If you turn the word "housekeeping" around it becomes keeping- a -house. If you turn the title of Housekeeper around it becomes the keeper-of- the- house, I think that sounds better and more sophisticated. I love being the keeper of the house. I consider it sacred privilege.
My older sister suffers from a severe mental illness that has prevented her in many ways,from taking care of her home. And over the last 15 years I have seen her and her family suffer because of this. So even though keeping a house is darn hard work that is never done- it is truly a gift to have the ability and the opportunity to be the chief keeper of the house and to take on this sacred responsibility. To be the one that gets to partner with our Heavenly Father in creating and maintaining a bit of Heaven on Earth for our families- is holy.
I don't always love housekeeping, I get sick of it too, but the right perspective helps so much.
I base almost all of my housekeeping beliefs and practices off this one quote from Sister Hinckley,
“Your home is your own private temple. Keep it clean. Create a feeling of order and spirituality. Your home can be beautiful without being elaborate or expensive. As you create a home don’t get distracted with a lot of things that have no meaning for either you or your family. Have joy in your home.”
Notice how she put "spirituality" and "order " in the same sentence…there is a link.
I have believed for a long time that there is a spiritual aspect to housekeeping and homemaking. Heavenly Father is the master Housekeeper. He was the one who created this earthly home for his children. Making sure that it was an environment where we could thrive and learn and live. And as women, we get to do that for our families. Lucky us!
We have been taught by our church leaders that the spirit of the Lord can be felt freely when we are in a place of cleanliness and order. Our church buildings and temples are the perfect example of this. They are always beautifully maintained and kept.
President Hinckley said,
"You are housekeepers. That doesn’t sound like much, does it? But what a job it is to keep a house clean and tidy! We are people who believe in cleanliness, order, beauty, and respectability.”
It is a universal thing! People choose clean spaces over chaotic spaces. And it has nothing to do with money, it only has to do with order. Guess what the ONE THING is that makes keeping a house impossible. The ONE THING that if you get control of, you can make keeping your house a whole lot simpler.
The same goes for your kids school papers. I use a file box size Rubbermaid container with a lid- one for each kid...when it’s full...no more, or take something out. Be selective with this because you only get one for all their years of school.
Sometimes your kids especially the young ones will bring home some gigantic art project that is bigger than your house…take a picture and let it go.
One more note about clothing. If you intend to store clothes that a child has grown out of, so that a younger sibling can use them, I have some advice for you. One: Keep them in small bins. If you stuff every baby girl item from new born to 5T in one bin, it will be hard to get to, you will forget what you have and it will be difficult to retrieve the clothes you need, when you need them. Which in turn means it will be easier to go out and buy more than to find the old ones and WHAM-O, more stuff! Small bins kept right in the child's closet who is going to use them, will help. The bins will be easy to get to and because you are using small bins you wont save more than you need. Remember that all clothes that go into storage come out looking worse! Elastic waste bands rot, colors fade and stains become more prominent. So BE SELECTIVE about what you keep for hand-me-downs. Last thing...when you are all finished with a certain bin of clothing and you give it away or donate it...consider giving the bin as well, why? Because what do we do with a empty bin? We fill it. Be glad that you have an empty shelf and let the bin go. This is the top shelf in my girls room.
The next rule addresses shopping, gift giving and getting and, accepting "free" stuff that your neighbor is getting rid of.
It is The Interrogation rule.
Be very protective of your home. Remember what Sister Hinckley said, your home is your own private temple and everything needs to prove itself worthy of being there. Be fiercely protective of your home. Be as strict with items as you would with a live-in roommate.
Consider each and every item as being guilty unless proven innocent. Everything is a suspect and needs to be interrogated. Toys are a huge culprit.
Are you just clutter?
Are you going to get played with once and then forgotten?
Are you cheap and easily broken?
Will you steal away my child’s creativity and desire to be outside?
Do you need batteries which will end up costing me more money over time?
Do we already have something similar to you at home?
Will you take up precious space?
Protect your temple. This will really help you limit the stuff in your home.
So many children value nothing because they have everything. Think of our grandparents they had one or two treasured play things and that is it.
No matter how good you get at the interrogation rule, things will always, ALWAYS be coming into your home. It comes from school, work, birthday parties, grandparents, scouts, church activities and every where else. So you have to MAKE SURE that things are always, ALWAYS going out.
There are a bunch of good methods for doing this that can be googled pretty easy. 40 bags in 40 days is a good jump start if you haven't done it in a while. Do some research and find one that works for you. Every few weeks (2 or 3), I do a good thorough cleaning of my kids rooms. They clean their rooms on a regular basis but lets face it...once in a while we've got to get in there too. I always take a trash bag with me. Throw out broken toys, forgotten trinkets and games with missing parts. Donate toys and toys they don't play with. I promise you that the bottom of your toy box as some junk! Get the junk out of the trunk and move on..it feels SO good! And dont forget...Children who have everything value NOTHING!
When we start to do these things, we turn a "project" into a "habit" and it just becomes part of who we are and how we run our life. You can do it, we all can! Say no at the store, no to free stuff and no to more, more, more. Joy can be found in housework becasue it is a service to your family and service always brings joy. Sure the kids and the husbands need to help...but thats a post for another day. And remember, a little gratitude goes a long way, it really is a privilege to keep a home. Here's my last thoughts on the topic...
I am grateful for house work. It means I have a house. I am grateful that my floors need sweeping…it means my kids and their friends are running in and out while they play. I am grateful there are dirty dishes to be washed…it means my family is not going hungry. I’m grateful for dirty laundry… it means my family has clothes to wear… it means my kids are healthy enough to get dirty… it means I have a washer and dryer…I am grateful for little hand prints on my windows…it means I have children. I am grateful that with my able body, I get to scrub and fold and wash. I am grateful to be the keeper of the house…it means that I am blessed.
Have Joy in your home! Good Luck!