5 Simple Things to Do to Enjoy Your Time at Home | Ashley Varner
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Ashley Varner Get rid of stress and enjoy being home

5 Simple Things to Do to Enjoy Your Time at Home

What really stresses you out? What would help you really enjoy your time at home?

For me, a crazy disorganized home stresses me out.  I can hardly function, let alone relax when my house is a hot mess.

In fact, I don’t even like being home when it’s like that.

Now switch the scene around.  Imagine that your home is clean and picked up, you’ve finished dinner, the children are playing a board game on the floor, music is wafting in from the other room, candles are lit and you’re reading a novel…maybe your husband is even massaging your feet!

Talk about relaxing!

What if I told you that you could have that every evening! What if I told you that you could actually enjoy your time at home?

Sometimes we think that relaxing evenings are out of our grasp because we have kids, but I’ve found that when I do 5 simple things, I end up setting the tone for my family and we can all relax and truly rest.

Do you want to actually enjoy being home? Do you want to actually be enjoying your family instead of just cleaning up after them all the time? There’s a solution!  Here are 5 simple things you can do daily to actually enjoy being at home.

 

Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What Twain was trying to hit home was the fact that if you have something that you’re dreading to do, get it over with!

I experienced this at work. I always hated filing.

Because I hated it, I always procrastinated doing it until the pile of paperwork I had to file was beyond ignoring.  I decided to try Mark Twain’s advice and filed every day.

After do this for about a week, I realized the reason I hated filing was because I always left it until it was a time-consuming task. Once I started filing on a daily basis, filing only took a few minutes and I had less stress.

More often than not, our homes are crazy because we’ve made a habit of procrastinating on the little things.

 

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If your “frog” is laundry, then consider washing a small load each day. (Smaller loads take less soap, less time to dry, and definitely less time to fold and put away.)

Once you get in the habit of taking this huge task on in small chucks, the less stress you’ll have overall.

If your frog is dishes, then run the dishwasher each night, BUT every morning, empty it before leaving for work.  If I know that all I have to do is fill an empty dishwasher, then I’m less likely to procrastinate doing the dishes. If I do the dishes then I’m more likely to wipe off the counters, if I wipe off the counters then… well you get the picture. It’s a snowball effect.

Emptying the dishwasher ahead of time just gets the ball rolling!

Action Step #1 to Enjoy Your Time at Home: Wash a small load each day to avoid laundry overload and after running the dishwasher the night before, every morning empty it first thing to avoid a sink full of dishes.

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Know Your Limits

As much as we would like to be superwoman, we’re not.  And that’s okay!!

It’s okay to ask for help!

Most of our families would be happy WILLING to help, we just have to ask them.

For the kids, you don’t even have to ask, you can assign particular chores.

Just a side note on chores:

Kids feel more connected to the family when they contribute to it.  It’s okay to give them jobs.

I remember the first time my oldest completed a job by himself, he was just under three years old.  He put all his little forks and spoons in their cubby in the silverware drawer and he looked at me with such pride and accomplishment.

If you don’t give your kids chores, you’re robbing them of accomplishments and independent moments.

 

Let go of a martyr mentality.

Stress doesn’t just come from trying to do everything ourselves, it comes from an attitude to feeling like no one is helping us.

AKA a pity party.

I know it sounds harsh, but as a homemaker, you set the tone for your home. Your attitude is a launching pad for everyone else’s attitude.

This can be fixed with a couple verses: Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the lord and not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward it is the Lord christ you are serving.”

We’re not just picking up toys for our kids, when we care for our homes, we’re doing it for Him.

When we come at housework from that perspective, we banish the bad attitude and add joy to our day.

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Make it fun.

Once you’ve made that mindset change, you’ve invited your family in on the work, next make it fun!

When I ask my family to help, we set a timer for fifteen minutes and see how much we can get done.  It’s like a speed clean party at the Varner house!

Every one is rushing around, picking up as fast as they can, laughing, and competing!  Then after the fifteen minutes, I just finish up whatever is left.

Most of the time, my family keeps helping until it’s done, but sometimes they don’t.  When they don’t, I choose to be grateful for the work they did and finish up with a smile on my face.

Action step #2 to enjoy your time at home: Ask your family to help, promise it will only be for 15 minutes and make it a contest.

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Let go of perfectionism.

This one is BIG. I used to clean and not sit down until everything was in it’s place.

Once, I put clothes away that my husband pulled out of the draw because he was about to put them on! Talk about stress!

We used to have a couch set (from Salvation Army) that had these huge, overstuffed pillows on it.

My husband would lay on the couch and pull the overstuffed pillows off because it was more comfortable for him. Every night he would come lay down and pull the pillows off, and every morning, I would put them back into place.

This went on for several weeks. Months. actually.  I got tired of always putting them back, so I made a decision.

I pulled the pillows off the couch and put them in a closet.  No more fighting about those crazy pillows. No more wasted time and energy pulling them off and on again every morning.

When we had company, I put them back on and my sweet husband agreed to leave them be until our company left.  I let go of my perfectionism for the sake of my sanity.

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When You Delegate, Don’t Micro-Manage

When you ask your family to help, you need to realize that they won’t do things the exact way you would.  And that’s okay.

