Thursday, January 20, 2011

Creating a Homey Feeling

 If homemaking consisted only of cleaning house and getting the laundry done, there would be no need for the homemaker. There is a big difference between house cleaning and home making, which will be explained in this post.

Every homemaker will want to be happy in her place at home.  If she can surround herself in a certain amount of beauty and comfort, it adds to her contentment.  No matter what kind of dwelling it is, whether it be a trailer, terraced house, contractor house, or log cabin, it can be made the dearest and brightest place, with a little care and some thoughtful additions.

Since the family, and especially the homemaker, will be spending many hours in the house, it is important to have a pleasant place to live.  Here are a few things that show how it takes the whole day, every day, to really keep a home. At the same time, these are activities and touches  which will increase her feeling of well-being and happiness inside her own home:

Cleaning: Although it sounds like only work, cleaning can be creative. As you sweep, wipe or clear clutter, leave every area looking not just cleaner, but more attractive and well-arranged. The task seems more pleasant  when you consider cleaning as a creative endeavor.

 Really thoughtful homemakers do not just clear the dishes from a table. They wipe up all the food crumbs, straighten chairs, change the tablecloth to one of a different color, and add a cheerful and inspiring centerpiece. It is a beautiful way to finish a cleaning job. This habit applies to all areas of the house, including the living room, where things are straightened and the coffee table is cleaned to make way for a pretty display. 

 Keeping the front door area attractive and neat can create a feeling of being in an important and rich place, even in the humblest of homes. These are just a few areas where cleaning can really make a big difference in your mood toward homemaking.  It costs less than painting or remodelling, and often makes a huge difference. It is in a sense: creative arranging and changing, to make the house the best it can be.

Find the most appealing  supplies for the home: This is a lovely time to be a homemaker, because of the myriad of attractive cleaning and storage products available for the home. Check out the product reviews that some of the homemakers are doing on their blogs, and you'll get a sense of how uplifting house keeping can be, with all the attractive soaps, towels, containers, and cleaning supplies available. The natural products are packaged to go with your kitchen or bathroom so that they look like luxuries.

 Wear a fresh, feminine style apron, use pretty rubber gloves when washing dishes, and listen to your favorite music. House cleaning does not have to be a grueling drudgery. It is a good idea to relax and enjoy each moment of the day, whether working or relaxing.  If you live like this, home becomes more like a vacation resort where everyone can be revived.

Create a writing space for yourself:  Get some good office supplies that make you feel that your job is worth it:- a nice pen and a notebook in the style you really prefer. Have a desk of your own or a space somewhere to sit and begin your morning Bible reading and plan out your day. Be flexible with this, but do list some things  you wish to accomplish, plus a list of errands and shopping, future plans, and reminders.

Please do not think you have to spend money for your office area. You can create your own space in many ways. Use one of those old metal typewriter tables that no one wants anymore,  or  your desk can be a folding wood tray scooted over to the couch  or used with a spare chair. You can make your own notebook by choosing the papers you like and putting it together yourself. You can even cover your pen or pencil in a matching paper. Creating your own area and having pretty supplies can make a big difference in your motivation as a homemaker.

 You can find pretty products for the kitchen and the bathroom and everything inbetween, or you can find attractive containers to hide the most mundane objects.

 Emily Barnes wrote in her book, "The Spirit of Loveliness" of peeking into someones pretty bedroom and noticing a little trash can lined with a scented  pink plastic trash bag, in which was placed a piece of paper doily.   It gave the impression of a homemaker who went beyond the mere obligation of cleaning a room, and added a thoughtful decoration to make it all complete.

If you ever have a homemaking class in your home, try having your students make a list of every possible good thing that could go on in a home. List all the things that could be learned in a home, all the work that could be done in a home, all the social things that could occur in the home, and all the possible creative things.

