What Does the Bible Say About Keeping a Clean House?

Have you ever wondered if the Bible REALLY says anything about keeping a clean house? I know I have, and every day a handful of people make their way to this site after they Google “Does the Bible say anything about keeping a clean house?” or “Bible verses about cleaning the house” or something of the likes. And somehow Google leads them to my story of how I learned that the Bible actually DOES have something to say about homemaking.

my-little-helper
Newly pregnant, while trying to keep up with our twins who had just learned to walk… and climb… and pull every piece of clothing out of the dresser drawers… and find every stray crumb (along with every little unfortunate bug- ick!!) to put into their mouths… I remember sitting overwhelmed in the big-to-me-at-the-time mess. That’s when God gently led me to some Scripture that changed my heart and my attitude on taking care of our home.

“By wisdom a house is built, & through understanding it is established.”
Proverbs 24:3

“The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
Proverbs 14:1

Oh, how I longed to be that wise woman who builds her house. I honestly just didn’t know how. Yet God, in His perfect ways, used that time in my life to help me come up with a system that worked well for our family. {And that’s what I shared with you when I wrote, Keeping a Clean House With 5 Kids.}

my sweet helper
Yet, a lot has changed since writing that post two years ago! Taking a look at our home today, I realize that I once again am needing that change of heart, and needing to work on caring for our home- not only the people, but also the place.

No, our house is not falling apart! It’s nowhere near the dirtiest and messiest house I’ve ever seen, but (I’ll spare you my list of “excuses”) I haven’t been as intentional at building & managing & caring for our home as I once was, and it shows! {{Remember the smelly-moldy-disgusting Sippy cup!?… I’ve also been known to wait until my girls have begged me for clean sheets before going through the process of washing their bedding (All of you “once a week bedding washers” are amazing!)… Oh, and for those of you who were ready to throw in your “mothering and homemaking towels” after reading about our family’s “schedule” a few weeks ago (I know you’re out there! I’ve read your sweet emails!)- Have I mentioned the months I let my children play with moldy squirt toys in the bathtub? Every time they squeezed the squeaky dolphin and faded rubber ducky, out would squirt some sort of black and gray fungus that they would usually fish out with their supposed-to-be-clean little hands and deposit in the garbage. See??? Some of you are done with reading this post because that is just too gross, and others of you are silently cheering, for you’ve done the same thing. :) Although my children are living and still seemingly healthy, I will NOT be winning cleanliest mother of the year award any time soon!}}

Ariya cleaning
I do realize, however, that there are seasons in our lives when taking care of our homes… the cleaning and organizing part… needs to take a back burner to other things. When I was sick every day- all day for months when pregnant with baby Ariya (who is now the sweet one-year old pictured as my little helper), I could barely get out of bed, let alone be found scrubbing floors. The “fragrant” smells and “interesting” findings had me rushing to the bathroom more times than I could count. And there were months when newborn babies graced the house, and as I recovered from c-sections, I had no choice but to rely on the help of others. And there have been many other times when I knew that I simply needed to put the broom down and instead, spend those priceless moments pushing my daughter on the swing, reading a story to my little boy, snuggling with my husband, or soaking in the truth of God’s Word.

little hands
There WILL be seasons (although hard to imagine- wink) when our home is not scattered with Lego creations, plastic kitchen food, and half-packed boxes. And there will be seasons, like today, when our home contains sticky floors, dusty shelves, finger-printed windows, and dishes that needed to be rewashed from “little helpers.” Yet no matter the season, I want to do my best to wisely build our home!

One more section of Scripture that changed my heart years ago, is Titus 2:4-5…

“Then they can train the younger womento love their husbands and children, to be self-controlledand pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:4-5 NIV 1984

I decided to study this passage a bit more, and found other versions have translated “to be busy at home,” as “to take care of their homes”… “workers at home”… “homemakers”… “keepers at home”… “managers of their households”… with the old manuscripts meaning “active in household duties.” Nowhere here (or anywhere else in the Bible) does it say that we need to have Martha-Stewart-like homes that are never sticky and gooey and are always Pinterest worthy! BUT, it is clear that we need to be active in taking care of our homes. And our actions as keepers of our homes, (along with the other beautiful character traits found in these verses) will make it so that no one will be able to malign the Word of God. WOW! and GULP! How I act, including “working at MY home,” is a reflection upon His Word!

