Wednesday, April 10, 2024

How to Stop Buying Things that Clutter up the Home

A Bedroom at Mrs. White's House in Vermont.

It has become common to frequent yard sales and thrift stores as many look for bargains to bring home.  There are so many pretty and interesting things to find in such places. It seems like shopping in retail stores is very expensive.  When we have a small amount of money, we tend to venture out to places where the expense will be minimal.  However, is it a wise use of time and money to buy all these interesting things?

During my childhood years, my mother never went to a yard sale or a thrift store. I don't think they were in fashion at the time.  She did what many homemakers did in those days. She took care of what she had. She focused on a cleaning routine, working in the kitchen, and taking care of the family.  Money was carefully saved to spend during seasonal events such as Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and back-to-school shopping.  Her main goal was to make sure the house looked clean and neat and that we were well fed and taken care of.  She rarely went to the store unless it was for groceries.

In the old days, mother would mend and care for her belongings. She would notice a tear in a quilt and neatly sew it back up. She would repair curtains, sheets, and pillowcases. If she noticed a washcloth was starting to fray around the edges, she would cut the loose threads and then prepare a new hem to set in place.  She would mend the clothes and keep everything properly maintained with effort that did not cost any money. 

Mother may have wanted a pretty piece of furniture. Perhaps she dreamed about a little end table for the corner of a bedroom.  Someday, she hoped, she would find just the right piece to fill this little spot with something useful.  In the meantime, she was content with what she had.  This was much like the old story of mother wanting a new coat for Christmas but always using the saved money for something more important that always seemed to come along. 

It is lovely to dream and to desire nice things, as long as we are wise with the money that comes into our household accounts.  Contentment means that we are happy with our lot and we remain productive as we take care of our possessions.  Our minds are at rest when we are not always seeking to acquire things.  Yet, when we do receive a special gift of a much desired item, we are more grateful that the average person. This is because we did not place a high value on the material item. We gave it up in our minds, realizing there are more important things in our lives than what we own. 

It used to be that window shopping at Christmas-time was a lovely time of recreation.  We would also look through the large Sears Catalog at all the many household items that were available. We would leaf through the pages and pretend we were shopping, but we didn't buy any of those things. They were non-essentials. We were practical minded when it came to the use of money.  It was also enjoyable to walk by the big stores and see a window display of a variety of gift options. Everything looked so pretty and pleasant. The colors and decorations were inviting.  We would smile as we took the time to look at all the merchandise. It is much like when we walk down the floral department of a store and just admire all the beautiful flowers.  We look but we do not buy. The fun is in the seeing. We enjoy all the pretty things around us, but we rarely part with our much needed money for such things.  Why would we bring home all these neat things just to clutter up our homes and lives?

The way to stop buying things we do not really need is to understand that we simply do not have room. If we want a rested mind and a peaceful heart, this cannot be obtained when we are surrounded and overwhelmed by things we have acquired.  We cannot dust and clean and maintain an abundance of belongings!  Bringing in more pretty things will only bring more work. 

To stop spending money is also a good way to be content with what one already has.  When we stop cluttering up the home, our time is more free. We can garden, take walks, do the cleaning and cooking, and have plenty of quality time to be with our families. Too much stuff makes too much work. 

When we can find happiness with less, we are able to live a simpler life.  This frees the mind. It gives us more time as we are led along a path of beautiful and graceful living.


Mrs. White

From the Archives -

A Special Room for the children - Grandmother's Nursery.

"There is No Ambition" - Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking.

 The Inspiring Example of D.L. Moody's mother - Poverty in the 1800's.


 - To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


Learn How To Manage Money on a Small Income, with this helpful book:

- It is an honor to be the bookkeeper for the house! - 

Find detailed instruction and inspiration in budgeting on a small income, along with a method for keeping a handwritten ledger, with lots of thrifty ideas, in Mrs.White's book:

 -An Old Fashioned Budget: Humble Financial Management for the Christian Housewife

 Paperback, 77 pages.