 Decorating, hospitality, care of family members recovering from illness,  benevolence, Bible study, art and crafts, sewing,  caring for those who aren't feeling well,  and many other things can be centered in the home. Once such a list has been made, it becomes clear that it takes a full time homemaker to see that it is all done. There is more to homemaking than cleaning a house. It has to be cared for as if it were your own lodge, or your own bed and breakfast, by putting beauty and cleanliness into it. You simply cannot have an inviting atmosphere if you are not there making sure everything is in place and looking like a dignified home.

Put refinement and elegance in every place of the house : When a woman truly makes her home a beautiful place of comfort and creativity, it is often more desirable to stay in, than to go out. Think of this: every thing "out there" is practically producible in your own place: your favorite foods, a lovely lounge area, a tea room, an art/sewing/crafting studio, your own library which consists of your favorite reading material, a desk for correspondence and accounting, and a favorite spot in which to relax. There is not a part of the home that cannot benefit from cleaning, creating and beautifying. I have seen lovely laundry rooms, though small, which are cheerful and inviting, and some back porches made into works of art, just by keeping them clean and adding a plant or a decorative birdhouse.  If you tend to be discouraged, just try cleaning up a surface and, like a new canvase, creating a scene with what you have, whether it be a climbing ivy plant or a basket of shells.

Arrange and Rearrange Furnishings and Decorations:
With this kind of approach to home living, a woman does not have to wait until she can afford her dream house. She can make restful  areas in the place she already has. I have seen  women create entry ways in small houses where none existed, and porches where none existed. Architectural interests such as fireplace mantels or shelves makes home living appealing.  Many women have become creative out of necessity. When they had to make room for a study area in their house,  a guest room, foyer/entryway or a seating area in the kitchen, they have innovated and created whatever effect they needed.

Merely moving furniture around seasonally changes the look of a house and makes it seem new and fresh--in a sense, a different place. Simply changing the blanket you keep on the back of the couch in the winter to a lighter piece of fabric in the summer, gives an old couch a new look. It is easy on the eyes and it gives the homemaker a sense of newness.

Don't let others discourage you: There will always be those who will suggest that you must be so idle that you have nothing better to do than rearrange furniture or clean sinks and create new center pieces. If she does not have to be outside the home all day, a  homemaker does have the time to add these niceties and extra comforts to the home. She is not just there to do the hard work; she is there to light the home with her ideas and to put her own personality into it.  Besides being a worthwhile work, it becomes a way of life.

 By now, everyone is familiar with the cynic, the critic and the discourager, who is not happy if you are working hard and accomplishing something, and not happy if you are relaxing and enjoying leisure activities. The following poem, written in 1930 expresses it perfectly. These kinds of sour-on-life people have always been around and always will be.


Yes, people will talk, the saying is true,

They talk about me, they talk about you;

If we go to the opera, someone will say,

We should go to church and learn how to pray.

If we go to church and offer up prayers,

They say we are hypocrites and putting on “airs”;

If we are rich, they call us a thief,

Scoff at our sorrows and laugh at our grief.

If we are poor, they say that we shirk,

We’re always lazy and never would work;

They talk of our prospects, they talk of our past,

And if we are happy, they say it can’t last.

They talk of our loved ones, they talk of our foes,

They talk of our follies, they talk of our woes;

They talk of our joys, they talk of our fears,

They talk of our smiles, they talk of our tears.

They talk if we’re single, they talk if we’re wed,

They talk of us living, they talk of us dead;

Tho’ we live like an angel with circumspect walk,

Our efforts are useless, for people will talk.

Most people are afraid to offend anyone, and afraid to be called conceited or be thought of as a snob. This is one tool that Satan uses against anyone who is trying to do a good job at home and make their homes lovely places. You will be called   a snob if you do not allow anyone to disrespect or destroy your personal property, or to behave badly in the home. People will say you are conceited if you have a tea party for friends. They will say you are putting on airs if you dress up at home or when going out in public. They will say you think you are better than other people if you don't accept the careless way in which the rest of the world lives.  As the poem says, it creates an attitude that all must stop, because people will talk.  You cannot give up on your efforts to be creative and productive. If you do nothing, people will still talk, so it is best to do what you know to do, to the best of your ability. James 4:17 says "Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and does not do it, it is a sin."

