How to Start Homemaking … From Scratch

Starting homemaking from scratch can seem intimidating and overwhelming. These tips can help beginners start homemaking!

Reader question: I’m about to get married, so I’d love helpful tips on how to get into a rhythm with ALL that is entailed in running a home.

While my soon-to-be husband is very willing to help and takes initiative, I feel a desire to take charge of things like dishes, laundry and cleaning as my responsibility (80-20 distribution is most likely what it will be). If only one thing was added to my plate at a time, it would be easier, but the load of it all coming at once is daunting to me.

Whether you’re getting married or moving into your very own home for the first time, figuring out homemaking and attempting to create a haven definitely can seem daunting. And knowing how to start homemaking can seem overwhelming, for sure.

What do you do?

When should you do it?

And how often should you do it?

Starting homemaking from scratch can seem intimidating and overwhelming. These tips can help beginners start homemaking!

The answers to these questions are different for every single homemaker, since they all depend on your preferences. (That’s one thing that makes homemaking – and each home – so unique!)

But there’s a definite process that can help you settle into a homemaking routine and style that’s just right for you.

Amazing grace

First of all, before you start anything, please give yourself grace. Know that you’ll be in the process of figuring out what’s best for you. Know that you’ll do some things really well and some things terribly. Don’t worry about trying to do everything perfectly right away (if ever) – because it won’t happen.

You’ll make mistakes. You’ll find success. And in the process you’ll find out that even if certain approaches “work,” they may not be best for you and your personality or preferences.

Starting homemaking from scratch can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Here are my starter tips for how beginners can start homemaking!

Knowing your chores

After you’ve reminded yourself to relax and give yourself grace, figure out what chores you need to do around your home.

Typically, these chores will involve:

  • Food (meal planning and preparation),
  • Dishes,
  • Laundry,
  • Cleaning,
  • Maintaining your home (garbage, recycling, repairs, etc.) and
  • Maintaining your life (bills, paperwork, etc.)

Since I’m a huge fan of making lists, I suggest writing down these chores so you can see them all. Then, think about how often you need to do them.

Starting homemaking from scratch can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Here are my starter tips for how beginners can start homemaking!

Some of your chores will need to be done a few times a day, once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a year. Oftentimes, this depends on who lives in your home. If it’s just you – or just you and your husband – you’ll need to do laundry a lot less frequently than if you have several children.

Once you decide how often you need to do each chore, then look at your schedule to see when you can fit everything in.

Some chores – like washing dishes – fit into a natural rhythm of your day. (Set aside time for doing them after each meal.) Other chores just don’t seem to fit. So plan on a specific time to do them.

Finding what works

Once you know what you need to do and when you want to do it, then get to work!

The key in the actual doing, though, is figuring out what works for you – and what doesn’t.

  • Is a particular chore just not getting done? Figure out a different time to do it.
  • Have you thought of a different kind of cleaning chore you should add to your routine to make it easier? Add it.
  • Are you cleaning in a particular way that just seems laborious? Switch it up. Look for different ways of cleaning your home and different products to make your cleaning easier.

The key is being flexible. Try to do your housekeeping and get into a rhythm, and pay attention if you need to tweak it. I’ve found that just because one way of caring for my home works in one season, it doesn’t always work. Just as life changes, so does my homemaking.

Your homemaking hopefully will improve over time as you become more comfortable with it. You’ll experience seasons of being on top of everything, and being completely overwhelmed. Don’t stress about it! Remind yourself that it’s a process, celebrate your successes, and enjoy maintaining your haven.

Experienced homemakers, how do you think a young homemaker should start homemaking? What worked for you? What didn’t?

Starting homemaking from scratch can seem intimidating and overwhelming. These tips can help beginners start homemaking!

Learning from other homemakers

If you’d like more advice from homemakers who have spent years caring for their homes and families, I highly (highly!) recommend Homemaking Ministries’ Online Conference, Balance in Homemaking.

