“Order and cleanliness is the law of heaven; and in order to come into harmony with the divine arrangement, it is our duty to be neat and tidy,” AH 254 (4T, pp143).
Many people are blessed with the gift of being organized and/or being able to keep things clean. I was not one of them. I believe that the ability to organize efficiently is a gift, and some people have it and some don’t, but it is something that can be learned — remembering that the way you may clean or organize may be different from someone else.
I have struggled with statements like this because I know how far I am from it. As a young mother, I would try, but nothing helped. I read many books, but somehow, I couldn’t make their ideas work either. I got tired of not being ready for the Sabbath when it came. I started praying about it. I should have done this to start with, but did not realize the problem it was. I started trying to do more on Thursday, except it seemed that when I’d mop the floor, that’s when everybody would spill on it, so it would have to be done over. Looking at what needed to be done and what could be done in advance without getting messy again, some things — like washing Sabbath clothes and cooking lunch — have worked well for us. Now, I always cook on Thursday. I put hot dishes in the crockpot/slow cooker, and they are fine on Sabbath. You just have to plug it in and the work is done.
When my girls were young, Sabbath preparation was the school work for Fridays. We stayed home and cleaned the house. We didn’t do any school books. Their school for the day was cleaning. To help them clean their room(s) faster, I’d put on a record or tape (yes, it was that long ago), and they’d have one side or, if the room was extra messy, both sides of the record/tape, to get it cleaned. They enjoyed the music while they worked, better than a timer. (A record was about 15-20 minutes on a side). This made the job more fun. Now, you would have to figure out how to play however many songs you wanted for the time limit. I also gave them more time than it would take me to get the job done. When they were able to do the jobs on their own, I wrote out the Friday jobs and put them in a basket, and we would draw for the chores. Adding things like choosing music gave something fun as a “chore.” They would also fold and put away their own clothes from as soon as they could do it, about two to three years old. No, it didn’t look as neat as when I did it, but they were able to be responsible for their things. They learned to sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, and other chores.
For those with little ones, they need to have things to do as well. They like to “help” vacuum, sweep, and mop. Let them do what they can in their strength. You can get them small brooms or mops, but let them use the big ones as well, maybe even as you’re using it. You are teaching them that their help is important also.
My suggestions for Sabbath preparations:
- Recognize if you have a need.
- Pray about it. I have prayed about it for many years and continue to do so. I start early in the week to be ready. Even without little ones at home, I still struggled with it.
- Try something for a while, and if it doesn’t work for you, pray some more and try a different way.
- None of us has the answer for someone else, but sharing ideas of what worked for you may help someone else. If something works well for you, leave it in the comments.
- Be encouraged with even little steps. We all start somewhere.
- Organize and clean the way you want it. Don’t try to meet someone else’s standards.