As a homemaker it seems like the amount of work we do, or need to do, is endless, right? I mean, we have a whole house to keep clean, plus there are meals to be made, and so much more!
When I was a new homemaker I felt sure I couldn’t complete all that needed to be in time for my husband to come home. Usually I was right, but that was due to lack of motivation. Once I got into a homemaking routine things became easier and I was able to get more accomplished. But now, I have been at it for a number of years and have been finding that my chores are finished much quicker than I anticipated (full disclosure: I do things like vacuuming and laundry on the weekends because it costs less electricity to run the appliances then). After some thought I created a list of things that I can do during the day once my chores are done, to ensure that I am still being productive and putting my time to good use.
I’m calling this The Homemaker’s Guide to Avoiding Idleness because I have been working through Proverbs 31, and verse 27 struck a nerve with me. It says She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Previously I had been doing all my chores and then sort of loafing around for the remainder of the day (which ended up being several hours!), but I was not satisfied with the way I spent my time. So the list I made serves as a reminder for myself of things I can do, as well as suggestions for other homemakers who find themselves on the verge of idleness. Some of these items are homemaking tasks you may not have thought of before, and others are skills that can be learned.
Learn to knit or crochet. It’s a wonderful hobby but also useful since you can make items for your family, or even some to sell. If you already have these skills, spend time creating gifts or items to donate to places like hospitals.
Learn to embroider or cross stitch. Again, fun and useful!
Plan meals for the week or month. Take a look at this post for my tips.
Create a family recipe book or box. I like recording recipes I try from the internet, as well as faves from magazines, so that I have a permanent record of them. My sister in law gave me a nice recipe box, but you could use a binder or small box with index cards.
Learn to sew. You can mend your family’s clothes or make simple projects like curtains or napkins, and eventually work up to sewing your own clothes.
Learn to quilt. This is a great, old fashioned skill that is a practical one to master (I have yet to try quilting!).
Read wholesome and God honouring books. As a big reader I enjoy books that encourage my faith and teach biblical lessons. You can follow me on Goodreads for my top picks!
Create a personal Bible study on an interesting topic, person, or verse. I have been doing this with my biblical role model series, as well as one on submission that I may be sharing on the blog.
Clean out your closets. Don’t we all have clutter in closets?
Wash inside of kitchen cabinets. Take everything out and give the inside a good clean! I have been doing this lately, and am now wondering why it has taken me so long!
Shake out rugs and draperies. Vacuuming is great, but nothing beats giving them a good whack with a broom. Not only is it satisfying to get out some frustration, but it is a good work out too!
Clean out fridge. I mean, take everything out and wash the shelves. This is something I do monthly.
Vacuum mattress and couch. If you have not done this yet, you may be a bit grossed out at the amount of dust that has settled in here.
Purge and organize clothing. Take an honest look at your wardrobe and see if there is anything you don’t wear or like, and donate it. Also spend time making sure everything is organized.
Plan for a garden. Figure out what kin d of soil you have and what plants do well there (bring a baggie of soil to a local garden centre for help).
Research garden designs, layouts, style, etc. Public libraries may be useful here! Look into sun versus shade gardens, borders, tiered gardens, etc, and see what you like and what is doable for your yard.
Make extra meals to stock your freezer. Breads freeze very well, and it is quite easy to make extras of soup and stews to freeze.
Clean out and reorganize your pantry space. Sometimes food can get lost in their, so toss out anything expired and look for creative ways to best utilize the space.
Wash all the trim and doorjambs in your home. They get dusty and dirty, just like everything else in the home.
Practice hair styling techniques. This may seem frivolous, but having my hair styled in some way makes me feel more out together. If you are so inclined, I invite you to view my tutorials for easy hair styles :)
Learn how to do basic home repairs and maintenance. In all honesty, I am lacking in this area. I know how to flip a tripped switch on the breaker panel, and shut off the water to the house but that is pretty much it! Learning how to stop a leaky sink, fix a loose hinge, and other such tasks are on my to do list. It would be nice to know that I can handle a small situation like that if my husband is not home.
Volunteer at a school, library, hospital, animal shelter, etc. This is a great way to stay busy, shine the light of Christ, and to be involved in the community.
Join a social or study group at church. Most churches offer various Bible studies or socials for people of all ages.
Volunteer on a committee or with a group at church. As an example, my church is building a ministry to reach out to the ill and dying within our congregation, so your church may have a similar ministry needing assistance.
Create handmade cards to give or send. Buying a card is easy, but making a custom card is so much more fun and well received! You can make a stockpile of cards to send for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, for get well wishes, and more. The cards can be simple or as fancy as you like.
Write and send snail mail. Even with social media, how often do we really connect with friends and family? I know from personal experience it can be hard to arrange a get together or even find a suitable time for a phone call, but sending mail always works! And it is such a fun surprise to receive a piece of mail :)
Read local history books. David and I bought our house in a small town we knew nothing about, so I took it upon myself to do some local history research at the library. In addition to books available for loan I found scrapbooks of the library’s history, which was really interesting! Some patrons had created the scrapbooks and filled them with newspaper clippings, photos of the original layout and even the first group of staff. It was fun to learn all these tidbits about my new home.
Write out scripture to read and memorize. I am a visual learner so I need to see and read something in order to make it stick. I like setting graphics of scripture verses as my computer and phone backgrounds so that see it often.
Hopefully this list gives you enough ideas to help fill your spare time in a productive way! What else would you add?