In terms of homemaking, 2022 was an eventful year for me. I moved house on short notice, a change which jostled my homemaking routines into disarray. Despite the chaos, it was a good year, and my homemaker’s heart relished the opportunity to embrace a new space and create new routines. In this post I reflect on some homemaking lessons from 2022.
Homemaking Lesson #1: Cordless is not always better.
In 2022 I upgraded two appliances: my vacuum cleaner and my hand blender. While shopping for these appliances, I noticed that they were available in corded and cordless versions. In both instances, I opted for the corded version.
In a world where cordless appliances are commonplace, opting for corded appliances can seem antiquated. But trends do not always match our circumstances. My decision to go corded matched my needs and preferences, and I have been delighted with my new corded appliances.
My new corded vacuum cleaner, for instance, never needs to be charged, so it can be used at a moment’s notice. It is light, so it’s easy on my wrists. And it is satisfyingly powerful, especially compared to my old cordless one.
Lesson learnt: To maximise satisfaction, always align your purchases with your needs and preferences.
Homemaking Lesson #2: Avoiding buyer’s remorse.
While shopping for my new appliances, I encountered a perplexing problem: there seemed to be a dearth of information about the appliances I was interested in.
A lack of knowledge can lead to buyer’s remorse, a truth enshrined in the proverb caveat emptor, or buyer beware. In order to make an informed purchase, it is wise to first acquire information.
The best way to learn about an appliance is to study the user manual. I used to do this after purchasing an appliance; this year, I started doing it before purchasing an appliance. This is easy to accomplish as many manufacturers now publish their user manuals online.
A user manual is a wellspring of information. It will tell you how to assemble the appliance, how to use it, and how to clean it. By poring over a user manual, you can gain insight into whether an appliance fits your circumstances.
Studying user manuals may seem tedious, but I consider it a worthy investment. By collecting knowledge before buying, my purchases this year have been perfect for my home.
Lesson learnt: To avoid buyer’s remorse, always acquire knowledge before buying an appliance.
Homemaking Lesson #3: Measure twice, cut once.
This year I bought a new ironing board cover. My old one was faded and frayed from a decade of service, and I was looking forward to replacing it.
When I arrived at the shop, I realised that I had neglected to measure my ironing board. Nothing daunted, I assuaged my doubts by choosing a cover that claimed to fit “all standard ironing boards”.
You know the end of the story. I went home only to find that my new cover did not fit. I was dismayed, but not surprised. It was a rookie mistake that I could easily have avoided.
Lesson learnt: Obedience to the old carpenter’s proverb saves time, effort, and resources. Measure twice, cut once.
Homemaking Lesson #4: Most drawers are removable.
My new home has several sets of built-in drawers. When I moved in, I wanted to remove all the drawers for cleaning. But no matter how much I coaxed them, I couldn’t get the drawers out.
As it turns out, the problem was my technique. Once I adjusted my technique to match each set of drawers, removing the drawers became effortless. I discovered that the soft-close drawers in the kitchen needed to be tilted upwards to be removed, while the floating drawers in the bathroom needed to be unclipped on the bottom to be removed.
Lesson learnt: Most drawers can be removed, but the technique varies depending on the drawer. Inspect the drawer to determine which type you have, then proceed accordingly.
Homemaking Lesson #5: Honour the ebbs and flows of your life.
Moving house was a whirlwind experience. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we only had two weeks in which to move. During this time, my husband and I got up before dawn and worked past midnight.
In the end, the move went smoothly. But right afterwards, I experienced homemaking burnout. I became listless and lethargic, and this lasted for weeks.
During this period of burnout, I put my homemaking on maintenance mode. I whittled my chores down to a tiny list of essential tasks. Each day, I completed my list, and then I rested.
It felt strange to pare down my homemaking when I had just moved house. There was so much to do—but I knew that it had to wait. By temporarily minimising my housework, I maximised my ability to recover from burnout. Within a few weeks, I was able to resume my regular duties.
Lesson learnt: Your homemaking routine should be flexible, not rigid. Let your homemaking routines be guided by your current season of life.
Delving Into Your Button Box
Like generations of homemakers before me, I have a button box, a treasure trove of buttons gathered over decades. Whenever I get out my sewing box—usually to mend an apron—I glance at my melange of buttons, nestled in their old tin, glittering like gems.
This informal stocktake has practical benefits. It reminds me to use my buttons. After all, I am not a button collector; I am a homemaker. I keep a button box because they help me in my homemaking.
When I look at the buttons in my button box, I don’t dwell on their individual characteristics. I focus instead on a farther horizon, a vision filled with the projects to which these buttons will contribute.
Homemaking is like keeping a button box. As we perform our daily homemaking, we acquire gems of knowledge, like glossy buttons accumulating in a vintage button box. And if we take the time to reflect on our experiences, we can polish our gems of knowledge into homemaking lessons that form stepping stones to greater progress in the years to come.