I'm so glad you have joined me for the eighth Feminine Behavior, "She Anticipates and Prepares." I promise you I didn't even plan it this way but this virtue just happens to fall (no pun intended) at the most appropriate time of the year. It's a chilly 47 degrees here and I am so glad that I took the time last week to switch our wardrobes from warm weather to cool weather. As each morning grew cooler and cooler, it was no problem to dig into freshly organized dresser drawers to pull out long-sleeved shirts, pants, or warm tights. It was a simple process really, all I did was keep an eye on the weather and when I anticipated cool weather approaching, I set aside part of my day to prepare for it.
This week's topic is found in Proverbs 31:21 where we read:
"She is not afraid of the snow for her household:
For all her household are clothed in scarlet." (KJV)
I also appreciate this translation:
"She has no fear of winter for her household,
For everyone has warm clothes." (NLT)
I would like to focus on the fact that this verse starts out so simple in that the words are meant to be conveyed in a literal sense. She literally did not fear for her family during the upcoming cool season because she had taken the necessary steps to prepare and ensure that they would be clothed warmly.
This is certainly the appropriate time of year to discuss this simple but practical responsibility of the homemaker. Preparing for winter is going to look different for different families by taking into consideration their geographic location and, certainly, their economic situation. Whatever your personal circumstances, preparation for each new season is still necessary.
Here are the steps I take to prepare my own household:
* Prepare the outdoors. My husband and I have always rented so I have absolutely zero expertise on preparing a yard for winter! However, I do keep several potted plants on my deck. This is the first year I have cared for a rose plant and I would like to successfully keep it alive! The rest of my plants are annuals. I found this website to have a few useful tips for beginners (ahem, me...) in preparing roses for winter. We also store our grill and the kids' large yard toys in our shed. Other outdoor preparations for our family include preparing our vehicles. The obvious steps include keeping up with the vehicles' maintenance and adding items like blankets for the "just in case" situations.
* Winter accessories. To keep our home somewhat organized throughout the cool weather months, I keep a few extra bins by our front door area (sadly, we don't have a "real" entryway - just a door opening up into our living room) to store hats, gloves, and scarves. They're conveniently accessible when we're about to leave and they're just as convenient for immediately replacing the items when we return home (at least that is how it should be! ☺). There is also a box (literally a brown shipping box - hey, it was free!) next to the doorway for storing the kids' shoes and boots. The adult shoes are either put in the laundry room if muddy or in the Master bedroom.
* Wardrobes. As I mentioned earlier, I do a big wardrobe switch twice a year where I pull out all the previous season's clothing for each family member and replace them with the next season's clothing. While doing this task, I separate the previous season's clothing into designated piles of keep for next year (or future use) or donate (or yard sale if applicable). I take inventory of the next season's clothing as it's going into closets and dresser drawers and take note of items that are still needed to stretch each person's wardrobe. As an example, my daughter has very few hand-me-downs being that she has two older brothers, so I am stretching her wardrobe by keeping in all her summer dresses and layering them over a long-sleeved shirt and some warm tights. She didn't have a versatile solid-colored shirt to wear under all her dresses so I added that to my list to fill in her wardrobe gaps. Instead of buying five new outfits, I just needed one shirt. I applied the same concept to everyone elses wardrobes to ensure everyone has enough warm clothing. Taking inventory is also useful for when relatives ask what items the kids need and I can relay their practical needs. The last step is to then store away all the previous season's clothing in labeled bins or boxes.
* Inside the home. Again, we rent so I have no expertise on more than just the basic of home maintenance (read: if you need me to change a light bulb then I'm your gal!) since one benefit of renting is that it is someone else's responsibility to see to the majority of these tasks. This will cease to be a benefit when we do get our first home because we'll have a lot we'll need to learn! In the meantime, I do know that there are many valuable and free resources you can find online to educate on preparing the pipes, furnace, and fire place among other matters for the cool weather months. One thing I have learned is that it is always good to check to make sure your heater is working before you actually need it so you have time to fix it if necessary!
Essentially, the practical advice from Proverbs 31:21 is "be prepared." Each year the seasons and, for that matter, many other changes of life such as the school year, holidays, birthdays, and sports seasons, all come around at somewhat predictable times. The Proverbs 31 homemaker takes the time to anticipate these events in her life and plans ahead to prepare for them.
I would love to hear how you prepare your households for winter and any tips you may have!
For more on this series: Feminine Behaviors - 1) She Is Trustworthy, 2) Helpful and Attentive, 3) She Willingly Works Hard, 4) She Is Resourceful, 5) She Is Self-Sacrificing, 6) She Spends Wisely, and 7) She is Generous and Hospitable.