Our home is our sanctuary. It provides warmth, security, shelter, and comfort. It’s seen us through good times and bad times and whilst it’s an endless money pit, (being an old Edwardian terrace), I do love it so. I’ve learnt over the last few years since becoming a mother that our home needs order for us to get the most out of it. Order is not something that came naturally to me but it is something that helps the rhythm of our family life flow easier and makes the work of motherhood more ‘manageable’. It’s a labour of love keeping house, one that is best not to fight against but instead embrace and accept as a key ingredient in our happiness and peace.
I tidy our house little by little throughout the day. I like to keep on top of those daily messes so they don’t catch up with me, and ensure there is plenty of space for the children to play, (and make more messes). We live open plan so there is nowhere to hide. This has meant I’ve had to be disciplined about toy storage, zoning areas to ensure everyone has a space they can go to, and creating an inviting feel so we want to spend time here.
Some things I have found helpful in keeping our house homely and inviting are:
- Fresh blooms – I don’t spend much on flowers, I pick from our garden, (sweet peas are in abundance at present), or buy from our local green grocer who sell a bunch of happiness for £4 or less. I’m a frequent flower forager too – I often cut greenery whilst out on our walks and arrange pretty stems in vases and old milk bottles.
- I also use house plants to add freshness and life, they’re dotted around our home. I pot mine in cheap terracotta pots which look simple and rustic and the kids love to water them on watering day.
- Make the beds first thing. It takes no time at all and they’re so much more inviting for afternoon snuggles, stories and at bedtime if they’re made.
- Minimise colour and pattern to give off a calmer environment. Whilst I love colour and pattern, less is always more for me when it comes to interiors. I add it through cushions, blankets and soft furnishings as these can be easily updated without too much trouble or cost and can be moved around from room to room to freshen a space.
- Don’t fill every corner of your home – ensure you have breathing space. This means asking yourself do you really need it or really really want it whenever you see something you want to buy and bring home. Less stuff makes your home look airier, tidier and feel calmer.
- Sort out your toy storage. If you live open plan like we do you’ll need a place where you and the kids can scoop and dump the toys at the end of each day. I use baskets from Ikea or H&M for this as they blend in with our environment more than plastic boxes.
- Reduce the toys to what really gets played with. Take anything else to the charity shop or give to friends with kids. My children play more intently if there’s less choice so I also rotate their toys to create renewed interest every few weeks.
- Be clever with your hallway ensuring coats, bags, hats and boots have a neat spot to live.
- Don’t let the laundry linger. My husband will laugh so hard when he sees this one as I am notoriously bad at keeping on top of our laundry. That being said, lately I’ve been folding and putting away as soon as the laundry is dry. This frees up space in our living area and means they don’t gather dust or creases waiting in the wings.
- Have a seasonal sort through. Every new season I find myself emptying cluttered drawers and sifting through old clothes that haven’t been worn in a while and making piles for the local charity shop. Although sorting through stuff can feel like a mammouth and emotional task, I always feel calmer and happier afterwards. To date I’ve never regretted giving away an item later down the line. I extend my sort throughs to our kitchen cupboards too – finding hidden gems at the back of our larder and reorganising containers so the stocks are well stocked. I decant most things into Kilner jars so they keep fresher for longer and so I can see immediately what I am looking for. They take up much less space than supermarket packaging too.
- Light a candle and create an atmosphere when the kids are in bed. Because we live open plan I like to create a bit of mood in the evenings to help me separate out the day time from my own time. I love this Anthropologie one as it makes the house smell delicious and it’s lasted months.
What do you do to make your house a home? Do you have any top tips you’d like to share?