Have you ever wanted to expand your homemaking skills? To dive deep and learn to manage your home, better? I think this is a good and natural desire.
As a full time homemaker, there are many old fashioned skills you can learn, skills that will give you a deeper sense of accomplishment and purpose in your at-home life. In this post, we’re going to take a look at 7 of them.
7 Traditional Skills You Can Learn
While some traditional skills aren’t truly necessary in this day and age (such as making your own lye for soap), there’s lots you and I can learn and practice that will better our homes. Most of the time, traditional homemaking skills will help you create a natural home, a healthier family and also help you save money in the process!
Skill 1: Basic Sewing and Mending Skills
Have you ever heard the saying “a stitch in time saves nine?” In times past, women not only sewed clothing for their family members, but they also took care of those clothes. Mending, darning and patching was part of their regular “clothing care” routine. Even in this day and age, mending is a skill that will help the homemaker save money and give her a sense of achievement in the home.
I readily confess that I’m no seamstress (even though I’d like to be)! But even still, I discovered I am capable of sewing seams back together, of replacing buttons and sewing patches in place. And you don’t need to operate a sewing machine to do this!
Get yourself a package of needles, basic thread colors, a seam ripper, a pair of cloth cutting scissors and you’re ready to go! If you search online, you can find pretty little sewing baskets that come fully stocked. While these stocked items aren’t always of the very best quality, it’s not a bad way to get your foot in the door!
Learn to sew and mend by hand. Next time a button goes missing or a hem starts comes loose, hop on YouTube and learn to stitch things together yourself, instead of giving that item up.
Skill 2: Make Your Own Cleaners
What did women do before the invention of spray bottles and powerful cleaners? Were things always just dirty and unkempt?
In some instances, perhaps. But if you know anything about domestic history, you’ll be familiar with the title ‘houseproud.’ Longer ago, a woman’s dignity and self respect was wrapped up in the cleanliness of her home.
Traditionally, women relied on good old soap and water, vinegar, high-proof alcohol (such as vodka), slaked lime (aka whitewash) and even used sand, wood ash or baking soda to remove scum and kill bacteria. In many instances, I think we’d do well to return to these basic but effective sources for keeping the home.
It’s normal to feel uncertain when it comes to creating your own cleaners, primarily because we’ve been taught that bacteria and germs are all bad, that we shouldn’t just clean our homes; we should disinfect them! However, studies are beginning to show that sterile environments can actually weaken the human immune system over time, and particularly so with young children (go here to read the article).
Instead of using disinfectants in my home, I’ve chosen to use natural cleaners for everyday use: soap and water, vinegar, vodka and the like. It actually isn’t difficult to make your own! Here’s my favorite vinegar cleaning recipe. And if you want to use vodka, you can get the recipe here.
Skill 3: Use Natural Remedies
While I certainly do believe that doctors have their place in this world, I also believe that it’s important that we (you and I) know how to help ourselves and family members when an ailment comes along. Women used to know how to help heal earaches. Colds. The flu. Fevers. Upset tummies and the like!
Natural remedies aren’t complicated. In fact, most of the time, they are simple to create and use! Homemade cough syrup, vodka or glycerin-based herbal tinctures, infused honey or vinegar, tea blends and the like are all easy places to begin.
Skill 4: Make Your Own Body Care Products
How did women look to their family’s body care needs before they had access to a pharmacy or a drug store? They made it all in their own kitchen. Yes, yet another way to expand your homemaking skills is to learn to create salves for cracked or burnt skin, soap bars for hair and body wash, skin moisturizers and even oral care products can be crafted by your hands!
Making your own body care products isn’t hard. With the proper ingredients on hand, you can usually whip out what you need in 15-20 minutes. Here’s my favorite lotion recipe that everyone loves!
Skill 5: Cook Meals from Scratch
One of the best things you can do to nurture the health of your family and lower the cost of groceries is to make more food from scratch. Longer ago, women didn’t have the option of pre-made pizzas, pasta or the like. Everything was made from whole food ingredients! For the sake of our health and the health of our family members, we’d do well to return to this traditional skill.
However, if you’re going to start making more meals at home, you need to get organized in your attempts! Be sure to form a collection of recipe you/your family like so you can plan meals at the beginning of the day. This is my favorite binder and the one I use in my kitchen. It pays to have resources on hand!
Skill 6: Grow Food to Feed Your Family
Wait…is gardening a traditional homemaking skill? The answer is YES! Undeniably so! In times past, growing a garden was just as much a homemaker’s skill as cooking or sewing.
A huge part of the woman’s responsibility was to put 3 square meals on the table every day. Where did that food come from? The fields and gardens. Her gardens! And it wasn’t just fruits and vegetables. Herbs were also grown for cooking and natural home remedies.
Most homemakers knew how to work the earth, when to plant, they tended to and harvested food as needed for cooking and preserving! It’s a skill that most of us would benefit from learning today!
Skill 7: Preserve Food for Later
Some of the oldest methods of food preservation are dehydrating, fermenting and cold storage. In this modern world, we also have the luxury of canning and freezing. Putting food by has never been easier! While it’s a wonderful thing to grow your own food, putting it up takes the satisfaction (and work load) to a whole new level.
If you’ve never preserved fresh berries, fruits or vegetables, I recommend you begin by learning to freeze these things when they’re in season. And if you don’t grow your own food, go ahead and buy it fresh at local farmer’s market or harvest it yourself from a local U-pick.
Why start with freezing? Because freezing yields the freshest flavor and the most natural texture. In fact, I created a free, mini e-book for those on my homemaker’s email list that gives you step-by-step directions for blanching and freezing, includes printable how-to charts and will leave you feeling confident to approach the task at hand!
Sign up here and I’ll send it to you for free!
Do you feel inspired to embrace some new skill sets? If so, I want to caution you: don’t try to do it all. Longer ago, young girls watched and worked alongside their mamas and they naturally learned most of these skills. But you and I haven’t had that luxury!
For me, it’s been a 10+ year journey and I still learn something new every year. Take it slow. I recommend that you tackle just one area for a while. Once you’ve mastered it, go ahead and move on. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!
And may I just say? Happy homemaking!