The business of home involves developing routines. These might not take place every single day, yet you will have them on your mind.
Making the home a pleasant place to be, takes about 99% work for 1% enjoyment, it seems. Therefore it is mighty important that you develop a penchant for your work. Some jobs are gritty and hard. You have to get the determination to do them, but your motivation comes from the picture in your mind's eye, of the end-results.
To achieve the dream you have for your home, you might have to break down the tasks into small portions.
Let me give you an example. I mentioned in a previous post that the outdoor area around your house can extend your use of the house. I wanted to have a place just like pictures in Better Homes and Gardens. However this would take some hard work before could become a beautiful spot to sit and sip lemonade on a warm day.
Around our house was overgrown brush up to my waist. I had given up wishing to win a prize of a free garden make-over. I sat for years thinking that it couldn't be done. Then, one summer day I reached over and pulled out a clump of dried grass and weeds. Beneath it appeared bare ground and fresh soil. I pulled some more. The grass was so difficult to pull, and the ground so hard, that the only thing to do was to pull out the grass, one blade at a time, with the help of a little hand trowel. I told myself I would do one square foot. I don't know how much that is in European measures, but just think of it as the size of your foot, four ways, making a square. After one square, I would quit.
By the time I had done one square foot, having a bare spot next to the outer wall of the house was so pleasing, that I could not quit. I did stop now and then to refresh myself but by then, was hopelessly addicted. I stayed outside til 9 or 10 in the evening, as long as the light lasted. A job that I thought would entail months of work, took me only one day of hard labor. The next day I was enthused about filling up those bare spots with pretty flowers.
It might seem like the 99% of hard work resulted in 1% pleasure, but the work became part of the pleasure, as I saw good results.
The same can be done with a laundry room. Everyone has experienced not seeing the floor of the laundry area for a long time. Just clean up one square foot. The same can be done in a kitchen that you've lost control of. Clean up one square foot.
After one area has been conquered, you will want to move on to another--maybe, the bathroom or a crowded bookshelf. However, you can't let the other things that you've mastered, such as the flower beds and the laundry room, slide back into disarray. You have to maintain these areas first. This is where your daily routine comes into play. When you first get ready to begin your day, go around and maintain the areas that you've already cleaned up. There will be a stray towel here and a pair of shoes there; a pan or a cup left out from the previous night. There will be a messy couch or papers left around on a table. Go through and maintain these areas, by picking up the clutter and wiping sticky surfaces, sweeping floors, folding things, putting in a small load of laundry. Then, and only then, begin another area, which I call "the jungle." Do not start a new jungle area til the paradise areas have been "maintained."
Let us suppose that you have caught up on your laundry, and your kitchen is clean. The next day, you will go through and maintain those areas, and then begin a new area that needs a complete overhaul. Do one square foot of some area if you like. The next day, maintain that one foot of clean area, and do another square of it.
In maintaining a home, you may get discouraged if you assign yourself something that is too big and then you will want to give up completely. I always have a "hope to do" list, rather than a "to do" list, because sometimes, so many urgent matters have to be taken care of, that I never get one thing done. I just begin again the next day. There have been times when something on my list just kept getting put aside, and it took me a month to get to it, but it was on my mind, and eventually I did it.
In the summer, outdoor work is always pressing, and you can expect that indoor projects may have to wait awhile. That does not mean that you can't get your laundry done, but it may mean you won't be organizing your cupboards and drawers for awhile.
The most important things are your dishes and laundry, care of food, and cleanliness of the bathroom. These things MUSt be attended to, for the sake of healthful living and sanitation. Clean floors are essential if you are living in the country, as I am, because if you leave crumbs and filth about, the field mice, ants, spiders and other critters will come in and get it!
Wise women like to get things in the house in order before noon, when the heat of the day hits them, so they can do something less intense and more relaxing. If you aren't a morning person and don't like to do it that way, you can use the evenings to get things straightened up.
Homemaking is more than just pleasing yourself. You are leaving an impression on your family and others who notice your busyness. They know that you think your house and home is important enough to keep clean and beautiful. They know that you love your family enough to provide a place for them that is neat and orderly.
"Sharing the Gift" from Pierside Galleries, by artist, Susan Rios