Housekeeping Tips: Where to Begin When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

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“One expression in Titus 2 deserves special notice. It is the word homemakers. The Greek word is oikourgous, which literally means “workers at home.” Oikos is the Greek word for “home,” and ergon means “work, employment.” It suggests that a married woman’s first duty is to her own family, in her own household. Managing her own home should be her primary employment, her first task, her most important job, and her true career.”

~ John MacArthur

Today, I want to address my sisters out there that are feeling overwhelmed with housekeeping.

Perhaps you are feeling as if you are drowning in clutter and chaos?

Or maybe you have some semblance of order, but you just can’t seem to get anything productive done each day to keep the clutter and chaos under control, which leaves you having to spend days on end trying to regain a sense of order?

Maybe you are the woman who never had the care and keeping of your home modeled for you by your mother or an older woman?

If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement to the above statements, you will want to keep reading this article.

Sister, I’m guessing that you don’t have a fairy godmother who will just Bippity-Boppity-Boo your house into Pinterest-perfect fairytale order…

Most of my home-keeping skills have been self-taught.  I have learned most of what I know about keeping an immaculately clean home from firstly being somewhat obsessive about my homes appearance and cleanliness, and also from books and websites that I have gleaned and learned much from over the years.  I also must give credit to my grandma.  I spent a lot of time with my grandparents as a little girl, and my grandma was a remarkable example to me of how to keep a home.

I know that there are many of you who are feeling drowned in chaos and sadly just not doing anything about it because you feel overwhelmed by the disaster and you just don’t have the slightest clue where to start.  Let me help you by telling you, firstly, I understand.  Sometimes after suffering from a bout of depression, fatigue or a bad fibro-flare that leaves me feeling too crappy to keep up with the housekeeping, things tend to pile up fast.  And then the feelings of overwhelm and dread set in.  The important thing that you must do when this happens is to simply just to begin.  You have to do something.  Anything.  The dishes will not just magically wash and dry themselves; the laundry is not going to jump into the washing machine all by itself, nor will it dry itself, fold itself or magically find it’s way back to its respective drawers,  and dinner doesn’t automatically appear on the table at dinnertime without a little thought, some planning, and preparation.  And sister, I’m guessing that you don’t have a fairy godmother who will just Bippity-Boppity-Boo your house into Pinterest-perfect fairytale order either.  So blast your favorite iTunes, and do it like Nike does it sister; Just Do It!

The Lord desires for you to care for your family and your home.   Your home is your domain and the area He has given you to care and keep.  So many times we can find ourselves sitting there in self-pity (I’ve been there) and isn’t getting anything accomplished.

There are many days that I don’t feel like doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom or putting laundry away.  In fact, I hate, loathe, despise, and utterly abhor folding laundry! It’s tedious, mundane, and it just irritates me to the core!  Let’s face it, folding laundry is just not that exciting, and there are no awards given for how many times you do it or how well you do it, or even if you do it.  Can I get an Amen, sisters?

The reality is, it has to be done.  And sister, you guessed it!  It is YOUR job to do it.  It is your calling as a wife and mother.  So rather than give you excuses here, I want to encourage you to “Just Do It.”

Let me walk you through some basics steps of where to begin when your feeling so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to begin:

First, you will want to start by washing all of the dirty dishes in the sink.  Next, tidy up and organize the kitchen counters, wipe them down with Lysol or Clorox disinfecting wipes.  When you have finished, put out some fresh dish towels.  A good rule of thumb is to try to not go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.

Next, throw a load of laundry in the washing machine (or re-wash that load you forgot about that’s been sitting there a few days) and be sure to finish it all the way through.  That means once the washing machine stops, hang it up to dry or throw it in the dryer.  (I personally prefer to hang my laundry to dry in the sun.  This saves tons of money on propane and drastically reduces the electric bill.)  Once it’s dry, fold it and put away.  Yes, doing a load of laundry entails all those steps.  If you can only get through one load a day and get it put away – then only do one load a day!

Now, onto the bathroom.  Be sure that it is stocked with necessary supplies, (toilette paper, feminine hygiene products, shampoo/conditioner, soap, toothpaste, etc.)  Give it a good cleaning, wiping down the toilette, bathtub/shower, sink, and countertops with disinfecting wipes, and put out fresh towels.

Next, we move to the front entry where your husband, children, and company enter your home.  This is the area that makes the most impression on all who enter your home.  This is why is it crucial to keep it clean, and welcoming at all times.  Can you tidy it up by dusting, sweeping or vacuuming the floor, and making sure the entry rug is clean, and there is a place for your husband, kids, and visitors to hang up their coats?

Now we make our way to the family room?  Can you find a comfortable place to sit?  Or are the chairs and sofa buried beneath toys and dirty clothes?  Only keep in the room what needs to be there.  Be certain that each family member takes their belongings to their bedrooms each evening before going to bed.  Quickly pick up toys, books, magazines, clothes, and other items, dust, and vacuum.

Bonus Tip: Take it just one room at a time.   If you are feeling especially overwhelmed start by just cleaning the surface areas that are visible.  Take the time to tidy the bedrooms and make sure there are clean sheets on the beds.  Does your family have clean towels to use?  Now would be a good time to replace them.

Keeping a Clean, Safe and Welcoming Home Takes Hard Work:

You cannot even begin to organize your home if you have lots of clutter.  Tip: Don’t worry about the cupboards until you are able to manage the day to day clean up, laundry and meals.  When you have established a routine and a sense of order, proceed to make a list of the areas in your home that you would like to declutter.

Always declutter before you start to organize.  So many of us will go out and buy all these fancy overpriced containers and storage bins only to discover that we have no use for them once we have determined what we are keeping, throwing away or giving away.

Keeping a home is work — hard work.  There is just no way around it.  It is not going to happen if you just sit around playing on your computer or cell phone all day or sit around making list after list of what needs to be done but never doing it.  Listen, lists are great!  I love to make lists!  However, I’m human, and I easily get overwhelmed and distracted.  That is why I can find myself making them and never acting on them.

It takes self-discipline, not a college degree.  There are no unique skills required to wash dishes, do laundry, or even make dinner. You just have to do it.  For every day that you put these tasks off, the piles of laundry and dishes are just going to get bigger and bigger, thus making it harder and harder for you to begin.

Sister, you have to start somewhere, and it is my hope that I can encourage you to start, today.
Having a clean and well-organized home with a sense of order will be a blessing to your family. By caring for your home you are teaching your children how to be good stewards of the home and belongings the Lord has blessed you with.  You are showing your husband that you are grateful and appreciative for the home he has provided for you.  It will also save you money by being organized, so you always know what you have on hand and not wind up buying duplicates. You will also spend less time running around all over the place trying to find items you’ve lost – eventually you will have a place for everything.  You will even begin to see yourself practicing biblical hospitality as you start inviting others over coffee and Bible study.  These are just a few benefits you will enjoy.I am genuinely calmer and happier and I tend to function better in my home when there is a sense of cleanliness and order.Will you ponder and pray today asking the Lord to help you begin to care for and manage your home well?

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