The Daily Checklist

Why I have a daily checklist:

The original tagline for A Slob Comes Clean was: Figuring Out Why I Am This Way, and What I Can Do to Change.

Truly, my messy house was a mystery to me.  For an intelligent, successful-in-every-other-area-of-life person, the frustration I felt over the fact that my house could go from party-ready to total-disaster in a week flat was overwhelming.

Even more overwhelming was my inability to notice what was happening during that week.  It truly felt like I woke up to a messy house, and I couldn’t figure out how it got that way.

It was a mystery.

The good news is . . . I’ve solved the mystery.

The bad news is that unlike Encyclopedia Brown who gets to bask in the glory of his successful detective work and write “The End” . . . my story never ends.

Even though I’ve figured it out, I still have five people living in my house who expect to wear clean clothes and use plates, forks AND glasses every single day.

Therefore, my Daily Checklist is my best friend.  But the kind of best friend who gets on your nerves sometimes.

I think the reason my checklist is successful for me is that I didn’t use someone else’s list.  I looked around my house, identified the consistent problems, and tackled them one at a time.  In fact, I didn’t even realize I was developing a daily checklist at first.  I just started doing the dishes.  Then, I added one new thing to focus on each week.

And that’s what it’s all about.  Focus.  Making myself see the things that consistently escape my Slob Vision.

Having a Daily Checklist doesn’t mean that my house is perfect all the time. I still struggle way more than normal people during busy periods of life.  But the fact that the mystery has been solved means that I no longer feel helpless and bewildered. I know that I just need to pick up that sheet of paper and carry it through the house as I do the tasks and check them off.

Some Daily Checklist links:

(Just click on the pink to get to the corresponding post.)

Here is the overall concept behind my Daily Checklist. The post includes a printable version.

I’ve learned that the number one key in keeping my home out of disaster-status is running my dishwasher every single night.

Along those lines, emptying the dishwasher is as important as (if not more than) running it.

Normal people may not need to sweep their kitchen every single day, but I do.  And it’s not really about the sweeping.

A Daily Pick-Up is my least favorite task on the Daily Checklist.  And yet . . . it’s the one that makes the biggest difference.  Go figure.

I have to put “Close the Cabinet Doors” on my daily checklist. Yes.  Mmmm-hmmm.  It’s all about making conscious decisions about the things I do (or don’t do) automatically.

Even though only a select few have ever seen my master bedroom . . . I’ve realized that making my own bed is key.

See all posts labeled Daily Checklist.






  1. 1
    Alana in Canada says:

    More than anyone else, you have explained my husband and daughter to me. My house was trashed two days ago: Christmas stuff everywhere. It took me all day just to pick everything up and put it away or find homes. It was work. I didn’t enjoy it.

    My husband came home and didn’t notice. I had to tell him to look. In the past I would have just got mad, thinking he was unappreciative. Now I know, he just doesn’t see the mess–and he doesn’t really notice when it’s clean. He does feel the difference, though.

    My daughter–well, she leaves cupboard doors open. And drawers. And she’s always creating something and leaving the supplies and the creations all over the place. And she has a million friends with whom she keeps in regular contact–some overseas! She’s eleven. Thanks to you, I think I am more patient with her. I hope so.

    So thanks, Nony. Happy New Year. Keep those posts coming.

  2. 2

    I think the reason my checklist is successful for me is that I didn’t use someone else’s list. I looked around my house, identified the consistent problems, and tackled them one at a time.

    This is exactly why I’ve never been able to work the FlyLady program (or any of the other downloadable checklists, etc. floating around the Blogsphere). I don’t give a rat’s patooty about a shiny kitchen sink since we don’t have a dishwasher it’s impossible to keep the sink empty by keeping a dishpan underneath the sink. I need that space for storage as we don’t have any closets downstairs. Following that suggestion is completely ludacrious in my situation.

    Anyway. I’m not trying to trash FlyLady because she did change the way I manage my time and household chores but it didn’t happen by me doing the exact tasks she prescribed. Like you, I spent some time looking around my house, observing how we work, and developed my own plan. I can totally see how someone might be completely overwhelmed and being told Exactly What To Do helps but I think there are a lot of us who need to figure out our own system. Or I’m just stubborn and don’t like to be told what to do. Ha ha.

