Peace In An Ordered Home

There are many sayings to the effect of you can have happy children or a clean home but not both.  I think there is some truth in that in a small way.  Right now, I have gymnastics mats that have been made into a large track circling my kitchen counter and the children run “P.E classes” all day on and off complete with laps and push ups and sit ups.  Eventually the mats will have to be cleaned up so I can mop my floor, but I can live with it for a few days.  There is a 2000 piece puzzle on my dining room table that most likely will sit there for some days.  However, the rest of the house is clean and tidy.  The laundry is done and folded and put away.  We have food in the refrigerator and I know what we are going to make for our meals.

This is for me.  An ordered home that reflects beauty and peace mirrors how I feel inside.  I am a very visual person, and therefore I find that for me, it is easier on me to keep my home clean and orderly for my own mental health.  When everything is strewn everywhere and dirty, I cannot focus on anything else.  I live here all day, and it has to reflect a certain something of myself and what we value as a family.  We value love, and one way we love and nourish each other is to have a home that is livable, where food and clean clothes and cleanliness is apparent.

There has been some studies that suggest cluttered homes actually equate with depression and that clutter in and of itself can make us feel more anxious.

I have come to the conclusion after many years of homemaking, that the foundation of parenting (and homeschooling) is homemaking.  It may be tiresome to do dishes day after day and know there will be more dishes tomorrow.  It may be tiresome to wash, fold and put away five loads of laundry and know there will be more laundry tomorrow.

Yet, I think this is the foundation of a practice of serenity.  This is one of the biggest spiritual practices we can find, if only we will slow down enough to take up the opportunity.  Trying and doing cultivates the will.  So, knowing how you want to tackle your home – what system works well for you, is important.  Flylady has worked well for me, along with having a specific day to run errands so we have food and other necessities on hand.  I use a home delivery service for eggs, honey, organic produce and  organic dairy; Amazon Prime and Costco helps keep my pantry stocked; and I am trying a meat CSA that delivers about every six weeks in order to keep everything stocked and on hand.  Sometimes it is not in my nature to be organized (except for school work for some reason!) and I have to work hard to try and do and pass this on to our children, who will be running their own homes some day.

Share with me the homekeeping rhythms that you have established that give you peace.


18 thoughts on “Peace In An Ordered Home

  1. I am a true believer in an orderly and beautiful home! I think the first step to really get on top of things is to cull, cull, cull! Less is definitely best when it comes to having order. Get rid of the clutter and keep only what is truly meaningful, functional, beautiful or sentimental. Have a place for everything, know where it goes and be vigilant about letting things pile up. As far as a rhythm goes, the daily tidying is just worked into our normal day. Beds get made in the morning and bedrooms get picked up, I do breakfast dishes while the boys do school work, laundry happens all the time. Before dinner we all pitch in to get everything picked up and put away. On a weekly basis I wash the boys sheets and dust their room, next day I do our sheets and dusting, the rest of the week I do downstairs – clean the bathroom, dust, vacuum, sweep. I try not to have this be too scheduled because I find an overly regimented cleaning rhythm oppressive. Each season I wash curtains and slipcovers and get rid of accumulating clutter. Each summer I do the basement, each Fall I do the backyard. Most of all I think it’s a way of living that I inherited from mother. Some people might call it narotic or obsessive, I call it good housekeeping 😀

  2. I could not agree more with mama tango on the basics of the household habits. We have a very similar rhythm in our house, albeit I have to admit that the weekly cleaning rounds are not necessarily done every week as of late. I have to work on getting back to that.
    A straightened up house in the morning and at night makes all the difference for me. One important way to keep my sanity, in case the day goes off the rails for whatever reason.
    De-cluttering is my all time favorite “hobby” as my hubby says, I just can not stand a lot of stuff, … now I just have to find a way to keep the schoolroom straightened up. :-{}

