The following is a repost of "The Homemaker's Kitchen" which I had posted on my former blog back in December 2018. It talks about my struggle of not liking my kitchen anymore and how I have solved this problem. I hope you will enjoy reading this post and perhaps gaining some useful tips out of it.
A homemaker will spend many hours of her day in the kitchen. What a joy for her if she loves to spend time in it. It’s the place where she stores her food supplies and where she bakes and cooks her family’s favorite meals.
Imagine for a minute, how much more is going on in this part of her home. Look at her kitchen table where she can do her arts and crafts and sewing projects, or where her children sit down to do their assignments. It’s there that the family gathers for daily worship, to play board games, or to host their guests.
What do you think of your kitchen? Do you like it? Or do you find it would need more cupboards? Perhaps its front doesn’t have such a lovely color as you might wish and/or the countertop reveals its age by now? Say, would you like to spend more time in it again and transform it into a cozy, clean and pleasant place for your family and guests?
“You don’t understand. We don’t have the money to buy a new kitchen,” some of you might say.
Theodore Roosevelt once said: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." This is exactly what I’ve reminded myself of when I struggled very much with my own kitchen (we are renting the house we are living in).
You see, shortly before Christmas time I had just received the workbooks of my new home economic course and began working my way through a section called Efficient Kitchen Organization. The more I read, however, the more I frustrated I became. Why couldn’t I have a different, a better kitchen? One that works? I longed for a bigger and nicer one with new appliances; one that would have more than one hanging cupboard; one that would have a sink with two basins. It was no fun baking and cooking in this place. Oh my goodness! After taking a break and slowly reading through the same section again, I rolled up my sleeves and began to work with what I have and where I was at. By the end of the day the job was done and I was quite pleased with the outcome.
Yes, I did struggle and, to be honest, it wasn’t easy at all to rearrange everything and reorganize my working space according to what the workbook said, especially since my space is quite limited. But, I did it. Now it makes such a huge difference and working in it is so much fun again.
I worked my way through the lesson about Efficient Kitchen Organization which suggests to divide the kitchen into several areas. Here is what I have come up with:
The storage area for dry food and the refridgerator are to the left. In this area I keep everything I need to prepare bread, cakes and meals: measuring tools, mixer and its attachments, bowls, wooden spoons, baking pans, cupcake liners, dry ingredients like flour, sugar, seeds, recipes and cookbooks.
The workbook of the home economic course says to use a round tray for storing spices. However, I’m using a small box for salt, pepper, herbs, etc. (see on the countertop) and a small tin box that contains baking powder, soda, cinnamon, vanilla and so on (see right-hand side of top shelf inside the cupboard).
Here is where I store the frying pans and cooking utensils (hanging on hooks to the right), pots and colander and slow cookers (in the cupboard below), and where I’m baking and cooking (see the double oven with built in stove to the left).
Washing Up Area
There is a dishwasher on the right-hand side but I’m actually washing my dishes by hand. I find this more efficient and hygienic.
Dishes and Cutlery Area
I keep coffee, tea, bread and oats in the cupboard above and the coffeemaker, foodslicer, etc. on the countertop so I’m also calling this the Breakfast area.
I stack the plates that I use daily in the front and the others in the back. Cutlery, towels, cling film, aluminum foil and bags are found in the drawers.
I’m very happy that I was able to arrange all of the areas right next to each other and that I can continually work my way from left to right. You might doubt at first that dividing your kitchen into these specific areas will change anything. I did, too. I can tell you now, though, that this does make such a big difference. Give it a try and you will see!
If you were to write down the three top priorities in your life, who or what would come first? God? Your daily devotions? Time spent with and for your husband? Being together with your children? Your work? Your home? Your friends? Your ministry?
If you were told that you were only to live another 6-12 months, would you change anything? Why? Why not?
Honestly? I struggle now and then, setting my priorities right. I believe that the following is the perfect order:
2 Husband and family
The problems start, of course, if God doesn't come first in our lives, but also whenever the ministry takes a higher place than our husband and our family. I'm guilty of having given my ministry too much attention while neglecting my marriage.
1 Putting God first. I'm not talking about plain Bible reading. I want to know more about God's Word, of course, but spending time with my LORD is so much more than that. It's about talking, praying to Him, listening to Him (e.g. verses He brings to my mind or points me to while reading His words) and praising Him through prayer and songs. The quantity of time doesn't matter as much as the quality of it. That changes everything!
2 Putting my husband second. He needs to be only second after God. I remind myself that he has a very special place in my life - even before my child/ren and, yes, before my ministry which goes beyond my home. I include many things I can and should do for him: keeping our home running and in order, guarding his time (after working hours end), supporting him in his work and encouraging him, minding our child/ren while he is working, acknowledging him as the head of our home, telling him how proud I'm of him.
3 Putting the ministry in third place. I find this so important. We are tempted to put the ministry before our husband. But we need to remember that woman was made for man (1 Corinthians 11:9), that we should be keepers of the home (Titus 2:5), and that we need to teach our children diligently (Deuteronomy 6:7). So, for a good amount of years, our ministry lies in meeting our husband's and family's needs and keeping our home.
Last week I have talked about the importance of taking the time to nurture our marriage. If we ignore this, things will get out of hand eventually. In the beginning we might still be able to downplay disagreements. However, sooner or later, a pile of problems that has not been dealt with will become a burden to the marriage.
Of course, keeping a marriage in good order is more serious than keeping a home tidy. Still, they are quite similar in some ways. If we pay attention and do not neglect them we can make things a bit easier on ourselves.
Think of this scenario: You receive a phone call from unexpected visitors, announcing that they are just around the corner of your house, planning to drop in shortly. All of the sudden, you are hard-pressed for time. You are in danger of losing it while running like mad through your home to put away at least some of the piled up clutter and cleanup what is absolutely necessary. Imagine how relaxed you could greet them at the door if you wouldn't have to worry about a thing before they'll arrive...
Now, let me say that a lonely home doesn't need cleaning, a family home does. We can't keep an occupied house spotless 24/7. There is no need to. It would lose the touch of coziness. Also remember that people are more important than stuff, so that a comforted child sitting on your lap is a greater reward than having a spotless bathroom.
Having said that, let me share just three things that will help us keep our homes clean:
The whole trick is to stay on top of things: accomplishing a little every day. That way you are facing no or a lesser burden during the weekly/monthly cleaning job and/or the cleanup before unexpected visitors arrive.