It’s the New Year, so it’s the perfect time for a fresh start! If your home descended into chaos last year, now’s the time to change that. Make it a resolution to turn your home into a stress-free zone and to create a calm environment that you and your family can relax in. After all, your home should be a haven. A place where you can shake off all the stresses of a busy life.
Ready to embrace a new year and a new stress-free life? Use these tips to turn down the chaos dial:
Our brains are simpler than we think, and sensory cues in our environment can trick us into a certain state of mind. The trick is to think about all the senses. For example, making a space visually calming may involve maximising natural light, removing clutter, decorating with peaceful hues, and adding some indoor plants.
One trick to make a room feel calmer is to arrange the pictures on the walls so they line up with one another. You’ll be amazed at how different this looks to a higgledy-piggledy arrangement. In your quest for a calming atmosphere, don’t forget about the other senses.
Putting on gentle music is good for your sense of serenity, but it’s also a sneaky trick to calm down raucous kids. Breathing in the scent of fresh flowers or aromatherapy can help melt the stress away. Even involving the sense of touch with velvety cushions and a plush rug can make the space feel more cosy and welcoming.
A house full of kids is always going to have some level of chaos. But having just one room that is child-free means you always have a space of calm you can retreat to and that you have full control over. If you don’t want to let go of Sunday morning family cuddles, that’s okay. Just make it clear that your bedroom is Mum and/or Dad’s space and if anyone else wants to come in, they have to knock.
The flip-side of this is that if you want privacy in your bedroom, you should probably afford your kids the same privilege! It’s reasonable for them to want you to knock before entering their bedroom too.
If you have a study or office space, or the garage or garden is your haven, that’s fine too. The main thing is to have at least one space in your house that the kids understand as yours.
No matter how many scented candles you light, you cannot have a peaceful home if it’s overflowing with clutter. Of course, if you have a large family, a life of minimalism is probably not on the cards. But how many toys, clothes, knick-knacks, and other random objects are stuffed away in cupboards and haven’t been touched in years?
Make it a yearly habit to declutter like Marie Kondo. Go through all the bulging storage spaces in your home and donate everything that hasn’t been used that year to charity. Rope in the kids and make a day of it.
We know that in a big family, a certain level of clutter is unavoidable. That’s where smart storage solutions and organisation comes in. You don’t have to have a complicated organisation system or even a hugely spacious house. The main thing is that everything should have a place and it should be quick and easy to get clutter out of sight.
For kids’ stuff, large plastic storage crates work great. At the end of a play session, all toys must go back in the toy box, all art supplies in the art supply box, and so on. You can even use a toy trolley instead of a toy box so it’s super easy to whisk away.
As we have said before, when it comes to kids, a certain level of chaos is inevitable. What you can do is contain the clutter to particular places so that it doesn’t spread across the whole house. For example, some strategically placed whiteboards can give little kids an outlet to ‘draw on the walls’ without the risk of ruining your actual walls.
Perhaps your children have a homework or crafting table where books and stationery can pile up as long as all other tables remain intact. We mentioned the toy box or trolley idea above—you can also designate a bin for papers and bills, and a basket where schoolbags, coats, and scarves can get tossed.
Whatever the main clutter culprit is in your home, appoint a place for it. This will make it much easier to maintain organisation in the rest of your home.
If you are the only one responsible for maintaining order, not only is it more work for you, but it will make you constantly grouchy, which is no good for an atmosphere of calm.
If you have a crowded home and you want it to be peaceful, the whole family must get involved. There are many ways to get kids involved in chores—whether it is a weekly chore schedule, a gold star system, or using pocket money as leverage, it doesn’t matter.
The important thing is that everyone in the household shares responsibility for keeping things tidy.
The new year is a great opportunity to start over, but maintaining calm in a crowded family home is an ongoing process. You may have to resign yourself to some level of chaos—at least until your kids are all grown up and ready to move out!
In the meantime, try these tips and do your best to create a sense of peace and order wherever you can.
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