Do it for God and for yourself: If a wife, mother and homemaker gets too caught up in the appreciation of the people around her, she may lose sight of why she is doing more than absolutely necessary. You have to make your home a place you would most like to be. You are the home keeper and the guide and guard of it. You are the lady of the house. You do most of the work or the supervising, and so it belongs to you. You decide what you like and what you do not like, because you will be in the house probably more than anyone else. The way you set a table, arrange flowers or clean up a room has to have meaning to you. You have to put your own personality into the home by using the things you love and arranging them in a way that cheers you up.  Ultimately, we do what we do for God. Others may not appreciate it but we should continue in well-doing. (Galations 6:9)*

There is nothing wrong with you:  If you are particular about the appearance of your house, inside and out, and prefer to have things in order, things put away in their proper place, and do not like to sit in a mess, there is nothing wrong with you. Today's casual attitudes suggest that anyone who has any standards has a "problem" and needs to "loosen up."

 If you have the habit of cleaning up and putting things away and you like to have a neat and tidy home, you are very blessed. Some people struggle for years trying to develop good habits like that. If you have been trained in your youth, you have an advantage. There is nothing wrong with you if you like your clothes to match your hair bow, or if you enjoy having dishes that match and furniture that goes together.

 Today if you even attempt to have some kind of order in your life, others may accuse you of being too "materialistic."  We are obligated to look after our material possessions, from dishes to furniture, and we should do so, with a sense of personal responsibility and pleasure. It  allows others to enjoy our homes when they are not broken down and ruined. It shows good stewardship. There is nothing wrong with you if you dislike loud music or arguing in your home, and there is nothing wrong with you if you shrink from things that are not good, pure and lovely. (Philippians 4:8)  A homemaker will always pay attention to the atmosphere of her home, by making sure the sights and sounds are in accordance with the loveliness and appropriateness that brings glory to God.

Cling to your homemaking values: Know how to live  when you are prosperous, and know how to live when you are not.  There is a time to be generous, and a time to cut back. It is that way with life, and will always be that way. No one can be completely free from worries and no one can be perfectly secure in this life. Even those who make great plans for the future, saving huge amounts of money, can lose it through the ups and downs of the economy. We cannot put our trust in money, but in the commands of the Lord. If God saw fit to give women a place in life, a place in the home, there will be ways to accomplish it.

*Galations 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Bible Commentator, Adam Clarke (Irish, 1762-1832) wrote, concerning this verse:

"Let us not be weary - Well-doing is easier in itself than ill-doing; and the danger of growing weary in the former arises only from the opposition to good in our own nature, or the outward hinderances we may meet with from a gainsaying and persecuting world."


Anonymous said...

O Lydia... your writings are so uplifting and beautiful.

Trust me I want to create an atmosphere in my home and I do get discouraged when I see the TV and DVD's I just want to throw them all away.

The soap operas my MIL watches in her room poison the atmosphere too. I cannot be the queen of my home.

Your posts do help inspire me to do whatever I can. I can pray that one day I will be able to do all you describe.

Gail said...

Dear Lydia, your post reminds me that we need to remain at home, guarding it and doing our homemaking as an act of faith. Sometimes it doesn't seem like what we do and how we are trying to live our lives matters at all, now or in the future.
That is where we must have faith, and I am talking to myself here, that what God is making out of our lives and little sacrifices does count here on earth, and we will only know the full consequences of our obedience once we get to heaven.

Lydia said...

To my young and not-so-distant cousin, Mrs. Angulo: - I hope you'll be able to get some semblance of peace in your house and be able to funtion as you like. The next time your tv breaks down, just don't replace it. The computer probably has every function you need, including being able to play any dvd's you like. I do not have a tv anymore, and it cleared off a huge space for me to use for something more important in the house. In the meantime, you might be able to hide the affect all the electronic things have by putting a pretty cover over it all when not in use. I have a long embroidered table cloth covering storage boxes with all my sewing, and it is in the dining room. I felt the same way about all the patterns and threads when they were visible, but the table cloth makes it look more orderly and coordinated. It now looks like a buffet serving area instead of a sewing storage area.

