Inside: Whether you’re a new homemaker or a seasoned one, we all desire to find joy in caring for our homes and to do all our work as unto the Lord. Here are some simple encouragements to help you in the care of your home.
One question that often appears in my email or my messages from readers and listeners is, “I don’t know where to begin in the care and management of my home.” I have multiple podcasts, posts, and videos addressing this area of managing our homes, but I want to walk through some important areas that stand out to me.
And please know as I’m sharing this, I’m not coming to you as an expert or my way is the right way, but just as a homemaker who has been doing this for over 37 years. I did come from a home where my grandmother modeled the care of her home beautifully, and my mother-in-love was an excellent example of a Titus 2 woman to me.
This post (or I encourage you to listen in to the podcast) is casual, and as I’m writing, I’m picturing us sitting over a cup of coffee and working through simplifying the care of our homes. If you are a Christian woman and a keeper of your home, you are to take great delight and care for it with a thankful heart.
Carolyn Mahaney sets the tone for our time with this quote:
“As Christian women, this is the attitude that should characterize our lives. We are to be women who love our homes. We are not merely workers at home, but we are to take great pleasure in working in our homes. We are to thoroughly enjoy the sphere that God has assigned to us.”
Let’s walk through some thoughts to help us care for our homes, how to do it as unto the Lord and with much joy and taking great pleasure in it. If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, please keep reading or sit with a cup of coffee or tea and listen to the episode.
Listen to Podcast EP 148: Managing Your Home: Simple Tips for Time Management, Cleaning, Laundry, and Organization or read part of the episode below:
You probably think I’m going to tell you to start with time with the Lord, and I’m going to get there, but it’s not going to be the first area we walk through.
Time management is an area that can be a struggle for many homemakers. If you are not good at managing your time and day, you won’t even get to time with the Lord.
A big help in caring for our homes is to have some systems and routines in place. We all have varying personalities, and many people struggle with routines and structure, but if you are finding yourself quite often in chaos, not getting things done, and your home is a mess trying to figure out some systems and routines to help you manage your time might be a help.
If you came from the workforce and are now home full time, I assume that when you were working – you had structure to your day at work – whatever you did – there were systems and routines and tasks that needed to be done. Someone, whether you or your employer – set up a plan to be followed to get things done. It is the same in the care of our homes. Things need to get done, and we must determine when and how they will get done. Just as in the workforce, things didn’t get done without some plan and you being diligent to excecute that plan.
One of the most basic tools of time management is a to-do list. No special items are needed, just a piece of paper, a notecard or an app on your phone. We are not writing out long-term goals or an extensive plan. This is just a current list for the day. You can do it first thing in the morning or before you go to bed and set yourself up for the next day, but whenever you choose to do it doesn’t matter – do it.
Make a list of everything you would like to accomplish for the day, and when you’re done, take a moment to highlight the top three items you’d really like to accomplish before the end of the day.
Is laundry piling up? Put wash a load on the list. Are dishes piled in the sink? Put wash the dishes on the list. Be specific with your list and use action words as you break down the chores for the day:
“Wash the kitchen floor.”
Vacuum the living room.”
“Scrub the bathroom sink.”
Be specific with your to-do list and begin with items that are of the utmost importance for the day. If you have been neglecting the care of your home, you may have some fires to put out. Dishes may need to be washed, the fridge may need to be cleaned, and laundry may be a nightmare. Laundry will only get done one load at a time, dishes washed one dish at a time, and the fridge cleaned out one shelf at a time. Writing these tasks down on paper will help you diligently work through them one area at a time.
If you’re struggling to start or get motivated – grab a timer – determine what area you will begin with – set the timer for 5 minutes, and keep working on or in that area for 5 minutes with no distractions or getting sidetracked. Stay focused. If it’s the dishes in the sink – set that timer and start washing them. Put some music or a podcast on and keep at the task.
You may be beyond the to-do list and have some order in your day. If a weekly schedule isn’t part of your time management, I’d like to encourage you to put a schedule together that you can hold loosely.
