I got asked a very good question, “What exactly is homemaking?” I talk a lot about “managing” a home, as opposed to just having a home, but I haven’t taken the time to distinguish between these two things. That’s why I wanted to take today to answer that question, and define what it means, for me, to truly engage in homemaking.
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What Makes a home?
What makes a place go from being a house to a home? Is it the sheer fact that you live there? Is it that you keep all of your stuff there? Is it the people there? I don’t think home is any of these things, at least not individually. You can make a home of your dorm room while all of your stuff is in storage. You can make a home when you live by yourself. You also hear people say that a place they are living isn’t home, but just somewhere to put their head at night. So what is a home then? What makes it different? In my opinion, a home is a haven. It’s somewhere you’ve created a spot of safety and hospitality within the world, one that you keep for yourself and loved ones.
Home is Where You’re Safe
Let’s talk about safety. Safety means a lot of different things to different people. A safe home is one where you are physically, emotionally, and mentally free from harm. What makes a home safe depends on the needs of you and your family. It has always been important to me that my home be safe. That’s why over the years I have asked friends and family to leave when they make someone feel threatened, I have offered my roof to people in need, and I make room for people in my life and in my home. I have been in the position of wondering where I could turn, so I do my best to make sure people know they can turn to me when in need.
It’s not always easy to make a safe home. I have had to ask family to leave because they made someone feel unsafe. I have had to tell friends to leave because they were making my house an unwelcoming space. I have had to stand up to people I care about and tell them very firmly where my boundaries are, and that they will not disrespect them. In a perfect world, making those boundaries known would be enough, but this is not a perfect world. Making a safe home, is first and foremost about holding people accountable to your boundaries and rules while they are under your roof. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
Hospitality is the Heart of the Home
Hospitality is the next largest component when I think about homemaking. Hospitality is going to mean a lot of different things, based on your culture, upbringing, traditions, ect….but it all boils down to one concept, making people feel welcome. Since hospitality does vary so much around the world it’s impossible to give a perfect guide on how to be hospitable, but I can share with you what I do.
When I think about making my home welcoming and hospitable, I think about making it clean, inviting, and making sure it’s prepared. This is important, not only with guests, but with my own family as well. Let’s look more closely at each component of hospitality within my own efforts at homemaking.
You know that feeling you get when you’ve finished all the cleaning for a room and you look at the product of your hard work? The room feels a little bit bigger, a little bit brighter than before. The carpet feels softer. The air smells fresher. The bed, or couch, or whatever looks more inviting. Coming home to a clean kitchen is a relief. You don’t have to worry about dirty dishes, you don’t have to wonder what was cooked on the stove the night before. A clean home reduces stress, promotes good health, and makes it look like you’ve got your act together.
Now, I don’t mean that your house needs to be spotless. We actually live in our houses, they’re not magazine spreads, they get dirty and show signs of life. What I am saying, is find a routine to keep your home reasonably clean. Check out my post for 8 easy things you can start doing today for a cleaner home, and my go-to book for cleaning tips and tricks, The Butler’s Guide!
Making a Space Inviting
Making a space inviting has a lot to do with hoe comfortable you make the space. On one end of the scale, you get super sleek, minimalist spaces with no extra trim and they look amazing, but can end up feeling more like waiting rooms than homes. On the other end of the scale though, you get cozy living rooms with more throw pillows and blankets than people, fresh flowers on every flat surface, and everything that reminds you of grandma’s house. This is definitely comforting and inviting, but can also feel cramped or cluttered. Finding the balance that’s right for you and your home is important, and I can’t tell you what that balance needs to be.
What I can tell you, and this leads into my next point, is that a properly prepared space let’s you compromise between comfort and a clutter-free space.
Preparing the Space for Use
I can not stress enough the importance of getting your house organized. Not only does it help you keep everything cleaner, it reduces stress, and can help you to be a better host or hostess. Knowing exactly where your extra blankets are when you need them or knowing there are clean sheets in the guest closet helps take the stress out of having guests. Keeping the supplies in your pantry to throw together a brownie in a mug at a moments notice means that you can always have snacks ready for visitors, even if you didn’t know they were coming.
I 100% recommend Marie Kondo’s books as a way to learn about how to get organized. If you’re not sure about dropping the money on a book, I suggest watching her special on Netflix. Honestly though, getting your space organized makes a big difference in your ability to make a house into a home. In just a few weeks of getting organized I’ve noticed a difference in how welcoming and accessible my home feels.
The Greatest is Love
To wrap it all up, the most important part of homemaking for me, is to take a house and fill it with love. If you put love and care into your home, it will show, and people will be able to feel that when they walk in the door. They’ll be able to tell that you pour your heart into your home, and all your care and dedication will be apparent. As long as you’re making your home with love, then everything else you can figure out along the way.