Becoming a homemaker is often met with apprehension, fear and a little anxiety over everything that is needed to run a home. We watch our mothers/stepmothers, grandmothers or great grandmothers go about their days, and we learn certain things from them, we pick up here and there on the general gist of homemaking.
When we finally get married and begin making a home for ourselves, things change and they change quick. You quickly learn that you can no longer depend on anyone else to get things done. It is up to you to tend to your husband, to your children, and to your home.
It can be overwhelming and scary, but it doesn't have to be and that's what we're going to talk about today.
Homemaking in itself encompasses a myriad of other smaller chores and tasks that we have to learn, but it doesn't have to be all mastered or conquered at once. There are daily tasks and weekly tasks, and tasks that only need doing once a month and others once a year even.
We are going to look at an overall idea of those things that go into the running of a home, and we're going to break them down so they're not so daunting.
Cooking and Meal Planning
Those to me are the biggest and most important when it comes to homemaking. Of course I have what I call the subcategories, or the extra things that I do but I don't consider a have to know in order to run my home successfully.
It's easy to look at those lists and think that it all looks great on paper, but how to apply it, how often, when should you do it, and how to get started. That's what I'm hoping to help you out with. As much as I learned from the women in my family, it wasn't until I was in my own house that I realized just how much needed doing. It was all about first hand experience for me, I knew what needed to be done but I didn't know how often or how many times, and no one really had the answers for me.
Before we go any further, I want you to stop and remember that there are no perfect homemakers. I've been told before that I intimidate some people, that I look like I have the perfect home and that I'm so good at homemaking. While I appreciate those kind comments, it is a little strange for me to hear them because I'm far from perfect when it comes to homemaking. Trust me, there are days that I leave the dishes piled in the sink, there are times that I don't get to vacuuming when I should, there are meals that end up not being made because I had a headache or was too tired.
None of that makes me a bad homemaker, it makes me human. So keep that in mind when going about your own day, we're all just getting by and doing the best we can :)
Daily Cleaning Chores
Kitchen - Washing dishes, loading and unloading the washer (if you use one) clean the sink, wipe down the counters, sweep, check to see if you need to take out the trash.
Bedrooms - Make the beds, open the curtains and blinds, let in some fresh air, put away any clothing laying around.
Bathroom - wipe counter tops, wipe sink, give the toilet a quick brush, wipe down toilet seat.
Living room - Tidy up, move any dishes to the kitchen, plump up pillows, vacuum if needed.
Laundry room - Do at least a load of laundry so it doesn't pile up.
Miscellaneous - Check mail, put away important paperwork, throw out junk mail.
Now here is a task that can very easily turn even the happiest homemaker into a raging yelling, big ol' mess of a woman. I have struggled and still struggle to this day to smile my way through this one.
And here's the other thing, there is no real right or wrong way to do the laundry. It's going to be all about what works for you. Above in the daily cleaning chores I suggested doing at least a load every day so it doesn't pile up, and while that is true, I don't often stick to it because frankly some days I don't have the time to tackle that never ending pile.
Ideally, you want to do a load a day, fold it as soon as it's out of the dryer and put it away. Realistically, most often than not in between all the busyness going on, the laundry comes out of the dryer into a basket, gets folder hours later, half of it is tossed into the ironing pile because it's now a wrinkly mess.....and the laundry that manages to get folded right away, sometimes sits in the basket for days.
I'm not going to lie and even pretend that this scenario never happens in my house, because to this day, it still does once in a while.
But if you can make it a habit of washing, folding and putting away from the get go, it will no doubt help you in your future homemaking days. Believe me!!!
Cooking and Meal Planning
I've talked about meal planning in depth, and you can find those posts here on the blog. Just do a quick search up top for meal planning or menus.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of meal planning when it comes to cooking and a food budget. It will help you immensely but it will also cut dramatically the amount of money you spend at the grocery store.
Figure out what works best for you, whether it's weekly shopping or biweekly or even monthly. I do mine every two weeks and it's what works for us.
Plan your meals for that time and do your shopping accordingly.
Cooking is a task that needs done daily, and it's really going to depend on who lives at home with you or if you have children and a husband etc. When my children were little, I was cooking 3 meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I was also planning for those on my meal plan. Now I just plan for dinners.
As they've grown up, they pretty much make themselves whatever they want, so my cooking has been cut down to just one meal a day, which is dinner time for everyone.
