Old-Fashioned Homemaking Habits to Keep Alive in Our Modern World

A basket of red apples sitting on the grass.

Homemaking is a lost art in our modern world. To truly keep a home running smoothly, with clean clothes, home cooked meals, well cared for children and happy hearts is a massive undertaking that most modern women simply aren’t prepared or even inclined to do.

There is a grassroots effort, however, to return to the old ways of keeping a home. I for one have felt called to be a wife, mother and homemaker just as one might be called to be a teacher or nurse. It’s in my very bones and is something that I take very seriously.

You see, homemaking is truly what shapes souls and therefore shapes the world. Its serious business, whether our culture thinks so or not is another topic of conversation, but the very fabric of our society rests on how families and homes are kept.

All of this to say, homemaking is important. Keeping a household running smoothly is important. Being present for your family is important. Showing your children that you love them by serving them on a daily basis is important work. So, today I’m here to share a list of old-fashioned homemaking habits to keep a home running well in our modern world.

Modern society encourages you to outsource all of your cooking, cleaning and housework so that you have more time for the important things of life, but I’m here to say that slowing down enough to cook your own meals, hang your laundry to dry or brush your little girl’s hair are the important things. Our souls are crying out for simplicity in this fast-paced world and a little bit of old-fashioned hands on work just might be what we all need more of to feel more whole and at peace.

Eat Simple Meals

Having all of the ingredients in the world at our fingertips seems like a blessing, but I think it can be a huge drain mentally and a big budget buster. The art of cooking simple, homemade food your family is huge in being able to get three meals a day on the table without experiencing fatigue or burnout.

Don’t over think it. Just find a few simple meals that your family enjoys and cook them over and over again. Things like chicken noodle soup, chili, quesadillas, fried rice or scrambled eggs and toast will fill bellies and help keep the house running smoothly.

Cook from Scratch

In our modern world of convenience, we are losing the skill of preparing our own food. We are exchanging our health and hard earned money for a quick meal, but is it that much harder to make a meal from scratch in our own kitchens?

Cooking from scratch is a great way to save money and ensure that your family is getting wholesome food and the nutrition that they need in order to be strong and ready for whatever the day might bring them.

Be careful not to fall into the trap of always eating convenience food, because there is a cost. Cooking food from scratch shouldn’t be seen as an old-fashioned skill, but sadly, that is where we’re at as a society, so let’s don our aprons and make sure we are honing our craft of cooking and passing it down to the next generation.

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Potatoes in a black wire basket, sitting on a countertop with vegetables in the background.

Grow Your Own Food

If cooking from scratch seems old-fashioned, then growing your own food seems like an ancient thing to do, but I’m here to tell you that it is one of the most life-giving activities that I’ve ever taken part in. It never ceases to amaze me how you can plant a tiny seed in the ground and end up with pounds and pounds of fresh, wholesome food.

We’ve all experience the frailty of our food system in the past few years, so why not take matters into our own hands and see how much food we can grow on our own, without the help of others. I promise you that once you start, you may not be able to stop. It’s really that satisfying.

Preserve Your Own Food

If you’re going to be growing your own food, then you might end up with more than you or your family can consume before it goes bad, which is why it’s prudent to learn how to preserve it for later use. The easiest way to do this is generally freezing or dehydrating, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you may want to look into canning. It might seem scary, but as long as you follow all of the guidelines and instructions, you’ll realize that it’s pretty easy, just a little time consuming.

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Keep Chickens

They say that the gateway animal into farming is chickens and I think that is very true. Keeping chickens is definitely an old-fashioned habit, but well worth the effort in my opinion. Chickens not only give you eggs and meat, but they also eat kitchen scraps, help make compost, fertilized the garden and eat bugs.

Plus, there’s something calming about watching them peck and scratch. Another great thing about chickens is that they take up minimal space and are relatively quiet, meaning they can be kept in suburban and urban areas as long as the local law allows.

Buy Locally

Our ancestors bought most of their goods locally because it was their only option. If you don’t want the world ran by one or two massively rich and powerful companies in the future, then you need to make sure that you are supporting local businesses. You can’t complain when all of the local businesses shut down, if you aren’t making sure that you are supporting them now, while they are still open.

Supporting your local economy is something that is extremely important, not to mention healthier and better for the environment. It’s definitely an old-fashioned habit in this day and age, but one that we need to make sure that we keep alive for all of humanity’s sake.

Live Seasonally

As a gardener and homesteader, I’ve found that I naturally live a more seasonal life. Spring is for preparing and planting the garden, summer is for harvesting and preserving, fall is for enjoying the abundance and winter is for rest. I believe that learning to grow, shop, live, create and eat in season is a great practice that we can all benefit from. The closer we are to nature and it’s rhythms, the happier, healthier and more at peace we will be as a whole.

Make Your Own Medicines

If you’re already growing some of your own food, why not try growing a few herbs for medicinal purposes? Alternatively, you can always purchase them, but learning a few herbal remedies is a great old-fashioned skill that can be honed over time and is a benefit for your family. If you are a beginner in this a quick search online or trip to your local library is a good way to get started.

