and yet because I am debt free I am ok. (We live with my parents taking care of them, free rent:) I still make my bed and am now realizing that I better get on teaching my son better! Barely found your page today. You have a gift and you are sharing it! Thank you for that!

  • Kathy says:

    These are great tips!

    The first thing I do in the mornings is make my bed. It’s so simple when all you need to do is throw a comforter up and straighten it out.

    And my kitchen? I don’t care how late I have to stay up, my kitchen is always clean before I go to bed. lol

  • Cheryl T says:

    I seem to cycle doing these things for a time and then slacking off. I’m starting them back up again today!
    I will have to say if I wore the clothes that make me feel good I would be wearing a wrap dress with high heels and blingy jewelry all day. Kind of hard to do dishes and laundry with that on. ?

  • Christina says:

    I stay on top of my laundry by putting one load of laundry in the wash before bed and then switching it to the dryer when i head to the kitchen in the a.m. Finally, I fold it right after breakfast/kitchen clean up (usually with all the kids participating). Having the load half way done has helped me not to forget about it, and therefore not get behind on our laundry for our family of 6.

  • Sharone says:

    Really appreciate you taking the time to do this it helped me feel so much better.

  • Regina Robbins says:

    I am disabled and hold down a full-time job from home. Pain is my constant “friend.” Reading this post was motivating. I may only be able to do one of these a day, but every little bit helps. My daughter lives with me and does most of the kitchen work which is a huge help. But, yesterday I did a load of laundry from start to finish which is a huge “victory” for me. I also cleaned the bathroom per the August cleaning calendar. No, it’s not perfect as cleaning the tub is going to require me to think of a solution so I can clean it, but it is more clean than it has been for a while. Thank you very much for your encouraging posts.

  • Lisa says:

    I wish I had a dishwasher to load and unload. How much simpler my life would be! Still, great article! Things I can accomplish everyday (except the dishwasher idea). Thanks!

  • Donna says:

    i am now retired and stress free but I read the replies and the mom replies really tugged on my heartstrings. At least one made me cry. I never “make” my bed. C Mosquitos decision and still pleased with it. When my husband went to Korea for a year leaving me in a new town with one I knew, I stumbled on a shop that intruded me to duvets with covers made of pretty sheets or fabrics. Growing up I made it every day with hospital corners that had to be perfect. With duvet just throw it up and toss the pillows and done. Cover has to be washed but I’d rather wash than make beds. I did a load every day but tool clothes out of dryer while damp and hung them. No wrinkles. Did small loads but it worked for me. Sometimes did a 2nd. As the kids grew they had routines also. No work, no play. Period. The best thing I did eas making the decision that time with my babies was more important than housework. That is time you never get back. Husband was on board even though he was clean freak. He never pitched in but that was okay. He worked hard in the AF. He did occasionally help with the kids but not a lot. He preferred golf. My first baby was easy. My 2nd was so high needs I was afraid sometimes my patience would break. Nursed every hour and 15 minutes and screamed around the clock. Dr said to colic, too bad for you, you’re not the first. Bought a sling and carried her through the day with one arm pressed on her tummy. What I did I did one handed. That’s when you discover self propelled vacuum cleaners. As the kids grew and started helping things got better and worse. Caught up on housework but so busy with scouts sports school. Then came 2nd best thing. Cook and freeze once a month. Now this makes a huge HUGE difference in life. The first time was so hard but the 2nd time I knew what to do and how to sequence. Result was 30 days of individual portion meals in microwaveable bags. Thirty days of no pots and pans, no arguments over what’s for dinner, no cooking. Also uses less utilities and keeps house cooler in summer. Sorry for droning on but I hate to see young moms broken up over what they’re not doing. Your kids are your priority and that is huge. Your house can wait. I’ve sold three houses over the years and they soled in 24 hours. My kids all turned out well, son in army with Sahw like I was and four kids, one daughter teaches elementary at her kids school and allows chaos to an extent like I did. One daughter is an RN but chooses to stay home and keeps her rather spacious house much cleaner than I kep my much, much, smaller house, but she has outside help and likes to follow a routine very similar to this one. If five items is too overwhelming star with one, an easy one, like dressing in something you like and when that lifts your spirits add another item. Also, whoever mentioned the succulents is genius. I’ve always had houseplants and she’s right about the effect on your spirit.
    Retired granny loving her nine grandkids and having even more fun than with her own kids if possible

  • Natalie says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    I’m currently trying to establish some kind of routine that I can keep up with. I usually managed for a few days, but working casual shifts (no set rota) and more than one job always left me feeling chaotic. (I don’t have kids, but I’ve worked as a full time au pair and that was one of the most exhausting jobs ive ever had so hats off to you ladies who are mums, carers and the like!) Thankfully this is about to change and I have set shifts 5days a week. Part of the reason I want a routine is also because I am In a long distance relationship – dealing with feelings of loneliness and missing him can really break me down if I’m not careful. So, factoring in me-time, along with work, the time difference (6hrs!) and of course working around his schedule all have to be considered.

