Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Diary of a Clean House

Flowers and Dishes at Mrs. White's home.

I have been cleaning so much the last few days, it has been fun! I wanted to share some ideas with you on how to keep a beautifully, clean house even in a humble environment.  This work of cleaning has an incredible side benefit.  It provides you with good health.  I will share a diary of the work I have been doing, along with some suggestions for your own home:

Sweeping and Washing Floors

1.  Last week, I started a new habit of sweeping and washing the bathroom and kitchen floors each Monday morning. I do this before anyone else wakes up. The house is quiet and the work goes quickly. 

Since I have been doing it at about the same time each week, I have become more efficient and the work goes fast.  It takes me about 20 minutes, including moving things out of the way (such as small carpets, kitchen stools, trash barrels, toy baskets, etc.).

I thought that would be enough exercise for me for the day, so I planned to skip my normal workout. But after I finished the floors, I thought it would be relaxing to go walk on the treadmill while the floors dried.

I listen to the Old Fashioned Revival Hour program (you can find a link to this on the sidebar of my blog) while I walk.  It includes singing from the congregation, choir, and a quartet.  It also has a brief sermon.  I find it refreshing to hear the program while I exercise.

By the time I was finished, the floors were all dried and looked wonderful. I put everything back in its place. The little plum - colored carpet went back on the floor in front of the kitchen sink.  The stools were back by the counter. The grandchildren's toy baskets were placed back under the sideboard table, and all was neat again.

The second week I did this, everything was much easier.  I had a routine in place.  I knew what it would cost me, in strength and time, to do all the work.  I also became more efficient because, as we all know, the more you do something, the more skilled you become.


2.  It was time to rest and have some refreshment.  I had tea and a homemade muffin.  After doing all that exercising and work, it was important to take a break.  I also read a book for a little while.

When we start feeling better, it is time to get back up and do some more work.  The labor of housekeeping keeps us productive, makes our home look nice, and keeps us active.

Kitchen Work

3.  I made a batch of homemade pizza.  Company arrived and I had to feed them a nice lunch.  While I did the work, I made several little pizzas for the freezer.  I cleaned the kitchen while we all visited.  I had four of my little grandchildren here and there were plenty of dishes to do.  They enjoyed apple juice, pizza, and some muffins while they were here.  They also colored and used play-dough at the table.

I have to tell you that I was surprised that I had any energy left after such a busy morning!  But truthfully, all this work (combined with good nutrition and necessary rest) keeps us healthy. 

Another Break and Thoughts on Health

4.  It was time to stop and rest again.  This is a good time for me to explain the amazing health benefit of cleaning and exercising.  My mother had diabetes.  She was not an active person because she had a very social personality. Everywhere she went, she would stop to talk to everyone. She would stand in grocery store lines and visit with the other customers. She would sit at Ladies Bible study meetings and just talk and visit. At home, she was often sitting and talking to us, or talking on the phone. Everyone loved her, but this did not provide her much opportunity to be physically active.  She would have to force herself to stop everything and just walk.  This helped regulate her blood sugar levels.  Mom was also an excellent housekeeper. She often cleaned throughout the day.  This was another way to regulate her blood sugar levels.  She never thought about this, it was just a benefit of her keeping busy.

 I have the opposite problem. I have hypoglycemia. I have always had this. I would need to eat frequent, small meals to regulate my sugar levels.  However, I notice that when I am cleaning or exercising, or just going out on errands and keeping busy in the physical sense, I do not need to eat all the time.  I feel fine!

So when we are resting too much, or watching television too much, or reading too long, we often want to keep having snacks or meals!  We eat far more food, and much more often, when we are not physically busy. 

Keeping busy will maintain your weight and your good health.  Cleaning the house is going to provide you with more energy than you ever imagined! 

Have you ever felt like you were too sick or too tired to do anything?  Try cleaning for 15 minutes and you will notice a great improvement!  You will feel better.

Doing the Laundry

5.  I recently got so tired (and lazy) that I did not bother to fold or put away the laundry after the dryer stopped. I just piled it all in the basket.  All of a sudden I had to iron our clothes for church on Sunday. I had to iron many things over the next few days. All this because of one day when I did not bother to take the time to put away our laundry.