    • 3

      It’s all about paying attention. Making yourself focus on this problem so you can figure it out!

      And yes, stubbornness is a big part of my problem, too.

  3. 4

    Ok, so I was introduced to your blog the other day. I’ve read through a bunch of it. You have inspired me! Mostly because I can now FINALLY admit to my messiness. I’m just like you! Thank you – I think you may have changed our families lives!

  4. 6

    I can totally relate to what you’re saying here! Last year at this time I created a cleaning challenge for myself where I went room-by-room, did a complete de-clutter and deep clean, and then identified what tasks I needed to do daily/weekly/monthly to keep each room in working order (not perfect, but to keep up with everything enough to where I didn’t get overwhelmed and need to do everything all at the same time! THAT’S the key for me because if I let things get out of hand I just don’t know where to start so I don’t!).

    As a result of this challenge, I made myself a chore schedule breaking down what I needed to do each day, in addition to the daily tasks (like dishes!), in order to keep everything under control. It has helped me SO MUCH to have a visual to refer to, to keep me on track!

    Also, interestingly enough, like you, I started with the dishes too! Figuring out the importance of doing the dishes right away, keeping the dishwasher emptied, and making a conscious effort to do these things promptly (as simple and as ‘duh’ as it sounds) made a big difference in the way my housekeeping efforts have improved.

    Glad I found your blog (Inner Hooker shared it on FB). I look forward to reading more!

    Happy New Year!

    • 7

      I’m so glad you found me too! And I’m glad you told me who shared . . . I saw my stats from fb spike last night but didn’t know where it was coming from!

  5. 8

    I grew up in one of those houses that you could possibly see on hoarders. I’m still coming a long way from 7 years from being out of there. One of these lists would be super helpful. I find myself feeling the same way you described. Like I just woke up and it was dirty. I need a daily list for sure. thanks for the idea! I’m going to subscribe.

  6. 9

    I stumbled on your podcasts by accident, but BOY am I glad I did! I got the website from the podcasts and have been on it for an hour, just puttering around. I clean for a living and I can relate to
    all of what you are saying! Thanks so much for what you do!

  7. 11

    I’m a mom of 3 1/2 with ADHD. Cleaning is hard. Being Tidy is hard. I am not good at it in any way shape or form. But having the house be a trashpit is super stressful. Finally in my 20’s my mom came across some research that showed that my poor brain just can’t keep up with a lot of organizing methods and cleaning programs (creativity and enthusiasm I get an a+ Doing repetitive tasks that are boring or have lots of steps I totally fail. if there were a grade lower than fail I would get it.) We’re finally finishing our house, and i’m trying to find organization and cleaning solutions that will work for me, and for our family. I don’t want my kids to learn to be slobs! Your “slob brain” sounds kinda sorta like my rampant ADHD brain. Which means that I get easily overwhelmed by large tasks (and have trouble breaking them down to bite size) and when I try to do stuff that has a lot of steps I randomly find myself on the other side of the house with no idea what I was doing. And I forget the wash in the washer a lot…… sigh….. Maybe you’re proof that it’s not completely hopeless? And maybe what works for a slob can work for a scatterbrain!

    • 12

      It’s definitely not hopeless!! (Though it IS challenging.)

    • 13

      Me, too! I have so many rules that I do just because my ADHD brain isn’t “Normal.” One rules is: I do a load of laundry every day, and almost every day I exclaim when opening the washer, “Oh, I forgot I washed that yesterday!” And I move it to the dryer. So not only does my laundry stay under control, but I rarely have to re-wash things that go mildewy from being forgotten. Keep at it, you will find your own rules or checklist that works for you. I have a looong ways to go, but I am so proud of what I have figured out so far.


  1. […] Dana is my spirit animal. We have the same struggle, and she’s worked hard to overcome it. Her daily checklist has become my guide, and with a few modifications I’ve implemented this strategy and had […]

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