I loathe housework. At one time, I actually enjoyed it. I suppose those were the newlywed days and the newly-stay-at-home-mom days.
But the newness has worn off…a long time ago. Now housework just feels like…work.
But today as I pull out the broom and mop and dust cloth, I’m reminding myself of the value of a well tended home.
Keeping a home clean and fresh, whether you have children crawling across your floors, teenagers bringing in their friends for games and pizza, or just the two of you…or even the one of you, is no trivial matter. Yes, the work can be tedious and toilsome. And let’s face it, it’s all quite repetitive. But a well kept house is worth the effort.
When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were instructed to tend it. They were to keep it, maintain it, work it. Later, in Proverbs 31, we see the “excellent wife” is one who “looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Finally, in Titus 2:5 older women are instructed to encourage younger women in, among other things, working hard at home. Throughout God’s Word He expresses the value He puts on a well kept home.
Over the years I have made a few observations about my home, the cleanliness and atmosphere thereof, and the side effects of both the well kept home and the home that has been “let go.”
A well kept home:
- is one that is both clean and easy to live in. Museum level cleanliness is neither achievable nor desirable in a family home. But a well organized home stays relatively clean while also serving well those who live there.
- grants its inhabitants peace, respite, and joy.
- transitions with the life cycles of its family. When children are in a home, don’t try to make it look like none live there. Children breathe life into a home. Enjoy!
- speaks through color, sound, fragrance, and texture. Think music, candles, throw pillows, artwork, live plants, cookies in the oven.
- tells its guests who lives there. Think family photos, children’s artwork, books, collections, personally selected colors, pets.
- can be readied for unexpected guest in 10 minutes. If you received a phone call right now announcing the arrival of guests, could you have things looking warm and presentable in 10 minutes?
- is easier to live in than one that is in disarray. You can locate things quickly, sit down comfortably, walk through spaces easily, put things away quickly, relax in peace, and feel good about having people over.