April 25, 2020  

6 Must-Have Homemaking Routines For Busy Moms

Stressed out trying to keep up with everything around the house? These 6 routines are the key to stress-free homemaking.


How do you feel when you get home and walk in the door? If your stress level skyrockets at the sight of your messy kitchen and the mountain of unfolded laundry in the living room, this post is for you. 

Heaps of laundry. Mountains of dirty dishes. Oodles of crumbs on the floor. It’s so normal as a mom to feel like you’re drowning, like you’re barely getting by, like you’ll never get caught up on all of the chores around the house. 

The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to make things around the house more manageable. What you need are 6 simple routines.

I know, I know…you’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now. You’re thinking you’ve tried routines before and they don’t work, that your life is too crazy to even scrub the toilets once a month so there’s no way you’re going to do well with one of those checklists that tell you to scrub the toilets not only every week but always on a certain day of the week.  

Yeah, I get it. The best part of blogging for 6 years is that it’s connected me to thousands of moms around the globe. Real-life moms who send me hundreds of emails and Instagram messages every week about their struggles to keep up with their house. And I’ve been there myself.

Over the years, I’ve identified 6 simple, sanity-saving household routines that every mom needs. Without these 6 routines in place, you will always feel behind. Ready to hear what they are? Let’s dive in!


graphic that says stressed out moms guide to practice home management routines

6 Simple Home Management Routines For Moms

Every house needs these 6 simple routines and I suggest you work on implementing them one at a time in the order I’ve listed them here.

To be successful, it’s best to take some time to fully implement one homemaking routine until it becomes a natural part of your day. Once that daily routine has become a habit, you can move onto the next! 

A note on the word “routine”….

Before we dive into the 6 routines, I want to give you permission to make these routines whatever you need them to be. I don’t believe in rigid routines where you have to mop the floors on Mondays and scrub the toilets on Tuesdays.

I encourage you to figure out what works for you. Maybe you like to have more structure and a plan of what gets done every day, but maybe your life is crazy like most people and things are unpredictable.

I find it best to have set routines I do as part of my daily rhythm, like after we eat dinner I do our kitchen shutdown routine. The routine is triggered by us finishing dinner, not by a specific time on the clock. For weekly routines, our cleaning tasks are pretty fluid and we just do them as we have time during the week and finish up the rest over the weekend.

Alternatively, we’ve found it works best for our schedules to have a designated day of the week for laundry every Saturday.


Try some things out and do what works for you, your family, and your schedules. Rather than planning routines to happen at very specific times of the day or days of the week, think about linking them with other things that are already part of your daily rhythm. This is called habit stacking.

Choose something that’s already a habit (like making your coffee in the mornings) and have that be your cue to do something else (like clean the powder bathroom while you wait for your coffee). So instead of saying you’ll clean the bathroom at 9:00 am every morning, say that you’ll clean the bathroom while you wait for your coffee.


1 – Dishes Routine

A sink piled high with dirty dishes are the worst, aren’t they?! I don’t think there’s anyone that actually enjoys dishes but they’re a necessary evil in every house.

Dishes are such a pain because they NEVER END. They start over every single day which is why I highly suggest focusing on creating a solid dishes routine in your house first. Without a plan for keeping up with the never-ending dishes, you’ll never be successful with the rest of the routines on this list.

When it comes to dishes, my advice is to never go to bed until the dishes are done. The very first homemaking routine I recommend moms work on is a Kitchen Shutdown Routine. This essential daily routine will ensure the kitchen is always cleaned up before you go to bed.

The second step is a Morning Dishes Routine where you make it a habit to empty the dishwasher and put away clean dishes first thing in the morning. That way the dishwasher and sink are always ready for more dirty dishes (because we all know dirty dishes pile up fast if they can’t go in the dishwasher right away).


2 – Laundry Routine

The next crucial household routine is laundry! You’re a mom so I don’t have to tell you twice how much of a pain it is to keep up with the never-ending stream of laundry.

The goal is to get into a rhythm with laundry so it essentially happens on autopilot, that way you never have to worry about having clean clothes again! The laundry will always be done and put away which takes an enormous amount of stress off your plate.

Choose to either do one load every single day or designate one day a week as laundry day in your house, and work on making it an automatic part of your daily routine.


3 – Planning Routine

Moms have so many things to juggle and often try to keep track of it all in their heads.