    I love this post, I find these things all very easy to do when I’m feeling on “top form”; but when ive had a bad day at work or as I say I miss him and struggle with the distance, I find it harder to stick to even simple things. What do you do when you need to stay motivated? And how on earth do you mums manage to balance kids/work/you/hubby/food etc?! I don’t know where to start to begin to organise my routine in terms of creative time, chores, reading, exercise etc – is there a knack?

    This is a great post, it’s made me really want to knuckle down and change but I’d appreciate some suggestions of where to start – and can I add to read the comments and support everyone gives each other is so lovely, I’m so glad I read it! Thank you for posting! ️Xxx

  • Malinda w says:

    One thing that I have been doing the last few years that I wish I had done LONG ago is have laundry hamper in each person’s room. It’s so much easier to do a few individual loads and add in any towels or pillowcases etc. if you need to bulk up a load. Now that my boys are 9 and 11, they each to their own load of laundry and included their bath towels and robes. We have a front loading machine and they each use a laundry pod. They do one load a week and hang their clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. Life is GOOD!

  • Karen says:

    Re: laundry: I try to fold shortly after the clothes come out of the dryer, but they stay out of the drawers for a couple of hours to allow the ambient moisture in the clothes to evaporate. And the door to the room is closed; the public areas of the house are open plan, and no one needs to see the laundry!

    • Brenda says:

      The first thing that jumped out at me was that having a clean kitchen makes my world right. No matter the condition of other areas, my kitchen is the hub and when it’s orderly, I’m ready for work! I didn’t realize I wasn’t alone in the love of a clean kitchen.
      I’m going to work at the laundry task. I’m always behind. I get that it’s a drain so I’m going to work on it!

  • Cherri says:

    This sounds great for a stay at home mom. I get up at 3:30 a.m. To be at work at 5:00 a.m. I work until 1 p.m. Most days. Then there are the changes in schedule that toss a monkey wrench into anything resembling routine. Work…say from 1 p.m. To 9p.m. Kinda hard to envision myself having the morning routine you describe. I have coffee on the run, the bed gets made the day the sheets are changed and I pray aloud that the kids load or unload the dishwasher and feed and water the 8 animals. Then I jot down what we PLAN to have for dinner(on my break) so I know what to shop for on the way home. After dinner I toss in a load of laundry and wash pots n pans. That’s the short list of our normal.

    • Heather says:

      I don’t find this list unrealistic… my schedule is pretty similar to yours, work from 4am-12:30pm 5 or 6 days a week. The stuff on this list takes less than 15 minutes of time in the morning or evening (though truthfully the morning routine gets done when I get off work at lunch time most days). I live on a farm too so we also have to look after animals… a donkey, goat, horse, 3 pigs and 25 chickens (and three house cats, but that takes less than 5 minutes a day). I plan meals for the week and shop on whatever day I have off that week, prep breakfasts and crockpot meals for the week, and catch up on any laundry we have, with two children under 5 and a farm we can’t keep up with one load of laundry a day 🙂 I go to bed when the toddlers do so when the alarm goes off at 2:45 I can get up and start it all over again. Once you have a routine down it takes no time to maintain it. It just depends what you want to do with your ‘free’ time.

      • Thanks for the info I have to much clutter which Iam tired of looking at. I prepare bags for Goodwill and our Church is having a give away in October of items that you donot need so I take them to the Church. I have a storage building suppose to be mine and my husband has taken it over with his stuff.We are in the antique business and I have a room of antiques which I need to get rid of. I try to keep kitchen clean and my husband and 18yr. old grandson keep putting dishes in the sink. I have no dishwasher, my kitchen is old need to be up dated. Iam 72yrs. I could go on about this house but I wont.

        • Jill Johnson says:

          Start with shining your sink at night… just waking up to a shiny sink is a start and it’ll make you happy. Add something else after that… You can’t clear up years of clutter in a few minutes, but a few minutes a day will get you somewhere and feeling good…

          check out FlyLady…

          You can do it!!