  3. I love in a large schoolhouse with my family’s rooms on the top floor, a separate dining space, shared kitchen and “living room” space. In the school and shared space, I’m cleaning regularly through the daily rhythm with the young (6 and under) children that I care for each day, and share tidying with my family in the evenings, which follows a schedule of sorts including time for my near 8 yo to help out with some daily chores,. My husband and I split getting the boys (we have 3) to bed and dinner clean up, and then I use the rest of the night to fold laundry, sometimes mop or sweep where I didn’t get to through the day and prepare for the next day’s meals. Weekends are when we have time to give a significant cleaning to our two bedrooms and bathroom on our floor, Saturdays are also my grocery day, and my husband generally runs other errands for me when he has time during the week.

    One of my greatest strengths is planning- especially with meals- and one of my greatest challenges has been follow through. As a relatively seasoned mama and child care provider, I’m really getting there because i feel how much more peaceful I am at heart and how much more ready I am to give myself to the children when I follow those plans and tweak where necessary. It works for me best to go in with a plan and then run the trial to find what organically works out in the end and stick with it until something needs to change out of necessity.

    I have to say, I really find it helpful to try to prepare most of my lunch and dinners (we make a hot lunch for school) one day ahead of time. I have tried freezer cooking more than once with little success finding both the huge chunk of time and the money to front in order to pull it off regularly. Instead, preparing most of the meal a day ahead helps me keep peace on those days when I just can’t pull off a full meal from scratch. I appreciate that you mentioned Amazon Prime. We have it but I haven’t thought much about using it for pantry items. I will definitely invest some time into seeing what is available for us. Thank you!

  4. Pingback: Peace In An Ordered Home | The Parenting Passageway - PeaceWords.Us

    • Mangala,
      Thank you so much for posting this link. What a wonderful article! Truly inspiring and much needed.
      In Gratitude,

  5. It really helped us to assign a day of the week to each chore: Monday-bathrooms, Tues.-Sweep whole house, Wed.–Living room and dining room, Thu.–2 bedrooms, Fri.–2 other bedrooms, Sat.-kitchen and sweep house again. It’s not perfect, but it helps me let go of some rooms when they’re a mess because I know I’ll get to them later in the week or encourages me to work on a room that I might avoid otherwise. “It’s Monday bathroom day” is as dependable as the sun rising in the East.

    My husband and I flex our schedules to do all our own childcare/homeschooling. The cleaning schedule has helped to ensure whoever is home attends to the homemaking.

    I’m not as organized as others here to have a seasonal deep clean, but I’d love to!

  6. Thank you for this reminder, Carrie! I feel the need for this deep inside, but I just haven’t managed it. I have 3 little ones (6 1/2, 3, 10 months), and I just can’t keep up with it! We also moved in the summer, for the 4th summer in a row, so I feel there are always things that we haven’t had time to attend to – boxes of random stuff that has to be culled through, but we spend every summer settling into a new home, so we never get to the culling. The 3 year old and 10 month old both scatter everything so often, so that toys are always under-foot (and we don’t have a ton – but wooden train tracks and blocks can take up a lot of floor space!). I’m still up a lot at night with the baby, so I’m also quite tired in the mornings, and early afternoons . My two older children are at a local Waldorf school until noon 3 days/week, and I often set goals to get things done around the house (especially purging/de-cluttering), but once I get the baby asleep, I often feel the need for a rest myself, or I have things to attend to like bills. If anyone has any thoughts about how to apply the ideas to a very tired mother of three little ones, I would love to hear advice. Also, we live in a small, 4-room log cabin, with the main living area an open-concept (kitchen/living/dining), so ideas about baby-proofing in such a space would be helpful. My 10 month-old is very mobile and gets underfoot while I’m trying to wash dishes or cook; she also pulls things out of cupboards, and gets into the bigger kids’ things (which they often leave out…puzzles and crayons and so forth…). We don’t have a mudroom and live in Vermont, so although we try to have the “two by two” rule for boots/shoes, the baby inevitably knocks them over and moves them about. Then she pulls coats of the pegs, and hats out of the shoe bag hanging on the door, and presto! – chaos! This can all be funny and delightful when I’m in the right mood, but when I’m overtired and feeling the tug of my monthly cycle… it’s a bit more challenging. Sorry for such a long post that may seem negative in contrast to the positive ones above, but I am truly seeking advice. Thank you!

