How do you feel when you see a clean and tidy home? How does keeping your home and yard clean and neat show appreciation to your Heavenly Father?
Clean windows, bright flower pots, hanging baskets, and window boxes reflect individual personalities. Well-kept gardens, yards, fences, and outbuildings indicate to the community that we are fulfilling our responsibility to care for our surroundings.
Whether we are homeowners or tenants, we should feel responsible for keeping property clean, neat, and attractive.
(Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1975,).
President Kimball often reminded members of the Church of the need to clean, repair, and beautify their homes. “Now we ask you to clean up your homes. … We urge each of you to dress and keep in a beautiful state the property that is in your hands” “Whatever your circumstance, let your premises reflect orderliness, beauty, and happiness”
President David O. McKay also counseled us to make our homes attractive and to have more activities there. Our children will be happy and glad to bring their friends home if home is a warm, friendly, happy place.
When our homes are neat and orderly, they increase in value, safety, and beauty.
We should keep our homes clean and attractive. However, we should also avoid excess in doing so. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin cautioned us against “placing improper emphasis on the obtaining of material possessions.” He warned: “Even if we are blessed enough to afford … luxury, we may be misdirecting resources that could be better used to build the kingdom of God or to feed and clothe our needy brothers and sisters.
We do not need expensive furnishings to improve our homes. We can often make something useful from old or discarded items. By working together we can repair and refinish old furniture that we have purchased at thrift stores or auctions. We can paint walls, ceilings, and doors, sew draperies and bedcovers, make pillows, and weave rugs.
Three simple steps can help us accomplish much with our families. First, as a family we should look around our homes to discover areas that need repair, cleaning, painting, or reorganizing.
Next, we should plan as a family to accomplish these tasks. It is important for us to organize and select only one area at a time to work on. Then we need to obtain the necessary materials, tools, and supplies to do the work we have chosen. We should involve family members by allowing them to perform tasks suited to their abilities.
Finally, we should do the work together as a family. Each person involved in the work should take pride and feel satisfaction in his or her part of the completed task. In this way, each project can be enjoyable and rewarding for the entire family. Many things can be accomplished when families organize and work together.
In the Doctrine and Covenants we are told that if anything that is unclean is allowed in the Lord’s house, the glory of the Lord will not be there; His presence will not abide in unholy temples (see D&C 94:9; 97:15–17). Because we want to have the Spirit of the Lord in His holy temples, we keep them clean and beautiful and admonish all who enter to be worthy of worshiping there. We also need the Spirit of the Lord in our homes. We should, therefore, follow Church leaders’ admonitions to clean up and tidy our surroundings, making the inside and outside of our dwellings as attractive as possible.
Pleasant and orderly surroundings can do much to help us enjoy life. “A sister tells of a difficult period in her life when she lost friends and family because of her conversion to the Church. She said, ‘I was compelled to take a small apartment. And, as I looked at its squalor and disarray, a deep depression descended on me. Suddenly I could hear an inner voice saying, “The Lord’s house is a house of order.” I threw off the shackles of self-pity, rolled up my sleeves, and worked steadily until my little home was clean and cheerful. … A new spirit of home was born’.
Plants, cut flowers, and music bring beauty into our homes. Most of us have or can develop special talents and abilities, such as embroidering, quilting, weaving, painting or drawing, flower arranging, nurturing houseplants, and so on. With these abilities, we can create beauty in our surroundings. We can soften the harsh and bring luster to the dull. We have a special, God-given role to perform as homemakers.
Church leaders have given us instructions from the Lord to organize, clean, paint, repair, and beautify our homes and property. As we work together as families to beautify our surroundings, we learn skills and habits that help us throughout our lives. When we give time and effort to improve our dwellings and property, we appreciate them more.
The scriptures tell us that the Spirit of the Lord cannot dwell in a place of confusion or uncleanliness. If we make our homes cheerful, clean, and inviting, our loved ones will want to be there. As we live in harmony with gospel principles, the Spirit of the Lord brings us peace and tranquillity.
Taken from Lesson 27: Caring for Our Homes,” The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B, 229