Rediscovering Homemaking Mini-Series: How I Learned to Keep a House

Written by Contributing Writer, Crystal Starr

I lived in a clean, well cared for home as a child.  My mother did absolutely everything.  Ok, not everything. I did have my own assigned chores.  I was responsible for at least my own laundry, running the dishwasher, picking up anything out of place around the house, and vacuuming.

When I grew older and had a job of my own, I learned to iron my uniform and anything else I wanted wrinkle free.   I’m pretty sure I had to do some routine bathroom cleaning as well.

It all had to be done before my mother came home from work. She often worked two jobs to make ends meet.

I frequently had all evening to finish my chores.  Being a typical kid, I always waited until the last moment to get my stuff done.  I usually finished just as she pulled into the driveway.  That drove her nuts!  But I got it done before she got home…right?

These few chores I learned to do, I learned to do them pretty well.  I generally thought that was all there was to housekeeping.  Keep the bathroom clean, the dishes washed, and the house tidy.  Piece of cake!  Well, okay, I knew the floor had to be mopped, too.  That was one chore I was aware of.  It meant staying OUT of the kitchen for a while! 

Then I grew up, moved out and got a place of my own.  All of a sudden I realized things got dirty and needed cleaning that I never noticed before.  For example, who knew window blinds got dusty?  Kitchen cabinets? They get FILTHY from grimy fingers and oily food!  Area rugs need to be WASHED once in a while?  And then one day someone told me you could put pillows in the washing machine! How did that one get by me all of these years?  I know how…my mom always did it. 

So I quickly learned there was a lot more involved to keeping my house clean.

But most of these things weren’t hard.  I’m college educated.  I can figure out how to dust window blinds.  But then there was that kitchen floor to tackle.  How hard can it be?  I wash other things. Take a mop and a little water, a little soap, a little scrubbing, a little rinsing…then let it dry.  Right?  Right?  The first time I attempted to wash a kitchen floor I managed to completely, and I mean totally, flood the entire floor right on into the living room.

Patio Chair Bucket Mop

I used every towel I could find to try and wipe up my disaster.  My poor husband came home to find me in the middle of a heap of soggy laundry nearly in tears. I felt like such a moron!  It was then decided that he’d be the floor washer in our house.  All of these years later that is still primarily his job, although I have figured it out by watching him a time or two.  I don’t flood the house just to mop the floor anymore, either. :)
Also, I didn’t know you were supposed to wash the inserts on your stove.  My goodness, I don’t even know what they are called!  You know, those little doo-hickies you put under your electric burners to catch the gunk that gushes out of your pans?

I think this must have been another domain my husband took over and I didn’t even realize it because these things apparently were not well cleaned by the former owners when we moved into our first home.  I discovered this when I set off the security system/fire alarm all because I wanted to heat a pot of tea.  My husband shook his head at me and said, “Didn’t you see they needed cleaning?” Actually no, I didn’t even realize they could come out to be cleaned!  Oh my poor husband…what did he marry?

Cooking?  My mom cooked everything.  Now, I find cooking stressful because I don’t really know my oregano from my basil.  Gardening? Yeah, I’ll just leave the weeds, because how do I know a weed from a flower?  Growing up I always lived in apartments so gardening was out the question. 
As you can see I am not a fantastic homemaker.  My family has clean clothes, a clean bathroom, and well vacuumed floors.   I keep most of the house very neat and tidy.  Clutter is not my thing.  And I can iron a wrinkle out of most anything.  These things I know how to do well.  I can dust too.  I hate dust!  I still remember how amazed I was in our first apartment over how dusty things can get.  Again, who knew? Not me!

You know who does know quite a bit and probably more than I give him credit for? My husband.  What I do know about cooking and gardening I’ve learned from him.  We are a team.  He picks up where I leave off and I do the same for him.  Sometimes I try but flop but I try again.  Trial and error is a powerful tool.  Thankfully these days I have Google!  And of course, I am still blessed to have my mom just a phone call away.  She’s been there for me more times than I can count. 
Domesticated, I am not!  At least that is what my mother says.  Yet here I am doing all these things to become that domestic diva.  I figure I’ll have it all down to a science just about the time my youngest heads off to college.  Now…where did I put my mop and bucket?

Crystal is a former special education teacher who decided to stay home after her first child was born. Staying home was a completely foreign idea to Crystal. However, she followed the Lord's leading and is happily homeschooling her three children while also running a photography business.

Crystal blogs about life, homeschooling, photography and more at Crystal Starr. Stop by and check it out!

**Note from Becky: I hope this post encourages you to know that you don't have to be a perfect homemaker to make a wonderful home for your family. We can all start somewhere and the key is to be flexible and willing to learn. I'm sure that as our families see how much we care about them and that we are trying to make our home a haven for them, they will be blessed indeed.

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