Read on for the all-in-one guide to homemaking 101 for beginners, PLUS seven ways you can be a better homemaker today!
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When I was a young girl, all I wanted to do was get married, have babies, and take care of a little home. Being a homemaker was the ULTIMATE dream for me.
I could picture myself with a baby on my hip, cutting flowers to put in pretty vases in the kitchen. I imagined scrubbing floors with a big smile and baking apple pies in my homemade apron.
Now that I am a homemaker, I’ve come to realize that homemaking is NOT always like this…. BUTTT there are a few things I’ve learned to make it pretty darn close to the happy tidbit above.
If homemaking is your ultimate dream then this Homemaking 101 guide is perfect for you. It will help you to prepare for homemaking, OR to become a better homemaker if you’re already one.
If you want to become a better homemaker (or just get started), you need to get familiar with the basics of keeping a home. From there, you’ll learn more every day and you’ll get a better idea as you go of what works best for your home and your family.
This guide will help you to learn more about the basics of keeping a home, i.e. pretty much a homemaker’s job description! Then, we’ll talk about incorporating some schedules and routines to bring it all together. Finally, I’ll give you 7 tips to help you become a better homemaker, all of which you can try TODAY.
I hope this guide will bring your homemaking closer to the simple, joyful, Ma Ingalls, apple pie kind of picture. And when homemaking is not the prettiest (cause lets face it, its NOT always going to be) a simple mindset shift can make all the difference. I’ll talk more on that too!
Let’s get started by answering a few questions.
What is a Homemaker?
By the formal definition, a homemaker is someone who manages the home of their own family, especially as their sole occupation (source).
Another definition refers to homemaking as managing a home, especially in making it a pleasant place to live.
This last part is the KEY! A homemaker is someone who puts time and energy into creating a functional, clean, organized, peaceful, beautiful, PLEASANT, place for them and their family to live.
There are a lot of different ways a homemaker can do that, so let’s go over some of them!
What Do Homemaker’s Do?
A homemaker manages the upkeep and maintenance of their home and keeps it clean and organized using schedules and routines. Homemakers also work to make their homes beautiful and inviting with decor, and are responsible for planning, shopping for, and making meals.
You guessed it, homemaker’s do a LOT. Everything you can think of to manage a home, a homemaker can be responsible for. What’s listed above is just a tiny snippet of some of the things homemaker’s do.
Here’s a breakdown of some more, basic homemaking activities:
- Meal Planning
- Grocery Shopping
- Home Maintenance
- Yard Maintenance
- DIY (sewing, soap-making, DIY decor, etc.)
We could even take it further and say that homemaker’s are responsible for event planning (birthdays, holidays, etc.), appointments, hosting, and more!
What Are Some Homemaking Skills?
As you can probably tell, homemaking skills are just skills that have to do with all of the tasks we talked about above!
Successful homemakers can learn to be skilled in planning and preparing meals, keeping their home tidied and deep cleaned, creating and sticking to a budget, shopping for & DIY’ing decor, and more.
As a beginner homemaker, I suggest getting a handle on the basic homemaking skills like keeping your home tidy, planning for and cooking meals, and laundry.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start to have more fun with it! Try to add in gardening or DIY decor. Just make sure to add on just one extra thing at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
If you’re a beginner homemaker, start first by focusing on basic home management! Get comfortable with managing your home, and from there you can add more to your plate. Let’s get into homemaking 101 and everything you need to know to get started as a homemaker!
As a homemaker you’re responsible for keeping your home clean. Of course you can delegate tasks if you need to! Give your young kiddos chores (dumping trashes, cleaning out the dishwasher, vacuuming). So on and so forth.
HERE is an awesome article on having your kiddos do chores, with a free, printable, chore chart. Such a great resource when you’re wanting to delegate some of your cleaning, AND keep the kids busy.
One way to keep a home more clean is to not have an overwhelming amount of stuff and things. Don’t get me wrong, the stuff and the things make our homes cozy. You just want to know where the cutoff is when it goes past cozy and into chaotic and unmanageable.
