The question was posed to me recently about how to gain interest in housekeeping, especially when the house has been neglected and the work seems insurmountable.
My answer is that it has to be approached with spiritual values in mind, the first being your own spiritual character. It does take some courage to make the best of a bad situation or turn a mess into a place of beauty.
One of the major elements in achieving success at home, I believe, is being prepared, and in particular, preparing your appearance. When you are dressed and have your hair done, you might feel you are ready for the job; ready for business and more in control of the situation.
The next thing to do is remove everything from the jumbled room that does not belong there. It does not matter what order you take, but you might try removing clothing and things made of fabric, and putting them where they belong, and then pick up all books and paper items, then toys, then kitchen things like glassware or bowls or any food items. When all those things have been removed, you can sweep and wipe surfaces with a damp cloth . Open windows and let in some fresh air. Clear away anything that makes your house look too cluttered and leave some bare spaces here and there.
Cleaning goes a long way to make a house a place to love, but there are other things you might not have thought of, which will make a house feel more homey and desirable to stay in. Many times a woman can be restless at home because it is not as nice or comfortable or clean or bright as somewhere she really desires to go. To solve this, create an atmosphere in the home that makes you want to stay. Observe what it is in other places that you want the most. Is it the lighting? The orderliness? The comforts? The seasonal touches? Colors? Quietness? Special sounds? Types of meals? The table settings? Or, is it the special things you do in other places that makes them more appealing than the home? Once you have taken note of this, you can begin to recreate them in your own home and make not only a place you enjoy spending time in, but a place you want to invite others into.
The matter of motivation for housekeeping is one area in which older women can help. They will have some years of experience with situations that seemed hopeless and be able to relate how they tackled unpleasant tasks or created order.
I was greatly influenced when I was a girl, by a woman who never sat down to do anything leisurely (reading, sewing) until she had surveyed the area she was going to be in, and put things aright. She never left a room untidy. If she was in the bathroom she straightened a stack of towels or wiped the sink. If she was in a bedroom she put a pair of stray shoes in the closet or folded a lap quilt. If she was in the kitchen she put dirty dishes into warm water in the sink, to wash later, so that the surface area of the kitchen looked nice. In the living room she stacked books and magazines and placed them where people could see them and use them. As a result of this kind of automatic habit which she bred into herself, she did not have those angry cleaning days with all the shouting and raving at the children. They easily picked up her "clean as you go" habit and were able to overcome the knee-deep messes that often occur in children's rooms.
Families enjoy and respect the home when it is meticulously cared for. There has been an attempt in modern days to made cleaning and fastidiousness seem conceited and nonspiritual. I heard a remark once that a woman who was a good housekeeper was just being too much of a Martha and not thinking of spiritual things. However I believe that being a good steward of the home is a very spiritual thing because it is done to serve others and make them comfortable so that they can develop spiritual values. Some people find it easier to think and easier to study the Bible and pray, when the house is in order. The home keeper does a great spiritual service to the family and to those who would enter her house.
Women who never experienced the joy of playing house when they were growing up sometimes miss the joy of housekeeping in adult years. The playing house element of housekeeping lifts the burden and gives a light hearted hopefulness to getting things done. When children play house, they turn work into something uplifting and never really try to get it done, but to enjoy it while they are doing it.
You can always tell when a woman loves her home because it has certain touches in it that go beyond just cleaning. She is making it a place of warmth and welcome for her own comfort and for others. There are women who can take a mere shack and make someone feel that they have spent an evening in a castle, and there are those who can make a trailer or a tent luxurious and comfortable, because they have given it an atmosphere of love and care. A home can be enjoyed when it is orderly and when creativity is used to make it beautiful.
You might enjoy this video of Cheryl Mendelson's Effective Dishwashing Tips, or this article on washing dishes by hand.