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. ♥️

37 comments

  1. I love this post Rhonda, I’ve come to very similar conclusions in recent times.

    One of my favourite quotes is “A garden is not made by sitting in the shade and singing oh how beautiful” and I have started applying this quote to my home as well. A functional, well ordered home (I’m not talking perfection here, just organised) is not made by sitting on the lounge and wishing for it!! LOL Thinking this way motivates me to keep at it, and the results are so worth it! 🙏

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  2. I'm not quite sure how I stumbled across your blog this morning, but I have really enjoyed reading your page.. I thinkI'm guilty of just wishing my house to become a home without putting much thought into it - you got me thinking!!

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  3. I couldn't agree more, Rhonda. One's home should be a place of relaxation, production and comfort, all at once. Each morning when I make my bed, I am expressing my gratitude for having a safe and cozy place to lay my head each night. With every chore, I try to pause and remember that what I do is vital to the health of this family, and that it is important to express thankfulness for each detail.
    Continued blessings...

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    1. I love this insight! Yes, gratitude indeed. Jade

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  4. It really does make a difference. I find that principle applies to everything in life. When you take care of your body, your pets, your car, and your children, it really shows. The photos of you home and garden always inspire me. Thank you.

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  5. Your posts like this one always relax me. Just to settle into a routine around the house and accomplish what each day requires has a great deal of Zen to it. Right now we are moving into a new place and so I don't have much routine. But it will come in time. I love your pics, too.

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  6. A lovely post and much food for thought. Love the picture of the boys in the back yard, they look so happy running on the grass. Home is such an important place, it is the very foundation in our everyday life, yet so often all about design and just a quick stopping place between appointments. It needs to be so much more. A couple I know both decided to work 4 days each instead of five. One is home mondays, the other fridays. 3 children and an impressive focus on home. Pam

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    1. Hi Winkel's Crazy Ideas, I also love the photo of the boys, playing outside, no shoes but lovely grass underfoot and carefree and happy!

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    2. ‘Winkels crazy ideas’, my husband and I did that too and we have 3 littlies. Having one of us home on a different weekday brings so much more order to our home instead of it becoming a dumping ground! The impact of cutting just one day out of 5 has been huge for the family. We all benefit and I hope to never work 5 again. Jade

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  7. We have lived on the road full time in our caravan for the past 5 1/2 years and love this lifestyle. We are both neat and tidy people which is important when you live in a small space.

    The very first thing we do when we get up in the morning is to make the bed together. It immediately makes our space neat, tidy and welcoming.

    When we cook, we wash up straight away and put everything back in it’s place. Same with the clothes washing... bring it in and put it away.

    Although we don’t have a garden to look after, we still have to maintain our caravan and tow vehicle, inside and out which means polishing, dusting, cleaning the floor etc. This s important to us because it looks after our home which we are going to live in until the end of our days.

    Great post, thanks Rhonda,...and good to see you both looking so well.

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  8. I know I am so much happier when I look after my home well, and like you I find making the bed is important. It seems that if you start the day sloppy it will only get worse, whereas if you get the basic routine done it is so much easier for everything else to fall into place.

    You really are good at taking photos that inspire one into action!

    Madeleine

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  9. Great post Rhonda. Not having to have "fashionable & luxurious" but "welcoming and productive" rooms, is very true. Too many people still compare themselves to how others live and try to keep up. Love being in a home not a house.

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  10. Thank you Rhonda. I have enjoyed reading this post today.
    I am enjoying this rain and planting up my allotment for the new season now it's getting a bit cooler. Peas, beans, kale, silver beet, Asian greens. My ginger and turmeric plants are doing well.

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  11. Thanks Rhonda - I think perhaps when my husband reads this, he may better understand how I feel about our home and my new job taking care of it (I have recently decided to leave paid employment to take care of things at home full time). Neither of us have regretted this decision, and are both happier and more content. Wonderful blog!

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  12. We had a 4 day break away and when we came back home i had to do 6 loads of washing ( we camped) . When i saw all that washing dry and folded it was a good feeling. Just like when i made our bed up when camping and also when we got back home and i remade the bed and i just wanted to lie on both beds as they looked so comfy. For our living room i recently made patchwork cushions and on the grey sofas they added a real "pop" to it and we needed to buy drapes for the lounge ( we rent and the ones there were mouldy and the backing was stuck together from the sun) and i got some off TradeMe for $15 and once they were up they changed the appearance of the room and it looks so cosy. I thinkone has to have a love for their home regardless of whether they own it or not. It needs to be our happy place.

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  13. This is another beautiful and timely post Rhonda, that captures the exact emotions that I'm feeling now. The past few months have been too hectic for my liking, and now that there is more time, I'm finding great joy in our home again. We have decided not to return to that busyness again, there is no need to, and our new slower life is bringing such contentment. I set myself two things to achieve each day,(apart from all the farm chores, meal prep etc) and write them on a list in the morning. That's enough. Tomorrow is another day, for another two extra achievements. Life is only as good as we make it and we can be our own worst enemy if we let it happen. XX

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  14. I completely agree! I've been making a home for our family for 31 years. I love living the life I have with my family, and over the years we taught the kids to work along side us and grow food, raise chickens, have flower gardens. They know the basics of putting up food, know how to cook from scratch, sew, and knit. We just did those things as family activities, and now they are a part of their adult lives, too.

