HOW TO ENJOY YOUR HOME MORE AND MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
In this article I’m sharing some simple, practical tips to help you enjoy your home more. Instead of it feeling like a burden on your time and energy, let’s make your home work for you!
LOOKING TO ENJOY YOUR HOME MORE?
It’s easy for our homes to feel like a burden and drain on our time and energy. I know I used to feel like this when I was juggling work and kids and the complexities of busy, adult life. In this article I want to give you some tips on how to enjoy your home more.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, an empty-nester, retired, a student, living on your own or with family or friends, struggling with physical or mental health issues or just frustrated and needing a new perspective.
These tips might come in helpful if you’re looking to enjoy your home more!
WHY WE DON’T ENJOY OUR HOMES
It’s lovely to be able to come home to a clean, tidy, welcoming and loved space. A place that’s away from the busy outside world and where we can let our hair down and be a real true selves. It’s also nice to spend time at home with family and friends, or just have peace and quiet on our own to enjoy being by ourselves.
Home is where the heart is, and although I know home isn’t always a happy place for everyone, it can be our launchpad into the world and our retreat from the world so it needs to support us as well as possible.
So, why don’t many of us enjoy our homes? Well, I bet that if I asked you how you felt about your home right now, and especially if you’re reading this article and were drawn to the title, you could be feeling less than loving towards your home!
Maybe you are:
- Fed up with the mess, constant tidying and cleaning?
- Overwhelmed by clutter and stuff?
- Embarrassed by your home’s appearance so you don’t invite guests over?
- Stuck because you don’t know how to look after your home?
- Run down because your home drains your time and energy when you’ve been out working or looking after kids all day?
- Long for peace, calm and a relaxing space?
- Ready to throw in the towel (or the entire laundry basket) and just can’t keep up?
Many of us feel overwhelmed by our homes and don’t know where or how to start simplifying them.
If any of these feelings sound familiar then I can tell you that they’re familiar to me too!
But, not anymore.
TIPS ON HOW TO ENJOY YOUR HOME MORE
Here are some tips on how to enjoy your home more. They aren’t all quick fixes and they won’t all come easy, but I hope they give you some food for thought and ideas to try.
1. Declutter your home
I write about decluttering so obviously clearing your clutter will feature in this list! That’s not because I think you should throw everything out and live with the bare minimum. Or that I don’t appreciate the sentimental or practical value of much of our household stuff.
However, stuff that’s in excess or that you don’t need or use or know why you still have it, won’t help you enjoy your home more. It will take up space, need tidying and cleaning and just contributes to a greater burden on your physical and mental space. There are many psychological benefits to decluttering and it makes us feel good too.
Here is an article with a round-up of helpful tips and advice to declutter your home.
2. Consider the ‘silent to do list’
The ‘silent to do list’ comes from the book ‘Goodbye things’ by Fumio Sasaki. It describes the impact that our stuff has on our brains and to do list.
Look around your home now and if you think about it, every item that you can see sends out messages.
Maybe it’s telling you to do something such as clean me (the toaster) or water me (a potted plant). It could be reminding you of money that you spent out or wasted money on (a new fancy gadget you haven’t used), or that you need to save up for (a new top). Maybe it’s making you feel bad because you can’t fit into it (e.g. jeans), or don’t have time to use it (e.g. craft supplies).
Some of these messages are good, but others not so much. Enjoy your home more by having possessions that send out messages of love, practical value and true meaning.
Here is an article explaining the silent to do list in more detail.
3. Be aware of how you use your home
This one is a biggie and it’s something you might need to think about over the next few days or week and take notice of.
To enjoy your home it needs to work FOR you and not against you. Go about your normal routine over the next week and make a note of how you use each room and space. Think about ways that you could change your home, your rooms, your habits or your stuff to help them work and function better for the purposes you need.
