Friday, April 20, 2007

Watchfulness in Home - Keeping: Practical Tips

Of course, watching over the ways of our household involves far more than just seeing to the daily, physical operation. Still, this is an essential part of our role. Creating a smoothly running, comfortable, safe dwelling for our families is a vital way to show our loved ones that we care about them. This also enables us to be good stewards of the many physical blessings that we have been entrusted with.

The following are some tips for improving your watchfulness in the home:

1) Every morning, think through your day. Pray and prepare for any interruptions that might arise, as well as for the things you have planned.
2) Ask your husband frequently if he has any household needs or wishes. Also, make note of the needs of your children. As your children grow, train them to think what needs to be done, as well. Train them how to organize their studies, their time, and their rooms.
3) Train your eyes to really see the spaces in your home. Once every three months, walk through your home with notebook in hand. Survey each room. First look at the general impression of the room. Then, get down to the specifics. Open closets and your pantry. Glance at celings, walls, and floors. Note the things you like about your house or apartment. Also jot down any things that need repair or deep cleaning. Write down any decorating or creative projects that spring to mind. Refer to your list from time to time when making out your schedule and your budget. If you've jotted down something that will require some expense to attend to or if it is something your DH might want to weigh in on, don't forget to talk over these items with him.
4) This idea is similar to number 3, except it is to be done on a daily basis. As you work through your home, carry a piece of paper or a small notebook and a pen with you. As ideas come to you, jot them down. For example, as you tidy up your master bedroom, you may notice that you need to put soap on your grocerly list. Or, you may think of a fantastic creative project to do with your child. Or, you may see something that is broken and that you can't fix right now. Write it all down. Then, turn your attention back to your tasks at hand.
5) A few weeks before a change of seasons, think through what you will need to do to help your family make the transition smoothly. There are many books and checklists that help you determine seasonal home and garden maintenance needs. Some are geared specifically to the climate in your area. If your are moves from hot to cold and back again, you may need to change the type of bedding you use according to season. Also, don't forget to think about clothing. If you live in a seasonless climate, there will be things you need to accomplish 2-4 times a year. You may want to think in terms of quarters, rather than in terms of seasons.
6) If your DH takes care of cars and finances, ask him once a year or so to acquaint you with anything you need to know in case of an emergency. If you take care of the family cars and finances, make sure you tend to them on a workable schedule.
7) Know the state of your pantry, freezer, and fridge. You don't have to make detailed inventory lists, as my mother in law does, though that may be helpful to you. But, do have some idea of what you have on hand. Many a time, I've returned home from the store with an item, only to find that I already had two in stock. Make your grocery list and your weekly menu at the same time. At that time, check which food ingredients you will need to purchase, as well as any pet food or toiletries.
8) Know the state of your clothing. Are you behind or caught up with laundry? Are there any items of clothing that need repair? Does everyone in the family have clothing that is appropriate for your activities and for the current weather? How are everyone's shoes looking? Do some shoes need a good polishing or a little repair to keep them in shape?
9) Create a way to keep track of birthdays and other special occasions. Create a folder or a large envelope for each different type of card you might use throughout the year: Holidays (not just Christmas), graduation, get well, birthday, congratulations, thank you, etc. Fill the envelopes with cards, so that they will already be on hand when you need them. If you see a card that you know a particular person will love, snap it up. You can also buy lots of inexpensive cards at Dollar Stores to have on hand. In the same way, snap up little gifts on sale. Try to keep in mind things that people you know will enjoy. Also have some generic gifts for women, such as something from Bath and Body works, and some generic gifts for men and for children on hand for unexpected occasions.
10) Have a system for keeping track of the family's dental appointments, doctor's checkups, etc. Keep up with when its time for animals to see the vet.

If you become overwhelmed, ask your husband or a trusted and experienced keeper at home to help you think things through. We can all use a little perspective now and again.



Mississippi Girl said...

What a great post with such wonderful tips.... Think I'll incorporate some of them!
You're always a wonderful encouragement to "keepers at home"!!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Jennifer, aka Mississippi Girl!