    • Aw, Lydia! Remember too, many of the mothers writing in probably have older children and the routines have taken years to establish.
      It is hard when you are tired! I don’t think I have any advice for you at this point other than to box or keep in boxes some things until you really have a home to put everything. Baby proofing in open spaces is tough – I always found my best baby proofing to be to put an infant in a sling and do some of the work I needed to get done, especially when they could be worn on my back and my hands were free. 🙂
      I think routines and rhythms in turns of cleaning up is also super important….making that part of the activity.
      I do understand what you mean – how sometimes something can be funny or irritating depending upon when things happen.
      C’mon veteran mamas, give Lydia some great ideas!
      Blessings, love and hugs,

  7. Lydia, when my son was young, I used to fill a plastic tote partway with warm water, put it on my kitchen floor while I made dinner and put him in it. I called it “bin-o-bath” and he loved it until he was just way too big to fit.

    When your kids get older you will have that moment when you really clean under and behind the fridge. It took me 7 years to get there an no one was the wiser except that mouse who checked it out regularly.

    Overall, I find decluttering and tidying to be very good when I am stressed or upset about something. It takes my mind off the worry and gives me an immediate sense of satisfaction. I don’t have a regular habit of it, just when it feels right. These little things that can seem like such a chore are actually very healing at times.

    Love, Sue

  8. I’ve just caught up on reading your blog, and I wanted to say hello! I love the word of the year, peace, and I really love your weekly wrap-ups. Every time you post there is something for me to consider. Thank you!

    • Mrs. Mallard –
      MISS YOU! I just saw your Winter post, and love keep track of you and your family.
      Love and hugs,

    • Hi Mary! Organic flour and organic sugar, things like parchment paper/tin foil, natural soap, skin care products and natural sunscreen…cleaning products and laundry detergent (Bio Kleen), dishwashing detergent and hand soap (Mrs. Meyer’s), vitamins and such. I have friends who order all their gluten free flours from there.
      You can also try Vitacost as well.

  9. Pingback: Mama Reads Monday - Forty, A Peaceful Home, and MORE! - B-Inspired Mama

  10. Carrie, so many of the things you write resonate deeply with me. It is very affirming to read. Thank you. I too need order but can cope with a certain amount of mess. I like to have food and home schooling planned so I am free to be creative and present. It really helped me when you said the foundation of parenting and home schooling is home making…i feel a real boost from this. I often feel such pressure whenever I am doing a household task that I should be doing something else with the kids, even though in theory I know its all important and that the one weaves with the other. I often feel torn rather than at peace … Keep writing, blessings,

  11. Thank you for the encouragement! It is helpful to hear that these things happen in seasons, and the season I am in is one that makes order more of a challenge. I do love the idea of the bath in a big tupperware tub! I think my 10 month-old would enjoy that, as long as the excited older siblings don’t try to pile in too, or tip the whole thing over! I do like having a rhythm for these things when I can establish it. I got my 6 1/2 year old washing dishes after lunch every day (we have no dishwasher), but that fell by the wayside over Christmas break, and I just reestablished it today. She gets into a groove and starts humming while she washes, and when I finish getting the little ones down for nap/quiet time, I’m rewarded with a drainer full of clean dishes and an empty sink! Do you mamas all have a written-down rhythm/routine for homemaking tasks/chores? As my older daughter gets more responsible, I’m beginning to think I need that, but I haven’t figured out how to present it and display it. I was thinking about something similar as a check-list for her morning – brushing hair and teeth, packing her backpack, etc. I often find ideas like this just bouncing about in my mind though, and never getting done! Follow-through should probably be my word for this new year, though overall I do prefer “peace.” Best wishes to you all.

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