Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Inspiration for today's planning:


If you have no system, you have to reinvent your housekeeping or debate what to do first every time you do it, and the required mental effort is a major obstacle, especially when you are tired.
    Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts

 Homemaking is not something that stands in the way of our deeper fulfillment; it becomes the ground that feeds it.
   Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers

Good morning everyone! I started working on my own chart earlier today, it looks so similar to Jenny's that I didn't take pictures (instead you get a gratuitous shot of a fall still life, with needle felted pumpkin, Trader Joe's gourds and a special French clay rabbit, all on top of the cake stand I used at my wedding). I also spent a few minutes gathering inspiration from two seemingly different (but actually related in many ways) books: Home Comforts (that I mentioned the other day) and Radical Homemakers.

I mention Radical Homemakers to offer some context for where I'm coming from. First, I want to be sure my intentions are clear in wanting to develop a housekeeping routine, because oh my goodness sometimes when I read these types of blog posts on other sites my blood pressure goes up! I want to:
  • spend less time on household work so I can pursue other interests
  • make lists so that all members of the household can participate and learn new life skills
  • use fewer resources by taking care of and utilizing what we already have
  • maintain a space that encourages creativity and building relationships
My goal is not, in any way, to create a picture perfect or magazine worthy space, or to have a spotless house at all times (yeah, right). I live in a 1930 bungalow, with all the dust, spiders, plaster walls and cracks and crevices that come along with it, and this space will never look like a "new build" or complete remodel (and I like it that way!). All our furniture is hand me down, handmade from friends, antiques from the Funk side of the family except for a few new purchases we've made along the way (IKEA!) and my house is not color coordinated, the curtains are all the "wrong" length and there is a wolf spider living in a very old champagne glass I have out on the mantel (the glass is from my grandmother) that I just can't bear to put outside. (It's almost Halloween, right?)

BUT: I do have to clean, and even though I fancy myself a Radical Homemaker, I am a homemaker all the same. And I want to do it efficiently so I don't have to recreate the wheel every single time, as the quote from Home Comforts says above. I spend more time looking for stuff, and finishing things halfway before wandering off to do something else, and I'd love to have that time to do things like sew! I also have a LOT of chores outside every day, and they get set aside for mismanaged inside tasks way too often, which leads to a super messy outside and a poorly maintained garden.

Also, living in a house that's over 80 years old means a lot of maintenance on things like window frames, baseboards, keeping the basement dry, etc. I don't know about you, but I am completely clueless about the best way to do most of these things. I'm thinking I'll have a daily list, weekly list, monthly list, and seasonal list. 

Will everyone's motives or reasons be the same? Of course not. Your lists won't look like ours either, how could they? We all bring different things to the table, and have varying amounts of time and interest. I sincerely think Home Comforts can help anyone, full time homemaker or 40 hour a week employee, with kids or not, in a house or apartment figure out what works best (and why) for each situation. And for me, Radical Homemakers fits in with my personal goals and gives additional meaning to these types of household tasks. But your mileage may vary!

Jen, I am so glad we're doing this! It helps to have you as encouragement along the way, you are so much better at organizing than I am.


  1. I just stumbled upon you. Is it irony? Or serendipity? Or just plain coincidence? I said to my husband the other day, "I really need to make a schedule of house work chores so I am more efficient and things get done. It feels so 1950s, but baby and bathwater, eh?

  2. The thing I love about both books is that it definitely goes beyond "1950s", although I know exactly what you mean. Home Comforts is written within a historical context, as evidenced in the bibliography. Radical Homemaking works to rewrite traditional homekeeping roles completely. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Angel, I love this post! I need to put Radical Homemakers on my library hold list as well. You always blow me away with how thoughtful you are about things. I love how you explain your values and objectives surrounding house keeping and family organization.

  4. Jenny, I should write about this further in another post, but I have a confession to make: I do not want to go back to full time, outside the house work even after Silas is in school (if we send him to public school like Ian, etc.).

    I know, gasp! I like being home, with our garden, the chickens, the bees, crafting, preserving, etc. I spend so much time in my house or yard, I want to enjoy them and do things that make sense when it comes time to take care of them.


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