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Make Your Own Cleaning Products

If making your own medicines sounds intimidating, then why not try making your own cleaning products. It’s amazing just how many store-bought cleaning products you can replace using simple ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, dish soap and borax. Consumerism tells us that we need a product for every problem in our lives, but that simply isn’t true. Our ancestors did pretty well with just a hand full of ingredients.

I personally use vinegar and water to clean countertops, windows, sinks, the microwave, coffee pot and a whole host of other things. It’s extremely cost effective, so why not give it a try and see what you think?

Mend Your Own Clothes

Mending is definitely viewed as an old-fashioned thing to do in our modern, fast fashion society and I think that’s a crying shame. This is a skill that can be easily learned and implemented to not only save money by lengthening the life of your clothes, but also being better for the environment.

I personally love sitting down with a pile of clothes that need mending because I enjoy hand sewing and it also makes me feel practical and useful. I feel that a lot of mental anxieties that young people struggle with today stems from the fact that they aren’t doing useful things with their hands.

Eat at Home

Our grandmothers ate at home most of the time because it was simply the only option and I believe that they were better for it. While is may seem tempting to get take out or let someone else prepare your meal, it comes at a cost to your health and your pocketbook.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that eating out has gotten way more expensive the past couple of years, to the point (in my opinion) that it’s not even worth messing around with. I can make a cheaper, healthier and tastier version of just about anything that can be bought.

If you’re used to relying on fast food then it will take a little more planning and forethought on your part, but it’s just a matter of creating new habits. If this is an area that you struggle with, then be sure to check out my post, How to Stop Eating Out (11 Pro Tips that Will Save You Hundreds).

Keep the Screens at Bay

This is another habit that our grandparents did naturally, because screens weren’t available to them. Sometimes I’m jealous of the lives they lived that were primarily screen free. It seems like such a luxury in our media saturated society.

I think most of us realize by now that too much screen time has major negative impacts on our mental and physical well being. It’s best to try and limit screens as much as we can in order to have a more calm and peaceful life.

There are numerous articles, books and podcasts on this topic and it’s a very personal thing, as we all tend to use screens in a different manner, but the more we can log off and live life without them, the happier we all will be in the long term.

A women standing with her back to the camera in a flower field with her hand on her hat.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

This seems to be a hot topic lately. I can’t even tell you the amount of influencers that I’ve seen lately promoting getting outdoors in natural light with your bare eyes first thing in the morning. It seems that doing this, plus reducing blue light after sunset really has some amazing health benefits.

I’ve been trying to stay off of my phone after the sun goes down and as a result I’ve felt much calmer and sleepier in the evenings. I believe that all of the artificial light that we take in is really messing with our hormones, natural rhythms and nervous systems. Grandma went to bed early because that was the natural thing to do and I believe that we could all stand to benefit from this simple practice of honoring natural light.

Rest on Sunday

It was assumed that the old-fashioned homemaker would rest on Sundays, also called the Sabbath. This is because the bible commands it and most people adhered to this practice. Women of old would make sure to have meals and household chores completed for the Sabbath, so that they could rest.

It seems that our modern world has forgotten how to rest, but it would benefit us all greatly if we put this back into practice. In our home, we try not to plan work or projects on Sundays unless necessary and I stay off of my phone and computer as much as possible. Whatever it might look like for you, why not try putting one day aside each week simply to rest and see how it affects you and your family.

I hope that this list of old-fashioned habits has inspired you to evaluate how you are spending your time and maybe even pushed you to put a few of them into practice. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Thank you for being such an inspiration! 🥰. I’m an “old” Grandma but I still love reading your emails and trying your recipes. I forwarded this email to another Grandma 😁 and hopefully she shares it with her Grandchildren. (One of her granddaughters visited last summer and her husband asked me if I could sew? I said, Of course. He asked me would I teach his wife how to sew on buttons… “I” sewed 20 buttons on his hunting clothes. She wasn’t interested in learning, so sad. Her cell phone was more important.) This is just to let you know I admire you for your knowledge & inspiration.
  2. I love this post Missy. Taking care of our home, and my family is such a blessing. And I know that this is what the Lord has called me to do. Thank you for writing about being a homemaker, and how very important it is. God Bless You!
  3. I absolutely agree on the importance of Sabbath! Keeping Sabbath is about loving your neighbor. Think about it. It isn't about you. Yes, it is a time for you to rest, but more so, it is a time for you to give rest and relief to all of those under you, even your animals. And that's just the weekly Sabbath. How about the seven year Sabbath? Resting the land. Giving to the poor. Giving to the animals. Freeing the debtors. That too is love. Would you tell a poor brother or sister to ''go in peace, be rested and relieved'' or would you actually give them rest and relief? We would do well to remember the Sabbath; for every instruction from God is wisdom. ''Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.'' (Exodus 20:8-11, ESV) ''Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.'' (Exodus 23:12, ESV) ''For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.'' (Exodus 23:10-11, ESV) ''At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord's release has been proclaimed.'' (Deuteronomy 15:1-2, ESV) ''What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.'' (James 2:14-17, ESV)

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