A Home That Reflects Your Values

Making a home isn't just about getting your whites whiter or shiny sinks. What about helping your kids become readers?

One of my favorite things about my pantry makeover project is how it supports my priorities. Eating a healthy, whole diet overall (we’re not perfect, as you can see by my pantry’s contents!) is important to me, but when you don’t even know what food you have on hand and can never find the pot lids when you need them, it’s not easy to pull off.

So maybe you don’t care about being a great cook or getting your windows streak-free. But what do you care about? Part of creating a functional (and happy) home means making it easy to do the things you really want to do so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Maybe you’re thinking you’d like to take on a home project this week, but can’t figure out just what to take on. I’d like to challenge you to think of a project you can do that will make your home, yard, or garage support and help you live your priorities. It’s only too easy to put off that hike because nobody can find their boots or never going on a bike ride because the helmets are packed away upstairs instead of in the garage. Or to waste money because you keep forgetting to cancel that membership with the automatic debit. Or to watch TV instead of going to the library because you aren’t sure where all the over-due books are. Hey, we all slip up and slack off in some places; the trick is figuring out what’s most important to you so that you can make sure to set yourself up for success in those areas.

Think of an activity–any activity, whether it’s biking, Bible-reading, ballon-animal-making, or baking–that you don’t do as much or as well as you’d like. Now brainstorm a way to make your home, yard, or garage more conducive to that activity.

For example, we used to have the problem of never being able to lay our hands on Monopoly or Scrabble right when the mood struck–and playing board games together is one of our most treasured activities. Sure, stashing games away in a far-off cupboard is neat and tidy, but if they aren’t easy to get to and we never play them, what was the point? So we put the games on an open shelving unit inside my office, which is really a sunroom just outside the dining room. Now they’re just steps from the dining-room table, and easily visible–meaning not only is it easier to get to them, but we simply think to grab a quick game before dinner more often. And when the baby’s asleep and I’m afraid the sound of dice hitting the table, skidding off the table and clattering across the room will wake her, Owen and I can always sit on my office floor, close the doors and enjoy our afternoon game of Yahtzee.

maybe it's time to add another shelf...

Maybe you’ve been thinking you’d like to spend more time together as a family not looking at a screen, and would love to take part in a weekly Family Game Night. But your board games are in sorry shape, scattered throughout the house, or locked away in a cabinet in the basement or other far-off room. You could take an hour to go through the house, collect the games, find wayward pieces that have wound up in the junk drawer or other random places, assess how useable each game is, get rid of the ones that are beyond help, and find a place to store the salvageable games in a place near the table where you’re most likely to play them.

Or perhaps you’d like to encourage everyone in the family to read more, but don’t have a central, comfy place for reading and keeping books. When we bought this house I knew I wanted to encourage reading in the way I designed the rooms, so  I turned this corner into a reading nook.

Notice how the nook is right next to the computer desk? I wanted reading to be just as inviting and accessible as the family computer, and close to the computer, too, so that when I tell the kids their time is up it seems like the most easy and natural thing in the world to grab a book and cuddle up in the reading chair. This area is between the living room and dining rooms, so everyone passes by it dozens of times a day. I also put a big chair there, even though it’s kind of out of proportion with the rest of the room, because I wanted two people to be able to cuddle up and read together.

Also notice how unfinished the room looks? We haven’t painted, hung anything on the walls, added texture, or any of those things you’re supposed to do in there yet. But the important part is that we’re using the room. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to work for the purpose we want to use it for.

Okay, your turn. What change can you make to make your house, yard, or garage more supportive of your goals, values and priorities? Please post about the value or activity you’d like your home to support in the comments below and whether you have ideas for the project…or need help getting started.

The theme at The Happiest Mom this month is “Home,” and all month long I’ll be sharing projects, ideas, and thoughts about making a happier home. Don’t forget, you can always sign up for my feed via email or RSS so you don’t miss a thing.

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