Word of advice, and a good habit to instill from the beginning is to wash and tidy as you go. Don't leave a huge mess of dishes and ingredients and bowls and cutlery laying around, it is overwhelming and will only lead to an even bigger mess. I put things away as I use them, for example after seasoning with salt and pepper, I immediately put those back in the cabinet. After I am done with a mixing bowl I rinse it and set it in the sink, and so on. I actually keep a trash bowl nearby where I dump anything that needs throwing out during my meal prep....egg shells, onion skins, potato peels etc.
It's easier to dump the contents of the bowl at the end, than make multiple trips to the trash can.
I used to be terrible at this during my first few years of marriage. There really wasn't a place for everything and everything in it's place. That was just a cute quote used by those I thought of as the master experts in homemaking.
I quickly learned that it was imperative for me to become organized if I wanted to run this household without constantly losing important paperwork, or wasting time looking for something I had no clue where it went.
I'm not talking about crazy organization or going completely bonkers with tons of baskets for every single crumb in your home, but there are basic organization skills that should be set in place.
Paperwork - You definitely want to have a well organized area, or basket or filing system for your paperwork. Now it is totally up to you how you do that, you can have everything organized by type of bill (utility, internet, car payment etc), or you can do it by month, which sometimes is easier and makes it quicker to get a hang on all the piling paperwork. Try to deal with the mail as it enters the house so you don't have a huge mess on the counters to deal with later.
Kitchen - I use a lot of baskets in my pantry, that's pretty much the only place I go all out, and I like to organize everything by their use. Baking, pastas, cereals, snacks and so on.
I also make sure to keep everything neat and organized under the sinks.
I think this is an area that really means different things for different people. I know plenty who don't organize at all but know exactly where everything is, and others who have to organize down to the minute details of every single item. So find the balance that works for you, and go with it.
This is one of the most important tasks you will have when it comes to running your home.
In our family, my husband works, but I'm the only that does the budget and pays all the bills, manages our money and so on. He prefers it that way, but that is not to say that when we're having a difficult month, he doesn't step in and help me or make suggestions. We work as a team.
I keep a book where every month I write down exactly what he gets paid and when, and then underneath I have all of our expenses, rent, car payment, credit card, utilities and so on. I write down all the amounts next to them, and tick them off as I pay them. I also write down next to each all the confirmation codes so if anything is called into doubt, I have the verification codes to prove that it was paid.
Find a system that works for you. Another program I use is Dave Ramsey's Every Dollar, I just recently started using it but am really liking it and it helps keep me aware of where all our money is going.
The easiest way to stay on track with homemaking, is to develop a routine or schedule. There are things that I do on a daily basis, and they are part of my routine. For example, here's a look at my usual day:
Wake up and make coffee for hubby and I
Sit on the couch, check email, youtube, blog while drinking coffee
Get dressed, empty and reload dishwasher, wash any dishes by hand that don't fit.
Put away anything left from breakfast, wipe down counters, sweep.
Start laundry, fold and put away anything in the dryer.
Water plants outside, and inside.
Pick up in the living room, tidy pillows open curtains, vacuum.
Open curtains and blinds in bedroom, make bed, put away any clothing laying around.
Check menu plan and take out meats to thaw.
Make lunch and clean up after lunch.
Do homeschooling with Nick.
Sit down for about an hour or two in the afternoon to do blog or computer work, watch some videos, crochet or read.
Start dinner preparation, switch over laundry, fold and put away etc.
Set the table.
Eat with family, pick up table and do dishes, tidy kitchen again, set the coffeemaker for the morning.
Take my shower.
Tidy up around the house again before heading to bed.
I strongly encourage you to add some time for yourself in your daily routines. It is SO important to carve out some time for doing the things you love, whether reading a book or sewing or crocheting, even watching a tv show.
My days follow pretty much the same routines unless I have doctor appointments, or grocery shopping or other errands going on.
Homemaking is all about knowing the basics and then finding your own groove. What works for one family may not work for the other. Just because one homemaker does her laundry every day, it might be easier for you to tackle it on the weekends. I have me time in the afternoon, but you may prefer it in the morning. Do what is best and feels right for yourself and your family.
Whatever you do though, just know that there are so many of us out here going through the same tasks, the same chores, the same days, and we're here to encourage and support each other.
Next post will be all about the sub categories, those things that it's good to know but are not absolutely necessary MUST knows for your household.
I hope you've enjoyed today's post and that you found it helpful or informative in some way. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I'll answer them best as I can :)