Tag: housekeeping

The idea of a heavenly home

The idea of a heavenly home

The title of this blog is A Heavenly Home, and I chose this name because of the hope and inspiration that it gives. If we are all honest with ourselves, I am certain that each one of us desires to have a warm, loving home that resembles a small piece of heaven on earth.

In our hectic, busy modern world, such an ideal home environment can seem hard — maybe even impossible — to achieve. Sometimes our best laid plans go awry or life circumstances force us to be flexible in ways we had not intended.

Our home is no different.

Is our house always tidy? No.

Do we have more clutter than we should? Yes.

Do we always put away our clean laundry? No.

Do dishes sometimes pile up in the sink? Yes.

Does our home look like a glossy magazine spread or a bright photo op on a fancy home blog? Absolutely not.

At the moment, I work full time outside the home with some freelancing on the side while my husband stays home with our one-year-old son. This was not our original plan, but it is where we find ourselves at this time. My amazing husband keeps our household running by not only caring for our son but also taking on a large share of domestic duties, including but not limited to laundry, vacuuming, tidying, yard work, taking care of the aging dog, etc. I appreciate everything he does so I try to pitch in and ease his burdens when I can.

We had a fairly good system working for us before we discovered I was pregnant with Baby #2 back in May and the first trimester all-day-every-day sickness struck. Around the same time, our little Peanut began to teethe… badly. Everything quickly dissolved into barely manageable chaos. For a little while there, it was a struggle. Then we realized that stage of our life was merely temporary, and it was ok to let the less important things slide for awhile.

Do not misunderstand. I do believe having a clean and tidy home tends to make the home more inviting and is more nurturing for those who live there.

However, the physical house is only part of what makes a home feel like a little bit of heaven on earth. To create a home that is a welcomed retreat from the cares of the outside world, warm and inviting, you need more than simply clean rooms.

A heavenly home is built on love, courtesy towards those who live with you, quality time spent together, and laughter.

My natural tendency at times would be to stare at the three days’ worth of dirty dishes piled up in the sink and feel like a failure for being too exhausted (and sick!) to do them. There were times I had to remind myself: “At this moment, cuddling with my little son who is crying for “Mama” because a new tooth is working its painful way through his gum is far more important than some dirty dishes.”

When times became challenging, we chose to focus on what is most important. For our little family it was spending time together as a couple, spending time with our son, and doing what was best for our health. For me that also meant extra sleep!

Since then, things have begun to even out again. (Praise the Lord!) I am no longer feeling sick, and my energy has returned to normal. We are now in a place where we have a handle on the weekly housekeeping duties again and can also re-start some of the projects we had to put on hold for those couple of months, such as what I like to call “the big purge”. (More on this later.)

A clean house is important for physical health and a tidy house is good for mental health, but never forget that what truly transforms a house into a home is the people who live there and the atmosphere you cultivate.

“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Proverbs 2:3-4, ESV

Our home and family is built on the love of Christ. If we keep Christ as our focus and His love in our hearts, everything else falls into its proper place. Our home becomes a warm, inviting, nurturing place full of the most important riches: love, selfless service, and grace. We know what is most important and are able to be flexible when circumstances change.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to explore a little bit more into the idea of a heavenly home and share some of our plans for improvement. What does your home look like? What does a heavenly home mean to you? In what areas do you need improvement?

9 Things People with Clean Houses Do Daily

9 Things People with Clean Houses Do Daily

I read an article recently that provided a list of nine relatively simple tasks that people with clean and organized houses do on a daily basis. Now I am a semi-neat individual, but there are a few areas that I struggle with so my curiosity enticed me to click the link. Not all tasks will apply to every situation, but it does provide a simple guideline that you can use to do a better job of keeping up with the little things around a home.

The nine daily tasks include:

  1. Make the bed
  2. Empty dishwater in the morning
  3. Do a load of laundry a day
  4. Use baskets to organize
  5. Don’t procrastinate
  6. Put clothes they wore that day away before going to sleep
  7. Clean as they move about the house
  8. Never go to sleep with a dirty kitchen
  9. Plan ahead

Obviously, doing laundry everyday may not fit your lifestyle or needs. Likewise, some people may not use or own a dishwasher. However, the principle of keeping up on the laundry, dishes, etc. can help many families improve the tidiness of their homes.