We all use our homes in different ways, but here are some examples to get you thinking:
- Perhaps you enjoy cooking? If so, rearrange your cupboards so that you can find your utensils and equipment more easily. Keep the ones you use, get rid (donate, recycle, sell or throw) the ones you don’t. You won’t use it anymore just by keeping it in a cupboard. Keep your kitchen counters clear so you have more space to prepare and cook and it’s easier to clean afterwards.
- If cleaning takes up time or you keep putting it off, choose the path of least resistance. Make it as easy as possible to clean. Keep a set of cleaning supplies in each bathroom so when you’re in there, you can easily grab a cloth and spray to give your bathroom a wipe down.
- Consider your routines. When my kids were little, I kept a set of their toothbrushes in the downstairs cloakroom so they didn’t need to waste time by going back upstairs after breakfast. I also used to keep a set of their bedlinen in their bedroom so if there was an accident at night, I could easily change the bedding without having to rummage in the main linen cupboard.
- Think where your family hangs out. If it’s in the living room, do you need space for games, movie nights, plenty of cushions and snuggly blankets? In which case, it may not be the space to keep your vintage record collection or shelves and shelves of books that you never read but keep because they look good.
- What about for you? I wake up and get out of bed before the rest of my family so I have a ‘self-care box’ tucked away in the living room. It may seem an odd place to have it, but this is the room I come to at 6am to have my morning quiet time. The box has my journal and pen, a candle, the current book I’m reading and some handcream.
4. Identify pain points
As well as understanding how you and your family use your home, it’s also helpful if you can identify any niggles, frustrations or pain points.
- To give you an example, if you’re constantly collecting toys from the living room floor and taking them upstairs to your child’s bedroom, why not put a toy box in the corner of the room where you (and your child) can start putting the toys in there? It’s quicker and easier than going upstairs all the time. And, your living room will probably be easier to keep tidier as the toy box is closer to throw toys in. Easy = more likely to be done!
- Another example could be the build up of paperwork which creates paper piles all over your tables. Can you find a box or container and keep it one place? All paperwork that comes in during the day, from school letters, medical appointments to junk mail etc, goes in there and then gets dealt with at the end of the day or week?
Working out what areas, rooms or types of object particularly stress you out about your home, and finding ways to tackle those problems can really help you enjoy your home more.
If you struggle with paper clutter, you might find this article helpful on how to declutter paperwork.
5. The entrance way
Increasingly I’ve come to notice that the entrance way to our homes sets the intention for the rest of the home. If the entrance way is messy, cluttered and not an inviting, easy-to-use gateway into our home then it makes me feel urgh, for myself, the rest of my family who live there and, of course, for guests. It’s like first impressions count and the mood of my entrance way kind of determines the mood of my home!
When I leave my home in the morning I want to grab what I need easily and quickly. The same too for the kids. When I come back home in the afternoon, I want to breathe a sigh of relief, put things away so I know where they are and won’t lose them, again quickly and easily. I want my entrance way to give my family and guests a big welcome home hug and cheery, organised goodbye.
Now I know this is easier said than done because our entrance ways can be small, even cramped, narrow or awkward spaces, often having to store many different items – bags, coats, umbrellas, footballs and so on. Kids also like to kick off their shoes and throw down their bags too which doesn’t help!
But, again, decluttering first then organising what you have left, can really help. So too can being intentional about the feel and look that you want that space to take on.
It may take trial and error to work out how to make the most of that space, and to get your family on board with how to use it, but it could really help you enjoy your home more.
6. Reduce toxins in your home
Years ago I started to read up on the negative effects of commonly used household cleaners, bath and beauty products, and processed and refined foods. I decided to switch to non-toxic, eco-friendly and organic and wholefoods wherever possible.
It didn’t happen overnight because I had to factor in cost, convenience and encouraging my family to be ok with the new products and ingredients I’d switched too, but I do think I’ve managed to reduce many of the toxins I was bringing into our home.
Although I can’t measure or quantify the exact benefits, it does give me enjoyment and peace of mind knowing that I’m a more conscious consumer whenever possible and I’m more mindful of what I bring into our home.
For more on this topic, why not read this article on 11 ways to detox your home for improved health and wellbeing?
