This is a guest post from regular contributor Desiree Townsend, who blogs at,

I love it when my household runs smoothly, don’t you?

Full disclosure: Even though I enjoy exploring ways to maintain order in my home, I’m a self-proclaimed paper hoarder and piler. This might explain why my husband is constantly rolling his eyes at the piles of clothes (clean and dirty) located in our bedroom (and the laundry room…and the bathroom) and piles of paper and other random treasures which can be found on our household desk.

With teens in the house, this is a simple case of “do as I ask and not as I do.” I am hopeful that I will grow up someday, but I am certain my husband isn’t holding his breath while he waits. Luckily, he humors me when I announce, “I am bringing back my Household Notebook and we will do ALLLLLLLLL the things!”

The Household Notebook

How to organize your life with a household notebook - seriously, everyone needs one of these.

My husband isn’t familiar with how great this notebook is; after all, this is the first time he’s hearing about it. I used it with great success in earlier years, long before he and I met and fell in love and became ‘hubband and wiff.’

During the early 2000s, I took notes from Cynthia Ewer and her glorious Household Notebook community at OrganizedHome.Com: Clean House, Cut Clutter and Get Organized at Home! As a stay-at-home mom with a newborn baby, I was eager to be the homemaker because, outside of my longing to be a teacher, that life was everything I had dreamed of as a little girl. I wanted my home to be open to friends and family to stop by anytime and, through her ideas and community, Cynthia helped me to be a better wife and homemaker during that time.

Somewhere along the way, I lost the desire to do all that.

The ups and downs of married life – and, subsequently, single-mom life – devoured any desires I had formerly, to make my house a home.

Instead, my home was a disaster.

I struggled to motivate myself to complete chores as simple as doing the dishes and vacuuming my carpets. My pets and kids took over my home so much that my sister-in-law made comments about it.

Do you feel like that now? Are you struggling to keep your family (or yourself) on track with your chores and household expectations? I can help!

I’m a full-time student and freelancer with a husband and our blended family. Here’s a snippet of my household notebook and personal schedule, and where I’m starting with my family TODAY.


Rise and shine. Wake up on time and make your bed. Get dressed, all the way to shoes.

Bathroom: go potty, wash face, brush/floss teeth, fix hair/face, and tidy up bathroom.

Kitchen: Eat breakfast. Help Mom feed the critters. Put your lunch bag in your backpack.

Think about yourself. Get your coat/jacket/mittens/scarf on. Get your electronic devices from Mom + Dad. Grab your backpack and head out on time!



Rise and shine. Make your bed.

Bathroom: go potty, shower, fix hair/face, and tidy up bathroom.

Laundry: Take a load straight to the washer.

Kitchen: Make coffee and start breakfast. Feed the critters and your family.

Think about your day. Take kids to school. Check your calendar for appointments and make your list of what you are going to do today. Check menu planner and thaw something for dinner, if needed. Reboot the laundry (put it in the dryer). Hit the hotspots.

Think about yourself. Sit down and eat breakfast (if you haven’t already). Do morning meditations. 15 minutes of
“free” computer time. Get to work on those school assignments!


When schoolwork is done, reward yourself with 15 minutes of “free” computer time. Get to work on making that blog a success!



Focus on yourself – afternoon edition. Have a snack at the kitchen table while you share assignments with a
parent. Get started on your homework. You may take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes (à la Pomodoro Technique).

Kitchen. Help with dinner/set table. Rinse off your plate and utensil and put it in the dishwasher.

Think about tomorrow before you go to bed. Make lunches. Ready your backpack.

Clean up the house before you go to bed. Tidy your room. Do your chore. (We have a chore list and rotate monthly with our kids: kitchen, trash/bath/pets, and floors.)

Focus on yourself – evening edition. Cool down time: get yourself ready for bed, brush and floss your teeth, take vitamins/meds, put on jammies, have a small glass of water with your snack at the kitchen table. Read for 30 minutes in bed and then lights out!


Clean up the house before you go to bed.

Living room: pick up and put away things (magazines, dishes, clothes, shoes).

Kitchen: clean it up, shine sink, lay out clean dishcloths, and run the dishwasher (dinner dishes).

Dining room/entrance: clear hot spots. Review your checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

Think about tomorrow before you go to bed. Check your calendar and/or planner for appointments. Start a To-Do List for tomorrow.

Think about: what can I do tonight that will make tomorrow morning easier – make lunches, etc. Gather up items you do not want to forget and place them in a spot by the front door. Make sure you can see them before you walk out. Make sure children have their things gathered up and put away.

Start breakfast: set table and plan what you are having (make a mental note). If you intend to use the crockpot for tomorrow’s dinner, get some of the things ready – this way, all you have to do is throw it together. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow.

Focus on yourself before going to bed. Cool down time: get yourself read for bed, brush and floss your teeth, take vitamins and other meds, put on jammies, have a glass of water. Reflect on today’s accomplishments: work on your journal, read for fun/to each other, listen to music and relax. Lights out at a decent time.

Overwhelmed yet? Take a breath.

While this is set out nicely, we do not meet the expectations 100% of the time. In fact, I’d be completely overjoyed if we maintained some semblance of a routine with regard to our routines. If it included no back-talk and no pity parties, I’d love that even more.

Side note: if you’re exhausted from battling it out with your teens and their attitudes, I can help you focus on what’s important when you’re in the tough moments of parenting.

You have to start somewhere and someday, friend – why not right here and right now? Share your thoughts on the idea of routines in the comments below; whether you are a stay-at-home mom or otherwise, I’d love to hear from you!

Ready for more? Check out How I Simplified My Entire Life (In Two Weeks), by Catherine Burket.

At, Desiree Townsend uses her real life stories as a mom to inspire families with teenagers to build strong family ties. Despite being a self-proclaimed paper hoarder, she enjoys exploring ways to maintain order in her home. People see her as the girl next door, the friend. She believes in: being kind, working hard, developing solid values, staying down-to-earth, being accessible. She also believes in a well-used Household Notebook. Desiree’s voice is friendly, humble, honest and (mostly) practical. She strives to create real connections and friendships with her audience by sharing “normal” parts of her family’s life with you, and she’s sincerely interested in hearing from you! You can find Desiree at Facebook or Instagram.

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  1. Being a widow has made me into a person with no goals to have a clean un cluttered home I JUST HAVEN’t cared MY children R grown

  2. It is amazing how many small things fall through the cracks on a daily basis if we don’t give ourselves a little reminder. I have a daily to-do list that never changes, yet if I don’t look at it, some things get missed. Your notebook sounds absolutely amazing!

  3. I have a a household to do note book which I use sporadically…..But I must say when I am using it things do run smoother as I am a tick addict and like ticking it off action by action. The trouble with me is when life gets too busy it goes out the window and it’s back to chaos. I like that you include the kids and its more team work

  4. I’m like you, I horde paper thinking I will need it one day. I’ve recently learned if I need it it’s probably online, so the paper piles have been smaller 🙂 I’d love it if you’d come link this up at #WelcomeHomeWednesdays it’s live now! Cheers!

  5. I love this idea of routine and habits. I’m trying to take small steps to changing my daily habits. I need to work on writing a list of “to dos” to develop a daily/weekly/monthly structure. Thanks for sharing what works for you!

  6. Great idea and love that you’re using it to set an example for your teens. I bet they, and their future roommates, will be very grateful. 🙂

  7. I love this idea, I live by myself now but was also a single mother, but now I have this crazy idea that I want to accomplish more daily…I will try the notebook idea and see if it works…

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