Monday, March 25, 2013

A Terrible Keeper of the Home

I have something I need to admit right off: I am a terrible keeper of my home.

I admit that with a lot of shame, because there is nothing I desire more than to be a neat, tidy, hard working keeper of my home, but that unfortunately is not me. First of all, I am not a tidy person. I have never been, in fact. I was required to stay in my room every Saturday growing up until it was clean, and I used to spend ALL day there! I thought it was a nice way to spend some alone time.

I had this fantasy that when I got married, I would become a perfect homemaker and wouldn't have to reveal the extent of my messiness to my husband. WRONG! I got married and nothing changed, except my husband realized really quickly what he got himself into.

I have had a while now to narrow down the reasons for why I am a terrible homemaker, and this is what I've come up with:

1.) I have never been tidy and therefore have no idea how to be tidy. I don't even think about it, and end up leaving things out or forgetting to clean up after myself. I am just not conscious of it.

2.) I over-commit myself outside the home. I know this is a problem many women have, but it doesn't make it right. The Bible tells me that one of my primary jobs is to be keeper of my home. It is important! But yet somehow I choose other things instead.

3.) I'll just admit it.... I'm LAZY! Keeping a home is hard work, and I so much prefer reading, or playing a game with my husband, etc. I claim I don't have time to keep my house clean, but that isn't the truth. The truth is that I make time for things that are important to me.

4.) A stem off of number 3.... I just don't think tidiness is particularly important. Do I like a tidy home? Yes. And every time I get everything in its place, I commit to keeping it that way, only to look around a few days later to see I failed. But if I thought keeping my home was important, I would make the time and put in the energy to do it.

So now that I have shown you all my true colors, I am also going to tell you that I have really been working hard to change this. I have been praying a lot lately for the strength of character and the will to be obedient in this area of my life. I need to do better at this because God has commanded that I be a keeper of my home, and I am failing. (Titus 2:5)

Will this all change over night? Definitely not. But I have slowly begun to figure out ways to get better at this. Here are some of the new habits I have implemented to get myself on track:

1.) The 15 minute clean. Seriously, this has been an amazing tool. It is the same way I trick myself into doing exercise: "You can always make 15 minutes". So I literally have a timer on my phone and 2-3 times a day I do a 15 minute clean-up in a different room. It is amazing how much can be cleaned and organized in 15 minutes. Also, because I know I am racing the clock, I clean faster. Some days 15 minutes will just get the floor picked up and the counters or tables cleared. But some days it includes a lot more. It has helped me to get started in this world of tidiness.

So now let me really embarrass myself and show you the dirtiest room example I have. This was the craft room in my old apartment
And below is after just 15 minutes of cleaning (plus another minute or two with the vacuum because I was feeling ambitious)
I hope someday to have freedom from my phone timer but honestly, it has been the best tool to get myself to commit to cleaning. 

2.) Another great tool has been Darlene Schacht's The Good Wife's Guide. I bought it on my Kindle and it has really given me motivation to change this area of my life. She also gives good advice on how to do it. I've read it through, and now I read a page or two every morning to get me going. 

3.) Clearing my schedule. I still volunteer quite a bit, and am a coordinator for some of the places I volunteer for, but I have managed to better organize my schedule so that I am freer to be home. I am often busy at home too, but I am more likely to get moving and clean when I am in my home and I can see what needs to be done. I have also bowed out of a few of the time-consuming activities which used to take up my time, and now I can better devote myself to fewer things. 

4.) I have begun to look around daily and say out loud "Would I be embarrassed or panicked if someone knocked on the door right now?" Just that simple question gets me motivated to get moving. And the few times in the last few weeks when someone did knock on the door unexpectedly, I wasn't completely mortified. 

5.) I found cleaning products I love. Norwex has been a real life-changer. It is so easy to clean with their products, because you just get them wet and go! Their microfiber cloths clean so well and I no longer use any chemicals to clean my home.

6.) Prayer. This should have been first on the list, but I'm hoping that by putting it last it will be more memorable. When it comes down to it, I need to be a keeper of my home because God says that is important, and whether I think it is important or not, I need to be more obedient to him. Keeping my relationship strong with God makes me feel like ultimately this journey toward becoming a better keeper of my home is a way of honoring him.

I know I am not the only woman out there who struggles with this! Please share in a comment how you overcome obstacles to be a getter keeper of your home.


  1. I struggle with being tidy too. I started to get better, but every time I do, another little blessing learns to walk and away we go again....
    My two rules (especially during tough time like post-partum) are-
    -The benches and counters that need to stay clear MUST not have even one item on them. Clutter begets clutter, and if one item is on a bench in the morning, 15 will be on by nightfall.
    -Take two items with me when I walk from room to room. If I am going from the kitchen to my bedroom, I almost always have a free hand to tidy two items away to my bedroom as I go. Then to items can come back with me most likely. :)
    We also have times of transition where we all tidy (ie 'Let's tidy before dinner so Daddy comes home to a peaceful house!' 'Let's tidy before book-time so after our naps we have a neat place to play')
    And after I saw that Michelle Duggar does this (and hoping that God blesses us with more kids some day) I started to train my kids to play with one toy at a time, replacing it before they start using another.

  2. I'm horrible at keeping our house clean, because I'm lazy, unmotivated, and just really busy with school. I always thought I'd be great at it, on my own....not so much. :(

  3. One thing that immediately came to mind when I read your article was my husbands reaction when we entered our home last night from our out-of-the country trip. I learned this tip from my mom, even though at the time I didn't know I was learning it. I clean my house before we go on a trip anywhere, I schedule the time. My mom always said "You won't want to clean when you get home from a trip." And sure enough, it works every time. My husbands reaction last night was "Ah! I love coming home to a clean home!" I'm sure I could improve on that and make it an everyday goal for everyday when he gets home from work. Mess is stressful. My goal is to reduce his stress by having the house clean by the time he gets home from work when I am back at home and not working the same hours as he is.
    Also, there is another book that I have been paging through that was just recently published by Crossway. An excellent book that also gives a few tips and advice on being a good keeper of your home/homemaker. It's titled "The Christian Homemakers Handbook"

  4. I fail here so often. I want a cute,clean,decorated space....I just seem incapable. It is frustrating! I get a vision of how to fix it,change it and tidy it. But I can't seem to carry it thru. I married a neat-nik,but he is very supportive of my efforts. I need to buckle into serious prayer and effort in this area. Thanks for the encouragement. I will try harder this week!

  5. I've been married 23 years and STILL struggle with this! Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement. I will try to pray more and move motivated for change. 15 minutes...I can do that! :-)


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