Where I grew up, it was very common for both boys and girls to learn how to keep a home. There was a great emphasis for young girls to learn how to cook, clean, keep a garden, and take care of younger siblings. And so, I had A LOT of chores. I do have to admit that I rejected all of that when I got older. I disliked homemaking with a passion, and instead, focused on endeavors outside of the home. My apartment was a mess while my lab was pristine. I absolutely refused to do laundry and felt a certain way when I had to scrub the bathroom or do the dishes. I guess now, I’ve struck a balance where I don’t do the chores I don’t like doing, and instead, focus on the ones that I do enjoy doing.
Outsource. For things that I don’t like doing such as cleaning the bathroom or wiping down every surface or deep cleaning the sink, it’s easier on us to outsource these tasks to others. It saves us time and they do a way better job = win/win. Plus, we don’t have to get frustrated about who does what chore.
Cook simple meals during weeknights. After the work day, I have no desire to cook an elaborate meal for two. I usually heat up some water for pasta, then go on Pinterest for easy pasta recipes. For the most part, I make these pasta dishes on rotation: caccio e pepe, carbonara, spaghetti with red sauce, aglio e olio, and pasta alfredo. All these take about 20-30 mins to make, and are just sooooo good.
Have a well-stocked pantry. I already wrote about my pantry list before, but I cannot stress enough how having staples in your home makes everything less stressful. During times when I just don’t have time to make a trip to the grocery store, I can still make a kickass meal with whatever we have in the house.
Stock up on guests’ favorites. My family lives close so they’re always coming over, mostly with less than an hour warning. As such, I’ve learned to always have their favorite snacks and drinks in stock. I also do the same for my friends. When they mention a food restriction or a brand of tea they really like, I make sure to pick it up from the store so they can feel at home in my home.
Entertain with intention. We are very social and host dinners at least once a week. Our friends and family come over planned or unplanned. So in essence, we entertain A LOT. I don’t really care if the house is a bit cluttered or there’s a jacket hanging on a chair or if we’re drinking out of soda cans instead of glasses. All that is superficial. As long as the space is inviting and the guests are having a good time, I feel no pressure to make everything look perfect. We’re not here to gather and look like an Architectural Digest magazine cover. We’re just here to gather, period.
Create a gift inventory. Part of being a social person is having many friends. I have friends’ and family’s birthdays on a calendar as well as their siblings and dogs. That’s a lot of birthdays. It can get overwhelming to buy a different gift for each person, so I’ve created a list of gifts that are my go-to when a birthday comes up. I keep a stash of these gifts and pull one out and wrap it when I’m caught days before someone’s birthday. It makes the process so much easier and less stressful. Right now, my go-to gift is italic’s scented candle. Below is a guide for versatile gifts.
Plan ahead for holidays. Throughout the year, I also make a list of more personalized gifts. If my friends or family mention something they have an interest in, or something they really like, I make a mental note and write it down later so I can get them the most perfect gift. I learned this from my best friend who is the queen of thoughtful gifting. I used to totally suck at gifting, but I’ve learned that it’s not how much the gift costs, but the act of thinking about what the other person would enjoy receiving. For Christmas last year, I received a “Zen” calendar from my little sister, and it was the most thoughtful gift because first of all, she’s 8, and second, she remembered that I like yoga and figured I’d like something yoga-related.
In essence, my brand of homemaking doesn’t really have much to do with cleaning or maintaining the structure of the home, but instead, on how to run the home in a way that fulfills us and our friends and family. I see our home as a vessel where we can gather and make/share memories.