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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

Making A Home

Updated: Feb 2

While I love the quote, "home is where the heart is," I also firmly believe that every person has a great need for their physical home to be a place where they can unwind--both physically and emotionally. Sometimes, we hijack our own peace in our home without even realizing it! Here are some things I've had to work on in order to create the space God gave my husband and I, and the vision for it in our home.

Clutter when making a home keep it simple

Keep It Simple When Making a Home

Visual noise. Clutter. Hoarding. We've had seasons of each of these. Too many projects going at once, too many cute outfits that we can't decide which ones to donate, and the result of trying to be a good steward by keeping all those "things you might need one day" is overwhelm. "Visual noise" is a term I learned awhile back and it perfectly sums up how I sometimes feel--my house is "visually noisy" when it's unkempt. Keeping an immaculate house can easily become an idol (and cause anxiousness when normal life comes stomping in) and living in clutter is proven to cause stress and anxiousness! Welp. So which do we choose?! Looks like this is another one of those "tensions we have to manage" in this life. If we never feel at peace in our home (even when we're alone) then something needs to change. Here's a good rule of thumb: if you can't pick up a room in 10 minutes and clean it in another 10 then you might be wasting your life moving around too much stuff! Having a smaller home, I've had to fight against keeping things I'd like to hold onto, and accept what our house can practically hold. I want my bedroom to be a safe haven--not a dumping ground. Having my bedroom be a safe haven is espeically warranted for us homeschool moms that don't really ever get a break. We need a place to hide for a minute to cry, call a friend, eat a snack in peace, or even close our eyes in silence! It's ok to start with simplifying your room, Mama. God knows all the tasks you have at hand. Don't let the chaos of "managing stuff" at home cause you to miss out on the blessings running around in and outside of your home! We lead our kids in this habit as well--if it doesn't fit in the toy box or dresser drawers, then we don't have room for it. It might be time to let some things go. We have conversations about how much stuff our kids really want to keep, because when they feel overwhelmed during clean up, it's a good realization that if they don't want to clean/organize/manage it, then they don't really need it all. Tip: flat surfaces collect stuff! Start getting simplified by removing several flat surfaces and see how taking those away actually helps you get better organized and minimalized!

Freedom to create when making a home feel like home

Allow the Freedom to Create

Less "stuff" in our home actually leads to our kid's creativity blossoming. Boredom begets creativity! It's true! We've had seasons where there are toys visually present on nice shelves/bins that sometimes got played with (mostly when our kids were little). Then we moved the toys to our kid's bedrooms. I'd say that 70% of the time they are playing with something they made or something they dreamt up with items that aren't actually toys! I'm thankful for the opportunity to see the world through their eyes. While I see a nice blanket my family got me for Christmas, they envision a cape, a sled, and a place to hide. If we don't allow our kids to make a mess, or make mistakes as they are being creative, then we might as well crush their little spirits. Where else are they allowed to try new things without judgment? I don't want to be the homeschool mom that simply has her kids at the table moving from worksheet to worksheet. That's not the vision God gave me. I want to be the mom that let's her kids empty out cheese ball containers and bring in sticks from outside to build a drum. That nasty cheese ball container doesn't really go with our "aesthetic" and the noise level isn't always my favorite, but I love that my son is taking up an interest in building instruments. He even built a little guitar out of an almond milk carton this week! We love our kid's creativity and have had to learn how to let go. We also teach responsibility with phrases like, "make a mess, clean a mess." We help one another with our messes and work as a team to manage our home. Mom is not the maid. We are a family. We strive for simplicity so that we can spend more time creating, playing, and exploring instead of managing unnecessary stuff. Eliminating futile things opens the doorway for less clutter, less visual noise, more peace, and lots of creativity.

