Setting up your house and world for staying home.

I know the topic of staying home might not be received so well right now after having the shelter in place drama, but I’ve been getting so many notes and letters from many of you that have decided that being home absolutely works for them and they will do what ever it takes to not go back to work.

I get this. The day I had my goodbye office party I felt like I was retiring from over two decades of work that always bored me. Now, I did love many jobs, I made so many friends, some of which are family now, and I have very fond memories of my last job on the coast, but I was becoming a housewife and I was thrilled!! I couldn’t believe I had married a man that was very much into having a housewife…as a matter of fact, it was how his culture worked, and that worked for me.

I could now rise naturally with the morning sun! I could sip my coffee in pajama’s alone in my kitchen day after day after day! I didn’t have to answer to anyone! No bosses! No managers! No deadlines or quotas! I could clean my house and listen to music. I could talk on the phone for a long time without getting in trouble, I could plan my day as I pleased, create my own schedules and goals. I was the boss, the madame of the house. I nested with enthusiasm.

Sure it got a bit lonely and boring at times. I was used to working a lot and being surrounded by people all the time so it was an adjustment. I had a couple dogs but the first child was still being created in my body and I was a simple cook back then. Our house was a rental and in nice shape so we didn’t have to work on it. I will be honest, I was restless at first. How does one go from a schedule and full days of working and socializing, being out in the world with all the living, to being at home. Alone. Just me and dogs that don’t talk. One can only vacuum so many times.

I walked to my old job all the time to ‘visit’ much to the bosses irritation. I was very close with my coworkers so people would take turns taking breaks to gossip with me. Soon I was bringing a little person with me as well to ‘visit’.

It was when we moved for work to a quiet fruit farm on the river far, far away from friends, family, and community, that I made peace with being home and settled. We had only one car and lived in the country were you couldn’t just walk to town…the nearest substantial town was 30 miles away. I had one little boy and a year later another wee one. My days were at home sitting out in the backyard under a huge 100 year old olive tree reading and watching over the little ones as they waddled and rolled about the yard or on the blanket I’d spread out.

I learned to spend days in solitude and silence since Arjan and Sam could only goo and gah. I started doing more old fashioned task such as cooking all the time, baking more often, hanging clothes outside, making laundry soap, and reading stacks of Amish fiction.

And what are the Amish about? Communing and serving God so they keep life simple, slow paced, and quiet because they feel it keeps them connected to the Father.

Those two years were very beneficial. These days of being sheltered in did not phase me for weeks. Hanging out with my boys and self entertaining is old hat.

But so much has changed since I was first introduced to the world of homemaking. We have moved many times, gone through unemployment of the bread winner, children have grown from babies to boys, I’ve learned to homestead on many levels, we’ve purchased two properties, I started a YouTube channel and wrote books which spurned me onward to years of research, learning, reading, and becoming a part of a large community of homemakers and homesteaders.

Today I bake our bread weekly without a thought, I cook from scratch 85% to 95% of the time and I make things I never thought I would make. We find free horse manure for huge kitchen gardens that we plant everywhere we live, we paint and build and fix things ourselves, we learn ways to save money and thrive everyday.

Today I’m so busy I don’t have time for that fat Stephen King novel I ordered from the library. I have no time to feel restless or bored or lonely…now I just want a nap!

But I was reading Rhonda Hetzels’ The Simple Life and she talked of setting up her house for efficiency and to be more productive in making everything they needed.

What I want to impart to the person new to staying home, anyone that has decided to not return to the wild world of work and commuting, is that there is a time of adjustment and some setting up of the house and your world to accommodate the new ways.

For example: the kitchen. If you are now home for good, cooking will be your new job. One of them. You may want to start out simple but over time if you feel bored, perhaps make some berry jam from those Farmer Market blackberries? Might want to try out bread making…at least some biscuit making? The more you get into your cooking and baking the more you will find that setting up the kitchen to suit you is a must. I used to have a baking section, a coffee station, organized pantry, and I had all my tools and pots set up how I used them frequently.

I used to love the book Dump Dinners and used a lot of packaged and convenience foods, or I cooked simple dishes like burritos, spaghetti with meat sauce, baked chicken, stir fry rice with vegetables. I bought sliced bread.

Oh boy is it a different scene now. My kitchen is an organized mess with counters full of fruits and vegetables that don’t go in the fridge, oils, flours, plant based butters. My shelves are full of all sorts of dried beans, flours, grains, powdered things. I have seasonings and coffees on side shelves by the stove. I have a half stocked pantry and 5 gallon containers stacked against the wall with lentils, soy beans, oats.