          • Claudia Mais says:

            When I started reading your post I said to myself, “I’ll bet she follows FlyLady”! I love her too! I also started doing Peter Walsh’s 31 day challenge on Facebook!! I cannot believe how much I’ve accomplished in that timeframe…and most projects take me 15-30 minutes.

      • Karen says:

        I agree. Some days are not as easy, but as long as you prepare the night before it makes mornings so much easier. I find as I get older it is harder to do. Perhaps I have less people to take care of, but you must prepare the night before and plan out your day. Keep yourself on track!

    • Amy says:

      Maybe a stay at home mom with older kids! The thOught of my A – getting a shower, B getting all dolled up and C – actually taking time for myself in that order without interruptions or stress is not only extremely unrealIstic but laughable when you have little ones LOL!!!!!!

      • Luly says:

        I know what you mean. They are not little that long, so I guess this could be something to strive for in the future 🙂

      • Stephanie says:

        I have 9,8,5&2 year olds and I’m my kids chauffeur all day and this is easy for me to do cause this is what I’m doing already. I also have two dogs in between the four kids!

        • Pearl says:

          This has been pretty much the schedule I have had for the last 31 yrs. I have 4 children 29,28,19,15 and have helped raise several nephews and nieces that blends in between my children and also worked full-time. For the past 2 1/2 yrs I have been helping my daughter who is a single parent who works and goes to school full-time.

      • Kimmy says:

        I used to feel the same way as Amy and then I realized I was setting unrealistic expectations for myself. I have a 3 year old and 2 year old who simply will not leave me alone and I felt I didnt have time to shower, shave, primp, workout and dress up let alone clean a house and cook. I finally just started paying more attention to my daily routine and found time wasters (internet, tv) that I could have done something else in that time. I also broke down my chore list into daily duties and weekly duties and assigned a different weekly dury for different days (because I honestly wont do a whole day of chores). I also set my expectations of my appearance to realistic. I cleaned out my closet and got rid of all the clothes that I had that would look good if only I lost 10 pounds. I started buying clothes for my real life instead of a fantasy life. I developed a “uniform”, a style I knew looked good on me, that I felt great in. With keeping these pieces only, I can get dressed in 5 minutes and still look put together and comfortable. I realized makeup would not happen, neither would anything with a curling iron. So I instead try to stay hydrated and wear moisturizer and work with my natural hair texture so it looks nice.
        Hopefully this advice helped and you can try to make a system that works for you because it is frustrating enough to feel like kids run your life 24/7 but I felt much worse about it unshowered in pjs with greasy hair and an unmade bed lol.

        • Bonnie says:

          This^^^ 🙂 😉 <3

        • Paula says:

          I agree that the list can be done. It’s only five items, after all. Making a bed only takes 60 seconds in my home because I keep that simple. No frilly stuff.
          While a load of clothes is washing/drying, I can be accomplishing something else like vacuuming or loading that dishwasher and wiping down the kitchen and bathroom. ( a clean kitchen makes me happy too. But I also want that bathroom picked up and clean)
          I noticed when I had small children and was working full time that I made my weariness an excuse to veg out instead of taking care of what mattered. My husband mattered. My kids mattered. But so did those five things on this list. In fact, these things also mattered to my husband.
          We pick what our priorities are. I have the luxury of being able to do more so-called “time wasting” now that I’m older. But I still make my bed, get dressed so I’m presentable to the world (I can do it because the laundry’s always caught up), and keep that kitchen clean.

        • Sherry says:

          I loved your post of 1/12/16! Your idea of a “uniform” style is genius and stress reducing! I also like your idea of not only planning daily duties, but weekly duties too, so nothing gets neglected! I also loved the idea of keeping the primping to a minimum. Some people waste so much time with the blow dryer, curling or flat iron trying to get the hair just right, and then the makeup! The primer, the concealer, the foundation, the 3 different eyeshadows, the eyeliner, the mascara, and then the lip liner, the lipstick, the lipgloss! My gosh…who are they trying to be anyway!?
          So I wanted to thank you and tell you that the strategies mentioned in your post are better than the advice I’ve seen from most ‘experts’.

        • Jessca says:

          Love these suggestions!