Thursday, April 4, 2024

Old Fashioned Snow Storm

The front porch of Mrs. White's house on a snowy spring day.


 In the old days, before there were television sets, I can imagine that mothers knew very little about what was happening in the world.  There were certainly newspapers and radio messages, but the news was not constant.  Mother was focused on her family and the immediate needs of her household.

The biggest concern was for shelter, food, and clothing.  This was all provided by hard work, prayers, and the spiritual blessing of a beautiful Christian life.

In humble homes, where there is little money, one had to be very careful about their resources.   In our old New England village, there is a strong sense of Yankee Ingenuity, where we spend as little money as possible.  Snow storms and the winter chill, for long periods of time, make us understand the importance of stocking up, being prepared, and using money for necessities rather than for luxuries.  

There is a great deal of snow outside right now.  Schools are cancelled. There is little traffic on the roads.  There are white-out conditions making it difficult to drive.  We are cozy indoors and grateful that our wood pellet stove is working again.  It is a blessing to feel warm and safe.

 While we are enduring storms outside, we are also experiencing trials and stresses within the family.  Late in the afternoon, as I was feeling overcome with the many burdens I was feeling, I remembered how people often say, "Remember to breathe," as if we forget and hold our breath when under stress.  I realized what is just as important, if not more so, is to, "take time to pray."  In the midst of the greatest worry and oncoming tears, if I stop to remember to pray, I have found rest from my troubles and can recover a sense of joy through it all.  We must never forget, when facing difficulty, to simply stop in our tracks and just pray.

Yesterday we were doing some minor repairs on one of the back rooms. After I washed a lace curtain, I noticed there was a hole in the front.  I put it on the back of a kitchen chair to fix later.   Once I put aside my troubles and let go of my burdens, I settled down with my sewing box and quietly and gently mended the hole in the lace.  The simple act of doing this domestic work soothed my heart and made me realize that all is well despite how I was feeling.  Moods come and go and so do stresses. They will not last. When we remember to lean on the Lord, we are sheltered and safe. We are guided through every trouble.

Sometimes we have to remember that trials will often lead us (and our families) to something far better than we ever imagined. Everything will be okay. The Lord will always take care of His children.

Today, we are snowed in and safe.  I am not sure what is going on in the world because I don't follow the news. But I am told there will be a tremendous amount of people coming here to Vermont for the solar eclipse. I need to get to the store to stock up on food, supplies, and water before the crowds arrive. Even though I don't know much about world events or politics, I am as busy as I can possibly be just focusing on serving the needs of my family. I want to make sure we are all loved and cared for as we go through the many difficulties we face in daily life.

 It is a blessing to be an old time homemaker and just focus on keeping house and providing a great sense of love and security for the family.


Mrs. White

From the Archives -

News of Mother's Work - Missionary Letters from Home.

Finding Rest - Peace be Upon this House.

The Example of My Mother - A Home Without Clutter.


- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."

Find stories of home life, with photographs of my home, in this encouraging book. 

 Paperback, 200 pages.





Wednesday, March 27, 2024

A Treasure in our Family has Gone

Floral Oil Painting by Jan Verhas,1896.


The first few months of this year have been very difficult for us. One of the reasons for this is the decline in health of my dear Aunt.   Some weeks ago, she passed into her eternal rest in Heaven.

Even though it has been so hard and emotionally painful to endure this, I have to remind myself that we live by faith and not by sight.  We know that she is with the Lord, happy, healed, and safe in Heaven.  We know we will see her again. This comforts us and sustains us to know that we will see our family again someday when our earthly journey is over.

My Aunt was an incredible example of what family is all about. When we children were growing up, she came alongside my parents and supported them and encouraged them. She helped them take care of us. She was often at our home and we were always at her house.  We were always welcome because she had a close bond with us.  She was not a distant relative but considered to be part of our immediate family. Not only did she help our parents bring us up, she also helped with the upbringing of all of her other nieces and nephews. She was like a matriarch in our family. 