    I still love making my home and I always will. Our home is a place for hospitality for those outside the family too.

    Thank you for your post!

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  15. Excellent post! So well put. For me and my husband, home is the center. It is where we work---I'm a writer---live, and socialize. Home is where we spend most of our time. We are lucky to have a large dining room, and one of my pleasures is to invite people over for tea, coffee, and homemade muffins. We gather around the table to talk.

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  16. Dear Rhonda~Thank you for such an inspiring post. In the "season" of my life entering into menopause, my mind is all over the place and somedays I get so overwhelmed, and others I am on top of my homemaking. My husband is so loving and supportive, but I feel so scattered.

    Your encouragement to "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" has really helped me to regain some focus. To stand back for a few minutes with a lovely cup of tea and really "see" my home and how I can make it more productive.

    Hugs to you. Can you share your peach biscuit recipe? And sewing room lighting?

    Peace be with you,
    Dee

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    1. Hi Dee, here is the biscuit recipe: https://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2009/11/cheap-and-easy-biscuits.html I use a table lamp if I need extra light for crafts.

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  17. Love your post. I just can't start my day without making my bed. That's my Mama's fault! She taught me to do this when I was just a little child. Unfortunately, my adult children don't seem to have the same desire even though they were taught when they were children too! Ha! Ha! Love them anyway. Carolyn in Florida

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  18. I love this post - it really resonated with our stage of life. It has taken me a long time to understand that housework is never' done' and I don't have to beat myself up about that. As you say there's a rhythm to these things and I accept now that it's a continuum - rolling forward every day and now I take pleasure in it and enjoy working at a steady pace in our home and garden. There's time to sit with a cup of tea and cuddle dogs and reflect too. A slow life is good.

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  19. Lovely post! It made me think of one of my favorite quotes. "Home is the nicest word there is" Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Lisa in Alabama

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  20. I'm always up early and before Robert as my back and hips start to complain. However Robert always makes the be before he comes out of the bedroom. Even when I want to wash the linens, he has made the bed before I can get back in there. lol

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  21. Such s lovely post Rhonda. I wasn't trained to help at home when I was little and have struggled with routines ever since as an adult. Your blog is a great inspiration. : )

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    1. Thank you 'the homehugger'. My background is similar and I have often felt that I've fallen short in the homemaker department. I just adore Rhonda's philosophy and it never fails to calm me and give me practical step by step ways to work and now I'm falling in love with my home. Still a long way to go mind, but the rewards (both physical and emotional) are priceless. Have a gorgeous day.

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  22. I have always enjoyed a certain amount of housework. It is soothing and grounding. I don't usually make my bed as soon as I get up; I leave it for an hour or two to air out with the window open to change the air in the room. It is healthy and just a bit cleaner, I think. But it is important to make the bed at some point in the morning. I have always enjoyed laundry, too. Yes, housework is nourishing to the soul and thanks for keeping us aware of that, Rhonda. Great post!

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  23. Hi Rhonda,
    I could cry. I didn't realise you had started your blog again. I have been aimlessly searching for simple living blogs, none compare to yours. I must have stopped looking at your blog just before you started again. I hope with all of my heart, your brain tumour stays put, and doesn't amount to anything. Hanno looks healthy and well in the photos, and joy to me, I have so much reading to do. I have all of your books and can't describe over the past 12 years how you have shaped my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will treasure every post as I have done so in the past. I met you briefly in Hobart at a book signing, it was a special day for me and my family. Kind regards, Gill McDowell

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    1. Yes Gill, I'm back and it feels good. I met so many people on that trip, I won't pretend I remember your name but are you the lady with the older kids?

      I hope you enjoy the posts. Don't forget to come up for air. xx

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  24. I enjoy homemaking, but it doesn`t always feel as though my efforts are appreciated. Reading your post reminds me that it is the right thing to do. So many television programmes and magazines have focused on fashions/styles etc that the real purpose of our homes has been forgotten.

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  25. Sandy in the USAApril 27, 2019 1:55 pm

    I so agree, Rhonda! I wish I had discovered this attitude of homemaking 30 years ago but alas I was a little late to the party. No matter, I try to impress upon my adult children as appropriate just how important their homes are and that there is a lot of enjoyment to be had within their homes and gardens. Your home and garden look beautiful, comfy and loved. What better tribute to pay to ourselves and our family than to show that love.

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  26. For years I longed to live anywhere but my own home (constantly looking to move, even though we couldn't for practical reasons). I saw so many foults in our house, I was blind to the comfort it gave too. Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, I tried to redirect my thoughts and started to tackle the things that bothered me. I am not there yet, but in the back of my mind is a sentence that I read here once: "bloom where you are planted". This post also adds to that feeling, thanks!

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    1. I hope you can work your way through this Jacqueline. xx

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  27. Oh you are lovely ! I wish you lived next door to me ! hugs Debbie :) x

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  28. I had no idea you were back! I just went into your blog to have a bit of a nostalgic look and there you were. Good news. Hope your tumour behaves itself.
    JillN

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  29. I just looked you up again just to reread old blogs and find you are still blogging wish I had known. So happy to see your blog is still going thankyou Rhonda....Sharlene

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