Monday, May 25, 2009

Gracious Homemaking

I am reading an excellent book on homemaking right now, _Home Comforts_ by Cheryl Mendelson. Her discussion of what she learned from her mother and grandmothers has inspired me to make a stream-of-consciousness and by-no-means-complete list of attitudes I observed in my mom as I was growing up. (Please allow me to strongly emphasize that, despite her excellent example, I did not inherit my mom's gracious and easygoing attitude, nor her enjoyment of cleaning. But, because of my mom, I know they are attainable, and I work toward them every day.)

1. A clean house is not worth hurt feelings—yours or anyone else’s. She neither pouted nor nagged about us leaving things about or keeping our rooms messy.(This does not mean that she didn’t tell us to pick things up—it just means she did not have an attitude about it. And yes, she did have to deal with our adolescent attitudes.)

2. Neaten as you go. (Pick up out-of-place items as you walk through a room and place them where they belong, or at least *closer* to where they belong.)

3. Shoes belong in closets, clothes belong on hangers or in drawers.

4. The belongings of others are to be respected, even if they are left out. (She thought it was awful to toss someone’s shoes or backpack onto the floor of
their bedroom. Instead, she placed things neatly on the bed or in the corner.)

5. Fold clothes neatly and always iron and match socks as you go. She had no odd-sock basket. (We do.)

6. Having good-quality clothes is a privilege, and ironing can be fun if you think about the beauty of the item you are working with. (I struggle with this because I get impatient.)

7. If you are careful with your clothing, it will last longer. But don’t stress if a shirt gets ruined, simply wear something else, and buy another when you can. It’s just clothes.

8. Scour the sink.

9. Dishes should not sit in the sink. But if someone neglects to rinse and put them in the dishwasher, it is not worth fussing over. Put them in the dishwasher yourself.

10. Bring a tall glass of iced tea to the people working hard out-of-doors.

11. Clean house on Saturdays and before company comes. Cleaning house is also a great cure for insomnia.

12. If you don’t have time to clean house, it’s okay. It will get done a little later.

13. Keep important papers and bills filed in a filing cabinet.

14. It is okay to close the door of your child’s messy bedroom if you must. But insist on having it cleaned out every so often. This will most likely take three hours or more and be accompanied by bad attitudes, but your mood does not have to be influenced by your child’s frustration. (And despite the fact that we were not made to clean our rooms every day, my brother and I keep neat homes. He keeps a very neat home-- I would put my home more on the fairly neat side-- if you give me warning that you are coming to visit, lol-- but I am homeschooling three children. My house was a lot neater when Mr. Honey and I were first married. Hee hee.)

15. Think about your set-outs. Do they look pretty where they are? Rearrange them every so often.

16. It’s your husband’s house, too. Remember to let your arrangements reflect his taste as well as yours.

I'll just end by saying that, growing up, our house was not always spotless, but it was pretty close, and Mom worked full-time in addition to taking care of us and the house. She was, and is, a strong woman.

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