      • Fran maddox says:

        This is so not the way it works in real life as I am a stay,at home mom of 5 children 1 grandchild and 1 grandchild on the way and a owner of 2 businesses. I find that when my children with the oldest being 26 ,20,17,9,7 and grand baby that’s 2 I had way more time when they was smaller and younger because I have always tried to be a friend as well as a mom to my children I find that they require way more time as they get older so don’t think it’s easier as they grow up enjoy them while they are young.

      • Rosie says:

        I have 5 children under 6 years of age, youngest is 1 year old. So yes 5 in 5 years. My routine is nearly exactly the same as Crystals! I need this routine to make time for myself and my husband. It might seem unrealistic to look at. But the blessings of having a routine are immense and well worth getting up that little bit before the kiddies.

      • Debora says:

        I disagree. Exercise in the living room with the kids (bonus: they get in the habit of exercising too! ) Put a 30 minute educational video on to occupy the kids while you shower, get dressed, and do your hair. Enlist them in helping put clothes in the washer/ dryer. Yes, it is easier when they’re a little older, but I’ve done all these things since my 4 kids were babies. Also, it’s completely ok to say, “go play on your own for a few minutes while Mommy has some ‘me’ time.” This teaches kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them and mom is a person too who needs to recharge. Then you can be an even better mom.

    • Danielle says:

      The timing of WHEN you do each step certainly could be unrealistic for you, but don’t naysay until you give it some thought to adapt it to your life!

      I prefer to run the dishwasher in the AM cuz I am at work full time days, and my daughter has a hard time falling asleep and her room is right off our dining room/kitchen open area.

      On Mondays I probably won’t do the laundry or dishes till lunch time (because my normal lunch date always has Monday meetings, and I live really close to work).

      The one load of laundry a day sounds amazing, but who says it has to be YOU that does it. I plan to enlist my oldest when it comes to bathroom towels and kitchen towels!

    • Donna says:

      I relate, had 6 kids, close. but at 84 have lately read about a pot (instant) that my daughter bought 3 weeks ago…. similar lifestyle…too much work, I would enjoy sellingl it, (not an option) because I now see how it has made a difference….food wise in her time schedule. Keeping food warm for 10 hours …safelyl was a biggy as my daughters kids come and go all hours, (UPS, 2 students,tutor teacher, and a husband!!! lol I won’t go into the workings of it but check it out, it can make a difference food wise. The Du0 6 qt. is what she got with extra insert, and you just have to really READ ALL the directions carefully and you are good to go. Get the extra seals, read why. Yeah, it’s not cheap (daughter got one for $80.00+ lots of holiday sales on it) Food takes a lot of your day buying and making. They also have a 8 qt. but feel that one needs a little more working on. Good luck

  • Apple says:

    I have been sticking to the same morning routine for a couple of years, and it works! 🙂 I love the simplicity and reliability of the routine.
    7.00 I & husband get up and get breakfast & luchboxes ready, unload dishwasher
    7.30 wake up kids and we all have breakfast together
    8.00 everyone has a wash/gets dressed
    8.30 husband walks to work
    8.45 kids walk to school
    I load breakfast stuff to dishwasher, tidy kitchen, make the bed (or beds if kids forget), speed- clean bathrooms.
    Get ready for work.
    9.30 Go to work.

  • Liz says:

    In an ideal day my top 5 would be:
    pray every morning
    spend time playing with the kids
    doing administrative stuff–pay bills, coupon, menu plan, write my to do list etc.
    Run errands
    However I always seem to skip playing with the kids. It makes me sad and I want to change that!

    • Harriet says:

      Please do…move it to the top priority! You only have them for a short time and then they grow up! Enjoy…..experience speaking here after kids grown and gone!

    • Cc says:

      I’m right there with you! I saw this other post that said just try ten mins a day with the kids. Try playing a video game with them, coloring or what not. Do what they’re doing for ten mins, then get back to your list. They’ll remember and you still get everything done. I added it to my New Years resolution along with “quit nagging husband and just do it cause you’re tired of asking ten times” lol

      I have an 8 yr old and a 4 month old.

      I’ve done it the last two days and it seems to help with the kids. Now let’s see how it works now that we’re all back to school and work.

