ORDER IN THE HOME
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
I did not plan to write a sequel to this devotion. However, I received many replies to this subject, plus many questions regarding “how” to actually keep the home in order. One lady asked, “Can you please tell me what should be done daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, yearly?” Another asked, “Could you include a list of what is accomplished when you clean the house from "top to bottom?" The answers to these questions would require a book, but I will share a few further thoughts with you.
MOMS WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN—DO THE BASICS
Firstly, it is important to remember that we have seasons in our lives. This is part of the ebb and flow of life. You may be in the season of little toddlers and babies. Maybe you have a newborn. When you are in this season, it is not easy to keep to the standard that you would like to normally keep in youir home. When you are in this season, the most important thing to remember is to do the basics. 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, 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 can remember when I was raising my little ones—three under 17 months at one time, and four under four years a little later. 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 that I could do as I nursed my baby, cared for my children and kept the house in a basic standard of cleanliness. If you can nourish and train your little ones and keep the home in a basic order, you are DOING A GREAT JOB! You don’t have to add one more thing to your list of what to do or the day.
When you sit down to nurse the baby, that’s when it is easy to look around and 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 that sparkling windows and flawless walls!
However, start training your little ones when they are young. Train them to only eat at the table or at least in the kitchen or dining room only. 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. This saves loads of cleaning. 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 a inefficient waste of your valuable cleaning time.
Don’t bring any sugar or any foods with sugar or artificial colors into your home! Sugar is a poison and will make your children more hyper-active! This doesn’t 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. Train yourself 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 the bed sheets. 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! That was the norm back in those days. 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. That 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 their 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 purchase clothes that don’t need ironing. I iron only what is absolutely necessary. I try to hang up clothes from the dryer immediately so they don’t crumple. 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.
MOMS WITH OLDER CHILDREN—YOU ARE ENTERING THE QUEEN STAGE
If you have trained your children when they are 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 consistently and faithfully training your children.
However, I mentioned in my last devotion, that each Friday we do a full clean in our home. 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 or two a week on each Preparation Day.
If you would like to read more about cleaning on The Preparation Day, go to:
One reader wrote in answer to last week’s devotional, “I found it hard to do all my household duties in one day so I prayed about it and began to do one job a day which worked really well for me. By Friday, when I did the last job, which was changing the linen on the beds, it was not too big a task. Come Saturday all the tasks were completed which gave me a better weekend.”
The best encourager is the Word of God. May you be blessed as you read the following Scriptures:
The blessings of diligence and hard work:
Genesis 2:15; Exodus 23:12; Psalm 110:3; Proverbs 20:13; 27:23; 28:19; 31:13, 27; Ecclesiastes 5:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Galatians 6:9-10; Colossians 3:17, 23 and Luke 16:10.
The destruction of slackness:
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.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“”Father, you are a God of order. Please teach me how to keep order in my home. Amen."
My first priority is my home, not activities outside my home!