As for me, I need improvement in two areas: cleaning the kitchen every night (instead of leaving it for the next morning) and getting the clean clothes from folded in the basket(s) or on the guest bed and into their proper drawer or closet.

What areas or tasks do you struggle with?

Organizing the pantry

Organizing the pantry

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This post is a follow up to Operation: Declutteration, that is actually the brain-child of Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog. I am excited to share that two evenings ago, Bradley and I made tangible progress on organizing our chaotic pantry. (I wish I had the good sense to take before and after photos, but I did not.)

First a little explanation. The house we are currently renting is lacking in proper storage space and the closet we are using as a pantry was originally a small coat closet. Somewhere between when the house was built and we began renting, it was kind of transformed into a small pantry. There are three wood shelves but above the top shelf was a lot of wasted space and the whole bottom half was a mess with bags and items thrown in haphazardly.

Last summer, I bought some white plastic bins from Dollar Tree and began using them to group like-items. For example, all of my gluten-free pasta go in one bin. All the bags of dried rice, beans, etc. go in another. Bradley’s snacks go in another. You get the idea. At the beginning of the school year, we found bought two locker shelves from Target to put on the top shelf so we could reclaim that wasted vertical space. We now put items that we do not use often way up there. (I actually cannot reach the shelves!)

So that brings me to two evenings ago. We bought a 3-Tiered black metal shelving unit. (We bought ours from Target but this is a similar piece from Amazon.) I love this style of shelving unit as they are very versatile and are pretty cost effective. We had bought one for our “garage” (aka the laundry closet that we are using as storage as we do not have a washer or dryer) quite awhile ago and it has made a huge difference. The best part is that they are very fast and easy to assemble.

Bradley was kind enough to pull everything out of the bottom of the pantry, and I then sorted it all. I could not believe the amount of paper bags we had kept nor the wide assortment of paper plates, cups, and plasticware we did not even know we had. I ended up recycling quite a bit of the unnecessary items and then used small plastic bins with lids (one was from Dollar Tree and the other from Wal-mart) to group like-items: all paper plates and bowls went in one bin and all plasticware in another. I will call these “party items” since we only use them when either we go for a picnic or we host a get-together at our house. I found all of our “missing” re-usable bags and folded them so they would take up less space. I put our camping set (plates, bowls, mugs, plasticware) in a re-usable bag.

The shelving unit fits into the pantry sideways and allows for a little bit of floor space to the side for bigger items like coolers. On the bottom shelf I put the camping set and some of our extra party items. The middle shelf had extra food containers for road trips and the rest of our party items. The top of the shelving unit is temporarily housing extra paper products (napkins, paper towels, etc.).

I need to re-arrange the food on the wood shelves above. I want to move the frequently used items to the lowest shelf and the rest higher. Also, the original metal accordion door was driving both Bradley and I crazy. It would not always close flush nor was it easy to open at times, jumping off the track. One day Bradley just took it off and now our pantry is visible to anyone who walks into our house. I would like to get a small tension rod and hang one of the beautiful brown curtains we are also using to hide the “garage” (laundry closet). Maybe after these little tweaks are done, I’ll post a few pictures.

Operation: Declutteration

Operation: Declutteration

In my Feedly.com feed today, I found a motivating article by Abby over at Just a Girl and Her Blog.

Operation-Declutteration-3

I’m planning on Fridays being “declutteration” days (for the most part), and each week I will tackle a different problem area or organizational system in our home, sharing what I’ve learned along the way.

I hope, though, that you won’t leave me decluttering all alone! If you have spaces in your home that could use a little help in the organization department, I invite you to join me, and let’s do this thing together! ~Abby

I’m in! Since Bradley and I married last April, we have done a pretty good job decluttering and organizaing the main living areas (living room, kitchen, and dining room are all open), the guest bedroom, half of the pantry, and the hall closet. Unfortunately, the house we are renting does not have much in the way of storage space so we began using our office as a temporary storage. Now that is out of control! We can barely use the desktop in that room or get to the book shelves we so carefully arranged. We have too much stuff! The master bedroom has also been neglected, as it is a room visitors never see, and the linen closet and the other half of the pantry definitely need more shelves.

So for the next few weeks, we will be selecting a day (maybe Thursdays, maybe Sundays) to de-clutter and organize these areas in our house. I’m thinking of it as an early, on-going spring cleaning project! Maybe I’ll even post before and after photos. Hmm…