I interrupted the series on homemaking to share some personal stuff and now want to return to and complete that series. So here we go..
Last week I was spending time with a dear and longtime friend who is battling cancer. As we sat together while she was receiving her chemo treatment I was yet again inspired by how seemingly effortlessly she thinks of others before herself. This time, she was talking about a blog she was reading recently to get homemaking tips.
Homemaking tips? When you’re struggling with a life threatening disease? Battling chronic fatigue and the side affects of toxic drugs? Struggling with understandable fears about your future?
Liz’s heart for her home still comes through. She was telling me how the blog encourages homemakers to pick one project a day to tackle. It could be as simple as reorganizing a junk drawer or making it a point to make your bed first thing in the morning. She read a tip there that suggested that she clean out and wipe down her sink each night. Even if the dishes are just rinsed and put on the counter to load into an already-full dishwasher the next day, she talked about how good it felt to have a clean sink to wake up to.
I am often inspired by how my friend is navigating the turbulent waters in which she finds herself, and this day was no exception. Her heart to care for her home came through even as the chemo drugs were flowing through her veins.
I’ve been thinking about our conversation since then. While I believe it’s critically important to put the horse of heart attitudes about homemaking before the cart of practical ways to make our homes the priority the Bible teaches (see more about that here), the fact is this: being a passionate and effective homemaker requires both planning and work.
Liz can’t do heavy cleaning anymore. But she can usually rinse her dishes and wipe out her sink. She found something she could do regularly, rather than reaching for something too ambitious. You may not have a chronic or terminal disease, but there are other providential limitations that prevent you from keeping a sparkling house everyday. (Do you know anyone who can? I don’t!)
I am finding help in what I’m calling the Project/Habit approach to homemaking these days. Before I go to sleep each night I choose one project to do the next day that will take no more than 15- 30 minutes:
- Clean the ceiling fans (I have some really dusty ones in my house!)
- Move the couches and vacuum under them
- Reorganize the linen closet
- Straighten the pantry
- Clean the windows (living in a one-story house makes this possible in less than 30 minutes)
- Dust all the pictures on my walls
- Organize the drawers and under-the-sink area in a bathroom
- Scrub the shower doors
I’ve also picked one habit to focus on weekly. Here are some suggestions that I’ve found helpful over the years to get your own thoughts moving:
- Reminding myself of the “don’t put it down, put it back” rule a friend taught me years ago. This means I can always find the scissors, kitchen clean up is much
easier, and the dog leash is hanging right where it’s supposed to. (Something I continue to work on to this day!)
- Making my bed right away each morning. (Even if my dresser isn’t tidy and there are other things in our room that need to be put away, having a made bed helps me get my day started off well.)
- Tidying up the living area before I go to bed. (When I wake up to a mess it’s demotivating and discouraging.) One lady I know calls this “putting your house to bed each night.”
Do you have things going on in your life that tempt you to feel that homemaking is something you just can’t focus on at this time? Then maybe you can remember my friend, Liz.
Caring for our homes is possible in even the most challenging, busy or stressful seasons of life. Liz is a wonderful example that homemaking begins in the heart. And sometimes it’s just expressed by waking up to a clean sink.