"Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home. He who does this builds a sanctuary for God and opens a fountain of blessing for men."- J.R. Miller
A large part of building a home that is a fountain of blessing to men, women and children is to keep it tidy, clean and welcoming. Let's not kid ourselves and believe the feminist lies that only boring women keep a clean home. No, it's the lazy, self-centered women who constantly make excuses for living in depressing, messy houses! Those of you with chronic illnesses or a newborn baby or other debilitating realities, you do what you can and God will bless your efforts.
I am speaking to the woman who has never been taught the skills necessary to keep a home running smoothly and who thought it was going to be easy. I am going to just go ahead and say the words out loud, "A home that is clean, organized and welcoming is a home that has someone who has planned and worked very very hard to get it that way and keep it there!" I'm here to tell you, "Honey, do yourself and your family a big favor and become a woman who makes a big difference in your home!"
"Keeping" your home is a skill worth learning. For some of us the learning curve is steep! You may live in a dorm room, a basement apartment or a tent but a little organization and elbow grease goes a long way toward helping you relax when you are home.
Cleaning our homes may not be our favorite thing to do, but it has to be done. I have a few rules in my house that help make *my job* a whole lot easier.
1. Set ground rules for eating, sleeping and playing. When our kids were little eating was done at the table or outside (no wondering around the house trailing crumbs). I would like to keep that rule today but it is harder to enforce with hungry teens (although not impossible). They'd better keep their dishes picked up though!
2. I enforce a bedtime routine and a morning routine. For example, the kids are supposed to eat breakfast after getting up not after playing for a while and then wandering into the kitchen at an odd hour (like lunchtime). I am not a short order cook and I don't want the kitchen to continually be in use! Of course, little ones need to be reminded that time is passing and it's time to eat!
3. I try not to start laundry unless I have time to finish it (no piles of clean, wrinkled laundry left in the dryer). If I can't be there to grab the laundry straight from the dryer (thereby avoiding unnecessary wrinkles), I try to postpone it for later. This helps me avoid unnecessary ironing.
4. I clean clutter up on a weekly basis ( I keep a thrift store bag handy). Remember, the hard part about decluttering is deciding what perfectly good items need to go! We all can easily throw away junk but that item we paid too much for and never use? That's hard!
Take a cold, hard look at the amount of items that enter your house each day. Count each piece of mail, notice the plastic toy your kids were "gifted" at the neighbors, check out the bag of hand-me-downs that your sister-in-law just passed on. They all add up to a potential for mess if you don't regularly get rid of the extras and curb those things you hold on to.
Take the time to think about your home and what you can do differently to make it peaceful, well-kept and clean with a minimum of effort. It takes brains, will power and sheer determination to run your home. Enjoy the process, love the people that live within it and pray for creative ideas as you work hard within your home!
“The woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies.”
― J.R. Miller
Jill Farris has been married to her husband Doug for thirty years and is the proud mother of eight children ages seven to twenty-seven. She is passionate about encouraging those women who hold the next generation on their laps. You will find her encouraging those women with practical tips and encouraging articles at her blog Generational Womanhood.