The Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household


These are the Seven Chores you should do each and every day, rain or shine.

Ah, chores. They are such a necessary evil.

It may be hard to believe, but  I don’t like to clean.

Instead, I choose to do a tiny bit each day to ensure that I never waste a day cleaning house when I could be out conquering the world.

Or answering email.

I look at it as getting all the Have-Tos over and Done With so there is more time in the day for the Want-Tos.

And trust me. Cleaning never has been nor it ever will be a WANT TO!


Our family has a list of chores that we try our best to accomplish daily. Now that the kids are old enough to help, they do.

When I am sick or am away from the house, the kids and my husband step up and help maintain order in the house.

Sort of.

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

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

I write about The Daily 7 in my household planner for moms — Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life and I have shared these tiny chores with hundreds of thousands of women from all over the world. (probably there were some men sprinkled in there, too! 😉  )

Number 1: Make Beds Right Away

Number 2: Do One Complete Load of Laundry

Number 3: Empty All Garbage Cans

Number 4: Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty

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

Number 6: Bathroom Wipe-Down

Number 7: Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up

I have outlined all of these steps in my Clean Less, Play More book in detail.


Want a Printable Daily 7 Checklist? Here You Go!

Make Beds Right Away

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

Do One Complete Load of Laundry

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

Empty All Garbage Cans

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

Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty

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

Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do The Same

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

Bathroom Wipe-Down

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

Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up

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

and that is it!



Want a Printable Daily 7 Checklist? Here You Go!


Learn the Exact Strategies I use to Keep My House and My Family Running Smoothly

(without losing my marbles) by downloading this free cheat sheet for moms. Enjoy!




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

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

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

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

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

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

  5. Hi Polly,

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

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

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

    oxo steph

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

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

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

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

  11. Hi Kim,

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

    hope this helps a bit, steph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  26. Hi Carrie,

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

    Erica 🙂

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

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

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

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

  30. D*** Hubby
    D*** Daughter
    D*** Son

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

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