Homemaking skills take time and dedication to refine. But the best part is you get to choose which ones to refine and use in your home! Here are my recommendations for homemaking skills to refine prior to getting married.
We’ve all seen the traditional homemaker. She wears an apron and she has seventeen children frolicking around her as she pulls a loaf of homemade bread out of the oven. In books, she works willingly with her hands. But they never stop moving because there’s always something to do. We think that she never loses her temper. Which is incredible, because with as many babies as she has and as much as she has to do she never gets any time to herself!
If you don’t relate to this romanticized image of a homemaker, you’re in the right place. I don’t either! But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn some traditional skills that have benefited homes for generations. As “modern homemakers,” we can even add a few of our own skills!
Essential Homemaking Skills to Develop Before Marriage
I want to emphasize that there’s a skill set that develops before marriage and another after the fact. But why is that? Because as a married woman, you’re now building your life with someone else! When God joined Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 and God declared a man would “leave and cleave,” there’s a transformation that happens. Two become one. A lifelong partnership is formed. From that point forward, you’re on this incredible learning journey about how to build a life you both want.
Prior to that transformation, there are simple skills you can be learning to benefit both you and your husband. Skills that aren’t subject to today’s trends. Skills that are everlasting. And will prove to be a constant benefit to your family.
In this post, we will be focusing on what I think are some of the most important homemaking skills:
- Cleaning and Laundry
- Money Management
- Time Management
Essential Homemaking Skills: Cooking
I’d like to preface this by saying not all of us are chefs. Some of us are bakers. Some of us are microwavers (hah!). But if you like to follow that traditional homemaker mindset, becoming a great cook is a key skill to develop. Specifically, cooking from scratch.
Cooking from scratch balances a lot of skills we will be talking about later – time management, money management and crafting. As a homemaker, there’s no better place to learn how to refine these skills than in the kitchen.
Cooking is also an easy place to learn a lot about your husband and your family. What do they like? What do they not like? How often do their tastes change?
Cooking is a wonderful way to make memories with your family. How often do we gather with friends and family for holidays and celebrate with food? What if we did that with our families outside of holidays? For a moment, leave the romanticized idea of a traditional dinner table. Setting a table doesn’t have to mean bringing out delicate plates and candles every night at precisely 6 o’clock. It could mean enlisting the help of your husband and creating a new nightly routine. Coming together around the table with a few prepared conversation topics and warm food is a wonderful way to celebrate your family. Both of these skills – setting a table and cooking – are wonderful skills to develop while you’re still living at home.
Practical Cooking Tips
Just get started! There’s no right way to cook. That’s how you learn! If you’re looking for an easy side that’s slightly challenging to prepare, try out my mac and cheese. If you’re looking for something a bit simpler to just get started, try out my pumpkin and butternut squash pasta sauce. Or if you’re looking for a cookbook to get started, I highly recommend the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. The recipes are incredibly simple and the book itself has everything from one-pot dinners to milkshakes.
Creating delicious meals doesn’t have to be time consuming. With modern conveniences, you can take advantage of store-bought grocery items that make healthy meals. You could also make sure you’re making nutritious food by meal planning. Make a list by “shopping” your fridge, freezer and pantry. See what you already have on hand and make a list of meal ideas to get you through the week (be sure to leave room for leftovers!) When you have a meal plan, fill in the gaps by making a grocery list for what you lack and then head to the grocery store! Meal planning like this is also an incredible way to pinch pennies. This can come in handy if you’re a stay-at-home mom (like me) or you’re working with little money.
You can also hone you’re cooking skills by learning to cook simple meals with readily available ingredients. Think of things like fresh produce, spices, a protein and carb (think flour for rolls, pasta, rice, etc). If you always have those four things on hand, there’s not much you won’t be able to make! Once you’ve got the hang of being able to cook out of a well-stocked pantry, those meals are sure to turn in to family favorite recipes. So don’t underestimate the power of basic ingredients! Aim to make a simple meal and grow your skills from there.
Essential Homemaking Skills: Cleaning and Laundry
Cooking is definitely a creative outlet for me. Cleaning, on the other hand, is something I’m not as creative with.
I’ve developed a cleaning routine that allows me to rotate through one room of my home and a certain pile of laundry everyday. What do I mean by that? Say on Mondays I clean the kitchen. Since I’m already working in my kitchen, I’ll also wash dish rags and aprons that day. On Tuesdays, I clean the bedrooms. Since I’m already working in the bedrooms, I’ll wash sheets. Through the week, I match a room of my home I’m in with laundry to be done. This allows me to stay on top of cleaning and laundry and make sure I get a break on Sundays, my preferred rest days. This system also ensures I spend little time cleaning my home so I can spend it doing other homemaking tasks (like meal planning, spending quality time with my children, etc). I’m able to devote about an hour every day to making sure I have a clean house and clean laundry, but the work isn’t taking over other aspects of my daily routine.