My kitchen always looks busy. For the most part the dishes are done, the table and counters are washed down, and the floors are swept. I like clean floors and counters and I have no dishwasher so I don’t let the plates pile up, but the kitchen looks busy, always in the middle of a baking or cooking task. I will admit that the shelves of my pantry look a mess with this and that shoved here and there.

It is a well loved and deeply worked kitchen. It is not the pride of the minimalism community. I would be shamed and kicked out. But it is a kitchen were there are always loaves of bread coming and going from the oven and the stove top is always sizzling, simmering and boiling pots and pans of things. I’m always learning a new recipe with the laptop playing a cooking vlog from YouTube, coffee is always brewing and music is always in the background. I prefer the mess and plates of good, nutritious, hot food to a sterile kitchen. I will admit I need to put some attention to organizing and stocking, but we eat well.

Your pantry will be your little grocery store. Make sure it is stocked with all the things you use to cook and bake. Over time my pantry and seasoning cupboard has filled up because I cook from scratch often. You collect much over time.

With the rest of the house you’ll want to set it up so it’s cozy, charming, a home you want to hang out in. You’ll want to make it easy to clean. That means different things to different homemakers. Some like very little in the house…and that does make it easy to clean, some like color and lots of stuff. But a clean and tidy house is good for the soul.

You may want a kitchen garden and will need to set up the back yard or front yard for that.

You may decide that one car is plenty and you can walk about town or to the grocery store. If you do walk to the store, let me suggest a wagon. We have a nice, sturdy canvas wagon and can load it with bags of groceries.

If you aren’t signed up with the local library, do so and find out how to order from other counties or if they have programs for downloading movies or Zip books.

As you settle into being at home, be you a man or woman, and for what ever reason you have made this decision, over time you will find the routines and ways that suit your style. You may be the type to schedule everything; laundry, baking, cleaning. Or you wake up each day and just see what needs doing. You may be super organized like Marie Kondo style or you may just declutter until there isn’t much to organize to keep it simple.

Hopefully, you will grow to adore your life at home as much as I have and use it for all sorts of creativity and hobbies. So many things that are done at home are considered hobbies; baking, knitting, sewing, decorating, gardening. But these hobbies save money, create warm homes, and feed our families well.

Jump in and go for it.

35 thoughts on “Setting up your house and world for staying home.

  1. Life can be so amazing and beautiful at home ! You did such a great job of painting a mental picture of exactly that ! After our second child it was not financially feasible for me to stay home , two kids later it was absolutely impossible . I loved staying at home and raising our four kids. I baked, I cooked, I took care of our home and I truly loved it. I am still home now and feel very blessed that I’m able to continue that lifestyle and help our grown kids with their children when they’ve needed me. Thanks for sharing your vision of staying home, a really beautiful article !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do agree with you that making a life from home can often cause absolute chaos. You cannot be minimalist and do urban homesteading. I own more than one hundred things just counting my canning supplies and jam jar collection! My kitchen is always full of baskets overflowing with garden produce waiting to be processed, my windowsills are covered in jam jars with cuttings in water and there are always ten thousand dishes in the sink. There are sewing and knitting projects on all the horizontal surfaces and teetering bookshelves full of gardening books with trays of herbs drying above them. But this is the life I have chosen and it is the life I love and I stand in the middle of the chaos knowing I am a very fortunate woman..

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  3. Beautiful!
    I have loved my, now, 21 years staying home with my boys and building our life. Being their comfort and making the home their safe place to land. I love making a cozy, peaceful home for my husband to come back to after working hard all day to afford for me to stay home. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yep, I love, love, love being home. I used to teach and I was stressed out all the time. I drank heavily and weighed more than I’d like to admit. Much happier at home 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great post! I love being a homemaker and have always found it interesting. I, too, love trying new recipes, making my own cleaning products, organizing and decorating, etc.! I am with you, though, in that I am a bit burnt out on cooking (I have heard you say this on YouTube). I usually get my enthusiam back after awhile. I have been married for 31 years and have been home for almost 26 years. Also, my son is 23 and is getting married so I am, very nearly, an empty nester. I thoroughly enjoy your work Kate!
    Karen Smith

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  6. Great topic and comments. Being home is the best!

