I hate cleaning. This is a fact that has been welldocumented (or, to non-bloggers, whined about a whole lot).

But over the past several months, I’ve found a pretty good groove of doing chores fairly regularly and keeping our house neat and tidy (for the most part). However, I still have a problem anytime life happens.

That could mean we went out of town, someone was sick, I got a new book from the library or we were out unusually late or often several days in a row. But no matter the cause, when our life’s schedule is altered, even the tiniest bit, my house gets out of control.

Some days, it’s so bad that I feel like I’m living in a frat house. Not that I’ve ever lived in a frat house. Not that my house is covered in pizza boxes, dirty boxers and red plastic cups. But it’s just out-of-control, I-don’t-know-where-to-start messy.

Creating a cleaning schedule has made a world of difference in how I approach cleaning (and has actually helped me hate it a little less), but when life happens and “normal” is thrown out the window, I need to have a system in place that prevents my house from turning into a disaster in [seemingly] mere minutes.

Enter my friend Dana’s ebook, 28 Days to Hope for Your Home. Reading her book has shown me that I need to have a short list of non-negotiables, things that must be done each and every day to maintain my house’s status quo.

As Dana says, if you’re the type of person who would never dream of going to bed with dishes in the sink, this book isn’t for you. But, as I say, if you’re the type of person who would never dream of saying to a friend, “Sure! Stop by anytime!” for fear they really would stop by anytime and catch you living in a fraternity house, this book is for you.

My house is reasonably clean much more often than it’s not, but I still struggle with staying on top of things day after day (especially when those days are stressful or long or otherwise unusual). Getting it through my thick skull that some things just must be done has helped. A lot.

Not that Dana is going to force you to do anything, really. She writes a blog called A Slob Comes Clean, where she honestly (and hilariously) shares just how not natural this house keeping thing is for her. But while she’s transparent and practical, empathizing with those of us who’d rather read a book or put our feet up or do pretty much anything else other than clean, she’s also encouraging and inspiring. And did I mention she’s funny?

28 Days to Hope for Your Home is a 45-page guide that includes specific, day-by-day instructions to help you develop four basic but essential home management habits, insights into why these concepts seem foreign to you and practical tips to keep you from giving up. It also has a bonus section with realistic strategies for laundry management, meal prep and decluttering. This month only, the book is just $4.00 (50% off).

Dana’s four essential habits aren’t actually the same daily, non-negotiable chores that I’ve chosen for my home. I mean, I could tell you I’m going to sweep my floor every night, but I suspect you know me better than that. But the point isn’t [just] what habits you stick to; it’s the mindset behind it and getting some motivation and encouragement to keep it up – even when life happens.

My non-negotiable daily chores are loading/emptying the dishwasher, wiping down kitchen counters, filling ice trays and wiping down the bathroom. I usually pick up the living room, too, but there are days when the toys don’t get picked up and I pretend like they aren’t there.

What are your non-negotiable daily chores that keep your house neat even when life happens?

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