This encourages me, as I sit overwhelmed, surrounded by the mess once again, to realize that my home does not need to be spotless. (I’d much rather work towards spotless hearts.) And it stirs me on to be busy making a home that is welcoming, loving, comfortable, and God-honoring.

little vacuum
Have any of you needed this encouragement as well?
(Tomorrow I will share some NEW and UPDATED “Keeping a Clean House With SIX Kids” tips! But quickly, let me also mention the danger I have of swinging too far to the other side of the pendulum and getting so caught up in keeping things neat and clean that I forget what is truly important. It’s the whole “Martha-Mary thing.” In that well known story, Jesus never condemned Martha for keeping a clean house. He did however, point her to what, really WHO, was the ONE best thing. Let’s make sure not to swing too far that we forget what is most important!)

Now, laptop closed… here I go, with God’s strength and encouragement, to be a keeper of my home! :)

Comments

  1. Danielle May says:

    LOVE this!! It is exactly what my heart needed. Thank you for your transparency and opening your heart!

  2. okay, with only two little ones the only thing that really grosed me out was the moldy sippy cups. Those things are great and nasty all in one. *big smile* They trap milk like nothing else. *big smile* We have also had the moldy toys in the tub that went to the garbage a little too late (in my oppinion) and floors in desperate need of cleaning, did I mention I almost don’t dust – our area is quite dry and the wind picks up something fierce so I can dust and about an hour or two later there is a new layer just for me. *sigh!* So, since I don’t like doing it and it seems pointless, I don’t do it very often at all. *small sigh* When our two were small enough that they often found tasty treats on the floor I was diligent with the floors but now, I get to baking and then forget about the floors. Though I try to get to them once a week, we have little traffic through our home so it works fine, not as well as I could though. Doing crafts seems to cover the floor as well as most everywhere else, thus I don’t do arts and crafts often…this week is a lap book week so the floors are TERRIBLE. *big smile* And there are moms who wipe the walls, please don’t come to my house looking at walls and doors, mine have dirt on them from our living in our home. *small smile* So, do I have clean sheet day? Yes, each week the children love stripping their beds and they have learned to put the case on the pillow and they put the animals in the proper places once I have tucked the sheet and quilt in by the wall. But we all have our strong points. I learned some time ago that one set of flannel and one set of cotton for each bed keeps my laundry from piling up. We have had plenty times when the sheets get on the bed just before bedtime kisses. *smile* But the sheets make everyone smile on clean sheet night that I try to keep that one up. *smile* The windows, yea, I do those once a season. There are a few places that get a little more attention…normally when one can’t see through the hand and nose prints from the kids and our dog. *big smile* But I try not to stress about it. Notice I said, try. We are all a work in progress, it’s a matter of just not stopping the growth He is trying to help us in. *big smile* Have a lovely day knowing whoever lives in the home lives in it, it’s not a show room for some sales office. *big smile* It’s okay to be lived in. *big smile* Have a lovely day growing in his ways and I thank you for sharing from the heart. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

  3. This, friend, is an amazing post and one which I desperately needed to hear today. At 32 weeks pregnant and on semi-bed rest, I am constantly beating myself up for the mess in my home and the boredom I see in my girls’ eyes each day because I can’t play with them like they want. I realize that there is only a short time where things will be this way, but the devil sure does have a way of turning my heart in the wrong direction. Thank you for your words today. Straight to my heart!!!

    • Oh, Kristen, You are such an encouragement to me! I’m so glad that God was able to speak truth to your heart! I’m praying for you tonight, as I know how difficult times like that can be. And I’m praying for that sweet baby! Many blessings, Jessica

  4. Every now and then I look around and see the dust or the fingerprints and I cringe. But, more importantly I realize that my girls will only be little once and this season will pass too quickly!! I’ve found the moldy sippie cups and you just reminded me that I need to sort through the bath toys because I believe a *few* are spewing lovely black things {shudder}.

  5. Thanks for your honesty. A great reminder to me too in another area where I always feel guilty . It is as if the work is never done and impossible to keep with – as if I live with little tornadoes who delight in messing up just tidied rooms- especially when company is expected :)

    • I love your imagery, Elizabeth. I have quite a few little tornadoes at our house. :) God doesn’t want us to feel guilty, but for us to give it to Him, trusting that He will cover over our weaknesses.
      Hugs!

  6. Thank you for the verses in Titus…it is inspiring to read about homemaking in Scripture.

  7. Jessica, bless your heart! I totally agree with you 100%. I often find myself going to the extreme of cleaning too much or at least attempting to because I feel guilty. But then I also have to remind myself that it is not THe most important thing, especially if I am neglecting my family just to have a clean house. As homeschooling mamas I think we have an extra challenge. We are so busy all day that it can be very difficult. But God! And somehow sometime it manages to get done some way. Even if moldy bath toys are played with before we realize we hadn’t cleaned the bathrooms in a year ;). Thanks for sharing. You are such an encouragement. Have a blessed weekend :)