    How funny life is…I retired five years ago from what I considered a big deal high stress job, employees around the world, conference calls early am and late night etc etc. But for the five years before that, I made, and my husband and I followed, a financial plan to get our house paid off and dramatically cut our living expenses so we could retire. And it worked! But I digress. The point is that I really enjoy being home. I would never imagine that my life now would be so full and so enjoyable, I worried I would feel unfulfilled without lots to do or contribute. Now I make a loaf of bread or homemade soup and feel proud of myself.

    And for a side note, Kate you have pointed out how well you live on a limited income. Key point you made. It doesn’t take $75,000 or $150,000 to have a happy life. All it takes is some thinking and planning and deciding what is most important. I listed where I spent money and found it cost me $1200 a year to get my hair cut and colored each month. Crazy. I would rather go on a vacation for $1200, so I bought hair color and do it at home, and go to Supercuts for $8…and essentially look the same for $150. The key is to decide where happiness is found and for me, it wasn’t the hair salon 😉

    Great writing you are doing, love the site and look forward to your adventures, thank you.

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    1. Oops, forgot one more thing. You also said it takes work! I agree. Buying a loaf of bread is easier than making it, dyeing my hair is more work, etc etc. but after a while it gets easier 😉

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  7. Dear Kate, like you, I love, love, love being a Housewife! I have been home for almost 20 years now and have never worked outside home… But, there’s something that worries me: disability and Social Security. Connie Hultquist got Parkinson’s disease later in life and wasn’t able to get Social Security benefits when her husband died… Do you have any advice on how to address this problem? You are an inspiration. Thank you!

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    1. I didn’t know that, do you know why she wasn’t able to get the soc sec? She should have been entitled to it as they were married and he worked a good 26 years or so. This is a good topic. I need to look into it. I have worked most of my life and still work with the books and channel but if a woman doesn’t have this she will have to make sure she gets her husbands soc sec if he passes.

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      1. She was only 58 when he died.The earliest a widow or widower can start receiving Social Security survivors benefits based on age is 60. For a younger wife, it would be terrible misfortune.

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      2. Correct. I suppose she started collecting Ssi based on her husband’s record at 60’s. About the Parkinson’s, I don’t know how it turned out for her…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Kate, love this blog post and it is definitely inspiring me to find a way to be at home much more. Like you, I grew up in a home that wasn’t happy so I was always finding ways of being away from home which was easier. Actually, as I’ve got older, I realise that I love being in my home where I’ve created a safe, cosy, simple and comfortable place to be. Before this current crisis, I was already working out ways to be at home more of the time and now I can’t imagine ever going back to the old life. I am jumping (yes the net does always appear!) and finding a way to spend my days doing the things I love, making life easier for my partner who is a farmer and does long long hours, looking after rescued animals and growing a kitchen garden. I thought of you creating your gorgeous yard this week when I created a beautiful garden seating area out of a sofa that we bought for 99p (is that 75 cents ish, American money), a gazebo that was left in the shed by the previous tenants, old lanterns, fairy lights, throws and an ancient set of small step ladders as a table that used to belong to my nan – creating something out of almost nothing, definitely the way forward. Love to you all xx

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  9. May I just say how much I LOVE your blog? I enjoy your youtube channel as well, but there is just something about your writing. Simple, to the point, and POSITIVE. Let’s hear it for positivity!!

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  10. This was a very good read. In response to Connie Hultquist not eligible for benefits and she has Parkinson’s, she is eligible for SSI benefits given by Social Security. This is a quote from them. It says “subject to income.” If she had no income, then…”SSI is available to individuals who have either never worked or who have not worked enough work quarters to qualify for Social Security disability insurance. However, eligibility is subject to income and asset limits.” Perhaps her assets were too high if they owned land/housing or she had income they had built up before he died. But…she is eligible for something. There is always a way to be covered by the government. She would have received Food Stamps, healthcare, etc. Sometimes you just have to dig in to find it and make multiple phone calls.

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      1. Ahhh, my goodness Kate💞, I am pretty sure you will enjoy this award exploration🤗. Most of the time people doesn’t show much interest but believe me it’s a great way to build a strong community around your blog 💖. Have a wonderful evening friend 🍻.

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      2. I think people don’t get too into it because it is a LOT of work. I truly have only 3 or 4 blogs I love and they are not mainstream. Just some older homemakers writing little blogs that I escape to. I have a big YouTube Channel that has a strong community and it’s really all I can handle with my focus being on my family and home. My blog has always been a small, quiet place for me. I’m fine keeping it that way.😊☕💖

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  11. I once had daily meals on plates with that motif. Gave the ones left away. Regret that when I see the pattern. God bless you. You are preserving a child’s future, and inadvertently, memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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