  • Kimee says:

    I get up at 3a, work from 4:30a–2:30p. I get hime at 3pm exhausted. My husband is a fulltime student as well as works fulltime, so kids and house are in me!! I clean as soon as i get off and do laundry then clean as I’m taking care of a 2 and 4yr old. At 4p my 8 and 9yr olds get home, they have a snack, then it’s straight to homework. That takes us into 6pm. I make dinner, they eat, baths for the boys (8 and 9) ate done between 7 and 7:30 and they are in bed at 8p. The girls get bathed about 7:30-8p, and then go to clean the kitchen, take a shower and try to be asleep by 9p. I do get a lot done during my 3 days off. It is overwhelming and there is absolutely no way i have time for myself!! I’m ine exhausted mama?

  • TDC says:

    “Dressing for the day you want to have” made me have a flashback to watching ‘Leave it to Beaver’ as a child. Mrs. Cleaver and other moms always looked their best (and in dresses) for housework, cooking, etc. I know it was the basically the “dress code” for the era, but look at how productive they were. 😉
    An interesting thing that goes along with dressing for the day you wish to have is that I heard on the radio that the sales of jeans is low, yet the sales for workout pants and clothes is high. Young people today, especially college students, wear workout clothes on a daily basis. Sorry, just a couple of things that came to me.

  • Pamela says:

    Thank You Crystal!

    This post has been a game changer for me. It’s simplicity pulled me out of the ‘deer in headlights’ state I’ve been in for a few months. I feel so much more in control and energized each day. I can honestly say I’ve made my bed every day since. Big victory! I love going in my bedroom now?
    I’m getting things done that I would have kept procrastinating on. So…thank you for bringing clarity to my day when I couldn’t find it on my own.

  • Megan says:

    Hello Crystal!
    I cam across your blog lastnight at the perfect time… I am coming off of the first Thanksgiving since losing my dad and your article really helped me realize that I need a simple routine to get me through this time and stay sane and peaceful. Thanks so much for the great article…. I linked up to it my blog.

  • Pamela Jones says:

    I tried to have a very simple morning routine about 2 weeks ago: I woke up 2 hours ahead of when I needed to leave. I had a HOT cup of coffee, did a quick devotional and then got ready. I made my bed right before leaving the house. I also tried to be in bed by 9. I fell off the routine quickly but it was the best idea and I plan on doing an intentional routine next week. I admire you Crystal and thank you.

  • Crystal says:

    I used to make my bed every day before school as far back as a second grader. My mom would actually get upset that I would feel the need to do that every morning! I made my bed because I loved coming home and getting into a made bed. My issue now is I am married to a complete opposite husband who I don’t think has ever made a bed in his entire life by his own choice. He leaves later than I for work so do I make our bed at night before I get into it? Thoughts anyone? Other than that I’m already doing the other things on this list so I’m really excited about that!

    • debzy says:

      I hate going to bed in a bed that isn’t made – I don’t always have time to make it in the morning but yes, I make it before I get in it! Sometimes that’s when I get home from work and am changing my clothes. I guess some people can just crawl in and let the covers fall where they may but I like my covers straight 🙂 If I can make it in the morning I do, but if I can’t, I don’t! Nobody sees it but the cats and they like it messy 🙂 We all do what we can. It’s good to be a little organized in your routine – keeps you grounded. That’s regardless of what time you get up and what time you get home. If you have a bit of a routine it helps you to stay sane.

    • SomethingBeautiful08 says:

      Obviously making your bed at night is an option but if you have patience I would also offer another option. I had a similar situation when I was first married. First I talked to my husband about why I’d like to have the bed made and how it makes me feel when the bed is made versus not made. Also when I was home when he got up I would make the bed shortly after he woke up normally with him there. Lastly when he did start making the bed I made it a point to tell him and show him that I appreciate his efforts to make me happy and help me. It has worked as he makes the bed almost every morning now.

    • Flo says:

      I love to let my bed ‘air out’ so the sheets can offload the sweat for a few minutes before I make at least my half of the bed. That seems to encourage my husband to flip the sheet and comforter back in place if he gets up after me. We don’t have any room or desire to “dress up” out bed with extra pillows, etc., cause there is no place to put them at night.
      I would like to thank my husband here for being willing to pitch in and do jobs since we are about equally busy. He will sweep the floor, do laundry, and wash dishes (we are the dishwashers!) if they need doing and I’m not there, which is a big blessing. (And I can mow, shovel snow, clean the chicken pen if he is not there, too.) We have both stayed pretty busy over our 42 years of marriage, but I am surprised that we are even more busy in retirement!! I must admit, though, that I am enjoying it immensely.

