One thing that provides a foundation for family and homeschooling success after reviewing and possibly curtailing commitments outside the home (Step #1) and building a strong foundation for time with your spouse or to rejuvenate yourself if you are single parenting (Step #2), is to have a well-ordered home.
My favorite small book on this subject is by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a health psychologist and researcher in the area of lactation and post-partum depression. If you been reading my blog, you probably have seen me refer to her. This is the link to her book, “The Well-Ordered Home: Organizing Techniques For Inviting Serenity Into Your Life”: This book is 119 pages long and I think you will find it a quick but thought-provoking read with many practical applications.
This passage from page 72 is speaking to me right now: “What Happens When You’re Never Home: Being away from home affects home organization on many levels. You’re not home, so supplies get depleted and you start running out of things, making the time you do have at home more stressful. The mail and the laundry stack up. Things get messy and lost. There is no time for routine maintenance, so you end up replacing things before their time. In order to get a grip on household organization, you will need to spend at least some time at home.”
So, when I think about a well-organized home, I think about a home that is peaceful, a home that is unhurried, a home where I want to be. I think about a home that is serene, not cluttered, and where everything has a place so I can find it, and I have what I need.
“Having what you need”, is of course, dependent upon the use of the room you are in and also specific to you personally. However, there are guidelines out there that can helpful. There are lists for “essentials” for certain rooms in the book I mentioned above and also on-line. For example, I was wondering just the other day what a well-stocked kitchen would entail. Like many married couples in their thirties and forties, we have an awful lot of “hand-me down” kinds of things. We have begun to wonder exactly how much we need of certain items and what a well-matched set of something would entail! On a quick search, I found several lists, including what a professional chef would choose from Target: http://www.sptimes.com/News/092601/Taste/The_well_stocked_kitc.shtml. This is not really a plug for Target, but more because the list seemed manageable. Bon Appetit Magazine’s list for a well-stocked kitchen (possibly a longer list than what would fit in my kitchen, but still provides ideas for the essentials) is here: http://www.sptimes.com/News/092601/Taste/The_well_stocked_kitc.shtml
Sometimes summertime affords the opportunity to go through closets, drawers, and other places of clutter. I love to clean out at the end of the school year and take the time over the summer to get organized. I can typically take a week and really just go through drawers and cabinets and closets. (Some homeschooling mothers put a day of doing this into their school year every quarter as well). Summertime can also be a good time to deal with paper clutter and devising routines to handle paper as soon as it comes in.
Outside of the things I mentioned above, one thing that I think makes the biggest difference in a room is paint. Sometimes it is very hard to pick paint colors, but once your environment is essential, decluttered and organized, painting it a beautiful and nourishing color can totally change your living space.
Having things of beauty in the environment is so important. Some of you have religious articles of beauty, some of you have art to display, many of us have tables that have objects of seasonal beauty on them. These things are important, healing and nourishing.
I have been contemplating lazure painting my schoolroom, and also making a large piece of felt to hang in place of several small wooden bulletin boards in the same space. Little by little the spaces in my home grow more beautiful…..
I hope yours do as well.