Friday, May 05, 2006

Home Organization

Someone wrote to us about becoming organized at home. While there is no one way to be clean and organized at home, there are a few ground rules that can be followed. Every homemaker is different and has different likes and dislikes, and different methods of keeping house. There are a lot of helpful things on the web and in bookstores for women who find themselves overwhelmed or giving up.

The first practical thing you can do is clear out all the clutter. If you have a garage or one room you can put everything in, it is a great help. Clear out all the rooms except for the furniture that is necessary or beautiful. Then, clean these rooms. As you need something, go to that spare room and get it. Find a place for it and keep it there when it is not being used. Make everyone in the family practice this habit. The less you have, the easier it is to be organized, and the better habits your family has, the easier it is on you.

In this modern era there is a gross misapplication to the woman's role in the home. Sometimes people get to reading the Bible and without real study, assume that the woman has no say whatever in what goes on in her home. A closer reading of Titus 2, with the original Greek words, brings out the meaning of the phrase "guide (or guard) the home," strongly. It means "to rule." If she wants order in her home, she simply has to insist on her rules being followed. She can't have people in the family running all over the place leaving things helter-skelter however they wish, and then expect to have peace of mind. Most of the nervous conditions and stress that women suffer are due to not having control over their own house. Think about that word "rule," in context of management or control. We all have to have control over the clutter, control over the noise, and control over the condition of the house. We have to have respectful children and a husband who reinforces these values and backs up the wife in her effort to have respect and order in her life.

As a family, we are all in this together. We can't have the wife struggling over in one corner trying to get above the mess, all on her own, without the others understanding her role and working toward her goals. It is just as fruitless to do that, as it would be to ignore the husband in his efforts to keep a job, and not keep his goals in mind either.

In an effort to really rule the home, a woman need not think that she dominates. She is just doing what she is supposed to: managing her home. It is her job. No one has the right to interfere with that job, any more than she would want to interfere and mess up other people's jobs. It is her duty, and it is wrong to thwart her in that effort.

I've been blessed to have a really understanding husband. He just wants to do whatever it takes to make me happy. He doesn't like me to be frazzled and stressed out. He wants to know what it is I will need to reach my goals. He doesn't want me to be frustrated with the home. He will do whatever it takes to make it easy for me to love my job.

In ruling her area, a woman must have obedient children, and working children. They can't be allowed to sit around watching television or out playing sports while she struggles alone with the home. The children must be taught how the house is managed, and they cannot do that if they are just laying around. Even very young children can help the house run smoothly. My daughter, whose sons are very young, folds the laundry and then engages each boy to carry stacks of clothing and towels to the appropriate room. They love this work and to them it seems like a game.

Just because a homemaker doesn't bring home a paycheck, does not mean this is entirely her job. Even a man at work is dependent on many other people to help him do his job. The family should all chip in and do her bidding at home. If there are things that are making her unhappy, such as a yard that needs to be cleaned up, or vacuuming that needs to be done, it doesn't hurt the family to help. The mother is there to organize it and plan it. She is responsible for getting it done, even if she has to appoint others to help her.

In order to give a woman peace of mind in the home, she should never be accused of being a freeloader, not paying her way, or not earning a living. The Biblical mandate to provide for the family was given to the husband, never to the wife. She is to be wife, mother and homemaker. His job is to earn the dollars and his wife is to manage the home with those earnings.To make her also "pay her share" as they are saying these days, is to load her down with double work. She would work all day at someone's place of employment, and then come home exhausted, with the house to manage and meals to provide. In marriage, it is better if both of them are not exhausted all the time. The wife at home, with no added burdens, will have the health and the stamina to do a wonderful job, and the husband will be glad of it.

In "the old days" before a lot of you were alive, a man would never ask his wife to get a job outside the home. To do so would be admitting that he could not be a good enough provider, and that would have been a shame. He would have been embarrasssed if his wife went to work. He wouldn't have been able to hold his head up in society. If the wife went to work, she also would have been embarrassed. It might have made others think that she could not manage her husband's money, or that she was extravagant, was gambling or in debt, or wanted things to add to collections. If women want peace in their lives, and don't want to end up on sedatives, they need to return to this simple way of life.