Grab yourself a good old fashioned paper planner and keep it on your kitchen counter where you will see it every day. (I use the Full Focus Planner but a cheap planner from Target is a great option if you’re just getting started.)

Use your planner to keep track of all of the important dates, appointments, events, deadlines, and to-dos. I also use mine for brain dumps whenever my mind is racing or I’m feeling stressed out by all there is to do.

The goal is to get everything out of your head and into your planner so you can free up brainpower and get rid of the random notes floating around your purse and all over the house.

4 – Efficient Errands

You can save boatloads of time on trips to the grocery store/Target/Walmart by taking advantage of online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery services.

Now I’m not saying you have to give up your leisurely walks around Target if that’s something you actually enjoy. But I am saying you can waste far less time on hectic grocery store runs with a little automation and planning ahead.

With online ordering, it’s easy to check off each food on your grocery list as you add things to your cart. This is a huge help in making sure you don’t forget anything on your list, plus you can watch the cart total add up and make any adjustments you might need to stay within your budget. This is hard to keep track of when you’re physically in the store!

To find out if grocery pickup or delivery is available near you, try Googling the name of your city + grocery pickup. See what pops up! A lot of stores now offer free pickup services which are an awesome service to take advantage of!

Also, consider online alternatives like Amazon Prime Pantry or having pantry foods shipped to you from Walmart or Target online. This can be a great way to get pantry staples at good prices delivered right to your door.

>>> For more tips on how to save time running errands, check out this blog post: 9 No-Brainer Ways To Save Time On Errands.

>>> And for ideas on how you can automate a lot of your errands, you may want to download this free cheat sheet: 12 Ways To Automate Your To-Do List

wooden bowls with salad on marble counter

5 – Meal Plan

The dreaded question: “Mom, what’s for dinner?” When it comes to household tasks, meal planning is the largest cause of daily stress for most moms.

We all know that it isn’t just about planning the meals themselves. From deciding what to make to figuring out what ingredients you need to buy to actually buying them to making sure the pans are clean and, oh yeah, making the time to actually cook the meal, putting meals on the table for your family is far from simple.

You need a system for planning out what’s for dinner and what groceries you need each week. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate meal plan with food planned down to the minute. There are more flexible ways to meal plan that give you a plan with room for spontaneity.

For example, it works best for our family to create a list of 10 or so meals based on what’s in our pantry already, and then we add the missing ingredients to the grocery list. We don’t assign meals to specific days, we just choose something off the list for dinner every night. This gives us a menu of meals we know we have the ingredients for and lets us pick and choose based on what we feel like eating and how much time we have to cook that night.

I also highly recommend doing what you can to simplify breakfasts and lunches. In our house, these meals are pretty repetitive and low maintenance. Breakfasts are on your own – cereal, yogurt, granola bars, fruit. And lunches are either leftovers or lunch meat sandwiches that can be made quickly. I always make sure we’re stocked up on our basic breakfast and lunch items.


6 – Cleaning Routine

The last household routine you need as a mom is a cleaning routine. The goal is to get your house to a place where it’s always at a baseline level of clean.

So, we’re not talking about any sort of deep cleaning today or spending all week spring cleaning, all we’re talking about is doing the essential cleaning in your main living areas so your house never gets to a place where you’d be embarrassed to invite people over.

“Baseline clean” means something different for every family. Make a list of the essential cleaning tasks that you and your family members actually care about and let the rest go. I find that a lot of moms stress out and spend most of the cleaning time on things they don’t care all that much about.

For example, dusting and window washing are way down on the priority list in our house. If the floors are swept and vacuumed, the kitchen counters are clean, and the bathrooms are cleaned regularly, then my husband and I are happy. Our weekly cleaning routine involves the basic tasks that are important to us and we don’t bother dusting every single week.

Make a shortlist of the cleaning tasks that matter to your family and let go of the rest. You can do the extras as time allows, maybe choose one extra cleaning task to do every week or two. Incorporate the cleaning tasks that keep your house at “baseline clean” into your weekly routine and your house will always be cleaned up.

gray couch with toys on floor

So those are the 6 must-have household routines for busy moms! Do you have routines in place for all of these things? What are you going to work on incorporating into your house first?

Looking for more blog posts about creating daily routines for moms? Take a look at these:

Have a fantastic day!

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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