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Household Guidelines


Living in community is spiritually and socially rewarding, but it can also be difficult, due to so many different personalities, different individual values, and different cultures and circumstances. Each of the Jesus Christian bases is different because of this diversity. We have tended to avoid written household rules, because we have not wanted to become overly regimented. However, we are discovering that not having written rules can be just as frustrating to a newcomer, or even to some old-timers who move from one base to another. We have noted some "transgressions" which are consistently frowned upon; yet without guidelines, these transgressions can become habitual in the offenders.

For these reasons, we have polled all members of the community to obtain the following list of guidelines. All of the points are not necessarily appropriate to each location. Some are culturally specific. But they will give members and newcomers a basic understanding of what is expected of them.

Some guidelines are based purely on the Golden Rule... consideration of others. Some are based on environmental concerns (Revelation 11:18). And some are efficiency tips based on experience. We should each ask God for wisdom, for humility in our dealings with others, and for faithfulness to deal with earthly matters properly, so that we can be entrusted with greater spiritual responsibilities.

For convenience, we have created seven categories for the rules: health and safety, kitchen, efficiency, bath/toilet, economy/environment/security, laundry, and miscellaneous.

Health and Safety

1. Turn handles of anything heating, or hot, to a position where they cannot be bumped, or reached by young children.

2. Keep poisons and medicines out of children's reach.

3. Keep door handles, windows, faucets (taps) in good repair, and operating smoothly, for the benefit of the elderly or disabled.

4. Keep walkways free of clutter, especially at night, to avoid injuries from people tripping.

5. Keep electrical appliances away from water.

6. Don't pour dirty water (e.g. mop water) down the kitchen sink.

7. Have two cleaning cloths for the bathroom: one for the sink and bath, and one for the toilet. Make sure household members know which is which.

8. When cleaning the bathroom, be sure to wash the taps and the toilet button, which are primary locations for the spread of germs.

Kitchen

1. Don't pour fat down drains. Drains clogged by fat can sometimes be cleared by pouring boiling water down them. If that fails, use a plunger after the water cools.

2. Don't put hot pans/casseroles directly onto any surface other than the stove top. Use thermal protectors before putting them onto bench tops or onto the table. Also, do not put hot objects from the oven (trays, pots, racks) onto the floor, as the surface may burn.

3. After washing dishes, clean the sink and ensure the drain is clear.

4. If you remove a lid from a jar or container of food, return it as soon as you are finished.

5. Use cutting boards to avoid damage to benches and tables when cutting food.

6. Only use metal scourers and steel wool on metal pans. They can damage plastics and even nice metal bowls and plates. Do not use scourers or steel wool on teflon coated cookware. If food sticks to them, boil water in the pan and scrape it with a wooden spoon or a dish brush. After drying, rub a little oil onto teflon surfaces to prolong the life of the pan.

7. Wipe stove spills ASAP. Baked-on food is hard to clean. Don't cook on a dirty stove.

8. Dirty vessels should be fully soaked or washed immediately. To soak a pan properly, water must reach above all food lines.

9. After emptying the rubbish (trash) bin, wash it out. When it is dry, reline it with a bag.

10. Clean up as you cook.

11. Wipe down the stove, oven, and grill, if necessary, when doing dishes. Don't use scourers on the stove. Squeeze water from a sponge onto the affected area. It should come clean after soaking for a few minutes.

12. To avoid damage, defrost the fridge before ice build-up presses on the pipes or stops the door from closing. Let heat do most of the work (e.g. by putting a bowl of hot water in the freezer compartment). Don't use force. If you must scrape, use a plastic or wooden scraper.

13. To avoid cockroaches, etc., empty rubbish before bed, and leave the kitchen clean.

14. After preparing snacks, put things away and wipe down the bench. If others are snacking, you may have to wait until all are finished, then work together at cleaning up.

Efficiency

1. Methods of addressing envelopes vary from country to country, but two things remain consistent: (a) The name and address of the person who is receiving the article should be written in ink (or typed) in the central portion of the front of the envelope; and (b) postage is placed in the top right corner of the front of the envelope. Ask other team members where to put your return address, air mail stickers, etc. as these may vary.