Put together a schedule that is realistic for your season of life. Look at your commitments each week and determine if there are specific days you want to do laundry, clean, meal plan, or grocery shop. You may want to block off an hour or a half each day on home care.
Set up a weekly schedule as a template to follow each week for items on your agenda that stay the same from week to week. From there, you can plan each week by starting with your template and seeing what is on your calendar. Now you know better what days are better to clean, or grocery shop, or do laundry. Don’t overbook yourself, and leave open time slots.
Time with the Lord:
As you are putting this schedule together, determine your bedtime and wake-up time, and now that we’re on wake-up time, determine how you will prioritize time with the Lord each day. You need to determine how much time you can spend with Him each day. (I always encourage mornings – I truly believe it is the best time – but it doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning).
Time with the Lord is a key part of your home care because it keeps your heart and attitude focused on His purposes and plans for your day. You’re reminded after time with the Lord to give thanks in all things, to keep an eternal focus, to serve and love others, to put on love and kindness and gentleness to walk in the Spirit, and to make the best use of your time.
Spend some time determining what your time with Him looks like. Get a plan in place and stick with it.
Please write it down somewhere to see it when you get up in the morning. Maybe put a sticky note on your bible and literally write the parts of your time with the Lord (Read the bible, pray, journal, meditate on the Word, etc.) As you do this day after day, it becomes a habit, and you won’t need that sticky note anymore.
Gather the necessary supplies, and determine where and when you will meet with Him. Do you need to set the alarm?
If you don’t have a plan in place, grab a free copy of Daily Time with the Lord; it’s a place to start.
The next area I think is essential, and you do not have to agree with me on this one, but I’m putting this above laundry and cleaning is having some system in place of planning your meals and along with that goes when and how you’re going to grocery shop.
Let me tell you my simple method, and this may not work for you, but do take the time to figure out what works for you, but don’t overthink. It is no help to spend days upon days Googling the perfect meal-planning system. Just start doing it.
My simple system is to write down my family’s favorite meals to eat and mine to cook. I do this for breakfast, lunch and dinners.
Now I start planning. I check the pantry, fridge and freezer for items I have on hand or need to use up. I factor in leftovers for lunches and start planning dinner ideas by first checking the calendar to see what our schedule looks like that week.
From there I make out my grocery list and I’m ready to head to the store and know what is for dinner each night of the week. This simple planning, takes much off my mind and task list for the week.
Time with the Lord
I have free downloads to help you in all these areas on the blog in the free library. You can find out the details on how to access them here. There is even a free weekly cleaning schedule to help you as a guide as you determine or set up your system.
None of these is overwhelming, and they will help you from becoming overwhelmed and they take little time but will gain you valuable time back just by a bit of planning.
I do love cleaning my home because I love how it feels when it’s clean, and my husband does too. My home isn’t perfect but comfortable, lived in, and tidy. We are not talking about a perfectly pristine home but one that is tidy and has order.
You need to determine how clean your home needs to be as a family. This was a good reminder for me from Emilie Barnes because each family will differ in this area. She shared a quote she came across in her book, More Hours in My Day, that said:
“I need my home to be as clean to be healthy and as messy as to make it warm.”
That’s pretty good wisdom. Your home is to be lived in – hold on to that thought always.
If you have kiddos and a husband who is willing to help you – use their help. Delegating is a great skill for a home manager. My husband is a much better window cleaner than I am, and he does an excellent job on our light fixtures, so when some of those items need attention, I ask him if he can put them on his list to get to when he has time.
It’s off my list and on his. When my grandkids come over, and the toy room or art room – what we call the area in my laundry room where their art supplies are – needs some tidying, I ask them to please do it. They love to help. So first, before I even address us, see if there are tasks you can delegate.
You may need to take the time to teach your children and walk through chores with them lovingly and patiently. Teach them how to do an excellent job at whatever task – cleaning the bathroom, dusting, or vacuuming. Don’t expect them to know how to do it without being taught. These are great skills to help them manage their own homes well.