Anonymous said...

This was a favorite post!

Candy from Canada

Anonymous said...


Re your comments about television, you, and other readers here, may enjoy

particularly their post on radio. You are also completely right regarding the television; We have a pre flatscreen set that I do not wish to replace when it finally bites the dust, rather hoping we can manage with the computer. with services such as I-View run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and its sister organisation SBS, one can choose more prudently what to watch, when to watch it and where. Furthermore, so much is out there on DVD that we have better control now than ever before over what we allow into our homes. My parents have long removed the television from the main living area (that centres around the kitchen, open-plan style) with a small television in the sitting room not engulphing an entire wall, but nestled within their bookshelf; just another feature of what is an impressive library that would give any drawing room a run for its money. For many years, they've kept the television separate from the main living area; a good idea in my thinking. they've also hidden their stereo away within a purpose built cabinet, the speakers wirelessly installed at picture rail height ( they're tiny but their sound quality is fantastic. yes, its a top end system, but nowadays, similar systems are far more affordable, and this keeps the home centred on the people rather than the appliances or tech toys. This is not so possible in my own home, but the eye isn't instantly drawn to the television or even our computers (hubby and I have them set up in our main living area but not in an obtrusive way).

Alexandra said...

Something to constantly remind myself of - in the end it will only be Him who judges, not friends nor family, nor well meaning(or not so well-meaning) individuals. This reminds me of a Mother Teresa quote, or a portion of it:
"You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway."

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia: This is yet another wonderful and inspiring post and I immediately ran it off, three hole punched it, and added it my Home Making Journal. I simply don't have anyone else who supports the homemakers role the way that you do and the encouragement that you provide means so much to me!
I loved the section on cleaning where you recommend not only cleaning an area but to beautify it also and change it up if necessary. We have a fairly large entry way and it is one of my favorite areas to clean and decorate! I have a small round table there with a mirror and a shelf hanging above it. I like to change up the table coverings and the pretty accessories ever so often to give it a nice fresh feeling. Today I swept and dusted that area and removed the table coverings and replaced them with clean pink ones. I often have remnants of fabric leftover from sewing and I like to put them to good use-I also find fabric at thrift stores sometimes and it gives me a nice supply.
I also have a small bookshelf there that I also use a covering on and place birdhouses, flowers, poutpourri, candles, etc. on and it makes it very nice to come in the door after being gone. It is important to me that that area be really nice when my husband comes home. I am often able to find items at thrift shops and such and it allows me to change things up however I want.
I didn't mean to have such a long comment :) but I really wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your encouragement!

Anonymous said...

I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading this. Thank you. I cannot tell you how much I needed this encouragement today. It was beautifully written and I am going to print it out to read again and again. I wish there was some way readers could repay you for your wisdom, but as I cannot do that, I hope you at least know your efforts are truly appreciated.

Tricia said...

Dear Lydia,
This is such an inspiring post! May I have permission to print a copy to put in my home management binder. It is something I would like to pass down to my daughter when she is older!

Lydia said...

You can look on the sidebar for how to print posts on this blog, or if your computer is able, right click and then print.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
I have to agree with the others about this post. It really is refreshing and so appreciated.

I like the fact that you describe the difference between housekeeping and homemaking. I never gave it much thought before, but there is great difference.

When I was young my neighbor friends and I would have contests on how many ways we could rearrange our bedrooms and decorate them differently. One girl decorated her room differently just about every day. I hadn't thought about that in years, but your post brought back great memories.

I have a TV in my living room because my husband likes it there, however it fits nicely inside an old armoire and I simply close the doors when I don't want to look at electronics any longer.
Thanks for the good food for thought, Janet Westrup. :)

Far Above Rubies said...

