Home is the place where love and life are woven together. We intrinsically know what a significant impact a thoughtful, well-cared-for domicile can have on someone’s life. After all, some of our fondest memories probably center around the places we’ve called home throughout our lives. It’s where we feel the coziest, safest, and most loved.
As women, our home is an extension of our love. Our home, and how we receive people within its four walls, is a tangible expression of the concern we have for others and the respect we hold for ourselves. This is why learning the art of homemaking is never a waste of time. Let’s get started!
1. How To Cook a Whole Chicken and Make Bone Broth With the Remainder
This is such a quintessential homemaking skill, and let me tell you why. A two-person household can have a week's worth of meals from just one roast chicken, and it’s literally the easiest thing to do. It’s as simple as slapping some spices on it and letting it cook in the oven for a few minutes, et voilà, there’s your main dish for the rest of the week. Here’s a good recipe to start with. I like it because the chef uses the chicken drippings to roast vegetables while the chicken cooks. This will save you a lot of time and prep when it comes to side dishes.
Making the stock is incredibly simple as well. Collect all the bones (don’t throw any away), cartilage, and whatever skin that didn’t get eaten, pop it in a stock pot, add some apple cider vinegar, quartered onions (you don’t even have to peel them all the way), the entire celery stalk (leaves and all), a few carrots (leaves and stems included too) some garlic and herbs and salt and pepper. Let it simmer literally all day, and by the end, you’ve got yourself a delicious, mineral-laden, collagen-filled, non-processed bone broth. Strain it, add whatever you want back in, and now you’ve got soup for the next several days. The takeaway here is that chickens are essentially the homemakers' fairy godmother. They can do it all with next to no fuss.
2. How To Make a Sourdough Starter
It’s one part science experiment and one part pet, and all you need is a 1-liter jar, whole wheat or unbleached flour, and some water. I’d use this recipe. It’s the same one I used to create my starter, and it seems to work for most people, given the number of 5-star reviews.
Sourdough is really neat because it actually decreases the gluten, phytic acid and glyphosate (if you don’t use organic flour) content in your bread. It does this because the wild yeast you captured, as well as the lactic and acetic acid bacteria you grew, eat a lot of it for you. This fermentation, therefore, also makes the bread easier to digest and, as such, may reduce bloating, if that’s a symptom you regularly experience after eating bread or gluten.
3. How To Ferment Your Own Food
This is, unfortunately, a lost art in the U.S., but it's such a valuable one. Fermented food has been scientifically proven to increase gut biodiversity and density. Not only that, but the bacteria we get from food, as opposed to a supplement, has been shown to stay in our gut and colonize it. Because of this, and because so many disease states are caused by a lackluster gut biome, fermented foods are some of the best medicines we have to increase our overall physical and mental health.
This is the cookbook I use, and I highly recommend it. You’ll have to buy a few items, such as sealing jars, a fermentation crock, and a spigot jar, in order to get started, but what you spend on preventative health today, will save you on medical bills tomorrow.
4. How To Stock and Shop From Your Pantry/Freezer
Not only will learning this skill save you time, but it’ll save you money too. It’s a skill our grandmas and great-grandmas had, but with fast cars, enhanced food transportation, advances in food storage, and easy take-out options, it has fallen by the wayside. That’s not to say it’s not a valuable skill to have, it’s just one that’s been devalued. With ever-rising inflation rates and food shortages, though? I see this skill making a major comeback. Here’s how to do it.
Figure out every single grocery store in your area and download its corresponding app. Then, every Wednesday (or whatever day your local stores redo their weekly deals) go through all the apps and write down the best deals for food items your family regularly eats in a notebook. Then, after you’ve written down all the deals, compare them store by store, crossing off the inferior deals and circling the best ones. Then, pull out your cookbooks (or Google) and plan out your meals for the next week with your newly created grocery list. Go to your pantry and freezer, see if you need to buy anything extra, and write that down too. Now, look at your weekly grocery budget. If you’re coming in under, decide what extra sale items you’d like to buy, or staples you’d like to stock up on, and add those to the list as well. Over time, your pantry/freezer stock will grow, and after a while, you’ll be able to save even more money because, thanks to your stockpile, there’s nothing you need that week besides fresh produce, and what you have, you bought on sale!
5. How To Meal Plan and Cook
Shopping this way actually makes it incredibly easy to meal plan. It limits your choices and, therefore, prevents choice paralysis. Once you have your grocery list based on what’s on sale, (plus a few other ingredients if you need to fill in some gaps), start meal planning. A super simple way to do this is to go onto Google and type in “pork recipes” or “chicken recipes,” just whatever meat you will be buying that week, and then let Google (or my personal favorite, All Recipes) tell you what to do. Additionally, always have root vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and potatoes, on hand. Not only do they literally go with anything, but they can also be neglected for a very long time before they spoil. That boxed salad mix in your fridge, though? Not so much.
One last piece of advice: When shopping, look for color diversity in your produce. Every plant we eat has vitamins and minerals, and every color provides a different nutrient profile. You don’t have to Google every single vegetable you eat to make sure your diet is nutrient-rich, just make sure to eat an entire rainbow of color every day, and you’ll cover your bases!
