How to Keep on Top of Housework

5 Tips for how to Keep on top of Housework

I get it.

Life is crazy hectic and sometimes, you feel you can’t keep on top of the housework. Or maybe you feel that way all the time?

When I was a younger mom, I hovered in the middle between ‘Wow, I have most of my list finished!’ and ‘I have no idea how I got through today!’

If I’m honest, those days I mostly winged it. (Is that a phrase? Winged it? Wung it??)

But since then I’ve adopted some tried and true tips that help me keep ahead of housework and they’re so simple, but I promise, they’re very effective and I still use them every day.

Here they are in no particular order:

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1. Straighten the night before.

I know that the last thing anyone wants to think about right before bed is cleaning. But this is probably the easiest time to do it. Seriously. The kids are already in bed, the house is quiet and there’s no one around to distract or undo any of your work.

And if you keep to these tips I am listing, your nightly ritual of straightening will go quickly. Mine usually consists of folding blankets, putting couch pillows where they belong, and carrying in any dishes we used after dinner.

If the dinner dishes are already done then you only need to load a little bit into the dishwasher. (Washing dishes as you cook cuts your dish-washing time in half. Just keep a sink ready with hot, soapy water and you’re done in no time at all. If you have a dishwasher, just load it after you finish using something. That little extra step of bypassing the sink will save you time later.)

I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to go to bed knowing I do not have to wake to a dirty sink or blankets strewn all over my couch.

Taking the time to pick up before bed will ALWAYS be worth it, no matter how much time you devote to it.

Plus, you sleep better knowing you got a jump-start on the housework for the next day. (The sound of the dishwasher running lulls me to sleep.) 🙂


Have each member of the family take something(s) to their room on their way to bed. Saves you a trip and half of the clean-up is already done!

2. Do a quick sweep in the morning.

After I return home from dropping our daughters off at school, and before I settle in my office for the day, I pick up each room.

I do this mainly because I can’t work when my house is messy but also knowing there aren’t things needing to be done helps me focus on my work at hand.

The house does not have to be spotless—it usually isn’t—but it does have to be presentable.

It never takes me very long to clean in the mornings. (I deep clean on Saturdays.) If I have straightened the night before then my housework in the morning is a breeze!


Use a decorative basket to gather all your kid’s paraphernalia and have them put things away when they come home. My cleaning time has been cut in half since I started doing this!

Cleaning Pack printable set
Printables to help you stay on top of cleaning!

3. Do one load of laundry a day.

I will be the first to say I don’t always do this. But I try.

Because it’s frustrating when anyone in our family comes to me at bedtime saying they are out of something. With our laundry room in the basement, it’s out of sight out of mind and when I’m hard at work on my computer, I’m not thinking about laundry. Setting a timer on my phone has been a game-changer in this routine. I no longer forget about laundry and I’ve done well staying ahead of the demand.

If I can’t do a load a day, I designate 2-3 “laundry days” a week where I do up a few loads throughout the day. This works well for me, too.

Whatever routine works best, try to stick with it. I promise, when laundry is maintained, it’s a pretty amazing feeling and it IS doable. Not having the stress of getting behind or having someone complain about nothing to wear is a wonderful way to keep the peace in your home. 🙂


If you have children, leave their clothes in piles on the table or their bed for them to put away. This will save you time and will give them responsibility. (Unless it’s summertime and they can take over laundry completely.) 🙂

4. Start dinner early.

I really do not enjoy being in the kitchen all that much. I love my kitchen and I love food but I do not enjoy the time it takes to prep and cook. Not when I could be writing, instead.  But, knowing how much my family feels loved when I make their favorite meals brings me back to the stove every day.

So if I can’t order take out every day, I figured I better come up with some ways to shorten the duration of my stay in the kitchen. I have come up with some nice tricks over the years but some of my favorite shortcuts have been with a crock-pot and the Instant Pot!

There’s nothing I love more than to start dinner in the morning and smell the aromas of a hearty meal wafting through my house near dinner time. It’s a small piece of Heaven! And our kids love coming home to the smell, too.

(I know cooking is not what most would consider housework but for this stay-at-home-mom, it’s all part of the “daily grind” so I’m including it. And this tip can free up your time to do other things around the house. A win/win!)


Spend one day a month meal-prepping. Then, all you have to do is choose your meal, throw everything in the crock-pot and voila, you’re done! You can also make extra of some meals and have the leftovers later in the week.

5. Designate chores.

I cannot stress this enough.

Too many parents skip this part of child-rearing for understandable reasons but there is none I’ve heard so far that warrants one person slaving away for the sake of everyone.