 

I remember when my boys started making their beds (about age 4) and they definitely didn’t make them the way I would. But thankfully, God gave me wisdom and said, “Ashley, don’t you dare remake that bed.” I left it, and they’ve gotten better each time.

The same goes for your husband.  I’ve learned that most husbands respond better to praise than criticism.  Once, I asked him to comb the boys’ hair and it was honestly…awful.

I re-combed their hair and now every morning, he helps them get dressed, but sends them to me comb their hair.

Once in awhile the outfits my boys wear don’t match, but I keep my opinions to myself. (Besides, am I really bothered by what they’re wearing, or am I bothered by what people will think of me as a mom when they’re mismatched?? Just a thought.)

Action step #3 to enjoy your time at home: Delegate one “chore” to your children.

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It’s Time to Purge Your Stuff

Here is a little nugget of wisdom: The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to take care of.

That’s right, it’s time to purge.

Less stuff is directly linked to less stress. If you only have, say, 10 shirts, you’ll never have a mountain of shirts to hang up.

I know what you’re thinking, “What if I get rid of something I want to wear!”

Here’s a trick:  Turn every hanger in your closet backwards.  Hook the hanger on the bar from behind instead of in front of the bar.  Now, wait a month or two. When you re-hang items after wearing them, you’ll naturally hang them the opposite way.

After a short amount of time, you’ll be able to see which items you use regularly and which pieces of clothing are just taking up valuable closet space.

If you’re still not sure about getting rid of stuff, then put all those items in a bag or box, write the date on it, and put it out of sight.

When you’re rummaging around your garage in a year or two, you’ll find the box, and if the date is over a year old and it’s the first time you’ve even thought about that box, then just donate it without even opening it.

Action Step #4 to enjoy your time at home: Purge at least 27 items from your home.

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Here’s another tip:  When you’re keeping clothes that belong to your kids, consider saving less of them.

If your grown children have twenty totes filled with baby clothes, those clothes aren’t going to mean anything to them.

But imagine if they each have 5 or 10 pieces from their childhood, those are going to have much more meaning to them.

The more you save the less valuable it becomes.

Instead keep one small tote for each child. Put mementos in there and when it’s full, then just cull items out when you want to put something else in.  It definitely keeps the clutter at bay!

(Do you want a decluttering checklist? Grab Ashley’s list HERE to download and print off!)

Purge Your Time Wasters

It’s time to be intentional about your rest.  It’s not only important to purge items, but you also need to purge time wasters.

Things like scrolling through social media and binge watching netflix every night are two time wasters that need to be purged.

They have their place. But hours and hours spent (wasted) every night aren’t pushing you towards your potential in Christ.

Here’s a tip: Want to see how much time you’re spending on certain apps in your iPhone?

Go to your settings then click on Battery. At the bottom of that screen, it gives you battery usage for the last 24 hours and the last 7 days.  It rates your usage by app percentage, if you click on each app, it will give you a time amount that the app was on your screen.

WARNING: use this tip at your own risk!

 

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Enjoy your Family

Last but not least, enjoy your family.

Try to leave work at work.

Spend time being present with your kids. maybe you’ve heard that term before, but never really knew what it meant.  Here’s what it means to me:

  1. Take your eyes off a screen. Turn off the tv, put your phone in the other room.I’ve heard of families having a cell tower at restaurants.  Everyone with a phone puts it on silent and stacks it face down in a tower on the table. No one can pick it up for the entire dinner.
  2. Do something together at home.It can be easy to plan a night out for the family, but what about a night in? Play a board game together, help your kids build a lego creation. Do a puzzle together. Go for a walk.
  3. Eat dinner together, at the table, without the tv on.My husband and I got into a bad habit before we had kids.  Our house had was an eat-in kitchen, and we always just ate our dinner in front of the television on the couch.I didn’t think much of it because we didn’t have kids and it was just easier. But if I could take it back, I would. We lost some valuable one-on-one face time. We could have talked and laughed. Instead, we watched show after show until it was time for bed.I thought it would change after kids, but when they were small, they just laid on the couch with us and by the time they were older, we were already in the habit.About two years ago, I made a conscious effort to eat dinner at the table. And it was WAY easier than I thought it would be.  All I had to do was set the table and call everyone over.No fuss. No muss.They turned off the tv, stopped what they were doing and we ate together. Quality time. And as a bonus, I asked for help (see tip #2) and everyone took their plates to the sink, filled the dishwasher, and dinner was picked up in a matter of minutes.Now it’s one of our family’s favorite times of the day to relax, unwind, and reconnect.

 

Action Step #5 to enjoy your time at home: Set the table, turn off the tv and have dinner together.

What habits did this post bring up in your mind that need to change?

The cowardly thing to do would be to say this doesn’t apply to you, but be brave enough to really dig deep.

Look at your life and see if there are little things that are causing you stress at home. Don’t take the easy way out and blame your unhelpful husband or your messy kids. Think about the time wasters that effect your mood.

Don’t brush off your kids when they want your attention.

Be intentional about making your home a stress free, peaceful harbor for your family.

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