If you’re like me, keeping an organized and beautiful home brings you loads of calm and peace. I spend a good amount of time organizing and cleaning our home which I can find relaxing and even meditative at times, but it's important to me that I also keep in mind how my habits and actions affect those that live in my home. Everyone has a different tolerance to clutter and disorganization. In our family of seven, finding a balance to fit each member can be challenging. We are constantly reassessing how we do things and how they are working.
What I do know is that if keeping a home organized and decorated is bringing stress to those living within those walls, adjustments should be made.
Growing up I had a friend whose home could have been in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It was beautiful. After school we would go to her house for cookies, and here's where it gets interesting.
My friend was adamant that we eat the cookies above the sink. This technique although not comfortable would allow for the crumbs to fall in the sink and easily wash down the drain. Her fear was that she wouldn't be able to clean up sufficiently for her mother if we did not, and she wasn’t taking any chances.
My friend often told me that she liked being at my house because she didn’t have to worry about messing anything up. My mother wasn’t overly concerned about how our house looked as much as how it worked for us.
There were many things I loved about my friends home, but my favorite was the sitting room. It had white carpet and the couch was covered with plastic to keep it pristinely clean. My friend was never allowed in this room except for special occasions, so we simply stood at the door and peaked in. I gazed with admiration, and my friend with a mixture of pride and contempt for her parents. We knew better than to step one foot on the neat rows of perfectly vacuumed carpet.
The memory makes me laugh, although it must have been difficult living there sometimes. Decades later my friend's mother confided in me that she regretted the emphasis she had made on keeping a perfect home. In her words, "None of it matters now". I was struck by her transparency during that conversation and appreciated the advice.
As with most things in life we must walk the tight rope and not lean too far in either direction when it comes to managing our home. Yes, our homes should bring us peace, but that peace isn't just for us. Those we love and cherish most should always feel at home in our home.