Order in the Home
Did you know that you are the director of your home? No, I didn’t say you are to direct your husband! God has given you the task of administrating of the domestic affairs of your home. In 1 Timothy 5:14 it tells women to “guide the house.” The translation of this phrase from the Greek literally means “to rule and manage the home.” This is your privilege and responsibility and it is as important as the manager of any big business. A business can’t run well without order, nor can a home. Here are a few of my thoughts about order.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Things don’t just happen; you have to make them happen.” We cannot make our home run efficiently unless we organize. This will look different in every home. Some women are high-powered organizers; others are laid back. Whatever our personality, we must maintain a certain amount of organization. The blatant fact is that if you just let life happen, chaos eventuates!
You must plan your meals, make sure supper is ready in time for your husband coming home each evening, organize your cleaning and laundry, and of course, train your children to do their specific tasks. To organize a home does not mean that you are a slave in the home. You are the organizer, making it happen by getting everyone involved.
Do you have younger children? Do the basics!
Life has seasons. It is part of the ebb and flow of life. You may be in the season of little toddlers and babies, or maybe you have a newborn. In this season, it is not as easy to keep the standard you would normally keep. Keep to the basics in this season. Make sure you provide three nutritious meals each day. Ask the Lord to give you ideas on how to do this as you care for your little ones at the same time. You may like to use the crock pot for the supper meal, putting in meat and veggies that can cook all day. That way, you will get through the fussy time with your baby (which is usually in the early evening, right at the time you are seeking to prepare supper) and you’ll be sure to have an evening meal ready for your husband.
Keep up with laundry and make sure dishes are done. Don’t worry if your house gets strewn with toys and so on throughout the day, but don’t leave it like that. Have a “One, Two, Three, Let’s Go” clean up before your husband arrives home. Even little children can be excited about putting everything away (or even throwing it out of sight into a cupboard) before daddy comes home.
Don’t try and do a lot of extra things. I remember when I was raising my little ones—three under 17 months at one time and then four under four years. I longed to change the world and fulfill all the visions I dreamed of as I sat and nursed my baby. But I realized that these visions were for another time. I was doing the greatest work I could do as I nursed my baby and cared for my little ones. If you can nourish and train your little ones and keep the home to a basic standard, you are DOING A GREAT JOB! You don’t have to add one more thing to your list of what to do in your day.
When you sit down to nurse the baby, that’s often when you notice dirty windows and marks on the walls. Turn a blind eye to them. Your windows will still be dirty in the years to come, but you won’t have these precious little ones at this age. They are more important than sparkling windows and flawless walls!
“Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait ‘till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow,
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m nursing my baby and babies don’t keep!”
Start Training Early!
Train your children to only eat at the table or at least in the kitchen or dining room. I do not allow anyone in our home, young children (or even teens or adults, because they are an example to the younger ones) to eat in any other room in the house, apart from the kitchen or dining area. If you allow children to eat in the lounge, in their bedrooms or wherever they like, you create a lot more cleaning for yourself. It is slovenly, a bad habit for them to get into, and an inefficient waste of your valuable cleaning time.
Try to avoid foods with sugar or artificial colors—they will make your children hyper-active which will not help the order of the home. This means, of course, that you must always read labels carefully as nearly every packaged and canned food you purchase has sugar and artificial colors in the ingredients. Study and learn to feed your children correctly.
Train your children to help with household chores, even if they can’t do them to your standard. Young children can set the table, help cut vegetables, do dishes and sweep the floor etc. And they love to do it. By the time your young daughters are teens, they should know how to run the home.
I would also encourage you to cut corners—not corners of cleanliness, but unnecessary tasks. I remember when I first started homemaking nearly 50 years ago; I kept to the traditions of that time. Every week, without fail, I changed all the bed sheets in the home. We used to take the bottom sheet off the bed and put it in the laundry, put the top sheet on the bottom and a new sheet on the top! But now we have fitted sheets and it doesn’t work that way. Plus, I don’t believe that we need to change sheets every week. I have digressed from that tradition. If children bath or shower, you can keep sheets on the beds for two or three weeks at a time. This saves a lot of laundry, especially if you have a number of children.
What about ironing? I also started out ironing about twice a week. I even ironed pillow cases (I had friends who ironed tea towels)! Help! How did I do that with four children under four and then six young children? I certainly don’t do that now, even though my children have grown. I have better things to do. I try to hang up clothes from the dryer immediately so they don’t crumple and iron only what is absolutely necessary. I will even throw a dress in the dryer to unwrinkle if it needs an iron!