Anonymous said...

Home organization! Oh a topic near and dear to my heart and one I have been trying to figure out why and how. I enjoyed your analogy. As a full time wife and mother I am really no different than an office manager or supervisor organizing and delegating to make sure our home runs and looks apporpriate.

You have given me something to think about, thank you Mrs. Sherman.


Mrs. Kelly said...

What a fantastic post - ITA agree with your thoughts on how the entire family has some responsibility for the running of the home. I can't imagine not being in charge of my own home, nor can I imagine my husband wanting the job. It makes me sad when women give themselves guilt and grief over wanting to "pay their way", and even sadder when their husbands are the ones doling out the guilt.

Sonya said...

Dear Lydia,
(I hope you don't mind the use of Christian name, but I feel I know you as I have been reading your articles for a number of years now). I agree strongly that if women want peace in their lives, and therefore lead the way for peace in the family, we must return to "this simple way of life". I feel we must really return to basics to improve society. If more mothers and wives stayed at home, there would be more stable and happier families. If we lived our role I believe there would be less divorce and a better society at all levels. Praise God, my husband also thinks this way. I personally feel that being 'just a housewife' is the best job in the world.


Hausfrau Cheri said...

Here's a question for you, Mrs. Sherman. I also agree that running the home is my job as wife and mother and that that doesn't mean I have to do it all, but that it is right and good for me to teach and delegate tasks to the rest of the family.
Now, what do I do about a very dear husband who just doesn't get it? He doesn't see the mess, it doesn't bother him and he doesn't like anyone missplacing his things. My dh is a loving, godly man, but this is one of his blind spots; it just isn't a big deal for him. So, what would you do? I have asked (nicely) and explained why having an orderly home is important to me and our family, but I don't want to be a nag about this.

Any help will be greatly appreciated. :-)

Mary said...

Well said, Mrs. Sherman. I hope those who don't agree will read this and listen. I will put a link on my blog to your post. I do long for those "old days" when wives weren't asked to get a job. I am the only woman in my family who stays home! My mother-in-law, step-mother, three sisters-in-law all have jobs outside the home. I am seen as the free-loader at family gatherings. The pressure to get a job is constant and has created a rift between us and family on both sides. I might add that I know of all but one of those women are on sedatives! I have a very supporting and loving husband, so I can' complain. :-)

Anonymous said...

I found your post to be very interesting. I agree that no woman should be guilted into working outside the home, but there are many women that want to, especially before having children.

I am not married, but have been in a relationship heading toward marriage for four years (we are finishing up grad school). I fully intend to work when I am married, and my intended and I have discussed how we believe a woman and man should share household responsibilities 50/50. This is what I saw my parents do, and I think it truly worked for them, and gave them a stronger marriage. Of course, my mother, like myself is a teacher and in some ways that made it easier since we were always on the same breaks from school. Plus, my siblings and I all attended the school where she worked, which was conviently on our street and five minutes away.

I believe in life everything should come in balance. It is appropriate for a wife and mother to work, as long as she can still preform her duties as mother without stressing herself out or getting worn down. Thankfully, my mother and father instilled strong family values in us and we saw it as our duty to help with the household chores.

My point is, I think if you can and want to stay home then you are lucky and should be happy about your decision. Yet there are women out there who also enjoy working, especially after their children have started school. Given support from every member of the family to continue and orderly, peaceful, and happy home this is not just possible, but practical.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Recently some young women have asked my opinion about whether or not they should accept a job outside their normal work at home. I gave them a list of things to check off and told them if they could get that done every month, they would have time to work out. The problem with working outside the home is that at first it seems practical and workable, but as years go by you get more and more demands on your time and further and further behind in things that only you can do, in regards to the family. There are too many grandmothers at work that could be an active part of their grandchildren's lives. There is also the problem with conflicts at work, and people putting stress on a woman's life. There are employers to deal with. There is enough to do at home without taking on extra work. It may not seem so bad when you are young, but one day in later years it may come back on you in the form of stress, panic attacks, depression and burn-out.

