If there's any outward thing that reflects and affects the state of my heart and mind, it's the home. When my house is overly cluttered, it makes me feel more overwhelmed, and when I'm struggling to organize my thoughts, heart, and mind I have a hard time keeping tabs on the home. It goes both ways.
This week's Embracing Self-Care topic is peace in the home, and boy is that something I long for. Some of the chaos in my home is out of my control-- kids being rambunctious and loud at times and well, childish, isn't something I can't avoid in this life season (and in our small home).
But there are definitely ways that I can contribute to the peacefulness in our home.
Clear the horizontal spaces
This has been challenging for me. My husband and I have both been growing towards a simpler way of living in recent years, but we are both battling a propensity towards clutter, sentimentality and saving everything. I learned about the power of clear horizontal surfaces from one of my favorite (and sadly no-longer-updated) blogs, Small Notebook.
I like how Rachel is practical about it: "If it seems unrealistic to clear off every horizontal surface, clear the main surface in each room. When you have clear surfaces, your room is ready to be used. You can come in and set down your drinks and popcorn bowl on the coffee table. You can eat dinner at the table without sitting next to the paperwork. Your bed is ready for you to stretch out on it. The room welcomes you. It’s not a place to hold your stuff, it’s a place where you can live."
She especially emphasizes workspaces and kitchen countertops: "We often treat the kitchen counter as a storage space, but it’s supposed to be a work space." So I'm working on that.
I used to wait all week and then plow through the laundry all at once. I thought that made my life easier, but really it just made more work for my weekends.
Now I try to do at least one complete load in every 24-hour period. Sometimes that means I start a load right before bed and throw it in the dryer the next morning, or if I'm unmotivated at night, I'll start it first thing in the morning and then switch it a bit later.
I'm still terrible about folding and putting away, but thankfully my husband often picks up the slack for me there.
I like to have music on in the background as much as possible. Sometimes if I forget and things get intense, just putting some tunes on will cut through the tension a bit. We have a variety of playlists for different moods, seasons and times of days, and I'm always trying new music as well. Have I mentioned how much I love Spotify lately? Plus, I like the idea of raising kids with eclectic music tastes.
It might sound chaotic, but honestly, maintaining an open-door policy actually brings peace to the hearts of this family of extroverts. Part of our family mission statement is the goal of cultivating an open, laid-back, inviting atmosphere that reflects who we are as a family.
Close friends and family know that we don't require notice if they want to stop by and we love having friends and family over for meals or to hang out. Gigi has a neighbor girl over right now, and is thrilled to have a friend to play with (and I'm getting to write a blog post in peace... win-win!).
As with the other areas of self-care we’ve talked about, the first hurdle is identifying what works for us before we can put anything into practice. These are just a few of the areas where I’ve been able to practically bring a little peace into our home.
I encourage you to read through my friends’ posts this week, as they tackle other aspects of home life and techniques which I didn’t go into (such as meal planning, having a set but flexible rhythm, lighting candles, and more).
Next week I will be part of promoting an exciting bundle of eBooks and more all focused around homemaking. There are loads of products included that will be practical, inspirational and helpful in bringing more peace in various forms to the home. I’ve already shared some details about this in my newsletter and I’ll be sharing more here on the blog soon!
What are the key components to a peaceful home for you?