In later years, she was there for all of us to help with our own children. She helped guide, support, and encourage us as we began raising her great-nieces and great-nephews. All the children loved and adored her.  Her home was a beautiful place of humble elegance and grace. She was a great example of good manners, dignity, and living a beautiful life. To this day I still remember many of her wise sayings, (which were always said with a thick Boston accent). She was a strong and enduring influence in all of our lives for goodness and right living.  She was exactly what an Aunt should be.

We are preparing to attend her funeral service, which will happen in a couple of weeks.  We will travel to our home state of Massachusetts and stay at a hotel for a few days. We will spend time with the family to comfort and be there for each other.  We are working hard to save up for this trip. We want to be there for this important duty to stand by her and ensure she is carefully laid to her final rest. We will stand there with reverence and a great sense of respect.  We will do it with love and with grateful hearts.

While we are there, to keep us cheerful and encouraged,  I will be taking pictures of the ocean, the scenery, and the city of Boston as we drive through the busy streets. I will gather these together to share with you later, here on the blog.  I also hope to get some pictures of the beautiful, old, historic cemetery where some of my family is buried, as we all wait for resurrection morning.  We have a hope and a promise. There are mansions waiting for us in Heaven.  Remembering this brings great comfort.


The greatest need we have in our day is to have a strong focus on our family. It is the most important thing in life - to keep building up the home.


Mrs. White


From the Archives -

Encouragement from the old days - Drastically Reducing the Grocery Budget.

Please be one of these -   The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

Daily life with 4 generations in the house - In Pursuit of Christian Duty.


To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


For happiness and cheer in the kitchen:

Mrs. White's old fashioned cookbook focuses on serving meals and setting the table in a humble home.

"Serving in the Kitchen: Cookbook with Recipes, Advice, and Encouragement for the Christian Home"

152 pages, paperback


Saturday, March 23, 2024

Keeping the Family Homestead

March snow at Mrs. White's property in Vermont.

We are in the middle of a storm. It has been snowing heavily all night and day.  We just went outside for a little walk.  It was lovely to slowly trudge through the deep snow and observe the beautiful scenery on the front grounds.  I brought my umbrella along for protection as I took several photographs around me.  

My husband walked along with me. I said to him, "Doesn't this remind you of the blizzard of '78?"  I was referring to a major snowstorm in our home state of Massachusetts many years ago. (We lived in a suburb, south of Boston.) It had grounded all of us and shut down so much of normal life.  There was no traffic on the streets.  No one could drive on the roads in that condition.  People used sleds as they walked to the corner grocery to buy supplies for the home.  The children spent days building snowmen, snow forts, and sledding down the hills.  It was incredible.  Spending time together, as families in the neighborhood, with fun and happiness, is the most striking memory I have during that storm.  

Family memories and life at home are precious.  I am grateful for this old 1850's house. We have lived here for 20 years now.  Shortly after we bought this house, Nana and Grandpa (my parents) moved in with us. They lived in a separate section of this house and had their own kitchen and living room.  They were here as our five children were growing up. They hosted our Thanksgiving dinners and watched as some of the older ones left the nest. They were here when one of our daughters, along with her family, began to raise her first 2 children in our house.  The residents of this household, for 2 years, had four generations all living together at one time. It was a wonderful blessing.

Nana and Grandpa (as the great-grandparents) lived with us for 9 years. They have since gone home to their Heavenly rest.  Perhaps, someday, in 10 or 15 years, my husband and I may very well be great-grandparents ourselves.  If  we are still here in this same house at that time, there will be 5 generations who have enjoyed our humble Estate. It would be lovely if we could continue this tradition and keep the house going for future generations.

The family has seen many ups and downs in life. We have endured hardship, health difficulties, and limited financial means.  The lessons we have all learned of a strong work ethic, the love of family, and our great faith in the Lord, are being passed down throughout the family as we live out our daily lives in this humble old house. 

Over the years we have had passing thoughts of finding a smaller home, thinking it might be warmer in winter or more economical. Yet, as we have looked, we have not found anything to compare to this old place.  With the rising cost of land and homes, even mobile homes, it is cheaper to live here, we have found, than any other place we have seen. We are thankful for this and happy to remain in the old house.