You can learn from 17 Titus 2 homemakers … and connect with other homemakers facing the same issues in an online Facebook group.

I’ve participated in two other Homemaking Ministries conferences, but I’m most excited about the Balance in Homemaking topic, and all of the speakers who will challenge and encourage me. I would love for you to join me! (For details, click here.)

Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may make a commission on products purchased through these links. Thank you for supporting this website!

All images courtesy of Boss Fight.

Hilary

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20 Comments

  1. Well, first of all, I would NOT suggest she does it all on her own! When you’re first married it feels almost like a game of “House.” But day after week after month of doing it all while your husband doesn’t is just going to cause a butt-load of resentment. Those childhood games of “House” lasted maybe 20 minutes. Marriage is (or should be) a life time. So, understand that you’re in this together, and the house is a joint responsibility – it’s not just “my” job, it’s “our” job.

    1. I think this depends on the family. Women are called, in scripture, to be keepers of the home. So that means something to me. If they are both working full time jobs, then I agree that they should share responsibilities. I don’t, however, believe it’s reasonable to expect a man who works full-time to come home and clean house. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think that’s the way it should be.

      With that said, my husband does take care of the garbage and recycling. I think distribution of chores will be different for every family, but as a SAHM, I feel that a part of my job is keeping up the house.

      1. My interpretation of being a “keeper of the home” is that it relates more to spiritual matters than to physical matters. As a mother and wife I can set the tone for the home. But this does not mean that taking care of each and every physical aspect of housekeeping is on my shoulders, and mine alone. Families can and should decide what sort of division of labour works best for them and for their circumstances. This will naturally change as circumstances change. For the couple discussed here I am making the following assumptions: They do not have children; both husband and wife will continue to work full-time; and both husband and wife have lived independently and had to manage households while juggling full-time work. If those are the circumstances, I think it’s unrealistic to assume that unpaid domestic labour is suddenly her responsibility. If he is used to living on his own, he already knows what needs to be done to manage a household. Why, then, should he get married and suddenly stop doing everything, simply because he now has a wife?

        I don’t think we are really in disagreement. When our children were babies my husband was a stay at home dad while I was in paid employment (slightly less than full-time). I felt that the most important part of that role was that he was there for the children – he wasn’t a stay at home housekeeper but a stay at home parent. Back then, our division of household chores was probably around 70/30 (I was the 30%). Now, he’s a partner in his firm (which means he’s working roughly 60 hours a week), the children are both in school, and I’ve quit my job. The division of labour is probably around 85/15 (now I’m the 85%). Circumstances change and so the division of labour changes too. When I return to paid employment the numbers will change again. But I’ve never been of the opinion that it’s my ‘job’ to do the housework. He’s a grown man, he can scrub a toilet just as well as I can. (He can cook much better than I can. He’s probably better at doing the laundry too.)

  2. Finding out (ASKING) the hubby..

    As a new homemaker it took a couple years to come over the “I need to have everything perfect the second my hubbie walks in the door..” idea. Pretty sure there were a few melt downs when I burnt the unburneable, or when I’d have everything in its place & walk around the corner to find our dog creating a puddle on the carpet. (sigh…) BUT one day a light bulb went on..I thought to ASK my husband what was important to him..so I did..his response in his kind, gentle, gracious voice surprised me.. “if the dishes are piled up or the house is messy, I don’t mind, I don’t expect you to be a ‘Pinterest wife’ ..but if possible, it would be nice to have a bowl for my breakfast and silverware in the drawer..”
    (Pheeew!!!) Since that day I’ve done those two things first! If activities with the kids soak up my minutes (which their little hearts do rank higher than a clean sink) or if the dog decides to forget where the door is, I make sure to have one bowl washed and the silverware drawer filled. This has relieved so much pressure!

    Finding out what makes your hubbies’ morning run smoother or his evenings more relaxed would be my word of advice!

