by Cheryl Merrick
Focusing on the beauty around me
my racing heart
and my anxious mind
into the canopy of branches,
peace fills my soul.
I have always loved the story of the two sisters, Mary and Martha. When Martha complains to the Lord that Mary isn't helping enough with the housework, the Lord replies that Mary has chosen the better part. I see myself as a Mary.
Since I have no intention of ever becoming a "busy little homemaker", is my home a mess? It is true that I don't weed, mow, vacuum, shampoo rugs or furniture, polish furniture or silverware, or "deep clean". I spend my day writing and love it. I also have major allergies and must have a dust and mold free home, and I do. My house is very clean and orderly. You may wonder how I can do this. It's really not that hard. I just decided to
use my creativity to get around most of the work. Some of the people I have shared these suggestions with didn't like them-- it wasn't "homey". Here are my ideas anyway. Perhaps you might want to try some of them.
- Hardwood Floors -- the modern laminates are beautiful and easy care plus being very classy; We bought an old home and it had solid oak flooring everywhere. We put a polyurethane finish on it so there is little upkeep. The older couple we bought our home from said it was just "old wood" and should be covered up! (no waxing, no vacuuming, just a damp mop or dust mop, you can even get up dust just by wearing socks or slippers; also there is little dust when you don't have carpets, so I rarely have to dust)
- Washable Furnishings -- everything is easy wash; I really need and like to have things very clean, but I don't want to spend my life doing it, so we cover furniture with washable coverings such as sofa throws, bedspreads and blankets; even our pillows are chenille bedspreads which wash easily. ( I can relax when a person with a baby sits on the sofa and I don't have to shampoo! Life is to be lived not fussed over!)
- Simple Furniture - I have cherry rockers, a glass kitchen table (outdoor furniture is inexpensive and easy to care for), a stainless steel counter top and sink, (I keep the humidity in my home at a good level so nothing drys out. If wood is drying out, so is my skin.)
- Simple Cleaning - I use plain soap and water for most things. Hydrogen Peroxide kills germs and molds. I spray windows with a hose and use a good squeegee to clean it. (Actually, I get my husband to do this, but I give support.) Soaking in water loosens most burnt on things. I use a plain detergent (I'm allergic to perfumes) and take out clothes before they get over dry and staticy (I have a chemical free home which helps with my chemical sensitivities, and is safer for children).
- Simple Clothes - For allergy reasons I just wear natural fibers. I never buy anything that I can't just throw in the wash. I wear knits which don't need to be ironed. Most clothes look pretty good if you take them right out of the dryer when it stops. (no dry cleaning or ironing!)
- Get rid of When I don't Need -- This has been the biggest thing I have done. I just have the things I use often. If I want to keep something as a keepsake (I have one footlocker) or really think I might use it, then I store it in the attic or garage. It just makes sense that it will take less time to care for fewer things. I decided silver was too hard to care for and gave it away. Let others keep it polished!
- Keep Records on the Computer - you can scan in pictures, record stories, and use a financial program to manage finances; I have a small pile for current papers and purge it at the end of each month
- Delegate - My kids had house and yard assignments each week. I would teach them how to do a job and provide proper tools for them such as a kid sized rake or broom. Now, my husband dust mops once a week and cleans the bathrooms. I dust now and then, spot clean as needed, and wipe off counters. We both do the laundry. That's all there is to do.
- Simple Yard - Many years ago when our last child went on his own, we quickly decided that spending two hours each week mowing was something we didn't want to do. We planted periwinkle (also called Myrtle) and put in patios. Not only is the periwinkle beautiful, it only needs to be watered once a week even in the summer. (little watering, no mowing, and just a little sweeping - just enjoy the yard!)
- Organize - I use bookcases, file cabinets, and baskets to keep things organized. If things are easy to find and put away, then I don't need to always be straightening things.
- Eliminate - Not only do I get rid of things I don't need, I don't do things which aren't necessary. We don't run to the store every few days, but make a list and go once a week. I have large old fashioned deep kitchen drawers. They are too heavy to put much in, but I found that I could throw towels in them. (No folding!) I use blinds and do not have to clean and rehang drapes.
- Clean as You Go - I just clean a dirty spot whenever I see one. I don't wait and then scrub down an entire room. I just clean as I go, so my home is never dirty. (No big cleaning projects. Yea!)
- Make Peace with Weeds -- There are several places which I hope in the future the plants will crowd out the weeds, but it hasn't happened yet. I knew I wasn't up to battle them, so I decided to change perspective after all many weeds are rather attractive. They are hardy and need little water and these are the plants we yank out?! In the mountains they are called wildflowers. We have made peace.
Some might say that they couldn't live like that, and maybe they can't. I have learned that you make decisions each day. If you don't want to spend all your time cleaning and gardening, you don't have to. You can live simply and have time for other things like -- writing!
Is this how other Mormon women do homemaking? I don't know of anyone who lives as simply as I do, but I also don't know anyone who writes as much as I do. People have been amazed at all the things I do. They don't realize that I have time to do other things, because I am not doing all those little details each day which they are doing.
I do agree that it is important to make your home a place of peace and beauty. I love to decorate and, for me, some lovely glass decorations and throws are necessary. I just decided what is important to me and got rid of the rest. I have used my creativity to have a clean, orderly home without much work at all. It is wonderful!
The Story of Mary and Martha New Testament Luke 10:38 to 42
The Story of Mary and Martha New Testament Luke 10:38 to 42