This is the place where family values and memories of the family are vivid. I still remember the children, in their younger years, walking up the stairs as they smiled and chattered about their projects.  Then, as the years went on, the grandchildren began holding the banister rail and toddling up those same stairs. I love being here for this.  

Now that many of the grandchildren are getting older, this house is so familiar to them. It is familiar to our own children whenever they come home to visit. They drive down the same old driveway and know they will see Mother in the kitchen getting ready to serve some special treat. They will see Dad in the recliner, resting from some chore he just finished. These were the same things Nana and Grandpa did when they lived here.  This gives us all a sense of stability.  This place will always feel like home.

I want to keep the old homestead. It is full of so many memories of the generations of our family.  I am grateful and blessed to be here.


Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Mother inspires the Family - The Cultured Society of Home.

Wisdom from Colonial Days - To Earn and Not to Spend.

What Many of Us Crave - An Ordinary Life at Home.


- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


Mrs. White's special book for homemakers: 
Paperback, 200 pages. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Getting By without Debt

LOC: Sitting by the fireplace around 1925.

I was out in the rain doing errands. There was a chill and a weariness about me that made me long for home.  I looked forward to a cozy fire in the pellet stove and a comfortable room where I could rest.  But when I walked into the house, I found a cold and empty parlour.  It was soon explained to me that the wood pellet stove was broken.

I put on a thick house robe and made some tea.  There was nothing I could do about the broken stove.  I had to find another way to get warmed and rested. We pulled out a little space heater and set it up in the parlour.  It was nice to sit right next to it and get a bit of warmth and heat. 

In these modern days of central heat and efficient homes it is hard to imagine being cold. It used to be that people would gather around the fireplace where they could get warm.  There were times when there was a rocking chair by the kitchen stove. This was where the family spent their time staying cozy until bedtime. Then they would hurry upstairs to get under a pile of warm quilts.  Being cold was just the way it was. But those wood stoves were so comforting and helped keep out the chill.

Here in Northern Vermont, our winters are long and cold.  It is common for us to need the wood pellet stove into the month of May.  As spring comes along, it is needed less often, but always for a little while each day to keep the chilly air out of our house.  

Whenever there is a sudden expense we are facing, we have to stop and consider.  We cannot just spend money or place an order for these necessary things in life. Nobody is made of money. We have to get by and make do so that we have time to save up for the expense. We need to find a way to hang on and just do the best we can until money is available.

After careful investigation of our pellet stove, my husband has found the need for a replacement part.  He has been maintaining and repairing these types of stoves for us over the years.  The part he needs will cost a few hundred dollars.  It would be normal these days for people to get out a credit card and go into debt to get such a necessary part. But we cannot live on borrowed money. We only have the means to live within a careful budget. There are always going to be extra financial needs that come up. We can only handle a certain amount each month.  We cannot live in a way that is beyond our means. This would be dangerous and could leave one in dire circumstances.  Living within one's budget means we have to learn how to make do and to get by. This is common, old time living.

Brighter days will come.  There will not always be hardships. But when we have to endure some hard days because of our financial circumstances, we will come out of this with a feeling of peace and rest knowing it is the Lord who takes care of His children. He will always provide in His perfect timing. We will simply get by and make do, waiting for the storm clouds to clear. 


Mrs. White

* Notice: For those who are interested in helping us with the expense of our ongoing medical trips, a page has been set up with all the details:

We are grateful for your kindness!


From the Archives -

Remembering my Childhood - When Television was Special

Some Encouragement - Why The High Cost of Food?

The Way it Was in the Old Days - Retirement Planning for the Poor


- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -

For a Peaceful, Old Fashioned Bible Time:


A 90 - Day devotional study by Mrs. White, featuring the writings of Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss from the 1800's.

The Prentiss Study Deluxe Edition

paperback, 105 pages, 6 x 9.

ISBN: 978-1956616040