  • Jessica says:

    I know this post is a few months old, but I love this idea! I’m a single mom of 3 young (elementary school age and pre-school age) boys. I work full time, but am “blessed” to work weekends when my boys visit their dad and therefore have most weekdays as a quasi stay at home mom. I’ve found that if I wake up at least a hour before its time to get my kids up and ready, I can manage coffee, alone time (reading/journaling), getting dressed, and packing lunches without being rushed, and I love it!
    Its making each minute count, and those 15 minutes of coffee and reading count so much towards my sanity.

  • I’m 71 & my husband is 74 & our divorced son lives with us. His daughter stays with us when she’s home on break or holidays from college. His 8 & 10 year old sons spend week-ends with us. I cook every day & my kitchen is always clean, with help from my husband – because I like a clean kitchen! (my grand-daughter recently said to me, “I thought you liked cleaning the kitchen!)
    I intend to start your routine immediately – with one addition – cleaning the bathrooms when I shower & dress in the mornings. You make organization sound so easy! Thank You

  • Crystal says:

    Exactly! Love how you have an example of how little time it really takes to do the extras. Now, to start dressing better even when I am at home all day.

  • Brandy taylor says:

    Love that idea! I’m a stay home mom kinda lol I also have my own house cleaning business so my own suffers but I know for a fact that the kitchen being a priority makes everything better and I got 2 lil ones one with special needs. However I don’t have time for pets so we don’t have them.

  • Beth says:

    The kitchen step is what hangs me up! I totally agree though. If my kitchen is clean, I feel like the rest of the house is clean. One thing I found that works with my laundry is that I have one basket for carrying dirty laundry down, folding clean laundry in, and carrying it back upstairs. Another load isn’t allowed to be started if the basket still has clean laundry in it. I also read at least 20 pages in whatever book I am currently reading. That’s my “me” time.

  • Kim says:

    I LOVE this! I love it so much, I just had to convert it into a printable document I could post on my mirror. Let me know if you’d like the Word document or pdf… Thanks so much.

  • arlene says:

    Nice post! Thank you!

  • Helen Quinn says:

    Great post! I actually made a New Year’s resolution years ago to put on makeup every day. I was working virtually at the time and really let myself go. I would get dressed up to see clients or lunch with girlfriends but generally my husband came home to my shiny red face and pale lashes. I’m a stay at home mom now but I still do a quick brush with my Bare Minerals, mascara, and lip gloss. Makes me feel terrific.

  • DONNEA says:

    Thank you for this post! I am a single mom & though I have a sea of responsibilities that I’m dealing with solo, this post reminds me to take care of myself. Its like they tell you on an airplane…put your oxygen mask on first and then you can save the person next to you. As a Single mom….No matter what is going on, we have to remember to breathe & recharge, so that we can be the best we can for our kids. If we burn out or get sick to the point of being out of commission then our families & households are in compromised. I urge every working mom married or single to take heed to this article! It will be a lifesaver! Modify her sample list to fit your schedule but commit to doing this for yourself!!

  • Erin says:

    I love this. I just put bub to bed and kissed my hubby goodbye as he left for night shift, then had a shower and thought to myself ‘I really need to get myself together’. I thought what if I wrote down 5 things I want to get done tomorrow…. Something with my daughter… Something to clean… Something outside… Something that has to be done and Something I want yo do. I thought of what I could do for each of those things then I read your blog. I am on the right track 🙂 I love the bed making idea 🙂 I am currently on maternity leave but work still work part time as a primary school teacher, my husband works 13hr days 7 days at a time. I am also studying a business management course and renovating a caravan to turn it into a shop, plus I have my baby and house to run so my days are usually pretty full but I think your advice if perfect for what I need to feel as though I have got control over my days and not just running after myself trying to keep up. Thank you again 🙂

  • Radwa says:

    Hi Crystal. Thank you for the tips.

  • Jess says:

    Very good ideas for keeping on track and staying motivated. Your point about doing something for you is also important and probably what a lot of people forget! Great post.

  • Sandy says:

    I am a homeschooling mom of 5. Dressing “up” in almost any way seems silly as I will be doe gong my time cleaning, playing, eye. No I don’t wear T-shirts and yoga pants every day, but wearing the cute shirt and skirt shown in the pic would not work!

    • ann says:

      Genes and t shirt can also be cute, if clean, pressed, and your hair is neat, sneakers are clean, just add a little necklace or scarf & earrings. if you ware lipstick put a little on. Part of teaching is showing self interest

  • Nathana Clay says:

    Great ideas and advice! I try to do most of these every day. When I get them done I really do feel better!

