The Bell Family

Random ponderings on God, life, and the humor all around us


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Homekeeping Schedule

The first thing I want to post is my homekeeping schedule.  For copyright reasons I will not post all the details that are in my actual schedule since many of them are from Martha Stewart’s book verbatim, but I will give you the general idea of how this works in our home.

Every day–make bed, manage clutter and things that should be wiped or cleaned as I go, sort through mail, and sweep the kitchen floor.

Weekly in each room I wipe windows and vacuum the vents

Monday–kitchen and dining room

Tuesday–living room

Wednesday–bathrooms

Thursday–bedrooms and library area (if applicable)

Friday–office, entryway, stairs (if applicable), and hallways

Saturday–rest

Sundays I alternate between those things that need to be done monthly instead of weekly (i.e.  dusting and vacuuming closets, flushing sinks with baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water) and those things that need to be done each season (i.e. cleaning oven and refrigerator, turning mattresses, wiping baseboards and moldings)

I also take the first week of spring and the first week of fall for spring and fall cleaning (i.e. laundering blankets, cleaning gutters) with much more work in the spring than the fall after being inside for so long.

I have all my duties specifically written out and posted on my refrigerator so I can see them easily.  I work on these a bit while the kids are awake so they watch the example of me working (especially for my daughters), but the bulk of it is done before they wake up in the morning.  If I need to, I will try to finish up during their naps.  BTW, as I have said before, these are my goals and are rarely reached, but there is much more order in my home with these goals than there would be without them.


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A Quick Note

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned a few of Bill’s duties that I help him achieve through Christ.  I wanted to quickly mention something I have been asked about (and wondered myself).  Notice that I talked about how I work to fulfill Bill’s biblical goals.  What if my husband’s goals are to come home, kick back in his recliner, pop open a beer, and watch sports all day while I serve him like crazy?  That probably would not be a biblical goal for your husband to do regularly (though I would argue that there is a biblical place for intentional rest, and if that is how your husband rests he probably is not sinning); however, and I tread here lightly, you should still focus on serving him in this behavior.  First, you are called to be his helpmate, and if this is how he wants you to help him, then choose obedience to God.  God will be pleased.   Second, focusing on your husband’s failures only opens the door for you to stop focusing on your own failures and to grow in self-righteousness (1 John 1:8-9).  1 Peter 3:1-2 says,

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

Your command is to submit to your husband, so even if he is not following God’s word perfectly (and no one does–Romans 3:23), God will use your behavior toward your husband to sanctify him.

Edit: As it turns out, my favorite bloggers and I have a similar series going at the same time.  That’s what I get for not looking around first to make sure I wasn’t being redundant.  Check out their blog, too, as the Spirit has gifted them with far more wisdom than I.  The series begins here, but they are still posting.


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With What Am I Helping?

As with all things, we must know the why before we begin the what, so I am going to do my best to explain the why of my homekeeping before I get into some practical tips.  According to Genesis, I was created to be Bill’s helpmate.  That means all I do in managing my home brings the most glory to God if it fits into the plan of helping Bill, but with what am I helping him?  Well, some things Bill is called to are his own spiritual well being, the spiritual well being of me and the kids, serving others (both believers and unbelievers), and some things around the house that require muscle (of which I have little).  My purpose for managing our home must help serve him so he can be freed up to glorify God through his duties.

What I do must not necessarily be according to other Christians’ standards but according to God’s word and my husband’s needs.  For instance, I had a friend who told me she felt like a failure because she wasn’t making lunch for her husband every morning.  Upon prodding her a bit, I discovered her husband didn’t even want her to make his lunch.  He didn’t feel it helped him with any of his duties, and he enjoyed his lunch more when he made it himself. 🙂  At one season of our lives, Bill wasn’t getting much time in the word.  Mornings seemed like the best time for him, so I began preparing his lunch in the mornings to free up some time for him to pray and study scripture.  Being a helpmate to our husbands looked different for my friend and me.  Because there is no biblical command to prepare your husband’s lunch, she did not need to do this task, but it was a great service to Bill and our whole family.

This is what some of that looks like for our family.   Some things Bill feels like are important for our family on a daily basis is that he gets to spend time in the word and in prayer (he gets most of this during his long bus rides and walks in the morning and afternoon), that he is the main theology teacher in our home, that he spends individual time with each child, that we spend some time together as a family, that he gets sufficient time connecting with me, that we get sufficient time for sleep so he can be rested enough to serve us, and that he gets work done that I can’t do.  Approximately, we take one hour for dinner, training, and talking as a family, 30 minutes of individual time with each child, 15 minutes for family worship, one hour at least of uninterrupted talking time with me, and some time for us to do something fun together like play outside, play a game, read, or whatever.  He also almost always has some kind of job to do around the house.  For example, last night our closet shelves randomly fell, so Bill spent an hour reinstalling.  🙂

With all those duties (and that’s just the bare minimum) and considering he only has about 5 hours from the time he gets home to the time he goes to bed, how could I expect Bill so split homekeeping chores with me when he gets home?  No one (including me) would be served in that instance.  Bill would miss out on some quality time with at least some of us, and all of our spiritual growth would be stunted.  Also, if we lived in a house of chaos and disorder, it would be difficult to have places to romp together or to find things quickly in the limited time he has.  With how easy it is for our family to pass sickness around to each other, cleanliness also becomes an important factor.  Therefore, I strive to keep a clean and ordered home (just ignore the plethora of toys on the floor during the day), and I strive to do it all on my own before he gets home.  Granted this does not usually work out perfectly, especially in our season of having 100lbs of little ones running around, but this is my goal, and I do it joyfully (sometimes) for God’s glory.


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Housekeeping 101

I have been challenged many times by Carolyn Mahaney, both in her books and on her blog, about continuing my education as a homemaker.  Almost every career calls you to some further education, but many women who stay home don’t continue learning and sharpening skills.  I told Bill the other day that I feel like I learn a little of a lot of things all the time, but I am never really pushing myself to the limit in any one area.  My friend Becky just did a couple of posts on potty training, and I was really convicted about how unintentional I am about many things like that.  I LOVE school, so I finally decided to sit down and map out my MH plan (Masters in Home) for the next few years.  I am going to try to take an average of 6 months at a time to really learn about a certain skill that is related to managing my home.  The first six months–housekeeping.  I am going to challenge myself to learn as much as I can about managing and cleaning my home, including how to incorporate in natural cleaners.  My main textbooks are Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook and a recommendation from my friend Kacie, The Naturally Clean Home (both were gifts from my wonderful guy).  I even made myself a reading schedule!  I will post on here as I can with info and tips I’m learning.

Any other good resources you would recommend on this topic?