Remember, you are responsible to keep your home clean and in order, but not to do unnecessary tasks. Make the use of this time to spend more time with your children, reading to them, teaching them and doing creative things with them. That will have far more impact than unnecessary household tasks.
Are your children older? You are entering the Queen stage!
If you trained your children when they were young, they will now know how to clean and run the home. In fact, everyone in the home should feel their responsibility to keep it clean and tidy. You are now entering the reward time of having consistently and faithfully training your children. You can enjoy living like a queen.
A routine keeps order in the home. In our home I expect everyone to be up in time for breakfast. We have our morning Family Devotions at 8.00 am. Anyone who has not finished their breakfast before this time misses out on breakfast. It is over. We have to clean up and get on with the day. We have lunch at a certain time and supper at a certain time. I am aghast when I hear of mothers allowing their children, and especially their teens, to sleep in and get up whenever they want. This is poor training and does not prepare them for life. It does not prepare them for a career or how to get to work on time and does not prepare daughters to run a home. Children should learn to get up at a certain time. The day is for work and adventure, the night is for sleeping! (1)
Of course, children need their sleep, but if they cannot get up in the morning, they are obviously going to bed too late the night before. I am still old fashioned enough to believe in the old adage, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” However, in saying this, I don’t believe in legality and rigidity either, and I allow everyone to sleep in on the weekends.
In the midst of keeping order, we must also have freedom; freedom to change our plans if something special is happening; to halt our schedule if someone needs help or arrives at our home and needs encouragement, or freedom to do something unexpected and different, just for the spice of life. A sense of order in the home gives permission to do fun things.
Order can only happen with discipline, first in our own lives and then teaching it to our children. We also must try to get to bed at a reasonable hour so we can get up early and be ready to face the day—to prepare breakfast, put in a load of laundry, organize schooling and each child to their various tasks. (2)
The Beauty of the Home is Order!
One of my best disciplines in regard to cleaning is my weekly Preparation Day. Every Friday we clean the whole house from top to bottom. Cleaning once a week keeps the home in good shape. I include everyone in the home in this task. I have a list of each task that needs to be accomplished in each room and someone is appointed to each task or tasks. This is the day, when apart from vacuuming and dusting,we give the bathrooms and toilets a full clean, clean the marks off the carpet, walls and doors and clean the windows and mirrors, etc. I also try to clean out a fridge or one of the cupboards. I don’t clean all cupboards in one day, but try to do one a week on each Preparation Day. (3)
To keep a home running smoothly is easier said than done! Children lag behind. They disobey and complain. But they’ll get tired of you nagging. Inspire and encourage your children instead. When you train your young children you may need to use some “carrots” to get them motivated. You will have your different ideas that work in your family. You may like to print up a schedule on the fridge. Each child who is up on time each morning gets a star. Each child who does their appointed task without complaining gets a star. The one who gets the most stars at the end of the week gets a prize—something worthwhile. This gives them incentive and encouragement to do what is right and develop habit of doing it.
Resisting what? I’m talking about resisting the resistance that comes from your children and teens. They will naturally be lazy. They will muddle around instead of doing their chores. Don’t give in! Keep to your plan. Establish the order until it is the habit in the home. Training doesn’t happen in a day. It takes time, but it will become a habit if you are consistent and don’t give in! (Isaiah 28:9-10).
Family life is meant to be filled with fun and joy. But let’s face it, there’s no fun parenting children who are unruly, out of control and disobedient! You don’t even want to get up in the morning! To enjoy an orderly, fun-filled home you have to train your children to be obedient and respectful. Without this foundation, it’s hard to have order.
No matter what it costs, determine to teach your children to be obedient. You don’t do this by getting mad and angry. You make sure that they hear and understand what you have asked them to do and you quietly enforce your commands. If they disobey, or delay to obey, you discipline them according to the way God has outlined in His Word, not according to some humanistic idea. (4)
Instead of dreading to get out in the bed in the morning, you’ll bounce out of bed! Never forget, you order the world of your home. You are in charge, you are not the victim!
(1)Proverbs 6:6-11; 13:4; 24:3-34 and 26:14.
(2) Diligence:Genesis 2:15; Exodus 23:12; Psalm 110:3; Proverbs 20:13; 27:23; 28:19; 31:13, 27; Ecclesiastes 5:2; 9:10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Galatians 6:9-10; Colossians 3:17, 23 and Luke 16:10.
Laziness:Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4; 13:4; 14:23; 18:9; 19:15, 20:4; 23:21; 24:30-34; 26:14-15 and Ecclesiastes 10:18.
(4) Discipline: Proverbs 3:11-12; 10:1, 13; 13:24; 17:25; 19:18; 20:30; 22:15; 23:13-14; 26:3 and 29:15, 17.