Get into the habit of completing these basic tasks daily. With just a few minutes' work, you'll easily be able to keep chaos at bay.
Make the Bed
Tidiness begets tidiness. A crisply made bed makes the whole room seem more orderly, which makes it less likely that you'll let other things -- such as clothes and papers -- pile up around it.
Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn't where it should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same.
Sort the Mail
Take a few minutes to open, read, and sort mail as soon as you bring it inside. Keep a trash bin near your sorting area for junk mail. Drop other mail into one of four in-boxes: personal correspondence, bills, catalogs, and filing.
Clean as You Cook
Instead of filling the sink with pots and dishes, wash them or put them in the dishwasher as you prepare a meal.
Wipe Up Spills While They're Fresh
Whether it's tomato sauce on the cooktop or makeup on the bathroom counter, almost anything is faster and easier to remove if you attend to it immediately.
Sweep the Kitchen Floor
Every evening, once you've finished washing up after dinner, sweep the floor. This will keep tough-to-clean dirt and grime from building up, which will make the weekly mopping much quicker.
More from Martha Stewart Living:
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
24 Bathroom Organizing Tips You Haven't Thought Of
No Excuses: 30 Everyday Things You Should Know How to Do
12 Secrets for a Cleaning the Bathroom in Less Time
A smart space will make staying on top of clutter a piece of cake. See Martha's tips.