7. Get your family on board
Talking of getting your family on board, again this can really help. I used to think that it was my role to look after the home, cook the food and manage the home. I’ve always worked but somehow felt that it was my duty too to do all these things.
Or, more likely, whether that duty just became mine over the years as I was more home and child-based whilst my husband was working. Just to be clear, he would happily help but just needed to be asked (and given a list of things to do) so sometimes it was just easier to do it myself!
Anyway, over the years I’ve learnt to ask for help, and keep asking. My husband and my kids too. They might not do it exactly how you want them too (hello, yes, I’m a perfectionist control freak!), but they can still do it so it’s good enough. And good enough is just fine.
So, one way to enjoy your home is to pull the members of your household together as one cohesive team. Split the chores, the cooking, the tidying, the responsibility. Foster independence in your kids, practice and promote these skills they’ll need in adult life, encourage pride in their belongings and their environment. Help you all be responsible for taking care of and loving the home that you live in.
This is definitely not to say it doesn’t need time, effort and perseverance. Not many kids and teenagers will willingly tidy their room I think! But, it might help YOU a lot to enjoy your home more if you’re not the only one looking after it.
Here are some tips on how and why to encourage kids to help with chores.
Or this article to help kids and teenagers declutter and keep their rooms tidy.
8. Make space for activities you enjoy
Home is where many of us can pursue hobbies and activities we enjoy. However, when time is tight in a busy day or your home is cluttered with too much stuff, finding time and space for hobbies might be tough and so you go off and do something else.
Enjoy your home more by prioritising time and space for you and your hobbies.
Here are some examples:
- Create a cosy corner for reading
- An empty space in the corner of your room for meditation or yoga
- A desk or table where you can paint or craft
- Space in your garage for some gym equipment
- A larger dining table to host gatherings with friends instead of shelves of ornaments and stuff
If you’re frustrated that your home doesn’t give you the basic things you need to relax and have you-time, then you won’t enjoy your home as much as you can.
You might enjoy this article on how and why to prioritise connection over consumption for a happier life.
9. Create household routines and habits
Routines and habits are not boring, nor are they restrictive or suffocating. I’m not talking about hoovering the living room at precisely 4.58pm every Thursday afternoon!
What I do mean is some broad rhythms that you can build into your day and week to keep your home ticking over, even when you don’t feel like it. This can help remove the drudgery and overwhelm kicking in so you can enjoy your home more.
Here are some examples:
- Have a daily decluttering routine for a little bit of clearing clutter, often
- Reset your home every morning and evening so you can stay on top of the basic household chores
- Try to do a basic clean of at least one room each day (this is what I do, even if it’s not a very deep clean). But, it means I gradually get the house clean one day, one room at a time which keeps up the momentum.
- The old favourites of one load of laundry a day, or doing the dishes straight after each mealtime.
These household routines and habits are not to restrict you from doing other more fun things, but you’ll find the more you keep the home routines up, the more your home stays cleaner, tidier and more clutter-free with less effort.
10. Evoke your senses
Human beings have five senses – vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. They are designed to give us information about our surroundings and keep us safe.
Although we’re not likely to get eaten by a saber-toothed tiger these days, our senses are still functioning. And they provide your brain and body with valuable information about your environment.
One way to help you enjoy your home is to think about ways you can evoke your senses to help you feel safe, relaxed, calm and positive.
Could you use essential oils in a diffuser, a pretty bunch of cut flowers, a scented candle, cosy throws and cushion covers, background music, or have a no mobile phone policy in the evening to reduce the vibrates, buzzes and pings?
11. Ask yourself what you want to feel and think about your home
Enjoying your home is more about making it easier to declutter and keep it clean and tidy. These are really just tools to help you dive deeper into what you’d like home to mean for you.
So, what do you want to feel and think about your home?
For me, as an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I find the world a busy and overstimulating place, so I prefer a home that’s quiet, calm, soft and gentle, full of plants but clutter-free and with cosy spaces to relax. My kids need a home that’s fun, safe, with space to relax, hang out with friends and a quiet place to study.