Cleaning can be broken down into a few different areas: tidying, organizing, and deep cleaning.
Keeping your home tidy is pretty simple! Try to keep the clutter picked up and off the floor. Clear off countertops after meals. Have the kiddos pick up their toys when they’re done with them, etc.
When your home is tidy, its much easier to go about the rest of your homemaking tasks and to have a clear mind throughout the day.
Its also great for unexpected guests or last minute hosting plans. Create a quick, 15-minute tidy up routine that allows you to tidy up your ENTIRE house. Do this a few times a day so things don’t build up!
Another way to make your home FEEL cleaned is to choose one room in your house to keep tidy almost all of the time. This room is your prime mover. We can’t keep the whole house tidy all of the time, that’s just unrealistic. BUT if one room is always tidy it can totally change the atmosphere!
Have you ever been to someone’s house and thought it was pretty clean, until you opened a closet and it looked like a black hole?! I hope you didn’t judge them because all homemakers have had a closet or drawer like that at one time or another!
Really though, organizing is a very important part of homemaking and keeping a home clean! Organizing is having a place for everything and keeping things in their place.
Organizing allows you to know exactly what you have in your home, and know where its at, so you can easily access it. Its kind of like the tidying of the closets and drawers.
Don’t feel like you have to have the cutest tubs and baskets and organizers to be organized. As a beginner homemaker, you just need to spend a little bit of time every day organizing different areas in your home. If you’d like a really helpful resource on organizing, check out some of Abby’s posts HERE.
Hello, of course we have to talk about deep cleaning! Ma Ingalls scrubbed her floors after all. Deep cleaning is the scrubbing and the washing and the wiping.
Some deep cleaning tasks need to be done on a more regular basis, like once a week. Others can be done once a month, once a quarter, or once a year.
Every home is different! The most thorough way to know what all needs to be cleaned in your home is to go room by room with a notebook and a pen. Stand in each room and write down every last thing you can think of that should be cleaned.
For example, if you’re in the kitchen you may write down sweeping and scrubbing the floors, washing the baseboards and walls, countertops, windows, light fixtures, oven inside, stove top, outsides of cabinets, etc. Look over each room from top to bottom.
Once you’ve written all of the cleaning tasks down, you can write next to each one how often you think it needs done. Remember, it could be anything from daily to yearly! THEN, you work it all in to your schedule accordingly.
I have a post HERE that goes more in depth into this and how to create your own customized, homemaking checklist.
Laundry, so reminiscent of an old-fashioned homemaker! Although most homemakers don’t need to scrub their clothes on a washing board and hang it on the line, there’s still a LOT that goes into doing laundry.
As a beginner homemaker, the most effective thing you can do in this area, is do a little bit of laundry, every single day. I try to stick with doing ONE load of laundry a day, start to finish.
Even if you’re only able to transfer the wet clothes to the dryer, or sort some socks, do what you can!
HERE is a post on setting up your own laundry routine. Try to get familiar with your family’s laundry and what rhythm will work for you.
I love the Martha Stewart website for all kinds of tips on laundry and doing it better!
What’s a home without yummy, filling meals to feed the family?! A delicious meal that’s a staple in your home is something your kiddos, husband, and guests you host will remember forever.
There’s a lot that goes in to feeding a family as a homemaker! You’ll be responsible for planning meals and snacks, writing a grocery list, grocery shopping, and cooking and baking.
Its easy to get overwhelmed in this area, especially if you don’t enjoy cooking or if you didn’t grow up doing it. Start out simple! Find 5-6 staple meals that you are great at cooking and that you’re family loves. Over time you can try new recipes and add in more.
Getting good at planning meals takes a little bit of time. Its a good idea to set aside 30 minutes to an hour, one day a week to meal plan.
There are a TON of different articles out there on the best way to meal plan. Find a method that works for you! I’ll share with you below a method that has worked for me.