Kids need to not only feel like they contribute to the daily life and upkeep of their family but they also need to learn valuable life skills they WILL need one day.

From the time our girls could crawl, I was teaching them how to put their toys away. As they got older, their chores changed and they took on more and more responsibility.

There is nothing I do at our home that our oldest two cannot, and our youngest is fast on her way to mastering the same. Once my girls were old enough to share the load of keeping a home, the stress started melting from my shoulders and for the first time since they arrived in our lives, we were able to keep ahead of the housework. 🙂

An added bonus was the growth in their maturity and responsibility. You really won’t hear them complain about chores because they know it needs to be done and they feel accomplished after having contributed. I promise I’m not making this up. 🙂

Because I took the time (and pain) 🙂 to teach the girls when they were younger, I can now work full-time from home and not have to try to balance everything on my own. Our house runs pretty smoothly. Not because of me, but because every member of this family does their part.


A Chore Chart is wonderful, especially if you add incentives for completing chores without prodding. I have two types in my free Cleaning Packet that work great!

Need more posts that help you save time and sanity? Check these out: 

5 Quick Tips to Jump-start Your Day

Kitchen Gadgets to Save you Time and Money

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29 thoughts on “5 Tips for how to Keep on top of Housework”

  1. I have always liked big band music while cleaning or cooking, especially if I have had a long day and need something to pep me up and keep me going. ?

      1. I hate laundry with a passion. Doing a load a day goes a long way with me. It keeps me from feeling angry that I have to do laundry. A thing I like to do when trying to keep up with housework is wash dishes as I’m cooking dinner.

        1. Me too! I try to load the dishes as I use them; it really helps with clean up after dinner! And I totally agree about the laundry, nothing is worse than having mountains of laundry to do! ?

  2. Love it!! My kids are getting baskets this week. The one year can’t really bring it up the stairs yet, but the three year old can manage.

  3. Love the idea of dancing around the house to music! A load of laundry each day … as a single person, can I just go every OTHER day?

    The biggest challenge for a solo person: keeping the house neat when nobody’s coming over.

  4. I started the idea of baskets for my kids and my husband a few years back – it works wonderfully! I also really enjoy waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen, so I make sure to put the dishes in the dishwasher and get it started before I head off to bed. It makes a world of difference in the morning.

  5. I have been considering the baskets for each family member. Glad to hear it works. My tip is do it when I see it. If use the garbage needs emptied, just do it now. It saves a mess later. This is applicable to many situations.

  6. I loved reading your tips and definitely agree with them! I always try to get house work done at night and number five totally makes me forget about the whole cleaning thing! When is doubt, have a dance party! Love your blog, keep it going! So much fun to read but still so true lol.

  7. These are great ideas! I used to pick up before bed so my roomba could clean. I need to get back into doing this. And my kids and I love to put on some praise music and sing really loud while cleaning together!! 🙂

    I am for sure going to refer back to this and try to get caught up with cleaning. With my kids, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, kids activities, my travel agency, and my blog I am ALWAYS behind! Cleaning is always the last thing I get to on my list. I really wish I could figure out how to have a clean home and still get everything else done.

    1. Wow, girl! You DO have your hands full!! I hope the tips help; I know they have for me!
      Yes, my girls LOVE to sing along to the music while they clean; I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t know what to do if they couldn’t have it on while they worked. ?

  8. Using a basket for kid stuff and having them put it away is such a great and simple idea! No more running all over the place putting their stuff away!

  9. I hate to cook too, lol. Crock pots are the best!! I wish I could do laundry every day but I have to go to the laundromat. UGH! that is the worst!!

  10. I too like to try to do a few of my household chores before bed, eliminating the amount of work I will have to do in the morning while everyone is gone. Not only does it help to eliminate some of the next day’s workload but it also helps me to sleep better knowing my house isn’t a complete mess.

  11. I love these tips! I like to make a list to keep me on track. I also start on one side of the house and work my way around, instead of going all over the place. I love your idea to plan out a month’s meals and use the crockpot! 🙂

  12. I’m going to try all of this!!! I get so overwhelmed trying to keep the house clean… once I finally get it uncluttered – this will make life so much better!!!

    1. It really does make a difference! I’ve been working on our girls with the same tips, too. We went through their room with them and got rid of so much stuff and they LOVE the clean look of their room but they are learning how easy it is to maintain if they work on it every day! 🙂

  13. I’m going to try all of this!!! I get so overwhelmed trying to keep the house clean… once I finally get it uncluttered – this will make life so much better!!!

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