Your home is your opportunity to decorate, furnish and arrange it so that it suits your needs. You might be limited by space or budget (or something else) but is there something you can do to create a home environment that suits you?
You might need to get rid of a few things, save up some money, plan to move home, experiment with colour swatches, think about some better storage options, or change how you use a room (guest room to office, for example) but the first step is this…
What do you want your home to feel and look like and what steps can you take towards this?
Asking and answering this question will help you enjoy your home more.
For some fun, you might enjoy this article on how to be a minimalist if you love colour!
12. Embrace the role of homemaker
I mentioned earlier how I used to feel I was the only one who could/should/was cooking and cleaning – and it wears one down. You might feel like this too?
But, changing the way I thought about my role in the home, was pivotal in changing how I felt about it.
Instead of chief cook, cleaner and home manager, I became chief homemaker. Instead of my home requiring my time and energy, instead it required my love, pride and happiness. I wanted to create a welcoming, comforting and fun home for my family and looking after this space became a way that I showed my love for them – it was my love language.
That change in perspective helped me to enjoy my home more. Cooking, cleaning and the mundane routine of managing my home became a role I loved and enjoyed.
There are still times when I’d rather not be doing these things, who really wants to clean a toilet yet again, but there was a definite mood shift and I enjoy my home more because of it.
LOOKING AFTER AND ENJOYING YOUR HOME IF YOU HAVE OTHER CHALLENGES
Many of the tips in this article are relatively easy or gentle to do. However, I do understand that sometimes you might need extra support or have other challenges that might get in the way. I’m even familiar with some of them on a day-to-day basis in own home and life.
If this is something you’d like to learn more about, here are some articles which might help:
- ADHD Cleaning Tips: Gentle, Practical Ways to Help Keep a Clean and Tidy Home With ADHD – Many of us love to have a clean and tidy home but struggle how to make this happen. It can be even more difficult if you have the extra challenges of ADHD. In this article you’ll find some ADHD cleaning tips and gentle, practical ways to help you towards keeping a clean and tidy home with ADHD.
- Decluttering Tips for Seniors – Decluttering can be exhausting, physically and emotionally and can test our time, energy and levels of fitness. Here are some decluttering tips for seniors to help you clear clutter more easily in later years.
- How Minimalism Helps Chronic Illness and Poor Health – The minimalist lifestyle helps simplify our lives in many ways. In this article I explore some personal ideas around the benefits of minimalism if you’re suffering from poor health and how minimalism helps chronic illness sufferers and their loved ones and carers.
- Minimalism and Menopause: How the Minimalist Lifestyle Helps During Menopause – Menopause and perimenopause is an inevitable part of a woman’s life, but it can create a whole host of problems that can affect day to day life. In this article I share some personal thoughts around minimalism and menopause and how the minimalist lifestyle helps during menopause to reduce symptoms and make life a little easier.
SIMPLIFY YOUR HOME
Decluttering your home is by far the best way of making your home feel more spacious, more inviting and relaxing and easier to manage. But, decluttering isn’t always easy.
If you’re frustrated from trying to declutter but keep getting stuck, or can’t find the motivation to start, or even just don’t know where to start, I hear you!
That’s why I created Simplify Your Home. This is a decluttering guide with handy checklists that you can follow to easily declutter your home without stress.
It’s all laid out for you, step-by-step, so all you have to do is follow along and make a start!
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Thank you for reading this article! Now, I’d love to know how you feel about your own home. Does it overwhelm you? Or do you enjoy being at home and looking after it? What have you done to help you enjoy your home or is this something that you’re stuck with? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear from you!
DON’T MISS OUT!
I’m Antonia and on this blog I share practical inspiration to simplify your home, time and life. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! You can also subscribe to Balance Through Simplicity and receive regular simplicity tips straight to your inbox for free. Make sure you never miss an article plus you’ll get a copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit as a welcome gift!