1.Is your living room clean?
2. Is your dining room clean?
3. Is your kitchen clean?
4. Are there provisions stocked in your freezer and pantry so that you can have plenty of meals without going shopping?
5. Do you make your own bread (not that you have to, but it is better for you, costs less, creates a wonderful scent in the home, and good memories, and making it can pace your thoughts)
6. Do you find yourself spending more money for convenience?
7. Is your bathroom clean?
8. Does your house smell nice?
9. Are meals on time?
10. Do you sew and mend?
ll. Are you available any time your husband, parents, children, or others need you--and not just on the cell phone?
12. Is your laundry caught up?

This is only a partial list of 30 things, which I can post later.

As for the husbands that just don't get it, you will still have to train your children. His mother trained him, and it is hard to break such breeding. You may not be able to change him, and to attempt to do so will create a lot of stress in your relationship. If you can confide in him how difficult it is for you to keep house when another adult is not picking up after himself, he may put forth an effort to change. My husband is a "messy" also but he just wants me to be happy. He doesn't see the mess either, but after many years of showing him what a beautiful home is like, he is more hesitant to mess it up.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

If you feel you have time to go to work outside the home, here is some more of that list.

13. Are all your mementos put into memory boxes and photograph albums according to the person it will go to in the future?
13. Are your cabinets and kitchen drawers clean and orderly?
14. Have you cleaned the floor under the appliances in the last year (stove, fridge, washer, dryer)
15. Are your closets orderly so that you can find the next season's clothing easily?
16. Do you spend a regular amount of time pursuing relaxing hobbies that settle your mind?
17. How often do you extend hospitality in the form of a lunch or a tea?
18. Have you added an improvement to your home this year, either in the form of structure, painting, or gardening?
19. Are your bills and paperwork organized? Is your correspondence caught up?
20. Do you read at least a chapter a day in the Bible and some other books or magazines that help you enjoy your home?

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

I know many women on sedatives. Instead of changing their lives, they are given prescriptions to make the situation they are in more tolerable. Sedatives and pharmacueticals don't change the things that need to be changed. When stress comes upon us, we need to cut back, stay home and kick the demands of the world out. I know a woman who withdrew to her home for several months and it did her a world of good. When we finally saw her she looked really great--healthy, peaceful, happy. She quit her part time job, cancelled all her appointments, and did as she pleased for awhile. She was all the better for it.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

A friend of mine who is 6 months pregnant went to her doctor and he asked her how she was feeling. She said the last week she just felt depressed and lethargic, so he wrote her out a prescription. She phone her husband at work and asked him to pick it up at the phamacy on the way home. "It's a new drug," she told him, "And the doctor says it is safe for the baby." When her husband went to the pharmacy he read on the package that it was Prozac and he refused to pay for it or bring it home. I couldn't believe a doctor would do that. I promptly got his name and will send him some material about prozac. He will be a man of information when I get finished.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

To anonymous, staying home is not a matter of luck any more than going to work is a matter of luck. It is a matter of decision, determination, personal philosophy, and personal conviction.

Dwayne, Jenny & Hendrik said...

Could you please post the rest of your list of 30 things? I am a stay at home mom but I think it's a good reference/check list of things to consider.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lady Lydia Speaks said...

The main point is that you can't really have an organized life if you are serving two masters. You can't really concentrate on the home with a divided heart. When you work outside the home, it will always take priority. I know a woman who runs a daycare. The parents often go home from work and take a shower, eat dinner in peace and clean up the house and THEN go and get the children. If you don't live with the children and have them watch what you do, they'll always feel foreign to homemaking and the function of the home. I think they should at least be in the same room with you and watching how you do things, even if they can't help, but I also think they should be guarding the home just like the mother is. They should be "on guard" to see that it is kept in order. It is much harder to make a home really function as it is capable of, while working in another job. Besides this, women shouldn't worry about the finances all the time.They should let their husbands worry about how to get the money and they should just manage it. If you do what you can to be thrifty you can make the income worth two incomes through savings and interest, IRA's, retirement accounts, and investments. It is not a matter of having two incomes, but a matter of making whatever income you have, do its duty and provide for the family. People screech and cast dust wildly into the air at the mere suggestion of the wife staying home, but in staying home, she actually gets two incomes. It costs less for her to stay home. Two can live as cheaply as one. The husband gets the money and the wife gets to stay home and earn money at the same time--through wise use of that one income. It is hard to explain, unless you are actually doing it, but many women are doing it.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon,

