When we set out to begin this delightful home series, Amy and I really thought long and hard about why we would do it. We discussed that we really wanted to share was a series of posts that would help you love your home, right where you are. We have both recently moved (sadly, farther away from each other, rather than closer), and we’ve fully unpacked, but we needed to live there a while to really let it feel like home – to see how we use each room, what feels out of place, or what we’d like to adjust. We’re sure you have similar adjustments you’d like to make and maybe you’re on the search for new ideas and to see how other homeschooling moms use their spaces.
We began to discuss the resources that we had used in the past to really bring order and joy to our spaces. First and foremost, Amy and I both really liked The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Sure, Kondo thanks her socks for their usefulness before puts them in the hamper and there are some other strange notions to avoid, but the overall message is a good one: Keep only the things that bring you joy through their beauty or usefulness. It is amazing how much your home will change for the better when you implement that rule alone. Add in a few other ideas for storage and space saving folding and suddenly you’ve freed up hours of your week because you don’t have to maintain and contain messes.
When you’ve decided on what to keep, there are best practices in organization. The Complete Book of Home Organization really helps here. (Her blog also has lots of inspiration and ideas!) Many times, we may have dishes stored across the kitchen from the dishwasher meaning tons of extra steps and wasted time when unloading or other similar inefficiencies. We may store pans where they are buried under pots and being scratched and dented, and so disorder means having to spend more on replacements. This book has many tips to keep things orderly, and before you know it, using and cleaning your rooms is so much quicker and easier. We can also put into practice ideas to make chores easier for younger folks by keeping certain items in lower cabinets or drawers.
The book that taught Amy everything she knows about homemaking and, even more importantly, convinced her it was a worthwhile endeavor was Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House. I still remember hearing the NPR story our first year of marriage (yes, 1999) and then heading to the bookstore (there were still lots of those around back then!) to buy it.
When I was in the midst of having a whole gaggle of babies (3, 3 and under!), I would reread A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul every couple months. Pierlot applies lessons from monastic living to motherhood and homemaking for a higher sense of vocation.
We also love Like Mother, Like Daughter, for her very practical approach to homekeeping. It is inspiring to read the wisdom of a woman who has raised seven children and has really reasonable advice for how clean a home should be and great advice to keep it so.
The Madame Chic books are refreshing and elevating. At Home with Madame Chic offers practical advice on “having a happy, fulfilling, and passionate life at home.” Jennifer Scott shares how a little planning and the little details go a long way in refining the tone of your home.
I also loved this 31 post series about having a Heart of Hospitality. It reminded me that my home is not to be made beautiful in order to puff up my own pride, or to impress those who may see it, but rather I should have a home that is beautiful in order to offer beauty and hospitality to others. To make them feel comfortable, welcomed, and loved. That goes for people who visit as well as those who live here. I now think of my rooms as servants and ponder how they serve those who use each spot.
Along those lines is also the book, A Life Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. It is lovely and was the book we used last year to guide our monthly chats. There is a lot to enjoy about their story as well as the home life the Clarksons aim for.
Lastly, while not a book or a blog, may I recommend, before starting on a path toward order to take a good hard look at your cleaning supplies? A few months back, I realized that I disliked cleaning in part because my supply closet was disordered and full of ugly things. A neon broom that was frayed and cracked, a mop that was just not that good at the job it was supposed to do, etc. Now might be a good time to check the tools of your trade. It may be time to freshen them up. If your mop and broom are in good working order, consider a fresh new caddy for your cleaning supplies and maybe some non-toxic cleaners. Something that is a joy to use and leaves your home cleaner will make the job so much easier. As Mary Poppins says, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Then organize them in an attractive way. A few tools neatly arranged on hooks can be pleasant to use and easy to put away.
We kick off our month of the Kitchen in February. I hope you’ll join us in decluttering, organizing, and beautifying one of the hardest working rooms in the house. If you want to share your photos with us on Instagram or Facebook, we’re using the hashtag #delightfulhome2017