Sunday, March 22, 2009

Top Tips for Housekeeping

I found this post on Betty Beguile's blog and thought it addressed well the topic of keeping the joy in housekeeping/motivation for doing so. (Mab this one's for you [and me and every other lady who wants to be joyful in their work at home] responding to your blog comment :) )

1) Always start with the bigger jobs. I find that if I insist upon getting my daily chores (vacuuming, bathrooms, etc.) done before tackling the more involved ones (shampooing the carpet, organizing the closet, etc.), the latter will never get done. They will just stay on my to-do list day after day after day so I started tackling the larger jobs first. There aren’t usually too many of them and it feels so good to cross them off my list. As an added bonus, I’m usually on such a high after completing one of these tasks that I’m inspired to tackle the smaller ones, too.

2) I always add at least one touch of beauty to my home each day. I make sure that in addition to tidying that I create something lovely each day. I will put out flowers, bake a pie, throw a soft, beautiful blanket over the corner of a chair, something. It doesn’t have to be labor intensive or time consuming but I am committed to feathering my nest a little each day. It’s fun, it keeps me inspired and makes housekeeping a joy.

3) Keep the end goal in mind. Just as we are encouraged to keep our eyes on heaven I find it helps me to keep in mind what I want my domestic church to look and feel like. I try to focus on those things that I am working towards even as I am scrubbing bathrooms. It’s amazing but keeping a picture in my head of where I want to end up makes even the drudgery a pleasure.

4) Magazines!!! Cottage Living! Domino! House Beautiful! I’m an addict. I really can’t get enough. I encouraged Mr. Beguiles to work my magazines into the budget because “they make me a better wife!” How’s that for manipulative? They really do inspire me though. I’m not terribly disciplined so I lean heavily on inspiration and it truly goes a long way. (I have a few favorite blogs that are always good for an inspirational nudge, too.)

5) Aprons. For those days when all I feel like doing is laying on the couch and eating bon bons I find a good apron always helps. I consider it a healthy form of role playing. I have the most adorable vintage-inspired apron with red cherries on it that conquers my tendency towards sloth every time. I slip it on and am immediately transformed into Housewife of the Year, 1950.
I second adding a touch of beauty everyday and the inspiration of magazines, blogs, and books! A few tips she didn't mention which I find help me to keep joy in tasks are:

1. Regularly open your home to company. Nothing motivates me more or makes the tasks at hand seem less daunting than having company. Once in a habit of regularly opening your home, the motivation is there to keep it clean.

2. Remember Colossians 3:23 and teach it to your children! "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to man." I taught this verse to my daughter thinking that it would serve as a reminder to be diligent in working at the tasks that I give her and found that it convicted me most of all! In fact, there have been several days, one in particular that happened recently, where I was doing a full scrub down of the kitchen and my arms were burning and I stopped to rest. Plopping on the couch, I exclaimed, "Oh that feels good to sit down! This is seriously hard work!" To which my two year old daughter replied, "Mommy, remember to do it heartily as to the Lord!" What motivation!

3. Make cleanliness a habit. This one is the hardest to master. Routines feel comfortable, they provide time to mentally reflect on the day while scrubbing dishes or pulling a broom around the kitchen floor. When these practices are done infrequently, the job seems overwhelming and the mind is less likely to relax and be joyful while doing it. If we make a habit out of the tasks of housekeeping, and stay on top of things before they get out of hand, the tasks become pleasant, like sinking into a familiar rhythm of diligence and care.

What are your favorite Housekeeping tips? Post them in the comments section below or send them to me by email at and I will compile a nice list to post for the following month.


  1. I'm with you on the aprons and the magazines! that's a bit harder. Dust is my enemy!!

  2. I second the dust comment :). We have a lot of books in our home and dust is the enemy!