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I'm a hopeless homemaker.
Really. A few months after Jon and I got married, my mom once came over to help me clean up. I was sick and exhausted from my first pregnancy and welcomed the help. Here's the embarrassingly-honest truth:
We spent three hours scrubbing moldy dishes.
The air-born mold in our house, combined with our lack of automatic dishwasher and my fatigue, resulted in an appalling stack of gross plates, cups, and silverware. To complicate things further, our house had the world's smallest water heater, so every 20 minutes or so, we had to stop scrubbing to boil more water because there was no hot water left in the tap. It was slow going, but with the two of us (mostly Mom; I was tired and had to sat down a lot of the time), we finally cleaned up the whole mess.
From this experience, I realized that I'm not a natural homemaker. In my head, I'm the neatest, most organized person I know, but in actuality, my home is often a complete disaster. I used to cringe when people popped in unannounced, not because I didn't dearly want to spend time with them, but because I was embarrassed about the condition of my house.
I am, by nature, a germ freak, so a dirty home really bothered me. I once thought that my dislike of germs would help me keep my house clean, but I finally realized that it was my germophobia that actually prevented me from cleaning. I couldn't stand touching the dirty sink or bathtub to clean them. So, as hard as I tried to keep things tidy, I just couldn't seem to keep up with any sort of housekeeping.
I finally stumbled - through trial and error - onto four tips that helped me improve my homemaking skills. If you're a struggling homemaker like I was (and still am!), maybe these suggestions will help you as well.
Just do it.
As with most things in life, there isn't any magical way to get housecleaning done aside from just doing it. This might not seem like a big help, but I came to the conclusion that my germophobia was actually hindering my house cleaning, not helping it. I desperately wanted a more orderly, clean home, but I couldn't bring myself to clean out the kitchen sink or the scummy bathtub because they grossed me out. Eventually I realized that in order to make progress, I was just going to have to roll up my sleeves, hold my breath, and get the cleaning done no matter how disgusting it seemed to me.
Find a method that works for you.
Sidetracked Home Executives.
When it comes to methods for keeping your home livable, the possibilities, styles, and systems are endless. If you need more options, try the Kamikaze Cleaning ebook, Motivated Mom's Chore Chart, or ASlobComesClean.com (more on these last two in a moment). Each of these methods has its benefits and drawbacks.
One homeschool family I knew of spent Monday through Thursday focusing on their written studies and saved Fridays for their deep-cleaning day, opting to do audio school while they worked. I'd love to incorporate this more into my own homeschool routine this Fall, but right now, taking bits and pieces of each of the above-mentioned methods is what's suiting us for the moment.
It really doesn't matter what method you use as long as it works for you. If you're not sure where to start, just pick one to implement and use it until it no longer gets the job done. Then move on to the second suggestion on your list, and so on. Eventually, you'll create a method all your own that works for your needs.
Get the right equipment.
For years, it never dawned on me to invest in a $1.99 pair of rubber gloves to use when cleaning items that I didn't want to touch (want to clean a toilet after potty-training a toddler, anyone? Ick!). A friend also introduced me to Norwex cleaning cloths that clean with just water. She showed me how to fold it into 4ths so that I could move to a fresh part of the cloth every few minutes. I realized that by doing this, I could always keep a clean rag surface for my hand, too. (You don't need Norwex to do this; I can do it with any kind of cleaning rag now.)
It doesn't matter what kind of cleaning items you use, but you do need the right equipment for the job. I've used Norwex, Ecloth, and even these inexpensive Amazon microfiber cloths all with great results. Other homemakers I know have a little caddy of cleaning supplies that they can carry back and forth from the bathroom to the kitchen or anywhere else in the house. Pick the equipment that's most suited to your needs and cleaning style.
Consider purchasing the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
(Note: the 2016 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has come and gone, but I'm guessing that there will be another Ultimate Homemaking Bundle next year with all-new resources.)
Have you heard of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? This is a phenomenal group of over 90 ebooks, ecourses, and bonuses designed to help hopeless homemakers like me. I almost skipped the Homemaking Bundle this year, but I'm so glad I went ahead and purchased it. With ebooks and ecourses on Budgeting, Motherhood, Marriage, Self-Care, Food Prep & Recipes, Faith, and more, this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is designed to offer wisdom on nearly every aspect of homemaking. As Ultimate Bundle founder Stephanie Langford says, "We can't help you clean up throwup, but we can encourage and cheer you along the way!"
I'm most looking forward to the "Organization and Routines" section of this amazing resource. It comes with several planners, including the above-mentioned "Motivated Moms Chore Planner" and "Teaching Kids to Clean!" ebook from ASlobComesClean.com. And although I didn't realize it until I'd bought the Bundle, Money Saving Mom's new ecourse, "Make Over Your Calendar," is also included! I'm so glad I hadn't purchased it before now.
The entire Bundle (over 90 Homemaking resources!) is on sale for just two days - today and tomorrow - for $29.97. The total worth of the Bundle, were you to purchase each item separately, would be over $1,000 with $249.99 in bonuses!
If the 2016 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle sounds like it might be a good fit for you, you can click the blue button below to learn more. While I definitely believe that this Bundle is well worth it's cost, I certainly don't want to encourage anyone to buy it if it's not going to be a good fit for your interests or circumstances. If it's not your thing, if finances are tight, or if you prefer physical products to digital books and courses, feel free to skip to the end of this post.
Diving in and doing housework, finding a workable method, getting the right equipment, and grabbing the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle have all helped me to be a not-so hopeless homemaker. I still have a long way to go before homemaking routines really stick, but at least I no longer have to battle moldy dishes for three hours and can better enjoy drop-in company.
And since God's Word commands us to be homemakers as part of our Christian witness (Titus 2:5), I know the Lord is pleased with any attempt at improving the state of our homes. We won't attain perfection this side of Heaven, but as The Nester says so well, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."
Let's work together to make our homes beautiful!
Your turn: Are you a hopeless homemaker, or is this an area where you excel? If you struggle, what's been your biggest help? If you're an excellent homemaker, what tips can you offer for those of us who struggle? Share in the comments!