Food for Thought: "Housekeeping comprises the ability to find, evaluate, and use information about nutrition, cooking, chemistry and biology, health, comfort, laundry, cleaning and safety. Above all, housekeeping must be intelligent so that it can be empathetic, for empathy is the form of intelligence that creates the feeling of home. Good housekeepers know intuitively what needs to be done in their homes because they know how their homes make people feel. We should not overlook the relation of personal style and character to the character of a home. These are complicated subjects, but we can at least remind ourselves here and how deeply they are involved in the subject of housekeeping. We can all observe for ourselves that warmhearted, reasonably well-organized people, not surprisingly, tend to keep well-functioning, cheerful, and welcoming homes... (Emphasis mine)." Cheryl Mendelson
"The traditional woman of the past did more to make her home feel alive and warm than dusting and cleaning. Someone could be hired to do that. Her real secret was that she identified herself with her home. Of course, this did not always turn out well. A controlling woman might make her home suffocating. A perfectionist's home might be chilly and forbidding. But it is more illuminating to think about what happened when things when right. Then, her affection was in the soft sofa cushions, clean linens and good meals; her memory in well-stocked storeroom cabinets and the pantry; her intelligence in the order and healthfulness of her home, her good humor in its light and air...Part of her relation to those (people) she loved was embodied in the physical medium of the home she made." Cheryl Mendelson.
Paraphrased thoughts from Cheryl Mendelson: Today, there are no uniform societal standards for what constitutes a clean house. If a woman of today was not taught the basics by an accomplished role model, she may feel totally at sea when it comes to knowing what to do to keep a house and when to do it. Thus, some people skimp even on the essentials of keeping a reasonably healthy, clean, and orderly home, because they don't realize how important these things are. Others go overboard and set such impossible standards for keeping a home that they wear themselves and their families out in an effort to achieve what they imagine must be home keeping perfection.
Consider your situation, consider your husband's wishes if you are married, and come up with a reasonable standard for order and cleanliness in your home. Letting things go is unhealthy; likewise, "order and cleanliness should not cost more than the value they bring in health, efficiency, and convenience."
Enemies of homeyness:
1) A lack of peace with God; lack of peace in your heart; allowing disorder in the heart to spill over into how you keep your home; insecurity about your home keeping; feeling an inordinate desire to apologize for little housekeeping mistakes so much that you make your family and guests feel uncomfortable; never feeling that you are doing enough; never being able to just enjoy your own family and your own home because you don't think you've done a good enough job in keeping your home.
2) Caring more about what you like or about what other people will think of your home than about what makes your family feel "at home" and comfy. Valuing things over people. Valuing your routine over people (A successful home manager is able to keep a reasonable routine, yet is also flexible when appropriate.) Keeping a beautiful home, yet not having places in it where people feel comfortable enough to relax.
3) Indifference; lack of confidence that making a welcoming and orderly home is an important part of life; bowing to societal pressures to undervalue what you do in the home; not caring for your current residence because a) you're single and you don't see a need to keep home until you are married, or b) you're living in temporary quarters or you don't like your current living space.
4) Moving through life in a disorganized way; living from crisis to crisis rather than consistently investing in the things that make for a peaceful life and an orderly home.
5) Lack of knowledge; being unsure of what are good standards to set for the management of your home;
Friends of Homeyness:
1) Finding your peace and security in your relationship with the Lord; keeping your home for His glory, not yours; more concern for loving others than about what people will think or about making everything go your way; taking little homemaking trials or mistakes in stride, knowing that we all have them; learning to be content and to focus on what you were able to get done in a day, rather than dwelling on what still needs to be accomplished.
2) Valuing people over things and over your routine. Being in touch with what the people in your home need. Caring for people without going to the extremes of neglecting them or smothering them.
3) Developing the conviction that how you live in your home is valuable. It is important. Being okay with the fact that home keeping can be a thankless task at times, but being secure anyway that what you are doing counts in the long run; doing the best you can with what you have, even if you are single now or you don't like the place where you are now living. Do what you can to make your current space feel homey, and you will develop habits that will serve you in good stead. Not only that, but you'll feel more at home and more comfortable in your life now, and that's a good thing.
4) Learning how to be both consistent, yet flexible. Making daily investments in your relationship to God, the overall picture of your life, and in your home.
5) Studying, noticing, learning. Pick a few good role models and watch how they keep home.
Extra Special Friends of Homeyness:
1) A cheerful heart is not only good medicine, it lights up a home. There are many times to weep in life, and we need to be in touch with those times. It's important to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice. However, we can train our basic mood to be cheerful, and that does a lot of good for our attitude and for our family's sense of home. Sing, laugh, praise, and be grateful. Think on wholesome things. Pray for a cheerful heart.
2) Keep your appearance neat and feminine.
3) If you make your bed every day, take care of your dishes, fix a good meal, and keep one room picked up, you'll have gone a long way toward making your home welcoming for the day.
4) Unless you have health restrictions that would dictate otherwise, consider airing your house frequently and opening curtains to let the sun in. Nothing smells so clean in a house as fresh air. Since dh and I have allergies, there are times when we have to forego this pleasure. But, the extra oxygen in a fresh breeze does so much to create a peaceful atmosphere in the home.
5) If you and your family enjoy the color yellow, decorate with a few touches of it throughout the house. Even a glass vase filled with lemons and a sprig of mint adds a touch of sunshine to a kitchen, for example.
Who will make an apron with me? I plan to start mine in December. If you'd like to sew along with me, you might want to collect materials now. If you like, use Christmas fabric.
Here's what you will need:
Note: If you don't have a sewing machine, but you do have the time, you could hand sew this.
One yard of contrasting color material.
Matching thread or a neutral beige or white thread, if you don't mind the stitches being seen.
Pencil or chalk for marking material
Hand sewing needle for finishing touches