One day a week sit down with your planner and grocery list. Make a list of the days that week, Monday through Sunday. Look in your planner and write down next to each day if you have something going on.
For example, maybe there’s a family dinner for a birthday party at your relatives house. You won’t need to plan a dinner for that day! (unless you’re asked to bring something). I also like to look at the weather and plan meals accordingly. Nothing like soup and homemade bread on a rainy or snowy day amiright?!
Another night you might have an activity going on like your son’s soccer practice. A quick and easy dinner would be ideal for this night!
Once you have your week mapped out, take a look at your fridge, pantry, and freezer. FIRST look at and make a mental note (or write down on your planning paper) any foods that are going bad and need used up. Then look at other ingredients you have. Now you’re going to plan your meals based off ingredients you already have, so that you’ll be doing as little grocery shopping as possible. YAY!
I like to have a master list of meals I already know how to make and know that my family enjoys to pull from. Sometimes I’ll try a new recipe and if its a winner, I’ll add it to the master list, if not, move on!
Another meal planning tip is to have theme nights: mexican night, pizza night, Italian, sandwiches, etc.
There’s not too much to say here. As a homemaker you’ll be responsible for getting groceries for your family! Be sure to remember snack foods and breakfast/lunch food (as well as toiletries and household goods.)
As mentioned before, its a good idea to make your grocery list when you’re doing your meal planning. You can also keep a notepad or sticky note somewhere super accessible, so you can jot down things you’re running out of as you think of them.
If you’re in a difficult or busy season of life, like postpartum, utilize grocery shopping apps and pick-up programs. Otherwise, enjoy your shopping! Make it a fun time, grab a favorite drink to sip on while you shop, and smile at the people in your community.
All of the meal planning and grocery lists and shopping comes together in your cooking and baking!
Again, again, and again, if you’re a beginner homemaker and just getting started, KEEP THINGS SIMPLE. Get super comfortable cooking 2-3 recipes. Once you’ve mastered them, add in a new one.
Get yourself a cookbook that will teach you the basics of cooking and baking. The Joy of Cooking is an AWESOME resource for any homemaker to have. Its huge and in depth and will teach you how to roast a chicken, how to make noodles, basic pancakes and waffle recipes, and more. Literally anything you could think of.
If you enjoy cooking and baking you can really make it a special part of your homemaking routine. I LOVE trying old-fashioned techniques like using sourdough, canning, and making recipes TOTALLY from scratch.
Once you’ve mastered enough recipes, find ways to make it more fun!
Yay! The fun stuff! Decorating your home is the cherry on top. Once you’ve got your cleaning, meal prepping, and laundry under control, start dipping your toes into decorating. Some homemakers will be naturals at this and for others it takes a little work.
Decorating is SO unique to each home and each family. Everyone has a different style and a different vibe!
A few things you want your decorating to do is make your home feel comfortable, cozy, beautiful, and unique to you and your family.
Although cleaning, meal prepping, and laundry are more important than your decor, decorating is still necessary as a homemaker! Its what will bring everything together and really give your home a special touch.
If you’re not careful, decorating can be a hindrance on your family and your budget. Be intentional about what you buy and how much you spend!
How to Save Money While Decorating:
- thrift and garage sale for decor
- look for deals
- make your own DIY decor
- utilize nature and free things outside (cut flowers for vases, evergreen branches for wreaths, pinecones in a bowl).
- let friends and family know you’re interested in hand-me-down furniture and decor
A few more simple tips in the decor department: work around what you have. If your home is already an older style, and you can’t change the base, work with it! Find decor that complements your actual home (i.e. the colors of walls, style of fixtures, etc.) Don’t pay attention to trends. Decorate the outside too! Take your time.
Homemaking Routines & Schedules
Now that we’ve discussed all of the homemaking activities that a homemaker might do, lets talk about pulling it together with schedules and routines.
It might feel a little overwhelming to read everything we just went over, especially if you’re in the beginning stages of homemaking!
One of the best ways you can be more organized and essentially ‘get it all done‘ is with schedules and routines.