  8. Oh, thank you Jessica for this! This has been weighing heavily on my heart this week! I’ve been trying to find that balance. I know I get distracted so easily sometimes and waste precious time that I could be spending trying to keep a clean house and stay in His Word, but then when I have wonderful days of staying focused, I then get overwhelmed because I think, “I am just not good at this! How do people do it? How do they feed their kids AND keep a clean and cluttered free home?” It is good to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t change sheets very often! I’m trying to stay focused and on a schedule, and I guess I feel that as long as I am staying in the Word and staying busy with productive work until bedtime, then God will certainly provide. Of course, productive work also includes really being with (in the moment) and listening to my kids. That is hard to do sometimes. But when I get overwhelmed with the clutter, I turn to the internet and Facebook (I hate to even admit that). That is when I should be turning to God! But most important (even more so than a clean house), I need to treat my children as Christ would treat them. Boy that is very hard to do sometimes!

    • Jennifer, I so appreciate your honesty! It IS overwhelming- isn’t it! There’s always so much to do, and it really never is done. I’m praying for you right now that God would give you clarity on what is THE most important thing, for each moment, and that You would run to Him when you are overwhelmed. I know I’ve run to Facebook and the internet too, and it just doesn’t satisfy- usually I end up feeling more guilty or more overwhelmed because “Suzie” down the road seems to have it all together. :) Hugs!! Jessica

  9. I just found your blog today and needed to read this…God’s timing is perfect! I keep telling myself if I could just get my house clean and “in order”, things would get better and I might not feel overwhelmed. I needed this reminder of what’s really important. More than my children remembering a clean house all the time, I want them to know that the Lord and His Word were of utmost importance in our lives! Can’t wait to read more on your blog!

    • Oh Laura, I’m so happy to meet you! Thanks so much for your kind encouragement. God is great! I love how His timing is always perfect! :)
      I look forward to getting to know you more!
      Jessica

  10. Thank you so much for posting this! I’m new to your blog, but I’m already loving your posts :) I really needed to read something encouraging in terms of being a keeper of my home today…thank you :)

  11. Yes! Finally someone who speaks my own language. My hardwood floors love the footprints that my baby girl has “permanently” placed on them. I often get so discouraged with not feeling like cleaning after everything else so yes, I sign up for some encouragement!

  12. There really has to be balance in this desire to keep a house clean and I think you are finding it, my friend! I remember the days of toddlerhood and trying to keep up with those busy little feet and hands all over my house! I felt so embarrassed when unexpected visitors came by. And now that they are all teens and one early 20 something, I have that long sought after clean house, but it doesn’t mean I’m cleaning more! I think you’re wise, Jessica, to focus mostly on “clean hearts and pure minds” than a Martha Stewart showcase. :)

  13. Thank you so much for writeing this its exactly what i needed, im a young first time mom with a 3 year old boy who dont believe his toys should ever be picked up, but i have my husbands family and my family that actually says stuff to me if my house is not ( picture perfect) so i have spent litrally days from morning to night trying to make my home completely perfect when it dose not happen i get really discouraged. I have litrally sat and cried cause i never felt like i could ever get my house to par with what everyone expected of me. And i thought i was the only person out there that found the bad sippy cups in a toy box or somewhere which would make me feel like i was a bad mom, so again i thank you so much for your honesty, because everytime i looked cleaning your house up on the internet there stories where about how to make bins to organize better so i thought i could never be a home keeper like that if that was there ” dirty home”, so again Thank you so much, this was truely a blessing for me i know now that i shouldnt worry so much about my house or what everyone says and just spend time with my beautiful little boy :)

    • Oh Sweet Amber, How easy it is to get trapped in everyone’s expectations (even our own). And, Yes, I still find the bad sippy cups hiding away around my house. I’m grateful for my older ones who know to put their cups in the sink, and I’m thankful for the little ones- yucky sippy cups and all- whose smiles brighten my days. Praying that God will help you (& me too) to find beauty and peace as you raise up your little one!
      Many blessings,
      Jessica

  14. I really enjoyed this post and came across it after I recently posted my own take on how a messy home can still be a happy home. You can check it out at http://www.seethatdad.com/dads/is-a-messy-home-a-happy-home/
    I’d love your feedback.

  15. I can’t say thank you enough for your words of encouragement. I am a mother of five and struggle so much with wanting things to be neat all the time. I seem to think that if I can’t keep an impeccably clean house I am failing as a mom/wife. Things around the house can wait, but oh, those precious little souls cannot! “God, make me more of a Mary!” God bless your precious family!!