This week, I listened for the dryer and got right up and took care of it all.   It saved me a great deal of time and worry by just doing it right away instead of putting it off.

Dusting and Vacuuming

6. It took me 15 minutes to dust and vacuum the upstairs rooms.  I used a pink feather duster for some of the furniture.  Then I used furniture polish with a rag for the end-table and hutch. I loved taking down some family photographs, and pretty things, to dust and take care of them.

I have some very old, worn -out furniture.  There are scuffs and chips and scrapes over some of it. But with a good dusting, our humble belongings looked fresh, bright, shiny, and neat!

It is amazing how powerful modern vacuum cleaners are. If you have a good one, it doesn't take long to simply go over the carpets and make the rooms look nice.

Washing Windows and Mirrors

7.  It is hard to keep windows clean in winter. I can wash them from the inside only. But someone will need to get on a ladder to do the glass on the other side for most of the house.  Regardless of the trouble, it is still important to get a glass cleaner and wipe down those windows.  This does not take long at all.  I quickly cleaned all the mirrors. I just use a store brand glass cleaner and a cleaning rag. Everything looked fresh and smelled clean.

More Company

8.  Before the day was over, I had some company drop by.  I did a little crocheting as we visited.  This was a wonderful opportunity for me to take some time for a little bit of rest.  It is refreshing to visit and just be happy in the fellowship of others.

Cleaning the Stairs

9.  After the company left, I had a brownie and some ginger-ale.  I wasn't hungry so I thought I had better do another chore to work off that treat!  I gathered together a scrub brush and a bucket of hot, soapy water and went to clean the wooden staircase, which goes to our third floor.  I cleaned each step and the sides of the wall, all the way up. I did this slowly and used an old towel to dry each one as I finished. This was hard and time consuming work.  When I was halfway finished, I felt very tired. But I kept going. I had a goal to do this work, and I wanted to finish the job. But by the last two steps I felt weary. There is a big difference between feeling tired and being genuinely weary. We will always be tired. That is life. But when you are weary, it is time to stop. That was the last chore I did for the day. My work was done.

Little Jobs of Housekeeping

10.  Throughout the day, I will dust light fixtures, wipe down light switches, or sweep the entryway.  These little jobs of cleaning the house are often done at odd times, in the middle of simply living life.

Have you ever noticed your front entry and thought it would be good to just sweep and wash it real quick? Or maybe you notice a bit of dust accumulating on picture frames.  These tiny jobs take mere minutes and can be done whenever you feel discouraged by sitting still for too long. 

We can live our lives, doing projects, taking care of the family, and doing all the basics of home-keeping.  In the midst of all this, it is wonderful to just get up and do some little bit of cleaning to brighten the home.  You will find your strength and energy soar as your house becomes neat and pretty!

More Rest Than Work

11.  I have to add one more note to this.  We are all going to have our good and bad days. We may be in pain, or terribly ill. We may be stressed or have things come up that interfere with our ability to clean.  That is normal life.  I am not trying to run a marathon here. None of us need to try to win or be the best at housekeeping.  We need peace. We need contentment. We need to enjoy our days.  Mothers need to have more periods of rest, and refreshment, than labor.  This is important to keep us gentle and sweet.

I want to be rested enough to sit on the couch and read stories to grandbabies. I cannot wear myself out so much, from hard work, that I am useless.  The point of encouraging each other to clean our houses is to make the most of our time. It is to find all those spare moments to do the little jobs which will make our homes pleasant, while strengthening our health at the same time.  This is something we can all do, even if we only begin with a few minutes of effort.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Start Fresh - The First Housekeeping Day of the Year.

Training Children - Nobody Wants to Clean a Messy House.

A Welcome for the Family - The Kitchen is Ready.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking." Paperback, 200 pages. 

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Tip said...

Another wonderful post, Mrs White! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post and got some ideas from it, thanks!

Glenda said...

I love reading your posts. They are always so encouraging. Thank you.

Kathy said...

Thank you for this encouraging post, Mrs. White. I find that even after 40 years of being a homemaker I can always use some good inspiration to keep going! Hope you have a wonderful new year!

With love, Kathy in California

Laura Lane said...

