These practical homemaking skills are useful for anyone, near or far. Purposeful and realistic, they’ll arm you with all you need to make your house a home.
Homemaking is a special skill and job in and of itself. Believe me, I get that it’s not easy. Whether you’re a single mom, a married couple, or a new college student, taking care of whatever home you live in–be it apartment, house, dorm–needs to be a priority.
But isn’t a home just somewhere you sleep in at night? Not even a little.
Even the most social butterflies need a safe haven to come home to each evening.
A college student’s sanctuary of peace and quiet to squeeze in last minute studying. A single mother’s source of creativity and safe place to care for her children. A young couple’s favorite affordable date night in.
Each day brings the opportunity to create new memories. The kind you look back on 50 years later and regret not savoring every moment you spent in them…
It’s no secret that the home must be kept in order to do all of these wonderful things for us. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
I personally have always taken a liking to homemaking, from the time I was a little girl. I loved cooking by myself and taking care of others. Making lists. Helping with laundry. Accompanying on errands. Helping with chores in my grandma’s house made me feel independent. I dreamt of one day being able to do the same in my own household. One I could proudly call my own.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve taken such a keen interest in caring for our home.
Now, I hope to pass some of this passion on to others.
Let’s get into all the homemaking skills that everyone should learn.
What is a homemaker?
Before we get into all the important homemaking skills, let’s first discuss what a homemaker is. Literally anyone can be a homemaker. A homemaker is not gender specific. It is not just for the old-fashioned. Or the creative. Or the well-to-do family who can afford for one spouse to be a homemaker full time.
Homemaking is not just for any one single type of person. Anyone can make a home.
Historically, a homemaker has been a woman who cares for the home full time. However, today women do it full time, part time, single, or married. Homemaking goes on with or without children or grandchildren. It even happens in homes where no women live at all. That’s because anyone has the ability to make a place of residence a home.
Typically, a homemaker is the main person who manages the household. This can mean many things including: budgeting, cooking, running errands, gardening, meal planning, entertaining, crafting, gift giving, paying bills, laundry, cleaning, repairing, building, and much, much more.
Many households now will share homemaking tasks between all the occupants. Which, in my opinion, is quite fitting considering everyone living in the home reaps all the benefits of the well-kept home.
Additionally, managing a home is a 24/7 job, not a 9-5. Having expectations that one single person should have to do everything all the time is absurd.
That being said, the division of these responsibilities is up to all adults living in the home. It has to be communicated and agreed upon in order for everything to run effectively and smoothly. Sometimes this means having very direct, honest, and even uncomfortable conversations.
Nevertheless, it’s a vital part of running a mindful, open, and comfortable home for all.
Homemaking Skills We All Need
I refuse to let this skill die. Everyone, young and old, should know how to cook. Though you don’t have to exactly be Rachel Ray, it is highly beneficial to be able to bake and cook something that doesn’t come from a box. Both your health and your finances will improve the more you learn to cook from scratch. You can control what goes in (and how much) and source affordable ingredients that create delicious meals 10x better than any boxed mix or takeout.
Furthermore, cooking is a great activity to get everyone involved and spend time together. Learning together is a magical thing.
Bake bread with your kids. Invite friends over to learn how to make different cocktails together. Make cookies with your spouse. Dive into the world of fermenting by yourself one afternoon.
These skills may seem frivolous in a world where convenience sadly is king.
However, lest we forget, just a couple of years ago pre-made pasta and bread were flying off the shelves in no time. People were worried about storing enough food, and the supply chain broke down in many industries.
This left so many without certain products, wondering what in the world they could do… Here is your friendly reminder that those convenience foods won’t always be there.
Learn how to cook and bake from scratch.
Here are a few of my favorite homemade recipes:
I am not a sewer. That much I will admit. However, I do know how to hem a pair of too-long pants. I also know how to stitch a torn seam or patch a hole in a piece of clothing. Even if sewing isn’t your thing (because you tried it once 10 years ago in Home Economics and hated it), it’s important to at least know how to mend clothes.
Could you imagine buying a new piece of clothing anytime you got the teeniest hole in something? That seems terribly wasteful.
Instead, learn to repair clothing before replacing it.
Besides, sometimes your favorite t-shirt will quit being made. If you want to keep your favorite shirt for a long time, you’ve got to learn to mend it so it lasts years and years.
Basic sewing skills can be learned in a matter of a few short hours. After mastering basic skills, keep a small sewing kit handy in a hallway closet or craft drawers for mending clothing. You never know when something will happen.