Dearest Lydia, this post was deeply encouraging. I work hard at having an orderly home, and have been asking God to help me add beauty and comfort to it as well.

I want the smells and sounds to be welcoming to all who enter, especially my husband and children.

Thank you so much,


P.S. I truly enjoy how you encouarage women to take dominion of their God-given place - the home.

Lynn said...


Great, supportive post and one that is much needed for homemakers. It is so "right on" and deeply felt and appreciated.

God Bless You!

HKA said...

A beautiful, inspiring, and important post. Thank you!

Suzanne said...

Many nuggets of wisdom in this post. It takes time to create a home worth living in and I don't mean fancy furniture and high end appliances. I mean the daily upkeep. Keeping the home pleasant looking with what you have and home cooked food all takes so much time. My Dad has been in hospital so I have had a crazy week and the other day on my way home after a long day with my Mum and Dad at the doctor's I picked up a rotissiere chicken and the mashed potatoes that came with them. In the checkout were other women doing the same. I wondered how many times a week I would need to do this if I was working 40-50 hours a week outside the home. Now, I like rotissiere chicken, but once in awhile:-)

Anonymous said...


This was a very good post and very much needed . Thank you for writing it and explaining that the homemaker is not just there for doing housework. I get this comment all the time," But the housework should only take an hour at the most. It does for me. What DO you do after THAT? " The implication is that I should get a real job.
Lydia, may your torch burn bright as always and may subsequent generations of homemakers carry that bright and lovely light onwards as they shine peace and love on a sad, confused world.

Anonymous said...


Mrs. B said...

LOVE this post. I needed that shot of encouragement! January is such a gloomy month...recharged now!

It is each little step ...not the giant leaps...that get us were we want to go.

Thanks again for the reminder.

Gail said...

This is a good reason not to over-extend, or try to get too big of a house or too much stuff to put in it. Its good to have just what we can manage to keep clean and beautiful. Most of the homes I visited as a child with my parents were small by comparison to the way they are building them today. But I always remember, if it were our first time visiting, the hostess would offer to take us on a tour or show us the rest of their home. This might just be a European thing, since these would have pretty much been all immigrant or first generation people, but I always remembered it because I found it so fascinating. Even if they weren't expecting company, they were company ready. They had what they could handle, and they handled what they had, beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Very, very fine information & encouragement here, Lady Lydia. It's inspiring to so many of us....either to "keep on keepin' on" or perhaps look at something a new way, as in the case of a newer (or more timid!) homemaker. :o)

I am so very blessed by your writing...& I pray that you will be able to continue what you do, long into the future. May God grant that your influence be felt in ever widening circles, in our country & around the globe as well, so that more & more women will want to Come Home.


Lady Kara said...

Lady Lydia,

I am so glad you wrote this excellent post. I look forward to creating a homey feeling all day, whether I conciously think about it or not. Respect for homemaking is hard to come by these days. That poem is perfectly appropriate for those times that we feel so frustrated by the attitudes of others.

God bless,

Lady Kara

Don and Shelly said...

Wonderful post... thank you!

Anonymous said...

This post put me in a wonderful mood today, and I was able to add beauty to many areas of our little home! Thank you so much for the inspiration! I'll be coming back to this post again and again! Rosemary

Corinna-Corinna said...

Lydia, you are an inspiration to me. I truly believe the lord led me to your blog. I check your blog daily. Thankyou for the constant uplift and information on homekeeping. I am new to the blogging world, but am having fun with it.
God Bless you and yours,

GentleDove said...

I just listened to a wonderful sermon on SermonAudio (from 2005), "Keepers at Home," by Pastor Einwechter, praising the keeper at home and giving a wonderful exposition of Titus 2:5. What encouragement!

Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia, This post is stupendous and deserves all the enthusiastic comments you received! I have also been GREATLY blessed by many of the comments of the ladies. Usually I feel I only have time to read your post and a few of the comments, but the posts from other women on this one today is WONDERFUL! Thank you all and God Bless!!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Dear Lydia,

Thank you for this post.

