Wednesday, February 28, 2018

6 tips for a peaceful home

"you have a very peaceful home."

that has to be one of the greatest compliments a person could give me. i didn't know those words would mean so much, and i didn't realize "peaceful home" was a hope of my heart, until about 8 years ago when someone walked into my house and described it as peaceful. we had two young children at the time, so "peaceful" wasn't really even on my radar. my radar was more focused on sweeping up Cheerios, babyproofing cabinets, and corralling toys. but since that day that friend paid me that incredible compliment, my heart shifted and "peaceful home" became an intentional priority.

"peaceful home." i like that. peaceful is how i want my family to feel when they are home. it's how i want visitors to feel when they come inside. it's like my home is a big gentle hug, making everyone feel peaceful, calm, welcomed, relaxed, warm, loved, nurtured, protected, valued, supported. i absolutely believe God wants us to live in peace, and it's worth it to me to make a conscious effort to create a peaceful home.   

"My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest."
-Isaiah 32:18

the impact of this intention was reaffirmed a few years later when we were getting ready to move and our house was on the market. a potential buyer - a complete stranger - toured our home and left feedback with the realtor that the house had a "real peace" about it. those words meant so much to me! 

the best part about it is, even though it's a priority and intention, creating a peaceful home doesn't require much effort. apparently i was already doing things that gave our home a peaceful vibe without even realizing it. once creating a peaceful home became a goal, other habits naturally fell into place. it became a mindset and way of life. the benefits of our peaceful home: contentment, joy, rest, confidence, love, faith, comfort - for those of us who live here and for those who visit - are absolutely worth the efforts to create that peace. 


// MINIMIZE CLUTTER. find a place out of sight to store paper piles, mail, and other odds and ends that tend to clutter up surfaces. the kitchen countertops in my home are where clutter tends to pile up, so i make a daily effort to sort and store as much of it as i can. a purge-mentality is good here especially when it comes to papers. if it's a magazine or flier, read it and recycle it. if it's a bill or school paper or something, deal with it and file it away. if it's a keepsake, put it in storage. develop a 0 tolerance for paper clutter. scour pintrest for clutter-taming ideas! and then put a plan into action.

// MINIMIZE NOISE. there's a reason why "peace" and "quiet" always go together. i figured out recently that one of the major reasons i don't like shopping at a particular grocery store is because of the noise level. squeaky buggy wheels, voices on employee walkie talkies, the store alarm going off because of a rogue sensor, commercials on the radio overhead, buggies crashing, registers beeping, loading equipment in reverse, and inevitably there's a child crying somewhere across the store. it's nerve-wracking! it's difficult to relax in a noisy environment. and that applies at home, too. keeping distracting noise to a minimum will definitely contribute to a peaceful home. sometimes, in our home, i'll turn on the radio or a playlist for background noise during the day, but otherwise, it's peace and quiet. right now the only sounds i hear are the quiet gurgling of my oil diffuser, the bubbles of the aquarium, rain, and birds chirping outside. i keep the television off all day because the sound of TV is distracting and chaotic (and mostly toxic) for our heads and our hearts. try turning the sounds off or down and see if it helps create peace. if you prefer background noise, find something that contributes to a peaceful, uplifting atmosphere.

// MAXIMIZE NATURAL LIGHT. draw the curtains and open the shades, even if it's a cloudy day. (especially if it's a cloudy day!) natural light is so much more peaceful and inviting than LEDs and fluorescents. one of my friends was working on improving her family's bedtime routines, and recommended working with the natural light. so at dusk, instead of turning on more lights in the house, she kept the lights off. as the sun went down, and the house darkened, her children started to relax and they were all able to fall asleep easier at bedtime. let the natural light in! artificial lights are stimulants that affect our peace and the moods of our home. 

// MAXIMIZE WHAT'S MEANINGFUL. there is a certain personal peace that comes with being able to look around your home and see things that hold special meaning for you and your family. when we first moved into this house i rushed to buy a painting for over the mantle in the living room. the art was fine, but i couldn't stand it. it was sterile and meant nothing to me. for months i had to see it every day in my living room. it stole my peace! i would much rather have something on my wall that has a story behind it than a forgettable fancy painting. model homes are pretty but no one lives there so they have no personality. it's a wonderful, welcoming feeling to be surrounded by things that are unique to your family for a reason - things that reflect who you are and why. think of the lyrics in "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman: "there's a house we can build; every room inside is filled with things from far away. special things i compiled- each one there to make you smile on a rainy day..." pictures in frames, decorations on walls, books in stacks, knickknacks on shelves - make the things in your home meaningful and it will create a peaceful aesthetic for you and your family.

// MINIMIZE MESS STRESS. what messes in your home stress you out? dirty dishes in the sink? unmade beds? shoes in the middle of the floor? for me it's cluttered kitchen countertops and dirty floors. i can look past almost everything else (for a time) but if my kitchen counters aren't clear or my floors are a mess, then i am completely stressed out. and if i'm not at peace in my own home, than surely others won't be able to find peace in my home. my stress will affect everything and everyone around me. but if my counters are clear and my floors are clean, i can relax. the tip here is to identify the messes that stress you out and make it a priority to tackle those areas regularly, so that you can be at peace, and therefore, everyone else in your home will be at peace.

// MAXIMIZE KIND WORDS. you know that toxic noise i mentioned earlier? sometimes it comes from our own mouths. ouch. but think about it, which is more peaceful: a home where people are sarcastic, yelling, spitting insults, or disrespectful to one another? or a home where people speak positively, affirm one another, are kind, respectful, use manners, and pay compliments to one another? if the words we're speaking in our homes are critical and harsh, we're filling the atmosphere with toxins that will affect our hearts and rob us of peace. but when we're speaking words of joy and life, peace follows. fill your home with kind words and peaceful tones of voice. in fact, i would encourage you to pray over your household often and aloud. there is POWER and PEACE in prayer and our words! 

home should be a place of refuge and comfort. havens for our families and loved ones to enjoy God's blessings together. i know that keeping home comes with lots of responsibilities, especially if you have children. and i think we all would agree that we want our husbands to come home to and our children to grow up in a peaceful home. well, it's our responsibility to create that peace in our homes, and put it at the top of our priorities list. creating peace will bless your family and guests when they're in your home.

people who live in a peaceful home find contentment at home. if home isn't a place of peace, why would anyone want to spend time there? if home isn't peaceful, what's there to look forward to at the end of a long day at the office? if home isn't where i feel relaxed or comfortable, i will want to get out of the house every chance i get. i'll get cabin fever in my own home and want to escape it. if home is a place of negativity, clutter, and stress, my children will prefer to go to the neighbors or somewhere else where they can find peace. i don't want that. i want my people to walk into our house and say "'s good to be home." (you, too? get the free printable reminder here)

if you think you're too busy to even think about creating peace in your home, it might be an issue of poor time management or a cycle of bad habits. in that case, i like THESE SUGGESTIONS from Natasha Crain.

a peace and quiet home sweet home can be a reality by doing a few intentional things to make it happen. choose to make peace a priority, a mindset, and a way of life for you and your home and everyone who enters.

"Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
he puts the best bread on your tables."
-Psalm 147:12

"May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace."
-Numbers 6:24-26