I would recommend checking out this post HERE from Farmhouse on Boone for tons of information on learning to sew for beginners. I plan on diving into this soon, and I already follow this blog for lots of other information. Who knows, maybe I will be making aprons and curtains by the end of this year.
Growing your own food can be so rewarding. It can get expensive if you let it, but once you’ve established some garden beds, seeds are cheap and water can be collected in a rain barrel.
Few tools are necessary to begin and the reward of growing even a few pieces of food is so high.
Even if all you can manage is a small herb garden in a few pots, it will save you trips to the grocery store for the forgotten basil you need for a last minute recipe. It’ll save you a few dollars, too.
If you’re really into the homesteading life, learn to preserve your harvests for even more benefits. Once winter hits, you’ll have a stockpile of sauces, jams, fruits, and veggies.
Additionally, even just planting a few wildflowers on your property can help liven up the space indoors when it’s time to harvest them. Flowers can get expensive to purchase from florists, so this is my favorite thing to grow myself. They lighten the mood with their vibrant colors and unforgettable scents. Growing them yourself can provide very cheap decor inside and add some ambiance to an otherwise dull lawn.
Here are some great posts about beginner gardening:
Laundry & Dishes
Oh, man. So many people don’t learn how to do laundry or wash a dish until they’re nearly 20. It is insane if you ask me.
You know the old adage: “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”
This can apply to any of these homemaking skills, really. But parents, let your kids help with dishes and laundry. Teach them how to do things from a young age, regardless of how much it inconveniences you or how messy it may seem.
I personally have my 2-year-old nephew help me do laundry tasks to get him used to the routine of it. He loves helping me gather clothes from the dryer and push buttons on the machines.
My nephew doesn’t even see it as a chore, just learning something new. He actually thinks it’s fun, believe it or not.
If you teach them these little skills from a young age, it won’t feel like such a chore when they’re older. Assigning age appropriate tasks is not expecting too much of them.
By about the age of 13, everyone should be capable of washing their own clothes. Even if they aren’t expected to wash all of their own laundry, they should be doing some of it and know how to do it when needed. Machines do most of the dirty work these days anyway, so really all you need to learn is a few cycles and buttons.
For more laundry tips, visit this post HERE for Easy Laundry Tips and My Routine.
As far as dishes go, people have to learn to wash dishes. Yes, even by hand. Dishwashers can fail, and it’s also not always worth it to run a cycle. Especially with only a handful of dishes. Sometimes it is just more practical to wash them by hand. You can learn how to do this in less than 5 minutes. Just soap and hot water. Easy!
We haven’t had a dishwasher since moving into our home over two years ago. Guess what? We have survived. It is second nature to us now and goes pretty fast once you get into a good routine.
Cleaning and tidying your personal space at home is essential for your health. It is so important to keep spaces in the home less cluttered for the many mental health benefits. It also helps keep it free of crazy germs for obvious physical health reasons.
Plus, it can just make you feel better after accomplishing something as simple as decluttering your closet or deep cleaning a bathroom. It also helps some people stay active, as it can require (at times) a bit of physical strength and endurance to get into those hard-to-reach places to scrub and dust.
Check out this post HERE to learn more about Easy Ways to Keep a Tidy Home.
Budgeting & Investing
Financial health is so important when running a household. Budgeting can be the determining factor in whether you’re able to pay your mortgage or rent each month.
With a simple spreadsheet, a budgeting app, or an old-fashioned notebook, you can figure out what you’re spending month-to-month by recording everything. Record bills you have due, when. How much money is coming in each month. You’ll basically be looking at your revenue versus expenses each month.
It’s also important to keep track of your checking account balance, savings, and even investments.
Never be intimidated about learning about money and how it works. It will only benefit your household by keeping spending habits in check and teaching you how to build wealth.
There are so many great ordinary people that have written books with sound financial and investment advice. Reading can help you learn a lot more about paying off debt, saving, and investing. Putting what you’ve learned into practice can set your mind at ease and help you prepare for the future.
And please, don’t ever be embarrassed if you feel like you know nothing about finances. We all have to start somewhere.
Final thoughts on homemaking skills..
I hope I’ve inspired you to learn more about gaining new homemaking skills or at least to pay more attention to your home life. Later this week, I will finish this with Part Two.
Yes, this post was originally almost ten pages long. I decided to split it into two posts before I drove people mad with a novel on homemaking.
Consider this a taste of what’s to come… because later this week I have a few additional homemaking skills that might actually surprise you.