I have been on this path for my whole married life which is 23 years!

I have never been bored! Too much to do. I love making my home warm and welcoming for my family and our guests who frequent our home.

I daily get to set the atmosphere of my home.

I bought the Emilie Barnes book you mentioned when I was a young married woman, and it was such an encouragement to me! I have my daughters read it now, so that they can learn about making their home, not only know but when they get married.

Thank you for providing a place where the truth is spoken and encouragement given!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Fiona Ferris said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful post. I know I will refer to it over and over for encouragement. You truly have a gift communicating through words as you do.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a book series aboout a Swedish immigrant family when I was a young homemaker. The mother prayed for each child as she polished their shoes Saturday night to prepare for Sunday. I have done the same as I ironed clothes etc. Caring for our homes and family brings such peace inside. It is a knowing that this is where we Should be as it is a perfect comfortable fit for a women to be home. Thankyou again for an inspiring post and all the women for their comments. It is so comforting to know there are so many women of like thinking out there. Sarah

Anonymous said...

I have just gone to Emmarinda's blog and read her Jan 16 post and it goes right along with this one. Again, so heart warming to read other women have the heart for home and the same feelings about it all. We can all inspire each other to be the women God wants us to be. Sarah

Mama Said No said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post. It not only inspired me to get back to work on rearranging my cabin kitchen(which involves pulling out the woodstove, ripping out the old masonary work, and redoing it), but the little poem really helped me. I have lived the words of that poem for 6 years up here in our mountains, and I have finally learned to just live my life and ignore the people who are never happy with what I do.

Anonymous said...

This is really wonderful and very inspiring Lydia. I appreciate all the time and effort you expended in blesssing us with such a great article. THANK YOU.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely posting.

And by knowledge shall all the rooms be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (proverbs 24:4)

I thought all women wanted to grow up and have a home of their own. It amazes me whenever I encounter someone that could care less about decorating.

Many could have beautifully decorated homes if they would only use some of the nice things they received as wedding presents.

Ocassionally, the Dollar stores have little shelves that attach easily to the walls or shelves that fit in corners that could be used to help make the home pretty.
This posting made me think of Ma Ingalls (of Little house on the Prairie) and how she decorated even the humblest of homes with her quilts, the shelf Pa made her, her china doll, and sometimes wildflowers in a pitcher. When Larua and Mary had their country party she even had a white tablecloth for the table.

I especailly like that you mentioned women having a desk as a place to write, craft and etc. Wal-Mart and the Family Dollar stores have put together fruniture in the low cost ranges, and some of it is "nice" looking. Some furniture stores still have lay away. A consignment shop might also have beautiful wood furnishings at reasonable prices.
And if a husband is handy, there are patterns for desk online. Even a small dining table could be used as a desk, especially with a pretty hutch on top, and a few desk accessories.

The round decorator tables and the scarves to go on them are still under ten dollars each. A topper on these tables could be changed out to get the seasons. The round table could be used as either an end table (in the bedroom or living room), or as a dessert station in the dining room.

For those of us that played house, most had a dream of what they wanted their ideal house to look like and be like. Perhaps we can't get everything all at once, but we can pray to get the peices we truly desire.

Thank you again for having such a helpful blog.

Lydia said...

You said "playing house" in your comment, and I agree. Playing house is the missing ingredient in enjoying the care of the home and the guiding of the family. Little girls need to play house at home so they will enjoy having their own homes one day. Too many girls are raised only to be educated and to pursue things of education, and then they do not like to settle down to the work at home. All their lives they go somewhere else when they get up in the morning. That will program them to keep going, when they are older, and never understand the management of the home and the art of home living. There is more to it than work and there is more to it than knowledge. There is the heart part that is rarely mentioned. Playing house makes girls enjoy things like washing dishes, sweeping, cooking, washing clothes, folding, and having their own little home. If this is bred into them at an early age, they may grow up to really appreciate having their own place to care for.