Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A House for Everyone

Several things have happened lately to make me reevaluate how I keep house. First of all, I had outpatient surgery last week and that whole ordeal put me out of commission for a while. I hated running through the Sonic drive thru just so the kids could eat but I wasn't up to cooking either. Sure, Suzie Homemaker would have instructed husband to deftly pull a frozen meal out and heat it up while tossing a salad so her family could eat healthy even in her time of need.

Suzie doesn't live here.

Also, a good friend's husband died unexpectedly Sunday night. They are in their mid-30's. We think he had a massive heart attack. When something happens that close to home, it really hits you. What if a tragedy struck our family like that? I'll tell you the truth, this house isn't ready for tragedy or even a small emergency.

What I mean is, if friends and family had to sweep in here and take over for a while....it would be bad. Could they find anything? Would there be any clean dishes? Would anyone have clean clothes? Would everyone be horrified?

This isn't about what people think, but about having my home ready enough that my husband would be able to function and function well within these walls if I were not able to help. As homemakers we sort of rule the roost. WE are the ones who know where the measuring cups are. WE are the ones who know how much soap goes in the washing machine. WE are the ones who know every one's schedule.

I think it's time to make our homes more user-friendly.

It doesn't have to be for morbid reasons....but what if you had surgery coming up? What if a new baby was on the way and you got put on bed rest? What if someone in your family was hospitalized and others came to take over your house for a while? What if you broke your foot? What if you just had company coming and you wanted them to feel at home?

Some ideas I've had:

  • Get a calendar and meal plan posted on the fridge or in a binder or somewhere that everyone in the family can see it. I've been using a calendar on the fridge for a few months now and it really helps S when he's trying to make plans because he can see what's already scheduled. It's not just all in my head.
  • Label!! I got a label maker recently and labeled all the shelves in the pantry. It helps my family put groceries away and it helps folks find things. What else could you label?
  • Teach your children to do things! Even if loading the dishwasher is usually your job, get a child to help you every now and then so they will have a clue about it. Just by helping you, they will learn where you keep the soap and they can tell Daddy or Grandma if needed.
  • Don't have a "this is MY house" attitude but instead, have a "this is OUR  house" attitude. Let everyone take ownership and stop doing everything yourself.
  • Be diligent. Don't take off and be lazy all the time. That's how you get caught with your pants down in an emergency! :) This article today was very good on that topic.
  • Get rid of stuff. Hotels are easy to move around in because they have very little stuff in them. You know someone, I know you do, whose house is so full you don't even know where to look. Clean out.
Any other thoughts on making your home more ready for others to use?


  1. This IS important. I had a death in the immediate family years ago, and it was a perk that my home was in order when it happened. It was very easy for others to keep it going for me. And had to laugh about the broken foot. I did that a few years ago, and had I returned from the hospital to a dump - Ug. A home in order helps everyone, including people who may be coming to help you.

  2. Brenda,I have to say I have not been diligent.My home is REALLY bad.We have friend coming from Germany in 5 days and VBS.I have already skipped the decorating party at our church to try and get my home in order.I useally pull all night cleaning frenzies before company comes.You can imagine how cheerfull I am all the next day.
    I had my last child 4 weeks early after being on the couch nearly the whole pregnancy.My home has NEVER been clean sense.That baby is now 18 mo old.I need to get it together.Like you we had a friend who had a heart attack last week who was only30.I don't know what I would do if my husband was gone and I had to take care of 5 grieving children in this mess.I sure wouldn't want someone to come in and try to help.I also would not want to leave mi husband and family to deal with a messy unorganized home.My husband would never figur out the childrens curriculum.

  3. Hey there Brenda. I, like Q, have an organized house. My girls all know where the laundry soap is, and can start the washer and the dryer. Cooking, however, is my realm. JMan can make hot dogs and frozen food, but he's not much of a cook otherwise. I think I need to keep up with my meal plans, and maybe put some food in the freezer, just in case. Thanks for the encouragement to do so!

  4. Great post, Brenda!

    Besides some cooking with the big girls, one of my major goals this summer is to create a home where I can say there is a place for everything and that everything is in its place.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)