  • Kathy Prince says:

    This sounds great. Getting up to a clean kitchen is such a great way to start the day. The only thing I also do is freshen up the bathroom. That way you are always ready for company or someone who drops in.

  • Vanessa says:

    I love you for this. I think I’m gonna give it a go. My biggest battle will be keeping up with it. Apparently I’m allergic to completion & consistency. My body is trying to protect myself from anaphylaxis, and therefore I am inable to do something from start to finish, and keep up with doing it in the future.
    Well, at least that’s my theory on how it works for me. Lol.
    But I get an “E” for effort! (: So it begins tomorrow!


  • Janine says:

    I do all your routine, figured this out with kids and husband years ago figured out that I had to get up an hour early if I wanted a quiet private time with a cup of coffee however now I’m 65 and everybody’s gone and I mean everybody. So tell me how do I get interested in doing anything again . I don’t care . I don’t care if I make the bed. I don’t care if I do anything I don’t care if I do yard work or gardening or sewing anything that used to make me happy , there’s nothing that has any joy in it how do I put the joy back in my life.

    • Laura says:

      You are worth a made bed. You are worth a delicious meal. You are worth a pretty yard and garden.

      Loss of interest in things that used to bring you joy is a sign of depression. PLEASE make an appointment with your doctor immediately to get treatment options.

      Check out volunteer activities such as Meals on Wheels, which will get you out of the house. Taking care of others will bring joy back into your life.

      I’ve been where you are. Joy will return, but you may need professional therapy to help you find your lost joy.

    • Anna says:

      Is it realistic to get a pet? A few years ago I was suffering from mild depression. When we brought a new puppy home, suddenly I was needed again, had a schedule to keep, and was out for a walk twice a day. The changes in my moods were remarkable! I hope you find something to bring you joy again soon!

  • Fulya Ulusoy says:

    I am not a mom and happened to stumble upon this article which makes a lot of sense whether you have children and/or animals (I have the latter). I am simply amazed at how hard working and tirelessly great at what you all do. What is even more amazing is that you are wondering how much MORE you can do.
    I mean, some of you have 5 children, and grandchildren and babies, some are homeschooling, some wake up at 3 to start work at 5 (Where do you work?).
    After reading your stories, telling deep down how wonderfully resilient women are, I have decided never to moan about my workload ever again. Good luck, love & respect.

    • Robin says:

      YOU are amazing. What a wonderful outlook! I’m POSITIVE your attitude blesses everyone who knows you!

      • Fulya Ulusoy says:

        Robin, thank you. Very kind of you. I mean all of what I have said, wish I could have expressed myself better and more eloquently. Moms deserve the best of everything, including words of praise and respect.

  • Kendra says:

    Seriously people you need to listen to her when she post’s something to help us in life that’s her job and she writes about it for us to be better…
    My gramma used to say keep your kitchen clean and the whole house will be/ seem cleaner and she was very wise because it’s so true..
    And you as women/mothers you need to realize if you don’t take time for your self make your self look better makes you feel so much better and then you are able to get more done because you feel better about your self and everything else.. And taking just 5 to 15 minutes a day is something that YOU NEED TO DO.. If you are tired, not looking good, and not taking care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else properly either.

  • Rachel says:

    Crystal, I just wanted to thank you for everything you put out to the world. It is so helpful. I just got accepted to the South Africa trip (woohoo!), and I can’t wait to learn from you and everyone in the group. I just started reading your blog a few months ago after hearing your podcast with Power of Moms about morning-routines (and doing the Makeover Your Mornings course as a result). I love reading your tips about organization, managing stress, and family life. I don’t read a lot of blogs anymore, but I always open my emails from you. Thank you for being brave enough to share your life, dreams, family, and heart with the world. It’s awesome!

  • Novella says:

    Thank you, I completed the Make over your mornings online series. Teaching my young daughters what I’ve gained as well as coworkers. This is such a blessing Love it!

  • mandy cat says:

    One caveat about the evening routine: I used to set the delayed start on our dishwasher to take advantage of our lower electric rates at night. That was until some acquaintances who did the same thing woke up to find their dishwasher on fire. If they had been awake, they would have smelled the smoke much sooner and a great deal less damage would have been done. Of course, the other lesson here is to have plenty of smoke detectors installed no matter what else you’re doing!