1. How To Fold Sheets Neatly
Incorrectly folded sheets and towels take up so much extra space, it's honestly infuriating. On the flip side, there's nothing more cathartic than seeing a well-ordered linen closet. Crisp, white cotton and terry cloth stacked together in neat, clean columns is a scene that just radiates harmony. That's why this seemingly inconsequential skill is so important. A well-ordered linen closet can take care of a family’s two most basic needs, sleep and hygiene. I recommend these tutorials to learn how to fold and organize your family’s towels. You can choose which folds best fit the space that you have and the aesthetic you want to create.
But now onto the subject I know is currently plaguing everyone's mind: the dreaded fitted sheet. I recommend this tutorial for learning how to fold them, as it provides a video and step-by-step instructions.
2. Make a Schedule That Plays to Your Strengths
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Knowing the answer to this simple question, and then planning your cleaning schedule around it, could be the key to unlocking a perpetually clean home. Personally, I’m a morning person. I set my alarm to 6 a.m. (sometimes even earlier if I’m feeling good), and the first thing I'll do after brewing a pot of coffee is start the laundry for the day and then unload the dishes. It's so quick, at that point, my coffee is done, and I can sit by the window and fold any laundry I didn't get done the day before and set my circadian rhythm by watching the sunrise and set the intention of my day by listening to a Bible study podcast. After that, I either get started making breakfast or move on to making my bed, or I just clean whatever didn't get finished the night before. By the time my kids get up, I’ve set the entire day in motion and have made it easy to continue organizing and cleaning as my family goes about their daily activities. When the evening rolls around, as long as the day hasn't escaped me, usually all that's left to do is the dishes and sweep the floors.
That's just the schedule that works for me, though. If you're a night owl and feel little better than death warmed over in the mornings, a night cleaning schedule is going to work better for you. You can set your entire day up the night before, and everyone (including yourself) will get to wake up to an impeccably kept house every morning.
Continuing on this trend, make yourself a weekly cleaning schedule as well. There is a myriad of different schedule templates and ideas you can find on Pinterest, and once you find the one that works the best for you, stick to it. This way you'll never find yourself playing catch-up during the weekend. Additionally, your house will always be ready to welcome a surprise guest with hospitality and grace.
3. How To Tackle the Job You Hate the Most
For me, it's the dishes. I hate doing the dishes. I will literally clean the entire house before doing them, but that’s the problem. I procrasti-clean, and while that can be productive, it also can disrupt the rhythm of my household. Sometimes dishes still have to be done before dinner, which pushes dinner to a later time, which makes the children hangry, which overwhelms me, and then the entire night devolves into chaos — all because I didn't do the dishes. So, obviously, that's a problem. The truth is, we all have chores we hate, but what determines the quality of peace within our home is how we manage that particular job. It feels unfair that it works that way, but that's just the reality of the situation, so it's up to us to manage ourselves.
I personally recommend either tackling this task first thing in the morning or during the first quiet moment you get. Make the experience as pleasant as possible by listening to your favorite music or podcast, or having your favorite snack waiting for you after you finish. Either way, incentivize yourself, and remember: The sooner you get it over with, the sooner you don't have to worry about it anymore.
1. How To Celebrate
The art of the celebration has sadly been lost in recent years due, in part, to social media. While, yes, we do have more beautiful and lavish parties, we’ve also traded sensationalism for gratitude. The focus has been shifted off of the person or event we are celebrating and onto second-hand opinions. Even if we don’t reveal much of our lives to social media, we still feel pressured to “keep up with the Joneses” who, most assuredly, are involved in the social stratosphere.
In these situations, I find it most helpful to sprinkle the spice of reality into the pot: In terms of celebration, guests, and guests of honor, care most about how they were made to feel and less about how well or how trendy your decorations were. In five years, or even in two, your guests won’t remember what your party looked like, but they will remember the warmth and happiness you provided. It’s why I’m such a firm believer that food, above all else, is what’s most important at a party. Everyone feels cared for when they are well-fed. Everyone feels secure when there is more than enough to go around. By tending to this most basic and universal need, you care for the heart of your guest. Decorations and ambiance? Yes, they’re important; I’m not saying they’re not. But if you ever find yourself forced to choose between buying decor or food for a party, always choose the latter.
The second most important ingredient to a good celebration is being a good and gracious hostess. This can make or break your party. Sadly, this art form has also been lost to us in recent years, but through a little practice and a small bit of research, you can make sure your parties are not only always spoken of favorably, but anticipated as well.
Humble service speaks tenderly to the heart of all human beings. That is why parties are, at the end of the day, a celebration of our ability to serve and serve well. And for the guest, they’re a celebration of our ability to accept and enjoy hospitality.
2. How To Decorate
A house is a place a human merely exists in. A home is a place where we are inspired, comforted, and loved. Though you certainly do not have to decorate your house in order to have a home, there is something about physical beauty that speaks to the soul in a way few other modes can. It makes the worthy goal of atmospheric hospitality easier to achieve. The good news is, you by no means have to spend a fortune in order to achieve this ambiance.
