If there is anyone who knows the secret to creating a wonderfully stress-free, clean home, it would have to be my wife. She is a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling our three children, and has managed to turn our home into this amazing oasis. If your life is anything like mine, your day is very stress-inducing. You should be able to come home to a place that doesn’t compound your stress even further. And lest you think I’m being one-sided here, your wife should also have time for oasis as well when you get home. That is when you can step up and take over in certain areas to give her some time to recharge.
In my house, the busiest time is between dinner and 8pm when we put the children down to bed. When you are able to help your wife out in a stress-free, clean home environment, it really makes these extra responsibilities a breeze. Your not having to step over clutter, you know where most everything is, and the focus is more on spending time with each other than in front of screens and making sure the house is clean.
Don’t lose sight of what is really important – time to enjoy every moment and each other. Clear everything else away and make room for what gives you joy.
Can you imagine coming home to an engedi – this oasis of a place where the house is clean, clutter is contained, kids are happy, and where all that is left to do in your house is enjoy each other. I have this and want to share with you here some of the habits and tips on how you can go about keeping a stress-free, clean, and minimalist home. Just keep in mind, everything in my house is definitely not perfect and stress does happen, but these habits can definitely help you in creating a peaceful home environment that you can be proud of.
1. Create A Minimalist Home
Clutter is a form of visual distraction that leads to visual chaos.
A minimalist home is at the top of the list when it comes to creating a stress-free home. It is really a lifestyle choice where you embrace this philosophy that clutter is a form of visual distraction that leads to visual chaos. You know the feeling you get when you walk into a kitchen that is spotless, with only a few essentials on the counter, and the the counters are practically glowing. It makes you feel more calm, focused, and empowers you to be able do more of what really matters – spending time with your family. A minimalist home is peaceful and stress-free. While some may argue a minimalist home lacks character and life, our family gets a certain fulfillment out of it.
2. Choose quality over quantity
When it comes to buying things, minimalism is all about choosing quality over quantity. You can apply this to practically every facet of life, from food to toys to furniture. Think about what you really need and prioritize what’s really essential for your home. Do you really need that nick-nack in the corner, that good desk that is just taking up space? Instead, choose to buy high quality furniture that will last. You can take this principle to toy purchases as well. It’s always a good idea to buy one or two high quality toys than several random, cheap toys that you know will just be tossed around and added to the clutter.
2. Create a simple system.
By utilizing an extremely simple system my wife has managed to keep a stress-free, clean home. Basically, the system boils down to creating your daily and weekly routine, and then giving little bursts of energy towards completing those tasks throughout specific times of the day (like after breakfast, before lunch, after dinner, etc.). Download this Daily Cleaning List from moneysavingmom.com. You can modify to your personal preference, but one word of warning: save the pdf to your desktop first and then modify.
Download the Daily Cleaning List
3. Speak softly.
When the kids are screaming and yelling, we have found one of the best techniques to get them to listen is to speak softly. You set the tone and example that yelling is not appropriate in your house. When you speak in a soft voice, it almost demands that other person has to quiet down and listen. It is a form of distraction for children. Don’t get me wrong, talking louder to get your children also has benefits, but you’ll notice your kids will usually mimic the behaviors you do. So if you can manage to decrease the times you have to scream for attention, you should be able to demonstrate to your children that you can still communicate and get things accomplished, just in a much more civilized way.
Children mimic what they see.
I think Teddy Roosevelt had the right idea. He said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Of course don’t take this literally that I’m advising you carry a big stick around your house. But there will be times you have to put your foot down and be firm. You can apply this principle to many areas of life.
4. Establish a screen-free time.
This is a must. Time with the TV, computer, ipad can all have its place, but too much of a good thing is bad. In our house, we have no cable television service intentionally: to be able to save money and more importantly to focus on each other more. We all know this is important, but very few actually establish and implement a screen-free time for their house. This goes back to the advise that a stress-free home’s main objective is to allow you to focus more on what matters most – spending time with your family. When their is no bonding time, you create an atmosphere of me, me, me, I, I, I. Everyone is off in their own world, and not sharing life, encouragement and advise. You don’t really sharpen each other when you spend the majority of your time feeding your brain with all that television garbage. In fact, your cheating your family by focusing more on being entertained versus relationship building. It is the age old principle of garbage in, garbage out.
5. Be positive.
Being positive has numerous benefits. Instead of focusing on all issues in your home and with your children, you have to make the choice to be positive. It really is a crucial habit to obtain. You can internalize this habit of positivity by thinking and doing positive things. Instead of focusing on all the negative behaviors your child may be displaying, choose to reward the good behaviors. Instead of saying poor me, put things into perspective, count your blessings, and realize how well we truly have it. Instead of focusing on all the negative attributes your spouse may have, encourage and make known the good ones. Always maintain the spirit of gratitude and appreciation. Your children will see it, your spouse will see it, and they will mimic it in time. Positivity breeds positivity. It is contagious and another way to create a stress-free home.
You internalize this habit of positivity by thinking and doing positive things.
6. Be patient
Being patient with children, especially with numerous young ones running around, is a tall feat for many parents. We all lose it from time to time. Some tips that I’m trying that have worked for us and that we are still working on:
- Show Love. Your child spills their drink and you snap at them, or they break something and you get vehement. It’s unfortunately the default way we humans respond to stress and frustration. But the best solution, which the Lord teaches us, is to react with love instead. Choosing to respond respond to the spilt drink with a “that’s okay..I still love you…just try to be more careful next time” is always the better way.
- Teach. Your children have a lot to learn yet and they need taught how to do things. Turn mistakes into teaching moments instead of getting frustrated with them. Teaching is another way to show love.
- Laugh. When the kids aren’t eating, when they made a total mess of the living room, or whatever little quirks they do that set you off, respond with a smile. They are only young once, don’t crush their child-like spirit of adventure and discovery. Of course set your boundaries, but remember life should be fun..don’t always be the one to ruin it for them. Choose to smile, laugh, and join them in the fun.
7. Put God first and focus on today only – start your day off reading the Bible, doing a quick devotional, and prayer. You’ll be amazed at how much peace you can get from this, and He will give you the strength to get through the tough day ahead. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, put all your energy and resources and commitments into what’s going on now. Live in the moment, find joy today, and let tomorrow take care of itself…tomorrow.
Questions: What are some ways you have created a stress-free home? Have any tips? Please share below.