    1. Oh, I love this advice, Anita! And I love how our husbands can be so kind, gentle and gracious in their honesty when we ask. Thank you so much for sharing a little window into your home and family!

    2. I love this. And I love hearing the different husbands’ requests. For my husband, it’s food and (semi-regular) sex. LOL, of course.. but as long as he has those two things, he doesn’t see the filth. I think asking and doing those things first not only lightens your load when things are tough, but shows your husband that you care about him and his feelings. In a house of chaos, when he opens the cabinet and sees a bowl, he knows you thought of him and intended to make his life easier and better. That goes a long way in a marriage.

    3. I absolutely love and appreciate this advice, when/if I get married I plan to take it to heart, thank you Anita!

  3. Figuring out what works for you is so key to the process. When my husband and I were first married we both worked full-time and divided the work at home. Now that he works 2 jobs and I am home with our 3 (!) kids I do the bulk of the housework/grocery shopping. I think it helps to periodically reassess. Since I am in the middle of life with littles there are many housekeeping chores I would *love* to do weekly that are only done monthly. It’s not ideal, but it keeps things relatively clean and keeps me sane.

    1. I completely agree with all of this, Aimee! This has been the same story in my own home and family. Depending on your season of life, you need to do what works best for your family dynamics.

  4. I LOVE the tips! I have been for 15 years, and a stay at home wife/mom for 5…. and I am still trying to get a handle on it! I will be implementing these!

  5. This has nothing to do with housework. I read this a long time ago, 48 years and counting. You set the mood for the evening. If you are in a bad mood when your spouse comes home, that sets the tone. Give him a kiss and hug. Talk about the day in a little bit. Has worked well for us.

    1. Hi, Ana, I clicked on your post to find your categories but I didn’t see them there. Are they in a different post? Maybe I missed them. Thanks!

  6. I do think things change as you go through different seasons in your life. When we first married, I had no idea how to keep a house clean/cook/manage a home. I have learned “on the job” so to speak. Now that my husband and I have been married a while and we are in different time that there are some things I tell young moms. First if God has called you to be home then that is your responsibility and your job. Understand that it may not always be fun but God blesses us when we honor him. Second, I agree with Anita to ask your husband what is important to him. Those are the things that I try to do every day. I have also found that it is easier to keep up with laundry and keep a clean house when I downsize my possessions/our clothes. We moved into a smaller home 4 1/2 years ago (1150 sq feet and we are a family of 6). With my boys help we can have the house clean and ready for guests in under one hour. The other thing I encourage young moms is to begin to train your children early to clean with you. It may take you a little longer when they are small but they become a big help as they get older.

  7. The Husband is supposed to be head of the wife. This is biblical. His job is to manage the corporation.
    He is to pay the bills and handle all incoming paperwork that pertains to the family. He should have an office
    In the home. Husband and wife talk about what is needed in the home every week. It is up to the Husband to
    Execute what needs to be done. The Husband controls the money for the family.
    The wife’s job is to keep the house clean and neat, raise the children , and cook the meals. She would not be dominant over her husband (submit) and try to please her family by taking care of her house and family. She
    Does not run off with the credit card, and buy what she wants. Credit cards can cause debt which is not good for the family and she needs to consult her husband before buying for her family. This is biblical. She needs to submit and obey her husband unless he is abusive. When they disagree: Pray.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Cynthia! While I agree with you that it is biblical that the husband is supposed to be head of the wife, a lot of the other issues you mentioned simply aren’t addressed in the Bible.

      In fact, if you study the account of the Proverbs 31 woman, she actually had financial independence and made wise decisions. (“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” – Proverbs 31:16) The beauty is in that all of her hard work, wise decision making and smart business sense, verses 11 and 12 reveal, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”

      I think it’s important to remember that as long as Christian couples ground their marriages in the Word, a lot of everyday decisions are left up to interpretation by each couple. As long as they’re not acting unbiblically, each home and marriage will look different from others.

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