We have a home that needs to be cleaned, and we are keepers of it, so let’s get to it. No complaining; we will pray for thankful hearts and be hard workers.
A quick note here. We all have different levels of cleanliness, and if you’re married, you should chat with your hubby and understand his expectations and desires. I don’t know your health issues either, so take all that into consideration, and one more note – there is nothing wrong with hiring a cleaning service if it’s in your budget and you need some help. You still need to tidy and clean in between, but it can be a huge help if it’s an option for you to have someone dust, vacuum, and wash floors.
Take that weekly schedule you have and determine when the care of your home will happen.
Will you clean certain rooms each day (Monday is the kitchen, Tuesday is the bathrooms)? Or will you do certain chores each day? Like dust on Monday, vacuum on Tuesday? Or will you give a certain amount of time each day for home care?
I’ve been doing it this way lately and determining it each week when I plan my week on Sunday evenings. I look at the week ahead, see what my schedule looks like, and set time amounts to clean each day. I deal with whatever areas or rooms need my attention that day, which has helped me keep order and tidiness pretty minimally.
I’ve learned not to clean things that don’t need to be cleaned. If a mirror isn’t dirty, I don’t clean it just because it’s been a week, or if a floor isn’t very dirty, I’ve learned to spot mop just the traffic areas. Eventually, deep cleaning gets done, but I don’t need to do it every week. Some weeks allow me time for a quick tidy and vacuum and feather dust in each room to keep order, and then the next week, I may have more time to do some deep cleaning that needs to be done.
Some quick tips that have helped me are if I need more motivation, I start by cleaning an area of my home that makes my heart feel happy to see it clean – maybe it’s the kitchen sink or my computer work area that tends to get cluttered. I also like to clean as early in the day as possible. I appreciate having afternoons to accomplish other tasks that take less energy, like paying bills or dealing with my office work or writing.
I am not a laundry expert and don’t have any extensive system, but I just keep up with it. We are empty nesters, so I only do a few weekly loads. But when my kids were home or now when I have grandkids over, I usually do a load or two a day.
My biggest tip here is to organize your laundry room and ensure you have the supplies on hand to take care of this necessary part of keeping our homes. I have an Amazon list of my favorite home cleaning and laundry items I’ll link to.
The laundry rule I like to follow that has served me well for many years is: When you are doing a load of clothes, it includes the following: sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away. Keep it from building up – don’t leave clothes in the dryer or washer for days – it makes your job harder and takes more time.
As the kids get older, teach them how to do their laundry and walk through it with them so they fully understand what they are doing. Teach them how much detergent to put in and how to sort clothes, fold them, and put them away properly. Help them to keep their closets and dresser drawers organized so they can easily put their clothes away.
You can find joy in this chore easily if you pray for each family member while folding their clothes. I read this tip years ago, and I appreciate it.
So often, things don’t get put away, clutter builds, and laundry piles up because there is nowhere to put things. When you’re putting that schedule together, schedule a time to declutter areas of your home that need help. Keep a running list of areas in your home to declutter and work through them gradually. You can work this into your weekly cleaning schedule. When cleaning the bathroom, tidy the supplies under the sink for a few minutes. When you straighten the entryway, make sure to have what is necessary on hand- move items cluttering it up to their appropriate rooms or spots.
My favorite tip for decluttering is one I shared in my podcast called Simple Tips for a Clutter-Free Home:
I need to determine the purpose for each room before I can begin to declutter. It is a simple step that seems to get neglected in most decluttering books.
Take the time to spend a few moments in each room of your house with a pen and paper in hand and write out what happens in each room. What is the room’s purpose, and what activities occur there? There will probably be one or two, purposes for each room in your home.
