To all you mammas and papas out there about to begin a life of magical homemaking, I offer you some tips and advice from years of being a homebody.
setting up house
Try to get a new broom when moving house. It symbolizes a fresh start, leaving all your “dirt” from your previous residence in the past. (If you must bring your old broom with you, bring it through a window instead of the front door.)
Carry in bread and salt with you upon first entering your new home. Sprinkle some of the salt at the doorstep to ward of evil spirits. Make sure you never run completely out of salt in your home. Salt preserves, purifies and protects. Before you move your stuff in, sprinkle some salt on the floor, then sweep (or vacuum) up.
You may want to sage your new home or sain with juniper and water. You can do a full house purification and blessing either before or after you‘re completely moved in, and household altar set up.
No one wants to spend all their time cleaning, but it is unhealthful (physically and spiritually) to live in a dirty cluttered home. There is a middle way of keeping everything reasonably clean while still having time for other activities. Consider scheduling your time to get a little housework done every day, instead of devoting a whole day to cleaning. Spend the rest of your time having fun with your kids.
Keep your cleaners natural and simple. (See my previous article, Natural House Cleaners.) Vinegar is used in a lot of my household cleaner formulas. I’ve found that soaking citrus peels in the vinegar I’m going to use for cleaning formulas makes it have a more pleasant smell and gives it a bit of a boost of cleaning power. You could experiment with various herbal vinegars and essential oils in your household cleaners for magical goals (test first to make sure they don’t stain surfaces).
Leave no clutter in your wake, and encourage other family members to do the same. (For example, if you sit down to have a snack or read a book, when you get back up, look around… put away any clutter in your immediate surroundings; the book and the apple core, of course, but also anything else that’s out of place.) It’s easier to clean as you go than to clean a huge mess. Have a place for everything and keep everything in it’s place. (Read “Confessions of an Organized Homemaker” by Deniece Schofield.)
Along the same lines, I’ve found that the best time to do light bathroom cleaning is immediately after taking a shower; the bathroom surfaces and mirror are already damp, just wipe with a clean rag (spray with a cleaner beforehand, if you feel it needs it). I keep a soap-dispensing scrub brush in the shower for touch-ups, filled with a mixture of ½ dish soap and ½ baking soda.
If you love to cook, like I do, keep a binder of your favorite recipes; ones you’ve clipped from magazines, tried from pinterest, and especially ones you’ve devised yourself. (You may eventually pass down copies of this book to your children.) My binder has become a family cookbook that not only contains favorite family recipes, but also the traditions surrounding the food and holidays.
I used to plan meals far ahead (like a month in advance), but we’d frequently have more leftovers than we could use up, and often, it would come time to cook a certain meal and it no longer sounded appealing to me. So then I started using a variety supper plan, interspersed with ‘leftover’ nights. This has worked out much better. When I go to make supper, I already have the protein food in mind, and I can also transform remaining leftovers for the next meal. (For example, if I have a lot of leftover mashed potatoes that weren’t used up on leftover night, I can use them to top a shepherd’s pie, or use in refrigerator potato dough, southern potato salad, etc.)
After you have a pretty good repertoire of meals, make a list of all the ingredients used in the recipes. Use this as your pantry list to check against when making a grocery list.
For more kitchen witch how-to, see my article “kitchen witchery basics” and “stovetop hearth rites“.