From practical organizing tips to emotional encouragement, don’t miss these ideas for intentionally pursuing peace at home.
You may not know this, but Maison de Pax was born not out of a need to decorate my home (though I do love to do that) or an urge to paint all the things (though, admittedly, I like to do that, too). Instead, I began Maison de Pax in an effort to pursue peace in my home.
I believe that reflection, writing, and teaching others all provide opportunities to consider purpose deeply… and purpose is something I want to have in abundance in our home. The nerd in me couldn’t resist the play on our last name (Paxton) and the Latin word for peace – Pax – and thus Maison de Pax was born.
So I began Maison de Pax (almost 9 years ago!) in an effort to be intentional about pursuing peace in our home. That intentionality is something I try to think about every day, but a fresh new year always feels like a good time to return to those goals. So today, I want to share some of my favorite ways to promote peace in our home.
Disclaimer: I am FAR from perfect on these!! I share them as much to challenge myself as to encourage you… When I do these things, though, it does help our home to flow more smoothly!
Principles for a Peaceful Home
Principle 1: Give everything a home.
I think one of the phrases my kids will probably remember for the rest of their lives is, “Everything has to have a home.” Whether it’s a rock collection from the backyard, a new Lego set, or a prized “creation” from school or church, Mom requires (or at least tries to require 😉 ) that everything have a designated place. And – despite what my children try – the middle of the floor doesn’t count.
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And the same is true for me. Kitchen items can’t just float in stacks on my counters; they need drawer or cabinet space to call home. My closet needs to have space for all my clothes, even on the rare occasion that they are all clean at the same time. 😉 Candles and decorative items that don’t have a resting place have to go. In short, I want to live within the space we have and be able to return items to a place of belonging.
It keeps our home tidier, makes clean up faster, and helps me to avoid that feeling of overwhelm no matter how messy things may get on a day-to-day basis. It is honestly my main organizing principle and (along with my favorite label maker) helps us keep our home manageable.
If you are inspired to try this, why not start with the kitchen?
Principle 2: Establish routines.
Whether it’s brushing teeth or watering plants, I have to have a routine in place or I forget. Honestly. Add in four kids, part-time homeschooling, my design business, sports, church, and… well, you get the picture. Routines are the only way I can stay on top of all the things, and home life maintenance is no exception.
I actually use Asana for my to-do list, but a calendar, planner, or your phone’s checklist could work just as well. I set repeating reminders for myself for so many basic things: water the indoor plants on Monday, the outdoor ones on Tuesdays; change the upstairs air filters once/month and the downstairs one once/2 months, etc.
We set a schedule in our home for laundry, too. This not only helps us avoid finding that the uniform we need is still dirty, but it also allows my kids to do their own laundry at an early age.
Routines don’t have to be weekly or monthly, though. A simple routine of working together to clean the kitchen right after dinner, or putting backpacks away (in their “home” 😉 ) as soon as you get home from school, or straightening the living room before you go to bed… all those simple routines can help a home feel more relaxed and welcoming.
Considering routines in your home? You might find these posts helpful:
Principle 3: Allow for seasons.
A beautiful home is made up of so much more than the things in it… It’s about the people who call the place home. And those people have seasons: seasons of different needs, ages, interests, and callings. And those seasons can affect how we set up and maintain our home.
For example, when my children were small, we had only cushioned ottomans as coffee tables. It’s a small thing, I know, but we had at least one child learning to walk or in the careening toddler stage for almost a whole decade… Given how rough and tumble they were, I just preferred not to worry about a busted head on the coffee table.
Those seasonal things will be different for different families, but it has helped me tremendously to focus on the season my family is in and embrace that however I can.
If you are in the “kid” season, you might find these posts helpful:
Principle 4: Take your time.
Part of appreciating the seasons of life is taking the time to enjoy them. From a home-design perspective, that sometimes means waiting for years before you find the right dresser. Or using hand-me-down furniture long past when you had hoped to upgrade. Of course, a little furniture makeover can make a nice stop gap. 😉
Sometimes it looks like living with an unfinished kitchen or an outdated bathroom until you can save and plan for the right renovation, not the quickest. And sometimes it means exercising that little ol’ muscle known as patience.
Admittedly, I’m not very good at that. But as I always tell my kids, “patience is a virtue.” Here’s to growing a bit more of that in us all this year and reaping those rewards in our family and home.
Principle 5: Know Thyself.
Ultimately, your home is yours. As a designer, I’ve found that I love so many different styles of design… and I enjoy creating many of them… but I also have a style which feels like home to me.
For example, I am so inspired by dark, moody interiors. Wood paneling and rich, saturated colors make me gasp with delight. Give me a roaring fire and a good book and I could soak up those interiors with glee.
BUT… I have found over the years that I am happier and more productive in lighter, brighter interiors. While I love to see images of dark, moody spaces (and love to vacation in them), the times that I have tried that in my own home have never worked for me. I love crisp, bright, clean spaces, and I am more joyful in those.
Knowing this about myself helps me to stay within my lane and focus on what my home and family needs. For you, it might be a different thing (Do you need color? Do you love books? Are you inspired by pattern? Do plants bring you joy?): find it and stick with it. Whatever it is.
If you like light bright, clean spaces, too, you might find these posts helpful:
A Work in Progress
I hope it’s been abundantly clear that I fail in these areas as often as I succeed. But the successes have certainly shown me the beauty of a home that intentionally pursues peace.
And that the pursuit is worth it.
Now I’d love to know, how do you pursue peace in your home? What rhythms, practices, and principles help you and your family thrive in your home? I’d love to learn from you.