    • Kristina, Thank you for your kind words. What a blessing it is for me to realize that it is my own fears/expectations of what being a good mom/wife looks like – that gets in the way of what is truly important. Praying you have a blessed week, and look forward to getting to know you more.
      ~Jessica

  16. Beatrice says:

    Well, we are in quite different situation. I am more focused on our family life and peace in the family, and my husband is more focused on keeping hardwood floors clan, scratch-free, and white kitchen cabinets spotless, and granite countertop scratch less and shiny. We have 3 precious children (7, 4, 1 month) and we are so tired of all of this. I feel like just moving out. Our kids have to be super careful not to drop something or scratch. I grew up in a loving Christian family, my dad is a pastor and I just feel like our kids are focusing way too much on the house rather than just being kids, and having more time with God, in which case there’s almost no time left, because we.need a spotless house. I am tired, need help, encouragement, and lots and lots of prayers for my husband and our family. God bless you all loving mammas.

  17. I found this blog after searching for “women who cannot keep a clean home”. I am a single first time mom who goes to school full time and works part time. I have tried all the organizing tips and such only to find this is not for me. My 4 yo daughter and I live in a one bedroom apartment so space is very limited. It is difficult to keep a 4 yo on track with all the other things that need to be done. I have had to learn how to be a nagging personbecause of this. (myfatherwas a “I will not say this more than one time in your life” type of father.)We learned quick or reaped the consequences. My mother left because he almost killed her. She cannt be of much help to me because I was 5 yo when she left(and for good reason) so she was never in a situation such as mine. She keeps her house straight but hardly cleans her house. I like my house clean but dont mind clutter. Although the clutter of daily life can get in the way of clean. Im glad I read about the funky bath toys because Emma’s are like that alot(i use vinegar). I usually have a sink full of dishes and a mountain of dirty clothes that need washing toys and movies everywhere. We are a christian family and I also wondered what the bible said about a clean home and about EVERYTHING else in life. I find that some weeks I miss out on going to church on sundays and wednesdays because of housework and such things absolutly have to be done. (I still praise the lord just by ourselves and at home.) I actually had times when I wouldnt let my mom in my house because it wasnt up to her standards. I am so thankful for you! I am so glad GOD has lead me to your blog. It has helped me enormously. You dont know how much weight has been lifted off of me. GOD bless! Praise GOD!

    • Denise, Thank you so much for taking the time to share so much of you heart. God is so good at guiding us right where we need to be. I pray that you will continually seek Him and that He will be glorified in your life!
      Many blessings, Jessica

    • Christina says:

      Denise, I found this blog by typing in that exact phrase as well! Teehee! Thank goodness for Google too! :)

  18. Christina says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I have recently been praying to God that I would do anything for him. I finally heard from him that I need to get my house in order. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time but the house has just gotten in such a disarray from my littles and my husband that I felt too overwhelmed to even tackle it. Now I really have been trying to dive in more and more while still trying to balance time with my kiddos since I homeschool. I have a great deal of clutter that I am having to chip away at as well and your blog is just a breath of fresh air to remind me that yes, God does want me to have an orderly and neat home but it does not have to look like a magazine. Thank you so much for your words. It’s nice to know there are other moms out there who are overwhelmed too and don’t always have everything clean and figured out all the time. :) Btw…I also LOVE your chore booklets. Thinking of implementing those for sure. Too cute! Thanks again and God bless you!

    • Oh, Christina, I am right there with you! And I too am so thankful my home doesn’t need to look like a magazine. :)
      Many blessings,
      Jessica

  19. I too, was brought here by that google search. I’m here practically in tears because I’ve been so discourage to clean this never ending messy house (3 kids, 2 of which are under 2years of age) and reading your words are EXACTLY what I was needing to help change my poor attitude about it. Thank you. And thank you for letting me know I’m not alone with this!

    • Oh Ashley, you are NOT alone! :) Grateful we can encourage one another along this journey. Keep loving those sweet kiddos, and looking to God for strength to tackle your home. I’m so blessed by your words.
      ~Jessica

  20. I laughed at your Google comment because that’s exactly what brought me here. I can relate to moldy skippy ups and bath toys and sheets in definite need of washing. Thank you for your honesty. There are many blogs that portray “perfection” as everyday normal (clearly untrue). Thank you for seeking truth in God’s word and sharing it with the rest of us. It was (and obviously still is as people are still stumbling here almost a year later) much, much needed. :)

    • Thank you, Nikki. I’m so humbled and blessed that words I plunked out on a screen God can use to impact families. Praying for you today that you will be able to make your house a home without obsessing over perfection. :)
      ~Jessica

  21. Great Blessed Wednesday, thanks so much was doing reserach & study on the scrptiure’s I need to help my house & keep it in order. Thanks so much….

    Blessings

  22. I am really struggling with keeping a clean home right now. I have a beautiful miracle boy that is 11 months old and I admit I am a horrible housekeeper. I don’t mind doing laundry but folding it and putting it away

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