Pin specific items you’d like to acquire and hit up Craig’s list, eBay, Facebook marketplace, and garage/estate sale apps (make sure to set the location you’re interested in buying from to high-end neighborhoods) to look for them. Be patient as you wait for the specific items you want to come up at the price you need, and once they do, buy them. It’s actually how I’ve appointed my entire home. I buy high-quality items, second-hand, and because of that, my money has gone much further than it would have if I had bought everything new.
1. How To Grow an Herb Garden
Fresh herbs are not only tastier and healthier, but they're also cheaper. The vast majority of produce in the 1940s was generated by the household, and while today, you may not have the space (or desire) to turn your yard into a garden, to grow herbs, you don’t have to!
Most can be grown inside, but if that’s not your jam, they will obviously thrive outside. Most herbs originate from the Mediterranean, so believe it or not, most herbs thrive on neglect. If you’re a chronic under-waterer, you're a hero to your herbs. All you really need for a successful garden is several terra-cotta pots, the herbs themselves, and some potting soil. Google a watering schedule per plant, and there you go! Produce that's higher quality than even the organic stuff you can buy from the store.
2. How To Make a Monthly Budget
In my home, my husband actually sets the budget. We’ve discussed and planned it together, of course, but honestly, I’m terrible at math. I’d spend all the money if left to my own devices, and it’s just not something that interests me that much. It’s a real weak area of mine and a strength of my husband’s, so this is the system that best works for us.
If you find yourself in the same camp, it’s a good idea to talk to your husband and see if he’d be OK with managing the household funds. Personally, I’m much happier simply being told how much money I’m able to spend and where and when.
If you’re the money-minded individual in the couple, however, here’s how I recommend doing it. First, start with the things you can’t change (or can only change so much), like house payments, insurance, savings, retirement, stocks, water bills, electricity, etc. After you write them all out and alot each monetary amount to them, calculate your take home pay — essentially, what is left over for variable expenses such as entertainment, vacations, eating out, and material desires. You and your husband can decide on fair numbers for each of these categories, and soon enough, you’ll have an entire monthly budget written out with no hidden expenses or surprise payments! My favorite app to use for this is Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar.
3. How To Sew
You don’t need to know how to sew a whole outfit, but repairing holes, missing buttons, or even taking something in so it fits better is so valuable. It’ll save your family time and money! Not only that, being able to point to something in your home or wardrobe and say “I sewed that” brings about a quiet feminine pride that stems from the tangible evidence of having cared for your family well.
Even if you feel intimidated by this task (I sure did), the good news is that there are tons of online tutorials. Simply Google “how to sew ____” and I guarantee you, someone has done a YouTube video tutorial on it.
1. Basic First Aid and Fire Safety
Being prepared can make all the difference in an emergency situation. As matriarch of your household, you play the vital role of caregiver, and, unfortunately, sometimes that means providing care in an emergency. Being prepared to respond effectively to an accident will not only serve to keep you calm and level-headed, but it can also affect the prognosis of the loved one you are caring for. As a former EMT, accident-prone person, and mother to an accident-prone little boy, some of the most important skills a homemaker can familiarize herself with are the quickest/most effective way to stop bleeding; how and when to apply a tourniquet; the signs of labored breathing in a baby; how to do infant/adult CPR; and the Heimlich maneuver for infants, children, and adults. In these situations, your loved one may not have the time required to wait on emergency personnel to arrive. Your intervention could mean the difference between life or death.
Along these same lines, in the case of small, manageable, household fires, it's important to learn how to safely put them out. Believe it or not, there are different types of fires (such as grease or electrical), and they can't be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach, as doing so may make them worse.
2. Listen To Self-Development Podcasts or Audio Books
As a homemaker, I like to make the most out of my time and maximize my productivity. So many times, as I do chores, I like to listen to personal development podcasts. Yes, sometimes I simply need a break so I listen to music or to true crime, but as often as I can, I like to multitask.
There aren't enough hours in the day for me to read or learn everything I’d like to on top of my daily tasks, so I’ve found listening to podcasts and books while I do them to be a very effective strategy. The wonderful thing about this practice is that you are not only being doubly productive, but this category of “self-development” is so broad, you could fit almost anything — from skill acquisition to psychological healing to theological development — into it.
I know you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed by now. There’s just so much to do! The good news is that you don’t have to implement all of these practices tomorrow. You don’t even have to implement them at all if you don’t want to! Every woman will make her house a home in her own special way. She will pour her individuality and love into it, and something wholly unique and beautiful will be born. If you do find yourself wanting to use all of these ideas in your own household, my advice: start slow. Figure out what you can start doing today and focus solely on that. Once you have that skill down, add the next. There’s no need to rush, and if you try to add too many new things at once, you’ll just get overwhelmed, and it won’t be fun anymore. So take your time, make each skill your own, and do it all with love. Happy homemaking!
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