I am still in recovery mode from my cancer treatments and surgeries. This is an excellent encouragement to me to do what I can with what energy I've got where I am.
Be blessed dear friend! If I ever come to Vermont from Missouri, I want to meet you dear. If not, I will meet you in Heaven one fine day.

Your friend from far away,
Laura Lane
Harvest Lane Cottage

Jennifer Williams said...

Thank you, Mrs. White, for this post. As always, it was informative and encouraging. I do think it is better to spread the housework out with little breaks every so often. However, I am tempted to push through and finish it all at one time just to get it done. But when I do that, then I am usually very tired/weary and can tell I have overdone it. As i get older, I am learning to pace myself and respect my physical limitations. I do love a clean house, but it is okay if I clean a little each day than all on one day. :-)

Deanna said...

Blessings to you this ole wintery day. Cleaning is a great way to exercise and make the soul sing from having a clean home. HOME BLESSINGS are a ministry.

Angell said...

Love this!

I seem to go through periods where I want to clean like crazy and then other times, I want no part in it. I need to find the balance :)

Your joy through cleaning, is refreshing and inspiring.

The little tasks/jobs you mentioned is where I need to be pushed. I was bringing in the groceries yesterday and saw that one of the lamps is dusty. My mind immediately went to "well when I take out time to clean, I'll have to add that to the list." Well, I just paused from commenting and dusted them. Thank you!

Sometimes we over complicate things, thinking they will take longer than they really will. The other day I was reading, and felt a bit guilty. I put my timer on for five minutes and cleaned the bathroom as fast as I can. It's amazing how much you can get done in just 5 minutes!

Have you ever seen Keeping Up Appearances? The main character, Hyacinth, is a clean freak. While she's on the phone she's dusting and is constantly cleaning. It's funny. But when I watch it, it puts me in the mood to clean :)

You might get a kick out of it

Anyways...thanks for this. I saved this post. Also for Christmas, hubby got me an Amazon card. I ordered 3 of your books (already own one) and I bought that Dear Christmas Mothers book that you recommended.

Have a wonderful day :)

Suzanne said...

Dear Laura,
You have been on my mind and I have had you in my prayers. Please email me and let me know how you are doing. I hope these treatments aren’t too hard in you��
Love, Suzanne

Suzanne said...

Hello Sharon,
Thank you for some lovely reminders! I, too, do floors on Mondays. I love getting that chore out of the way but it also feels good to start the brunt of the weekly cooking in a clean kitchen. My friends in VT are getting snow and lots of it! I live near southern VT and haven’t had any! I do love a nice snowfall... it makes the world look clean☺️
Take care,

Jessica R said...

This was such a wonderful read, Mrs. White! Thank you!

I especially loved the last paragraph. During my most recent pregnancy, I was extremely tired most of the time. Even though I wanted to clean my house, I couldn't. I had to accept my limitations (as another one of the ladies who commented on this post said about her own experiences). But, after the baby was born and I had recovered from the birth, I was amazed at how much energy I had! I was so happy to finally be able to get back into housecleaning again!

Your list of all the ways you have been cleaning your house lately is very helpful. It truly does inspire me to keep on doing my best to keep our home a clean and pleasant place. :)


Sandy said...

This is all just too much work for me. I give up!! How do you do it all?


happyathome said...

Oh Mrs White- i felt greatly encouraged by your writings as this year i have already planned to do more housework than i have been doing. I have lost around 1 stone and i feel better in myself ( i am happy with that achievement as i have quite a bit to still lose) We live in a home probably about 100 years old and the dust seems to come from the ceilings and out of the walls- our ceilings are 12 feet off the floor- but i plan to wash the walls down ( i cannot do the ceilings nor my husband so we will get help for that)
I have always said what a difference it makes to vacuum just the floor to the way your home looks.
God bless you
Karen -NZ

Katrina Hamel said...

What an enjoyable read! I like to clean because it relaxes me and helps me unwind.

Michele Morin said...

I really enjoyed reading this post because our lives seem to be somewhat similar. And lately, I've had a lot of studying to do, which I enjoy, but it gives me a new and deeper appreciate for my housework chores because I know how to do those, what is required of me, and how it will turn out. That's not necessarily the case when I'm preparing to teach!