Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ma Ingalls: Home Care

A big part of our lives as women, whether we stay at home or work outside the home, is home care. This was one area I was very interested in when it came to Caroline Ingalls and her home. She did not have a vacuum, washing machine, dish washer, or any of the cleaning supplies that I have access to. So how did she manage to care for her home with so few "conveniences"?

I think the biggest part of her house keeping success was the "smallness" of their home. Their entire home was probably the size of my living room and dining room put together. There was only enough furniture to satisfy the daily needs of the family. Decor was limited to Ma's China doll that had a special place on a shelf that Charles made for it. That was it. Can you imagine how easy it would be to keep the Little House clean and how little time it would take on cleaning day!

Personal possessions were limited to a chest. Whatever made it into the chest had to have a special meaning to it or have value (like Ma's wedding dress which also doubled as a special occasions dress). The items that they did keep were reused in other ways when they out grew their use or purpose so there was never an issue of clutter in the little house. Looking at our own homes, how much stuff do we have? How many "extras" do we have that take up our time in upkeep?

The children each had one or two toys and that was it. Need we say more? I know my children have way more than two toys. I have found with them, though, that the more toys the have access to, the fewer toys they actually play with. When I pare down the toys they have, the more their toys are played with. Funny how that works.

I can remember a time when guest rooms were unheard of (I can remember giving up my bedroom when guests came over and sleeping in my parent's room on the floor. And no one thought twice about it). When families were able to survive with one bathroom (the Ingalls' didn't even have a bathroom!). When a living room was not a room in addition to the family room. When children shared a room (my sister and I did and so did Brian and his brothers). All of that was just normal.

Living with only the necessities has always been appealing to me, but now even more so as I see the extras taking away my time. Caroline may not have had our modern day conveniences, but her life was truly quite convenient.

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