Don't focus on presentation when making a home

Manage the Tension Between Practicality and Presentation

The only show people are coming to see at your home is a show of God's love. Well, at least that's what people NEED to see whether they are after it or not. The greatest compliment I've ever received on our home was from two different people at two different times in our lives. They didn't comment on how clean things were or that they liked our furniture. Instead they said, "I love your home, you can really feel the love here." These two individuals were practically strangers who had come for a quick visit. They weren't just talking about how they saw us interacting with one another, but also how they felt in each room. The Spirit of God was present. You wanna talk about decorating a home? Decorate it with the fruits of the Spirit! Does this room offer love, joy, and peace? Those are good questions to ask oneself when creating spaces for your people to live in. I want my kids to be a good steward of what God has given us, but I also want them to relax and feel loved while they're cuddled up watching a show or in the rocking chair reading a book.

We can often get caught up in "show mode" when it comes to our homes because we want to "show" that things are put together (when we aren't) or that we have everything under control (when in fact, no one can ever have everything under control-again, that's why we need Jesus!). Oftentimes our homes tend to swing one way or the other--they're either entirely practical or all about the presentation. I've wrestled with both ends! Example #1: It would be much nicer looking if our school shelves weren't all out in the open, but that would mean I'd need to move them two rooms away from where we actually DO school and that's not practical. Instead, we try and keep them tidy but close to where we use them. Example #2: My husband wants to be able to sit down and put a coffee drink next to him in ANY seat in the house. We tease about this, but it's true! However, that's not practical and would mean I'd need to add another flat surface to one of our living spaces and that wouldn't leave room for all the wrestling and dance parties that take place. So, for now, there are five out of eight places that you can sit in that have a spot for a drink. It might seem silly, but that's something that is important to our family so it's something we considered when arranging our home. Example #3: We have a new baby, but we don't have a diaper changing station. I know. It's weird! BUT, it's not practical for our home. He doesn't have his own room, and our community living spaces would really be lost with that huge piece of furniture. Rather, we keep the diaper changing supplies in a little storage rack in a corner nook and go get one when we need it. I could go on and on about all the things I've way overanalyzed when it comes to why we have things where they're at in our home and why we don't have certain items (like all light colored furniture while raising three little boys). When it comes down to it, be sensible. Don't create more stress in your home by having unrealistic expectations for your desired presentation level. Rather, find a happy medium between your ultimate wishes and what is practical for this season for your family.

Safe place to make mistakes

Hold Space For Mistakes When Making A Home

Finally, and most importantly, home should be a place where you can get a little messy--emotionally and physically. "Hellions in the home and angels on the street!" I have grown to love this quote that an older seasoned mama shared with me many years ago. It means that our kids need to feel safe to act out, express themselves, and mess up at home knowing that there is restoration and unconditional love waiting for them. Who wouldn't feel at home surrounded by such grace? Imagine the weight of needing to be "perfect" in your own home. Have you ever felt that judgment somewhere? I have. It's almost unbearable. That kind of pressure can lead to a lot of shame (cause you're never feeling good enough) and unrealistic expectations for life. ALL people are messy, whether you can see it or not. We all have flaws and brokenness. It's why we need Jesus! If the people in your home are never acting out, then they might be living life as a little duck in a stressful pond--calm on the surface but those feet are paddling hard underneath. They are working too hard for unattainable performance in a place where they're supposed to be able to breathe and let down. We parents lead the way in making a home a safe place for mistakes. We model forgiveness and repentance when we mess up. We don't pressure ourselves to always be strong in front of the kids, we show that we, too, get tired, weary, stressed, upset, angry, and sad. We make amends when we "take out" any of those emotions on our loved ones. It's ok to be upset, but it's not okay to throw adult tantrums and sin all over. When your kiddo tells you, "I'm so thankful you're my mom and I can tell you anything," you know that even though you have a long ways to go as a parent, you're doing something right in creating a life-giving home where your family can be real. Start today by being a little more gracious and less critical in your home. Make amends and changes when necessary, and let the little quarrels and superfluous stuff go.

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