You want to make your house a home? A place that soothes and comforts you and your family? A place of order, beauty, and wonder? I’ve got a few thoughts for you to ponder.
You gotta live in your WHOLE house. There’s nothing sadder than a lonely room. Spending time in each room in your house on a regular basis can generate a more balanced life. I find many people spend most their time in one or two rooms of their house. Most people use their dining rooms a few times a year, at best. If you have the rooms, it’s such a shame for them to go to waste!
Please excuse me, but I can’t completely separate myself from my past as a psychologist: Each room should serve a practical AND emotional function. It will serve you well to heal those disconnects, establish new practices, create new routines, and benefit from the proper utilization of your space. The effort creates a more balanced, satisfying life. Doesn’t it kinda make you feel guilty not to use that one (or more) certain room(s) in your home? Start tonight and actually serve dinner in your dining room.
Rethink every space. By rethinking how you use each space in your home, you can create a house that functions better ““ it is more efficient, more beautiful and more spacious ““ and yet is often surprisingly smaller than you thought you needed.
Rather than moving or adding on, you can redistribute furnishings and functions to make the same amount of space accommodate many more activities. The trick is to forget everything you think you know about how each space in the house is supposed to be. Why not put a small sofa or comfy armchair in the kitchen? Now maybe your husband will hang out and talk with you as you make dinner!
We can make each space take on more functions and actually work better in the process by listing the activities, furniture, or articles to be accommodated and tailoring the available space to those particular needs. It’s been popular trend to build or add on a new room for every new activity, like media room or exercise room. A house will feel more integrated and hospitable to its residents if there’s more interaction between activity areas.
Don’t use the dining room much? Make it do double duty as a library or office. Has the rec room turned into just a wreck? Clear it out and create “stations” for your family – a table and chairs for a homework area, a game table with a bookcase behind it full of games, a tv and bean bags just for video gaming (and don’t let video games in other rooms of the house!).
Have a guest room and never have guests? Shove the bed against the wall, create a daybed for seating, and make it into an “away room” for reading, sewing, or working on hobbies. Do you really need a “formal” living room? Do you spend any time in there at all? Then make it into something that works for you – maybe a music room where all your musical instruments have a true home? Below is an example of a “before and after” where I did just that:
Clear it out. There’s still time for a yard sale before winter rolls around. Or just call one of the many good charities that would be happy to pick up your stuff – Goodwill, Salvation Army, AmVets, etc. Once you get rid of the things that are weighing you down, it’s time to clean it up. Keep it clean ““ come up with a plan that includes all family members taking responsibility of the house. If a room is messy, you will simply avoid it. I never want to hang out or use any room that is overcome with clutter or feels dirty, do you?
Make organization part of your lifestyle. You can create the lifestyle you want with the way you live in your home. Just because you have children, does not mean you can’t have a “designed home”, in fact, having children necessitates some design or else your house will quickly turn into a messy, disorganized toy depository. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is a great mantra. Determine a home base for all belongings and add storage containers wherever clutter gathers. Everything needs a home, even if the home is in the trash!
Teach your children how to clean their rooms and be responsible for their own things. We have a basket at the bottom of our stairs. Our kids know that when we ask them to clean up, anything that belongs to them goes in that basket. Then hopefully, the next time they go up the stairs it goes up to their rooms with them. We’ve taught them where to put away everything and make sure those places of storage are accessible to them. I recently had my husband drop the closet bar in my younger child’s closet so that she can independently hang up and get down her own clothes ““ no more excuses that she’s too short!
Set Boundaries. Because boundaries involve making rules, many have as hard a time setting them in rooms as they do setting them in relationships. Harmony and balance require parameters and to be maintained, just as keeping your home life supportive and stress-free doesn’t happen magically. Moms ““ if you don’t teach your kids that their rights are limited when it comes to your or anyone’s personal space, property, or rights, then you are creating little bullies. You deserve sanctuary in your home even if you have children. Don’t be afraid of making rules that insure that.
Here are some examples: no toys or playing in parents’ bedroom, no jumping on the living room couch, don’t play in daddy’s office, do not open the bathroom door without knocking, etc. Children need boundaries as much as parents do! Playing with your kids is important, but there’s a time and there’s a place ““ not all the time and not in every space. You have a responsibility to yourself as well as to them to teach them how to understand and respect these boundaries.
In these trying times, it’s wise to spend some time and effort in making our homes more functional, peaceful, and just well-used. Today’s the first day of the rest of your homelife, so get to it!