Published with Permission
Written by Misty West

Once again I crunched through cracker crumbs as I reached for the broom for the third time that morning. Before one mess was conquered, two more were made by my young blessings. I felt that trying to keep my house clean was like chasing after the wind.

Whether my frustrations were the result of expectations that were too great or emotional wires that were crossed, I was completely overwhelmed with caring for two young children, homeschooling, keeping house, and the many things we moms do. To streamline housecleaning, my husband stepped in and created a simple chore list for me. I had daily, weekly, and monthly chores. It looked a little like this:

 Clean kitchen  
 Sweep downstairs  
 One load laundry  
 Take out trash  
 Straighten bedrooms  
 Monday Downstairs bathroom
 Tuesday Upstairs bathrooms
  Vacuum upstairs
 Wednesday (Free! – co-op day)
 Thursday Mop downstairs
 1st Friday Clean out car
 2nd Friday Straighten garage
 3rd Friday Clean patio
 4th Friday Dust house

At first I was skeptical, thinking that the list oversimplified all that I do. However, with the understanding that the “chore of the day” would be done only on its day, I gave it a try. As I used the list, I found that my mind was freed from guilt about the fact that not everything was clean at the same time. If the bathroom sink looked a bit messy, I could wipe it down quickly if I chose, but I knew that it would be cleaned on Tuesday. I felt like I could begin managing my house instead of it ruling me.

Now, several years and another baby later, I realize that the list has become routine. I’ve tweaked it a bit and I’m a bit more relaxed about the extra little messes that come with discovery learning! While not comprehensive, my chore list gives me a basic template for organization. By the end of the week all of the main chores are done and my house is relatively clean.

A few tricks help me keep our areas straightened as the day progresses. Emptying the dishwasher in the morning allows us to load it throughout the day, keeping the kitchen more manageable. I also throw in a load of laundry first thing in the morning so that I can tend to it, and any others I choose to do, as I am able. Around lunchtime, we take a few minutes to straighten up whatever school supplies have been used that day. Chore time occurs whenever it is convenient on any given day. Around 4 p.m. each day we do a run-through, straightening the main living areas and creating as much order as possible before welcoming Daddy home.

Following this simple chore list has freed me to manage my home with less stress and consequently to enjoy my family more. Keep it simple so that even on your most hectic days, you will succeed. You can always do the never-ending miscellaneous tasks as you have time, but include the most important chores on the template, which for me were kitchen, floors, laundry, and bathrooms. Tweak it to suit your family and your needs.

I left the weekends open for worship, relaxing, and occasionally conquering bigger organizing jobs around the house. Include your children in chore time, even the toddlers. Consider making a list of deeper cleaning items, such as cleaning baseboards and windows, for your children to do in exchange for allowance or privileges. Hopefully, following this simple chore list will help you maintain a more comfortable environment for you and your family and free you to enjoy your family more.

Misty West lives in Grapevine, Texas, with her husband, Jody, and their three blessings aged 10, 8, and 3. She enjoys the worship at their messianic synagogue, listening to audio books, and dark chocolate! Misty values the blessing of homeschooling, the support of her husband, and hopes to be an encouragement to other homeschoolers and those considering joining the journey.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

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