2. Allow time and funds for maintenance, whether it be cars, equipment, or buildings.

3. Keep a shopping list handy (e.g. on the fridge door) and use it. Add items that are getting low. It is the responsibility of all members to add to the list and to put a new one up if the old one has been removed.

4. Adding a bit of dishwashing soap or bubble bath to the bath will prevent a scummy ring from forming around the tub.

Bath/Toilet

1. Replace toilet paper when you have used the last (or very close to the last) of it.

2. Clean the bath each time you use it.

3. Wash down muddy footprints on toilet and bathroom floors before you leave them.

4. Leave the toilet clean after each use, even if you have to use the toilet brush to do so. (Leave the toilet brush clean too!)

5. Use a small flush after urination (especially in India) to prevent smell.

6. Keep showers short. Avoid having showers at prime times, when demand is high.

Economy/Environment/Security

1. Stamp pads are made to be re-inked. Buy ink... not a new stamp pad.

2. Don't be wasteful. Repair, recycle, compost (if circumstances permit), and avoid unnecessary packaging. When possible, take shopping bags with you when shopping.

3. Disposable nappies (diapers) are convenient, but consider their impact on the environment, and avoid using them if possible.

4. Take good care of your distributing clothes, bag, and shoes, to prolong their life.

5. Turn off lights/fans when leaving a room.

6. Be conservative with heaters and air conditioning. Do not leave outside doors open when these are on. If you must open a door, shut it as quickly as possible afterwards.

7. Lock outside doors at night. Where necessary, leave on an outside light, but remember to turn it off in the morning.

8. Conserve water wherever possible.

9. Don't leave valuables near open windows.

10. Don't leave entry doors open unless you can see if someone comes in unannounced.

11. Leftover soap can be added to new bars by wetting them and pressing them together.

12. Don't drive needlessly. Consider walking, biking, or using public transport. Try to combine several errands in one trip.

Laundry

1. Wash sheets and pillow slips once a week. Ground in dirt may not come out.

2. Put pairs of sox together in the wash basket and wash them together.

3. Laundry detergent should be mixed with water--either directly into the machine, or in a jug of water which is then poured into the machine while it is filling. Once the detergent has been dissolved, then clothes can be added. Pouring detergent directly onto clothes can result in powder stains that will need re-washing.

4. Check and empty all clothes pockets, and spray spots with pre-wash before putting clothes into the washing machine.

5. Clothing should be sorted into loads according to colour: whites; light colours, and dark colours. Mixing them may cause light colours to lose their brilliance.

6. Wash towels separately if possible, as they can leave fluff on clothing.

7. Woollens require hand washing in tepid water, but can usually withstand a short spin before and after hand-rinsing. Do not put them in the dryer.

8. Joggers (shoes) need to be scrubbed and rinsed by hand, to remove most of the dirt, before you put them into the machine.

9. If you leave washed clothes in the machine overnight in a hot/tropical environment, they will smell by morning. If you cannot tend to them immediately, put them loosely in a container exposed to the air.

10. Give wet washing a shake (to get rid of wrinkles) before hanging them out.

11. Hang matching sox together and fold them together when removing them from the line, so they won't be lost.

Miscellaneous

1. Sheets and pillow slips can be washed; mattresses and pillows cannot. Do not use either without sheets or pillow slips.

2. Don't leave dirty cups and dishes lying around the house.

3. When removing your shoes, put them in a neat row with the other shoes, or in the appropriate place for your household.

4. Don't leave dirty smelly sox lying around.

5. If you remove something from it's appropriate spot, return it when you are finished.

6. Leave sinks and, laundry tubs clean. If you pour something dirty down a sink, clean it.

7. Don't fill cups and glasses to the brim, or your carpets and floors will become stained. Immediately clean any spills that occur, as they will be harder to clean later.

8. Except for toddlers and some medical conditions, there should be no need to put your hands on the walls. Hand prints leave grime for someone else to clean.

9. Ask for an appropriate place to pour mop water. Rinse the mop several times after use (until it is clean). Then wring it out and leave it standing upside down (with the mop head up) to dry.

10. Don't tie knots in curtains to hold them back. It looks tacky and leaves the curtains wrinkled.

11. Try not to put your feet on furniture. If you must, then make sure that they are clean.

(See also Bottom Squeezers.)

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