Lesson 20: Managing Our Homes Well

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, (2000), 146–51


The purpose of this lesson is to help us organize our homes and make good use of our time.

Having an Orderly Home Allows Us to Do Other Important Things

President Brigham Young said: “Study order and cleanliness in your various occupations. … Make your homes lovely, and adorn your hearts with the grace of God” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 200).

Part of a homemaker’s job is to be an efficient housekeeper. When we keep our homes tidy, we feel a sense of pride. We enjoy a peaceful atmosphere at home when it is clean. We can find anything we want whenever we want it. A well-organized home is easier to keep clean than a disorganized home.

We need to organize not only our homes but also our time. Some women spend too much time keeping their homes clean and organized. They need to learn how to spend less time on housework in order to spend more time being with their families, developing talents, and serving others. Housework is important, but it should not take away from more important things. Having a clean home should not be our main goal; it should be part of our goal to be happy and have happy families. We need time to develop our talents and learn to live the principles of the gospel. We should have time to serve in church positions, help our neighbors and those in need, and be good missionaries. When we keep our homes clean without spending too much time on housework, we are free to spend more time in family activities and to do other important things.

  • Display visual 20-a, “A family enjoying a musical evening together.”

  • Ask the sisters to ponder these questions: What is the purpose of my life? How should I spend most of my time? Why is it important to keep a balance among my activities, family, and housework?

A Place for Everything

To be comfortable, a house has to be functional. The first step in organizing our homes is to decide what the function of each room is. Then we can put what we need in that room in well-organized drawers and cupboards.

  • Optional demonstration: Place the box containing assorted items on the table. Have a sister pretend that she is helping a neighbor organize her home. Ask her to sort through the box, making several neat piles. Each pile should contain items similar enough to go into a well-organized drawer or cupboard.

Sometimes we do not have enough closets, cupboards, or drawers. If not, we or our husbands can buy or make some.

Even if we have many cupboards, we may still find that we do not have room for everything. In this case, it is a good idea to sort through our things and decide what could be used by someone else, what should be thrown away, and what should be stored somewhere else. If we decide to store some items, they should go into well-labeled containers. Labels help us find things quickly and easily. Important papers such as wills, property deeds, insurance papers, and family pictures should be organized, labeled, and filed.

Keeping our homes tidy is easier if all family members take part. The responsibility for keeping the home clean and tidy should be shared by everyone. President Brigham Young counseled: “Teach little children the principles of order; the little girl to put the broom in its right place … and everything in its own place. Teach them to lay away their clothing neatly, and where it can be found. … Teach the little boys to lay away the garden hoe, the spade, etc., where they will not be destroyed by rust; … and see that they gather up the tools when they have done with them, and deposit them in the proper place” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 211).

  • Display visual 20-b, “A sister teaching her young children about cleanliness and order.” Have sisters tell how they have taught family members to form the habit of putting things away.

Simplifying Our Housework

It takes less time to do a job if we have organized our working conditions first. It helps to arrange equipment before we begin so we do not have to retrace our steps to get something we need. We can also save energy by putting the tools we need within easy reach.

Another way to simplify our work is to clean up after ourselves as soon as we have finished something. Clutter multiplies fast. More things fall accidentally when clutter is left on counters or other work areas. Pots, pans, and dishes are harder to get clean if they have been left sitting with food on them. The sooner we clean up after ourselves, the easier it is.

A third way to make housework easier is to accomplish several things at the same time. Some homemakers wear an apron with pockets. They can walk though the house, tidying up as they go. Efficient homemakers combine some tasks. For example, they talk or plan while working with their hands. They fold clothes while teaching children how to handle a personal problem or while talking on the telephone. It is fun to create ways to use our time efficiently.

  • Ask class members to share ways to cut down on housework time.

Many of us have moments during the day that are wasted because we have not planned ahead of time how to use them.

  • How can we use our spare moments more productively?

We can use the extra time earned by working efficiently to relax and enjoy ourselves and our families, to help others, or to work on long-term projects, such as family histories.

  • What would you like to have time to do?

Planning Helps Get Things Done

Some people are always busy, but they do not seem to accomplish much. We need to decide what is most important and do those things first.

  • Have one sister name the six most important things she has to do tomorrow. List them on the chalkboard. Then ask her to number them in order of importance. Suggest that sisters try this procedure in planning their day, finishing one task before starting another.

Sometimes we may not finish everything we have planned for the day. If we do the most important things first, however, we have used our time well. As we plan our work, it is important to remember to be flexible. Our plans seldom turn out just as we expect. Little and big emergencies interrupt us during the day, but if we know where we are going, we will accomplish our work. We will feel happy at the end of the day. We will have more time to spend with our families.

Conclusion

Orderliness can bring added peace and harmony to our homes. We can have more time to develop our talents and serve others.

Challenge

Start this week to become more organized. Improve your use of time.

Additional Scripture

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    (Optional) Bring a large box filled with assorted items from home, such as clothing of different sizes, toys, tools, kitchen utensils, and so on.

  2. 2.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.