Putter: to move around without hurrying and in a relaxed and pleasant way.
I don’t hear people talk about “puttering” much anymore so I looked up the definition to make sure the meaning hadn’t changed. You know how it is. You grow up calling a certain type of summer footwear “thongs” only to have that word now refer to something that is definitely not worn on the feet. I do try to keep up and yes, I checked Urban Dictionary. Gosh, I do hope MY meaning of of the word “putter” will be totally clear in this post.
Maybe we don’t hear the word that often because we’ve lost the concept. We rush through the essentials of housekeeping due to a lack of time or interest. We feel guilty if we aren’t being productive although we are also prone to Netflix binges.
But what if we actually set aside time to putter about the house doing those teeny little tasks that lavish love upon our home or are just plain fun? I suggest creating a “puttering basket” for just this purpose.
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Create a Puttering Basket
First, let’s talk about puttering and what it involves. It isn’t cleaning, although you might wipe up a spot here or there. It doesn’t adhere to a list of tasks although you might develop a certain routine over time.
Here’s an example:
Starting at the front door, you notice a little smudge on the glass so you spray a little vinegar water on it and wipe with a fresh, white cloth. The door mat has a few leaves on it so you sweep them away.
On your way to the kitchen, you add a little water to the vase of fresh flowers on your dining room table. In the kitchen you might put a freshly ironed tablecloth on the table or put out a fresh tea towel. Maybe remove a dead leaf or two from the plant on the windowsill and mist it lightly.
In the living room the pillows get a good fluffing and the afghans are refolded neatly, ready to snuggle under while watching a new episode of your favorite show later on. You flick a feather duster over the coffee table and the front of the television and empty the wastebasket. If there are smudges on the coffee table and not just dust, you pull out a little can of lavender beeswax furniture polish and a special dusting cloth kept just for this purpose. In no time, the coffee table is gleaming. Maybe you decide that a couple of the magazines you removed from the table are no longer wanted so you put them in the recycling bin. Or you decide to remove everything and just place a sparkling crystal bowl full of shiny apples in the middle.
The guest bathroom gets a quick peek to make sure it’s in good order. Perhaps a fresh hand towel is needed. Of course, we check to make sure there is plenty of hand soap and a good supply of toilet paper. This is another place to pull out your bottle of homemade vinegar water spray and white cloth to wipe away any spatters on the mirror or finger prints on the light switch.
The master bedroom might be next on your rounds. Turn down the covers like they do in fancy hotels (I’ll try to remember to take a picture of how I do it and share it here), and lightly spray the pillows with your homemade lavender linen spray. Write your husband a love note on a piece of paper from the tiny pad you carry in your puttering basket and leave it on his pillow. Straighten out one drawer in your dresser – maybe the one with your best lingerie – carefully refolding each item and tucking in a few sprigs of lavender.
In the master bathroom, you take a few minutes to polish the faucet, removing every last water spot. Cull the oldest magazines from the basket you keep in there and toss out any almost-empty shampoo or conditioner bottles in the shower. Replace with the extras you always keep on hand. Fold the end of the toilet paper roll into a cute little triangle.
Finally, as you walk back through the house, you light candles in each room, turn off harsh overhead lighting and turn on lamps instead. Put away your puttering basket, turn on some beautiful music, make a nice cup of tea and put your feet up for a few minutes before your family returns home.
That, my friends, is one example of puttering. The most important part of it is that it was done in a relaxed manner with no particular goal in mind other than simply loving and caring for your home.
How to create a puttering basket
Start with a small to medium-sized basket with a handle so you can carry it about on your arm. You can purchase a lined basket something like this:
Or use a basket you already have and line it with a pretty tea towel or scrap of fabric. An old Easter basket might be a possibility if it’s big enough to hold your supplies.
Decant your homemade vinegar and water solution (maybe add a few drops of your favorite essential oil!) into a small, glass spray bottle. Does it have to be glass? No, you can certainly use whatever you have on hand, at least to start with. But do consider upgrading to a nice, glass bottle at some point. Maybe something like this:
I love the fact this set includes cute labels. These are now in my Amazon cart awaiting my next order.
Next, you’ll need some cleaning cloths. For heavy duty cleaning I use rags I’ve repurposed from old dish cloths or towels which are no longer suitable for their original purpose due to stains or simply being worn out. However, you’re just going to be wiping a spot or splatter here and there. For our puttering basket we want things pretty so skip the ratty old rags. You can buy a stack of pure white wash cloths for very little. Put a couple of these in your puttering basket before you start and then toss them in with your other cleaning rags, ready for their own special once-a-week washing.
You’ll also need a small feather duster.
And if you have houseplants, add a plant mister. A plastic squirt bottle works but why not start saving extra change and splurge on something pretty?
Remember that lavender beeswax furniture polish I mentioned? This is what I use and I absolutely love it! A little goes a long way and it smells divine.
We’ve talked about how to make Homemade Lavender Linen Spray:
Decant some into one of those cobalt blue bottles and tuck it into your basket. Not only can you use it on your pillows as you turn down the covers, but spray a bit here and there on curtains, pillows, afghans and such as you putter about the house. Your home will smell like Provence!
Of course, you could also purchase some:
Other items to include:
- a tiny box of matches or a lighter for candles
- a bottle of plain water for filling flower vases or giving a thirsty plant a drink
- a wee pad of paper (choose a pretty color!) to leave sweet little notes for your husband or children
- a small notebook in which to jot down things you notice during puttering – a lightbulb that needs to be replaced, bathroom supplies getting low, a cleaning task to add to next week’s list, a decorating idea or maybe an idea for your next novel!
- a pen
- small pair of scissors to clip a loose thread on a throw pillow or snip a dead leaf on a houseplant
- something in which to collect little bits of trash (I suggest a gallon size ziplock bag which you then empty into the kitchen wastebasket and replace in your puttering basket.)
- a bottle of your favorite essential oil – add a drop or two to each toilet; fill the bathroom sink with hot water and a drop of oil to fragrance the room while you change the towels; a drop on a damp cloth which is then used to gently wipe the dust from lightbulbs will gift you with a gentle scent the next time you turn the lamp on.
- your tiara – You do have one, right? Begin your puttering by putting on some lipstick and a tiara. After all, you are the queen of your domain. Might as well act like it. And honestly, where else are you going to wear a tiara these days?
You may also enjoy this post:
Homemaking is back in style
If you want to take puttering to the next level, check out this ebook – I LOVE IT!
This post is linked up at Making a Home – Homemaking Linky.