I would like to add a point of view of a lady who has worked outside the home for most of the last 30 years, myself. My children are grown. I like thousands of other women were not fortunate enough to have the hours of a teacher. I left early and came home around the dinner hour. I was exhausted and depressed a good portion of the time. I would come home and throw something together for dinner. The weekends were so fast that I hardly knew they came and went. I always prayed through the years that I could be a homemaker. A little over 2 years ago I had surgery. When I went to return to my job after about a year, it was gone. Circumstances are such that I am unable to work yet. I have to say that I have never in my adult life been happier than now. I am cooking, baking and even sewing again. I feel alive and I am discovering more all the time. I joined a morning ladies bible study and I am so blessed. We have very little but I have learned money is not everything. God does provide. I never interpreted the Bible to mean that ladies could and should stay home. Now it is clear because I have lived it.
I hope this helps someone!

In His Love,

Kim O. said...

The comments are something I can completely relate to. I am a woman who has worked outside of the home and been home full-time and now I have a part-time job one day a week for 5 hours where I can bring my children. The job was a real blessing to my family when it was first offered to me. I wasn't looking for it and the Lord knew we needed the extra money at the moment. Now after doing this for about 9 months I realize that I need to quit. Even working one day a week I find that I am overworked. When I come home that day I don't have the energy to take care of my home and family. I have been praying about how I can tell my boss I need to quit. I consider this job a ministry because I am working with immigrants and helping them to be better parents, but I know my family is suffering, and they are first.

According to the world's standard, we can't afford for me to stay home, but God has provided for us in wonderful ways. I have gotten used to having the little extra money and it is going to be hard to let it go, but I know that God will provide. I do want to be the best wife, mother, and housekeeper that I can be and I know that my job inhibits me from doing so.

Your site has been a blessing to me. Thanks for all you do.

God Bless,
Kim O.

Lyn said...

I would like to share my testimony. I have been a homemaker for 14 yrs. Through many trials and tribulations (separate from homemaking) I am still a homemaker and I am so thankful that my husband supports me in this. When I first was at home, I was able to do so on less than $20K/year. My husband (who is my 2nd husband and a wonderful man) takes his role seriously and we live on a similarly modest income even now and he willingly works extra hours to make it all happen. There are times when we have very little to live on, and yet God has always provided for our needs (not necessarily our wants). I have had health issues worsen in the last few years and I've contemplated returning to work, but God has not allowed that for me and I trust that He will continue to take care of us. So many families say the wife cannot stay home, but I really think many can. If you truly look at your budget and scale back, you can have that dream. The sacrifice comes down to what do you really want in your life? I feel for single moms, because I know it is so much harder for them, but I have heard of single moms even who are able to have a business through their home. I grew up with a single mom so I know from personal experience also. Lydia, you are so correct when you say it takes planning, determination and hard work to make it happen, but it is all possible. Matthew 19:26 God bless, Lyn

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Will post the rest of the list as soon as I can.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

I would however warn people about taking on more at home than homemaking. Other jobs to earn money really do make you neglect your family, your home, and your health. Husbands might start adding up the income as something they can count on, and then slack off a bit in working to earn a living. If the house payments, food and phone are dependent upon him, he will rise to that calling. He can do it; he was made for such as this. He was built for this kind of stress and the stress makes him a better and stronger man. Worrying over earning money is not the kind of stress that a woman does best. She just needs to concentrate on being a wife and homemaker and giving it her ultimate best.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

21. Has your husband had to look for a clean shirt this week, or asked for one to be ironed?
22. Do sit down to the table as a family to eat every day?
23. Have you changed around your furniture or re-done any of your decor or painted the walls in the last couple of years?
24. Are the family's clothes clean, mended, and put away?
25. Have you prepared a basket of things to take to someone who is confined to home or has need of cheering up?