I’ve seen other homemakers clean their entire home in one day and then do laundry throughout the week. I know other homemakers who clean as they see something needs to be tidied up. The joy about building the rhythms of your home is that you get to determine what those rhythms are!
A note about laundry
My husband is familiar with hard work. He does all of our yard work, vehicle repairs and helps family on their farm. Needless to say, he constantly has clothes that need to be mended. Learn how to do a few simple stitches or what stain remover works best on which substance and you will enter your marriage more knowledgable than I did.
What’s more, being able to properly launder everything in your home is an important skill! In my spring cleaning, I knew exactly how to launder my curtains. In my daily laundry routine, I know there’s a difference in how my whites need to be washed and my jeans need to be washed. Knowing the difference and tending to your laundry properly is a game changer! You will increase the longevity of your wardrobe, reduce the wear and tear on your washing machine and be able to get out stains with no issues. When you become a mother with young children, getting out stains will be a great skill to have! Maybe I should recommend it as one of the basic homemaking skills everyone needs to know…
Essential Homemaking Skills: Crafting
Just like cooking, crafting is a way to practice how to make something out of nothing. It’s also another creative outlet.
Crafting doesn’t have to be creating artwork. Crafting can be sewing napkins for your Christmas decor (this is the sewing machine I have – great for beginners!). It can be piecing together home furnishings and learning design concepts. Crafting can also be creating scrapbooks for your family to look back on and enjoy.
Crafting prior to marriage is easy to develop. Look around your room – what don’t you like about it? How can you fix that on a minimal budget using things you already have at your disposal? Other ways to develop crafting could be assembling gift boxes for friends and family, writing hand-made cards to encourage other women and creating other seasonal decorations. These are all incredible ways to use your gifts to encourage someone around you! Because that’s a goal as a homemaker – lift others up so they leave your home feeling renewed.
A Note of Encouragement
I’d like to encourage you to invest in something you enjoy on a regular basis. That could be coffee with a friend, crafting, reading – the options are endless. Being a homemaker, especially a mother to young children, I’ve noticed that when I intentionally invest in something I enjoy, my stress levels go down. I become a more effective homemaker because I’m not always looking to steal time for myself – I’ve got the energy to invest that back in to my home. If you can get in to the habit of doing this before you have children, that’s even better! Take advantage of what feels like extra time.
Essential Homemaking Skills: Money Management
When I bring up money management as a homemaking skill, I’m sometimes met with “my husband manages our finances.” To which I usually say, “don’t you go grocery shopping?”
Money management is more than being the one tracking expenses. It’s researching products for longevity and superiority. Or watching what’s in your grocery cart when you’re shopping every week. And how many of us impulse buy when we shouldn’t?
Whether or not your husband will be the one to manage the finances in your home, that doesn’t take away the responsibility God gave you to steward your finances well. As a single woman, learning to be responsible with your money is an incredible gift to your husband. It’s also a great way to learn how to become financially stable! Because as your family grows, your financial decisions ripple and affect the lives of others. Learn to be a good steward prior to marriage!
Want to read more about budgeting? Take a look at “Ditch Debt, Make Money – Budgeting Tips To Get You Started.” Need additional resources? We highly recommend Dave Ramsey and the financial advice his team gives!
Essential Homemaking Skills: Time Management
Time management is another area of our lives where we are accountable to God first and our home second. But our home is an incredible tool we can use for God’s purpose.
Stewarding your time well doesn’t have to look like monitoring your time on social media (although that’s another great place to start.) It could look like getting enough sleep. Making sure you’re studying your Bible every day. Scheduling time with friends and older women who can teach you and encourage you.
Time management in the home could mean thinking ahead for how long dinner is going to take so you’re not serving it at 8:30 pm. You can tie in time management to your cleaning routine, too. Are you spending your husband’s only day off cleaning? Are there steps you could be taking throughout the week to spend more time with your husband?
Prior to my becoming a housewife, I was a journalist. Talk about a career that demanded time management! I had several interviews scheduled throughout the week, on top of weekly meetings with city officials and editors. I was always working on a deadline, so I was very familiar with how long it took me to complete certain tasks. A household doesn’t have the same sorts of demands that deadlines at work do. But what if there were days we treated our home like we were meeting a deadline? Say you have an event to attend but you know you have chores to complete that day. What are you going to do? Say you want to develop a new habit, but you don’t have the patience to let yourself grow and do the habit well. What are you going to do?
I could go on and on about time management and the importance of being a good steward of our time. Take the time to find what works best for you!
A Note of Encouragement To Single Women
I just want to say how encouraged I am by you that you’d be willing to learn these skills in a season of waiting. While you’re waiting for your husband or family, you’re focused on ways you can build basic skills to bless your family. What an encouragement you are to me!
While you’re waiting, I pray you know that the work you do isn’t in vain. There are so many ways the skills you’re developing can bless others, both inside and outside your family. I pray you know that these practical homemaking skills can benefit you as well! I pray that you’ll get more peace and order in your home, and more time doing the things you love to do. I know that this is hard work, but it’s a good work.