I know, I know…the title of this post reads like a massive contradiction. Function & kids in the same sentence? Ha! Creating a functional home with children in the house isn’t always easy, but it can be done with these five practices.
1. Remember Your Focus
Perfection isn’t the goal. Turn your focus to creating a Christ-centered, joyful, and functional home.
I have a friend whose home could absolutely be featured in Country Living or Better Homes & Gardens. Her decor is simple and elegant and I love it. I used to feel envious of how orderly and perfect her home seemed to be and then I realized that I wasn’t seeing everything. I know now that I was only seeing the home that had been prepared for company. She has two young kids and I am 100% positive now that she deals with the same messes and inconsistencies in her home that I have in mine.
I have been convinced that no matter how efficient and organized your household is you will have days where the counters have crumbs on them and the floor has some unknown sticky substance splattered across it. Pictures might have dust on them and the bathroom sink probably has some toothpaste in it. Clean up as you can, but if your home isn’t picture perfect every day, don’t sweat it because mine isn’t either.
2. Give Grace
Your wonderful husband isn’t going to remember to put his dirty laundry in the hamper.
If your husband is anything like mine, then you will find this to be true. He is an amazing man who provides for our family and makes sure that we feel his love unconditionally, but that laundry basket seems to always be in his blind spot.
I have handled this in several different ways. I have asked politely for him to use the basket, I have put the basket in the exact spot where he changes clothes instead of the bathroom, and I have gotten angry & totally refused to wash his clothes for a week. Each of these attempts brought temporary success, but nothing that lasted more than a week.
I have finally found what works… acceptance and grace. I do a quick clean of our room each morning and I have integrated putting his clothes in the basket into that quick clean routine. This change in expectation keeps the clothes from piling up and it keeps me from being angry. It also keeps my husband in clean clothes;).
Your kids aren’t going to clean to your exact expectations every time.
My kids are expected to respect the things that they have and this includes putting said things away. Does that mean the toys and clothes are put exactly where they are supposed to be to keep this borderline OCD mama happy? I think you know the answer to that. Generally, I stay happy as long as they make an effort to keep their toys in the designated toy areas even if they are organized the way that I like.
I have downsized our toy collection tremendously and we only keep a few select toys downstairs. This helps keep the clutter at bay and makes clean-up time easier for everyone.
3. Establish Routines
What tasks need to be completed in a functional home each day? What about weekly or monthly chores? Write all of these tasks and chores down and place them onto a routine sheet that you can use as a daily guideline. I have my routine separated into “Morning”, “Afternoon”, and “Evening” instead of giving each task a specific time.
Keep your Weekly & Monthly Chores on separate sheets. Add a time slot in your Daily Routine for Weekly Chores and add a Monthly Chore on 1 or 2 days in your Weekly Chore list. For example–> You can see in the photo below that I have “Weekly Chore” written in the Afternoon slot of my Daily Routine. This just means that I choose one Weekly Chore from the Weekly list to complete each afternoon. Monthly chores are completed on Fridays and Saturdays (also shown in the photo below).
You can keep your routine and chore lists are in a Family Command Center. Creating a command center has been a game changer for our family! We keep our Mission Statement, monthly calendar, memory verse, routine, chore charts, kids’ art, and unread mail in this spot so that it is easily accessible to the whole family.
Household Management Notebook
To-do lists, routines, income & expenses, meal plans, grocery lists and more can be kept together in a binder if you prefer that over a command center. My Household Management Notebook can be found by itself in my shop or within the The Ultimate Guide for Homestead Mamas.
4. Pinpoint the Not-So-Functional Areas of Your Home
Make a list of those trouble-making spots in your home. Work down the list one item at a time until you figure out how to make each of theses spots more functional and efficient.
This is my trouble-maker at the moment. There cords are exposed under my desk and my one-year-old LOVES to unplug them while I am working :/ My solution is to purchase a LectraLock cover & a power strip to keep little toddler fingers away from the danger of shock & to protect mommy from the stress of losing all of her data.
Some spaces can be refreshed by simply finding new uses for old items. This storage cabinet was in my mud room being used for nothing while my living room was covered in shoes. I moved the cabinet to the living room beside the door and it now houses our shoes. I don’t know why it took me so long to make this change!
A functional home is intentional and makes the most of each space. Another personal example–>I was so frustrated with my bathroom & bedroom because we had things everywhere. These were things that we used so I couldn’t just throw them out, but I couldn’t handle the clutter.
Finally, I figured out that my linen closet could be used for more than towels and dirty laundry! Our scale & potty seat fit in the bottom of the closet perfectly with the laundry hamper. Towels and rags are kept on the first shelf, jewelry and hair supplies on the next shelf, nail polish & baby products on the third shelf. Bye-bye clutter!! Hello functional home!
Clutter isn’t functional. If you have things that aren’t being used or loved taking up space in your home, donate it or sell it ASAP!
My garage is packed full of things to sell & donate! I have been preparing for a yard sale an posting items online to sell. Things that won’t sell quickly are going straight to Goodwill or another local ministry.
A good place to start your decluttering mission is the closet. Downsizing your clothing downsizes your laundry piled and that absolutely increases joy in motherhood! Am I right?
What are your secrets to keeping a functional home with kiddos?
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