Prairie Princess said...

Mrs. Sherman,

I appreciate your article. I agree with much of what you said. I certainly agree that women, and families, are better off when mommas are home and daddies work for the necessities of life. And I would agree that when the family disrespects the momma, her life is much more difficult and this could lead to emotional disturbance.

I would like to see some data to back up the claim that, "Most of the nervous conditions and stress that women suffer are due to not having control over their own house." And I wonder how helpful it is to tell women that their problems are caused by the other people in their lives? Even if my problems are contributed to by my husband and children, blaming them is not helpful. What is helpful is learning how to control myself - my own attitudes and reactions.

I suspect we really have no argument with each other. Please take my comments as a reminder to present a balanced approach: "Your family members may (or may not) make your life more difficult. Love them anyway, and keep your own attitude in check."


Lady Lydia Speaks said...

more of this list:

-Are your recipes organized?
-Is your refrigerator clean?
-Are the family's tools cared for and put away properly?
-ARe you watching the habits of your children and guiding them properly as they grow?
-have you grown any food for yourself, even a tomato plant?

(Will continue this list later)

To Sarah: Ultimately the homemaker is to blame if she allows the house to get out of control, and doesn't train her family to help her.

As for data, you can get your own data fairly easily by visiting some women who have lost control over their homes.

Anonymous said...

I'm embarrased to write that I'm not a very strong woman--I don't rule well in the sense of getting my kids to pitch in. It feels like I'm in for an argument to tell them to clean their room, or do their bathroom chore. I also don't feel strong in the sense of making decisions. (My husband has likes and dislikes and we go together to furniture shop, or for decorations) Lastly, even my efforts I don't feel strongly about--painting, for instance. Trying to paint the kid's bathroom walls, not edging properly, had me in tears. Please help those of us who may be in my shoes...thank you in advance!

Anonymous said...

Mrs Sherman,

Thank you once again for your wonderful blog. One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Sirach 26:13-18 "A wife's charm delights her husband, and her skill puts fat on his bones. A silent wife is a gift of the Lord, and there is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul. A modest wife adds charm to charm, and no balance can weigh the value of a chaste soul. Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord, so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home. Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand, so is a beautiful face on a stately figure. Like pillars of gold on a base of silver, so are beautiful feet with a steadfast heart."


Mrs. Fields said...

I thought I had posted a comment on here the other day, but I guess it got lost in cyberspace...

With your encouragement, Mrs. Sherman, and my own desire to be the best wife, mother, and hospitable woman I can be, I have been working on organizing and managing my home well. Thank you. I really appreciate your affirmation of our role in the home and recognition of our limited time and abilities. From the time I first volunteered at a ministry at the age of 16 I knew there was no way I could manage to be a good homemaker while working a job too.

My question is how would you work with a DH who just doesn't see his clutter and disorderliness? Much as being in charge of the home is our responsibility, even more so it is required that we submit to and honor our husbands. If I clean up after my dh he gets annoyed that he can't find his stuff and if I leave his stuff alone I have to live with it in my space (the baby sleeps in our bedroom let alone having an extra room for an office). Do you have any suggestions on how to proceed in my primary quest of having a good relationship with my dh and my desire for a beautiful and orderly home?

PS My dh is a wonderful, loving, godly man who just has a blind spot in this area.

HeartsDesire said...

I found your blog to be a lovely blessing. I have, for most of my married life, been a stay at home mom. Once, when circumstances beyond the norm forced me to take a full time job, I was put on anti-depressants. It was a very miserable time for me. A time I will never get back. My children were in day care and I hated my job. Eventually, things were reconciled to the point that I quit working outside the home. I now homeschool my children. My marriage is not a happy one, but I am content in my life because God has given me the most true desire of my heart. Having my children with me everyday, teaching them how to care for a home and sheild them from worldly views. I love being a homemaker with every part of me. I strive each day to do it better and my husband appreciates the work I do. People who think they can have two full time jobs and do them well are misguided by the feminist world view. It is just not possible.


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