22 April 2019

Making your home

At some point in the morning, without fail, I make our bed. It's an indispensable part of my home making and the comfort it provides us when we go to bed at night consistently reinforces its importance.  Some folk have to drink coffee in the morning, I have to make our bed. It makes sense to me and it motivates me to care for the rest of my home too.  Lately I've been thinking a lot about the work we all do in our homes and I know that for me, housework slowed me down, lead me to a better life and changed me in the process.  

Biscuits with homemade peach jam, and below, the famous whole orange cake.

I think you have to see the big picture when it comes to working in your home because if you just think of housework as a collection of mundane jobs you won't see how important it is in creating a comfortable home. One thing's for certain, there's no special house fairy who arrives just when we need her to make our homes the ideal place to live. If you want your ideal home, you have to think about the house you live in and then set about making the changes you need to make a home you'll thrive in. There is no formula for this and it's not really about making our homes look different or fashionable or luxurious. It's more about making rooms and spaces welcoming and productive. We should try to make our work places - the kitchen, laundry, sewing room etc. easy to work in with plenty of storage space so your work space is clean and efficient.  It makes sense to keep things tidy, to have similar things together, to keep cleaning equipment in a wet room, clean and ready to go. Keeping mending in a basket beside a chair you often sit in, along with a small sewing kit, will remind you that it could be done while you sit with the family in the evening or when you watch TV. You should keep comfort in mind too. Make your living room the kind of place you can enjoy and relax in. Have plenty of library books for the readers, warm rugs in winter, fans in summer, try for cross ventilation and find good lights for craft and reading. And when you set it all up, expect the rest of the family to help keep it tidy and clean.

It also helps to organise yourself and your work with routines. Monthly, weekly, daily, morning and evening routines will help you remember when work needs to be done, it helps you develop a rhythm in your work too.  The routines that suit you and make sense in your unique circumstances, can be worked out and given a time and you can write them down in a notebook, on your calendar, or if your more exacting, on a spreadsheet. Keep it simple and start slow because you can always add to your routines but if you overwhelm yourself, you might think it wasn't such a good idea after all.

It helps a lot to know and understand the importance of home to you. When you get that, it makes sense to care for your home, not only as a significant investment, but also as your shelter and a place of safety. Working in your home doing daily chores, sewing, home maintenance, gardening, cooking, budgeting, recycling and a hundred other things, develops your dwelling into something more than just a house. It becomes more profound and has a meaning that you feel and understand. You develop a relationship with your home and the land you live on and you want to give time most days to the work that will keep everything running the way it should. 

I'm not saying that everyone should spend every waking hour working in their home, even if you have time to do that. It's about doing the work in the amount of time you have available that will give you and your family the type of home you want to live in.  Some days you'll do everything you want to do, some days you won't, and that's okay. Housework never ends so you can always come back tomorrow or the next day and finish what you started. Don't put pressure on yourself and never feel guilty if you don't get the work done. 

A similar principle applies outside in the backyard. When you plant seeds, grow plants and harvest vegetables and fruit, then make it into food that sustains you, you develop a symbiotic relationship with the land you live on.  It becomes part of you. Your outdoor spaces are an extension of your home. You might want to cook and eat outside or relax in the afternoon before you make diner. If you have children, you might have a pool or lawn where they can play. Your chooks and pets also need space in the backyard to run around and do what they do.  All these spaces are waiting for you to make into places that serve you well.

 One of our old frizzle chooks.
 Harvesting elderberries and making elderberry tonic.

From the minute I decided to turn my back on what was outside my home to concentrate on what was in it, I became more mindful and focused. I made a plan to make my home more productive, both inside and out. I wanted to cut out the middleman and get back to basics so from then on, chickens, gardening, baking, cooking from scratch, budgeting, stockpiling became a much appreciated part of my ordinary days.  I stopped shopping for products and bought ingredients instead. I reduced the number of chemicals in our home and I think we're all healthier because of that. It might sound like I'm a slave to my home but it turned out to be the opposite - all the time and energy I put into my home has been returned to me in contentment and a kind of deep satisfaction that I've never felt before.  It took a lot of work by both of us to get to where we are now, but the work was slow and considered and it gave us what we needed, both in our home and our heads.  Thank you housework. ♥️
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