The new year is here, and with it comes the end of a nice break for most of us.  As much as I enjoyed the lazy mornings and fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants days of the holidays, I was really looking forward to getting back into the regular routine.

Something about a new year sparks in me a desire to establish more order and intention in all that I do, so when back-to-school and the new year came together, it was perfect timing for establishing some new, old routines to keep home life simple and days running smoothly.

I tend to dislike schedules but thrive on routine. A routine makes everyone in my household happier, everything runs more smoothly, it establishes reasonable expectations, and it makes for a saner home.

Here are some basic routines that help keep our house tidy and the people smiling around here.

Work It In

Photo by Remodeling This Life

Having tasks that flow together while living life is an essential part of a simpler home.  Rather than saving up for an entire task that takes huge chunks of time, where nothing is ultimately done except cleaning messes or taking care of overwhelming piles of papers, dealing with it “as you go” and making it a part of the daily routine will ultimately free up more time to get to the heart of living. Having a simpler home makes it possible to enjoy the everyday ordinary moments more.

Start The Morning Right

Photo by Centsational Girl

A basic morning routine is key to starting any day off right. Here’s a great article about

jump starting your day with a simple, five minute routine


In the morning, I throw in a load of laundry in while coffee brews.  You can empty the dishwasher so it’s available to load dishes as the day goes on so they don’t pile up.  Make beds first thing after getting up — nothing makes a room look tidier than a made bed, and an unmade bed can make a tidy room look messy.

There’s nothing like having it all done, waiting for when you crawl under the covers at night after a long day. Remember the power of ten minutes. Small, simple, short routines that are built into the day make all the difference.

End The Day Right

Photo by Remodeling This Life

A routine establishes expectations. This is especially helpful for kids, and for mine, the evening is the most important time for a routine.  My kids know that after dinner, it’s play time, then bath, put on jammies, brush teeth, and read books.

We don’t follow the clock as much as we follow the routine. They know what’s coming next and they expect it, so it all runs much more smoothly than if we had to chase them around screaming every night that they had to stop playing their game at a certain time and get in bed. The routine helps all of us relax and unwind.

I discovered a while ago that the key to starting each day right was ending each day right. By ending the day with cleaning the kitchen, putting away toys, planning or packing lunches, mornings became easier.

Evening is when it works best for me to fold laundry. I fold and put away at the same time, and I  lay out clean clothes for school the next day. No searching for socks when we’re supposed to be out the door.

The key is finding what small things work at what times, and then adapting them to the everyday.

In each and every task and routine, think of making things good enough. Not perfect. Keep things manageable so that you can find what you need when you need it, have someone drop by unannounced without having a panic attack, and enjoy the truly important moments of each and every day along the way.

What simple routines are part of your day-to-day that help keep your home running more smoothly?