Here are some routines you can adapt to be a better homemaker:
- morning routine
- evening routine (I love Elizabeth’s tips here!)
- tidy-up routine
- laundry routine
- cleaning routine
If you want to try homemaking routines like Ma Ingalls, then this post is for you: old-fashioned homemaking routines
And when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and need some encouragement in slowing down and enjoying the process, read this: Slow Homemaking Routines.
Your schedules will depend on your lifestyle, family, and home. Get organized with a planner! Write down appointments and events that are going on, and work in your homemaking activities in to your schedule around them.
How Do I Prepare for Homemaking?
Now that you know everything about homemaking, you may be wondering what to do if you’re not there yet!
If you’re not a homemaker yet, but you’re dreaming of becoming one, or its in your near future, there are a few ways you can prepare!
Continue to do just what you’re doing, which is looking into it more and figuring out what its all about! Get advice and learn from other homemakers. Read homemaking blogs! Get yourself some tried and true home maintenance books, cookbooks, etc.
- Learn how to cook and bake! Master a handful of yummy meals and desserts to have in your back pocket.
- Practice serving people, your friends, family, and local community. Being a homemaker takes a lot of selflessness and its an act of service. Practice service now!
- Learn how to do laundry the proper way (you can always come up with your own systems later on, but its great to know the basics).
- Learn a few FUN skills that can benefit your future home more including sewing, canning, gardening, crochet, soapmaking, DIY decor, and more.
- Practice being happy right. where. you’re. at. Although SO fulfilling, homemaking is NOT easy, and not always as romantic and enjoyable as we want. If you’re dreaming of becoming a homemaker, learn to be happy right where you are, so you’ll be skilled at finding joy even when some days are hard as a homemaker.
How to Make Homemaking Feel More Fulfilling
Let’s just get it out there, that homemaking can have a bad rap… Sometimes its other people wondering (and occasionally asking!) “what do you do all day?!” “don’t you get bored?!” “aren’t you worried you’re not contributing to society?!”
Homemaking CAN feel very mundane at times. After all, a lot of homemaking tasks you’re going to be doing every day, for the rest of time (laundry, dishes, picking up toys, etc.)
This is why it can be so important to find ways to feel inspired as a homemaker, find joy in it, and have fun. I am saying ALL of this from experience. I have gone through seasons where I have felt SO uninspired in my homemaking and my day to day routines. I’ve had to remind myself of these tips!
Another way to enjoy your homemaking more is to go the extra mile. Put that wreath on your front door! Make it yourself! Get as organized as you can. Try new recipes. Do a fun DIY. Host friends and family!
Challenge yourself as a homemaker so that each day is a little different. After you’re done doing your more mundane homemaking tasks, do something different that you can see the progress in.
Self-sufficiency can also be extremely fulfilling! Think: gardening, canning, making your own cleaning goods, DIY’ing decor, homemade foods, homemade gifts, and more. Try new things to find what you enjoy, and try to stick to things that will benefit your home and family.
Finally, adapt a joyful mindset. You control the atmosphere of your home with your attitude. Be joyful and grateful in everything you do, and you’ll be happy no matter what!
7 Ways to be a Better Homemaker TODAY!
If you’re just getting started in your homemaking journey (or you’re a seasoned homemaker), here are a few ways you can be a better homemaker today! (or tomorrow;))
- Wake up early, at least 15 minutes before your kiddos.
- Sit down and write out your own homemaking checklist.
- Take just 5 minutes to organize something in your home.
- Make your bed!
- Try a new recipe.
- Sit down with your spouse and create a budget.
- Smile, and do everything you do today in your home with JOY!!
Wow, now you should have everything you need to get started on your homemaking journey. You’re gonna be great!
If you LOVE homemaking and you want to live that simple, old-fashioned, Ma Ingalls homemaker lifestyle, then you should join our homemaking community! I send out a weekly newsletter to community members with new posts, and you’ll get access to the private resource library.
Best of luck on your homemaking journey.