  • Belinda says:

    Lovely post, but I must add something … I’ve raised my two kids alone, they are 13 and 14 now, and the most important thing is to teach them to help clean the house. When mine were little (3 and 4) I started a morning routine that when I tidied they carried washing to the basket, put a toy in a box etc. We would spend half an hour a day tidying together and that helped, also helped getting my son with ADD focused. Now they make their beds, pack away dishes and wash and hang laundry while we are tidying, the house is clean twice a day and I stay sane 🙂

  • Paula H. says:

    Wonderful concept and truly is doable, with few exceptions, for everyone. The trick is to make the sequence in which these things are done suit what works for the individual. I have read many times that it will keep your bedding and mattress cleaner and healthier if you pull down your bedding and let the moisture dissipate (about 1/2 an hour) before making your bed. I found this to be so true. I now usually only have to change my sheets once a week instead of two or three and I have less allergy issues when I wake in the morning too. So I make the bed after the kitchen and laundry stuff but before getting dressed. My point is just about everyone can make this work for “them”.

  • Catie says:

    I purchased the 2016 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and from that I’ve started implementing small daily ‘chores’ that really do a lot for my sanity (and pride, too, if we’re being honest). Making the bed is something I’ve discovered helps me get my brain in the right frame. If my bed is made, my mind can have clarity. If it gets left undone, I feel sluggish and murky all day. Through habit-building, keeping my kitchen tidied is beginning to have the same effect. The whole getting dressed thing is still a struggle for me. I like to look and feel nice and confident, but I don’t like getting chore-sweaty in skinny jeans or a nice top! Still figuring life out, one outfit at a time. ?

  • Victoria says:

    This sounds great but is not realistic for me. A am the first one up and out of the house so it’s kind of hard to make the bed with someone still in it! Lol. And unfortunately my laundry gets done at the laundromat!

  • Cami says:

    These are great ideas and I do some of them already. They do help. I also try to spend 5-10 minutes getting rid of clutter. With just 2 kids I still can’t seem to stay ahead of the clutter but when my house is organized (like RIGHT after I clean), it is such a peaceful feeling.

  • Angela says:

    Great, attainable ideas! I totally agree that the kitchen sets the tone for the rest of the house, and sometimes for the day! I struggle with the to-do list because I’m a little more free-wheeling in that area, but something I continue to work on. A nicely made bed and a put-together outfit can have a surprising impact on a person’s outlook! I love the green and blue outfit you have pictured! I definitely need to add a few more pops of mix-and-match color to my wardrobe in the form of cardigans and layering pieces! I get into a slump in the winter though, when I tend to just pile on as many pieces of clothing as I can. Maybe that tells me I need some cute warmer clothes! Good reason to hit a few after-Christmas sales! Thanks for the motivation! May God bless you and your family – thank you for the good work you do!

  • Paula says:

    ok, ok I will give making the bed a go 🙂

    I am a small family, my son and I, so we only have 2 loads a week to do. One on Tuesday (clothing) and one on Thursday (linens)

    The rest I’ve built over time and made it possible and automatic.

    Thank you for your Evening Course, I am almost done and already getting so much benefit from it, I feel more peaceful, hopeful. I am not done, but getting there. Thank you!!!

    So Blesses I foun you by googling about routines for moms

  • LinnyLee says:

    No idea how I found your post, but I am a stay-at-home mom of a large adoptive family. I am 59 and still have 9 kids at home which I homeschool. Two of our kids are quadriplegics, many are “lifers” (we get to keep them for life!). I have to agree wholeheartedly on what you wrote. I find that I function best when the kitchen is clean (or at least relatively clean) , our bed is made and I’m dressed looking “pretty”. I have even recently started wearing a speck of make-up again – somehow it helps me feel “perkier”. (If anyone saw me writing that they would laugh I’m sure. I’m hardly a make-up girl, never have been. But I figure a tad of blush and mascara makes me look alive and not dead. haha). Anyway, your post was published years ago, but thank you for writing it. It always helps that I start my day also with spending time with the Lord. I feel like it all just functions so much better when I have Him first. God bless you.

  • Dawn says:

    Moms….take the time to look after yourselves after all what you are teaching your kids is that you matter too and that they matter. After raising three kids on my own, one special needs, I am just learning to look after myself after fighting cancer for six years now. I have finally made myself a priority…better late than never I guess. You are all amazing , doing what you do, but fifteen minutes for you is important too! God bless you all ❤️

  • Mellany says:

    What an amazing article! I always try to take care of me and my house, cause I`m really happy and relaxed when I look good and my home is clean and cozy!

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