Creating Joy in Your Home

Ever have one of those trying days?  When parenting the kids resembles something more like herding cats or trying to hold sand? When silly, annoying things are overblown, when children aren’t listening, when the world seems to be conspiring against your home being a relaxed,happy place?

I have. Like plenty, ladies.

Sometimes I handle them in a righteous, Godly way, and sometimes I just go with what feels good and yell or punish, willy-nilly.

I don’t just want a happy home.  I want a home filled with JOY.

Let me clarify what that means.  That doesn’t mean everyone is walking around with a fake, plastered smile on their faces. But it does mean there are special, cozy places where everyone can get some quite, it means things are organized, it means disagreements can be discussed (calmly if possible!), and there is a sense of family unity; that despite what happens, we are a family and we will love each other and nurture that loving relationship.

But, many of us spend our days putting out fires.  If it’s not one kid with a need, it’s a another.  Or, a fight, or whining, or complaining, or…you get the picture.

Definitely NOT joy!

Why do our homes become this way?  Why do we find ourselves in the middle of the third battle of the day by 9 a.m.?  There are tons and tons of reasons, but I wanted to discuss just a few in this piece.

With my children, and maybe with yours too, the more free time they have on their hands, the more they argue with one another. One or both of them become bored and starts irritating the other one for sheer entertainment. “I was kidding,” he says to his annoyed brother.  But really, he was probably was looking for something from his brother: connection and direction.

My kids have a so-called playroom.  It has been a blessing as far as keeping most of the toys in one place, BUT, it can also become a dungeon of negativity for my boys if they are in there too long.

So

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Clutter is a Joy-Killer

Do you love cleaning?  If you do, then, you don’t have to read this blog post!  

Actually, could you read it and then comment below so we can all learn from you?

I was a slob growing up.  My mom would do this annual super clean of my toy-strewned room and I would be so happy in it for like two weeks.  But, then, it would be right back where I found it…naked Barbies on the floor, markers uncapped in a pile, Strawberry Shortcake and Smurfs mixed in with dirty clothes.  

Honestly I never learned to clean up after myself and be a good steward of my belongings. So, therefore I did not respect them or treat them well. This also was true of myself – my own self esteem and feelings about my body and my outward appearance – but that’s another post for another day.

So…

When I grew up a little I shared a home with three other single women. I had my own bedroom and guess what – it was a mess most of the time.  I would clean it every few months from top to bottom.  

Then, I got married and we had the cutest little apartment.  And the same thing would happen. Mess then major clean then a slow return to mess.

We have been in our 1,900 sq. ft. home for about fourteen years now, and with the addition of three precious, but highly imaginative boys, the mess has quintupled! With each birthday and holiday, more stuff.



And I still haven’t learned to keep things clean, regularly.

Can anyone relate?

Part of the problem has to do with my personality type. Highly visual and creative/artistic. I like for everything to be visible

Also, when I put things away, I forget about them (Is that mommy brain??)

So, for the last two years I have been reading and seeking input on how to maintain my home. I have talked to some amazing people – professional organizers, authors and psychologists.  But, not much has changed in my daily routine.

I like to live in my space – but not maintain my space.

The first thing I have attempted to do is declutter.  I have so much extra stuff in my house, that when I look at a room, it is overwhelming in colors, shapes, sizes, styles, you name it.

Just Google or Pinterest that word and you will find so much information on the topic as well as hints, tips and success stories.  

For the past two years I have made a total of seven trips to Savers to donate bags and bags of toys, clothes, decor, and more. Honestly, it feels SO good to donate.  It also feels SO good to see it leave my house.  I have also bagged and trashed a ton of what I would call “junk,” although my son hates that word because sometimes I apply it to his toys, ha ha.


So, step one: DECLUTTER

Here’s my motivation:

Luke 16:10-13 “Jesus went on to make these comments: If you’re honest in small things,you’ll be honest in big things; If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. If you’re not honest in small jobs,who will put you in charge of the store?No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second or adore the first and despise the second.You can’t serve both God and the Bank.” (Message)
 
Now, of course, I don’t think I am a “crook,” per-say, but, by not taking care of the small things God has given me (my house, my belongings, my space) how can I enjoy peace in my home?  I am in a way “stealing” joy and peace from myself and my children by having a confused and cluttered house.
 
So, out go the clothes that don’t fit, the toys which are no longer played with, the extra kitchen gadgets and stained, sentimental baby clothes. Out went my maternity clothes (I am done!) and the broken picture frames.  Out went the shoes that I loved but had a hole, the earrings I never wear and the Jello-molds that we only used once.

It’s a beginning, right?
 
What have you done to declutter your home?

For further reading
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
1 Corinthians 14: 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.