One of the skills you will appreciate having most when you get married and have children is the ability to organize your home and take good care of it. While you are single is an excellent time to begin building your skill set. It may seem like it doesn’t matter what you do or if your apartment is a mess now. You are the only one there. But you are building habits. So why not build some healthy habits? Even if you don’t ever get married, you (and your guests) will benefit greatly from having a neat, tidy home. Most people feel much more relaxed and peaceful when things are relatively clean and organized.
Why not spend a bit of time figuring out what methods or approaches work best for you to be a godly steward of your apartment or home?
Get in the habit of immediately rinsing your dishes after a meal and putting them in the dishwasher, if you have one. Or immediately hand wash your dishes after you eat. Rinse out the sink and wipe it out. Wipe off the table or counter. If you quickly take care of your dishes and pots and pans, the kitchen can stay clean and organized all the time. Then you don’t have to scramble to clean up if someone wants to come over to visit. While you are doing dishes and other chores, you can listen to a podcast of a sermon or praise music and sing. Why not make this a fun time so you can feed your spirit while you work?
If you are by yourself, you may only have to do laundry one day per week. But you can certainly keep your dirty clothes in hampers. It may be helpful to keep the white things that need to run on the sanitize cycle with bleach in one bin and your delicate things in another bin and normal colored things in a 3rd bin. Then the clothes are already sorted and ready to go in the washing machine.
If you hang your laundry immediately, you may be able to avoid ironing – which is always my goal!
If you have hard floors, you may just want to run a dust mop over them every few days or so. Of course, if you have a pet who sheds a lot, you may need to do it more often. If you have carpet, you may be able to get by with vacuuming once per week.
What seems to work best, in my view, is to immediately put things where they go. That way you don’t build up piles of clutter and mess. If you already have a lot of piles of clutter and mess, maybe just take 15 minutes a day and sort through things. Start a bin or a garbage bag for things to donate. Put things that you don’t need and can’t give away in the trash. If you can cut down on the clutter, your mind will often feel a lot more welcome and peaceful in your home. Try to have somewhere to put everything you own. Ideally, you would have enough storage space to put most of your possessions in a cabinet or closet or box. Then you would just have a few beautiful, meaningful things out on display and the rest of the space would be clutter free.
IKEA has a lot of really beautiful, reasonably priced organizational systems that can be such a help.
If you are by yourself, this is pretty easy. Once you live with a husband and/or children, things get a bit more messy. That’s okay. Be prepared to be flexible and realize things may have to be cleaned a bit more often. But if you are alone, you may be able to get by with only cleaning the bathroom once per week. Or you may want to wipe down the shower with a towel or squeege whenever you use it to keep it clean. Some people use the toilet scrub brush once every day or two, without cleaner. Just to keep things looking good. Or you can buy the toilet bleach tablets that clean the bowl with each flush. That can be time saving.
I find it helpful to keep a little piece of paper/notepad on the kitchen counter near the fridge. When I realize I am running out of something that I want to buy again, I write it on the paper. I try to write it kind of in order of the way that the grocery store is laid out so that I don’t miss it when I am shopping. Grocery shopping is a bit tricky. You want to get enough of what you need but not too much, especially of perishable things, so that you don’t waste your money. So it is wise to have a feel for how many fruits/veggies you will really eat in the next week rather than buying way too much of something.
It can also be handy to have some ideas for what you want to cook in the next week so that you can pick up the ingredients you will need once per week at the store. Of course, if you live in a city and you don’t have a car, you may have to shop more frequently just for a day or two at a time.
This is also a fantastic time to enjoy exploring some new cooking styles. Maybe you would enjoy watching some cooking shows or trying out new recipes. Perhaps you have someone in your family who is a fantastic cook who would love to teach you some of his/her skills. Or maybe you have the ability to take a cooking class or two. That could be a fun way to hone your hospitality skills and meet some interesting new people.
It’s easy to develop a negative attitude about chores and cooking. It’s easy to complain about having to do these things. But why not take the time you have to do chores and turn it into a beautiful time? I love to use that time to listen to podcast sermons, to sing praise music to God, or to think about things for which I am thankful. Our attitude can make all the difference in the world. We can think of chores as a way to bring blessing to our living space, to our visitors, to those who live with us, and to ourselves.
There are countless resources on these topics you can investigate online. Some ladies really like www.flylady.net. There are many Christian blogs and websites about homemaking that could be interesting. And there are secular sites about chores and time management and organization, as well.
Perhaps this post, “The Beauty of Ordinary Homemaking” may be a blessing and a new, beautiful perspective on the subject as a ministry.
What kinds of house keeping tips have you found that make things easier for you to keep up with your chores? We’d love to hear about it!