An example would be your kitchen. In my kitchen, we eat and fellowship around the table. You may do meals and homeschool in your kitchen, so you will be dealing with how to design your kitchen around those two purposes. In our family room, we read, watch television, DVDs’s, and play games, so my room is designed around those purposes (more than one purpose but similar). In our bedrooms, we sleep and read.
Just take it one room at a time and envision how you use that room and what you need to find homes for in each room. And the things that don’t belong in that room – put them in the room they do belong.
A Few Encouraging Closing Thoughts:
A Few More Closing Thoughts:
If you’d like another podcast or post to spur you on head to the Homemaking Encouragement category on the blog. You can use the “search” box here too if you’re looking for something specific.
My top episode is EP 79: Homemaking Matters: A Good God Working Out His Purposes in the Midst of Our Ordinary Days. It is a simple reminder we all need to remember or capture the reality of God’s hand in every aspect of our lives as homemakers – There is purpose being worked out in our typical day-to-day life. God is always at work behind the scenes.
Keep some simple reminders on your mind, like “Do the next thing.” It’s a thought I speak so often in my mind that I first came across from Elisabeth Elliot – my reminder is – that I don’t have to do everything, just the next thing.
Another favorite reminder from Elisabeth Elliot is one I think we should have on a plaque somewhere on our walls:
“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Do you consider taking care of your home a gift or a privilege? This can impact your attitude as you go about your daily chores. Do you view it as an offering to the Lord and perform it with joy? Are you faithful in fulfilling the role and calling that the Lord has assigned you?
If you are listening in or reading this post right now, you desire to be a blessing to your family and care well for your home. You desire to attend well to the priorities the Lord has given you, and you want to be diligent in the tasks set before you each day.
I’m so reminded that if we held a job outside the home, we would work hard at it – when I’m reminded that the Lord is my “employer” and He has entrusted us to care well for our families and one way we do that is in the way we care for these dwelling places on earth He has gifted us with.
Being a keeper of your home matters to the Lord, and it is one way He is also growing you in Christlikeness. Be faithful, work hard, do it with joy, and take the time to sit and plan how you will manage your home and what that looks like.
Give yourself much grace – not every day or moment is going to go well – there will be hard days and days of chaos – but tomorrow is a new day, and His mercies are new every morning – look to the Lord for your strength – hold fast to His truths and promises and know He is a kind and loving Father who is with you always as you seek His guidance and help in the role He has called you to.
Seek out an older woman in your church who cares well for her home and family, and learn from her with a teachable heart. This is the Titus 2 model. You should find an in-person mentor – if you don’t know where to begin, start with prayer. Don’t be afraid to ask an older woman if she would come alongside you and mentor you.
You can meet and just chat over a cup of coffee, and you can pick her brain about areas where you need help, and you know that she will be praying for you and encouraging you in your role as a keeper of your home.
It doesn’t mean you need to do things exactly as she does, but glean, learn, and implement what works for your family life. I will state it again, be teachable. Be open to seeing areas in your life that may need some help, and ask the Lord for a heart that’s willing to make some changes.
My dear friend, we have the ability to create a haven, a little bit of heaven here on earth, as we are being prepared in the midst of doing that for our eternal home in heaven one day. So, I’m encouraging us all to honor the Lord where He has placed us. We would love and care well for the family He has gifted us with in the way He has gifted and equipped us in all the various seasons of life we are in.
Be reminded often that God’s higher purposes are being worked out in our seemingly ordinary days – your homemaking matters to the Lord.
Let me remind you of the verses I keep at the front of my mind and meditate on often as I go about my day:
1 Corinthians 10:31
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I hope to encourage you today to be thankful for the role the Lord has called you in as a keeper of the home. Delight in the care and upkeep of your home. Continue to be a student and learn more about cleaning, cooking, and caring for a home.
Let your children see your love for the Word of God and the care of your home and family.
I can’t emphasize enough, and I do that here on the blog and podcast quite often – but Study the Word yourself because having sound doctrine brings about biblical living.
My dear friend, I pray that every part of our lives – even the care of our homes – adorns the gospel.