How I Keep a Peaceful Home

The Details

Rainbow Cardigan {sold out}, Similar | Similar EarringsBlack Dress {size small} | Coffee Mug | Tray

Rainbow Cardigan {sold out}, Similar | Similar EarringsBlack Dress {size small} | Coffee Mug | Tray

I’m not sure about you, but I crave a peaceful home. Working from home, and especially shooting content at home, things can get quite out of order. I’ve got backdrops set up, boxes everywhere, and at least 20 products I’m always testing tossed on my counter. Add a toddler currently obsessed with dressing Barbies and all the accessories, and within an hour my house can seem like the Wizard of Oz tornado just ran through. I find that there are a few things I can implement that will give me a feeling of peace even if everything is a mess. And even if I’m “faking” that calming feeling it’s still something that I find helps me be a better mama. It might seem silly to focus on a feeling of calm in my home, but it allows me to be whatever role I need to. If the doorbell is ringing, the dog is barking, the kitchen is a disaster, my group text is going off, my manager is calling, and I’m trying to answer a blog question while stepping on a Barbie shoe I start to feel like, “Maybe I am not good at balancing.” But when I feel peaceful in my home space, I can feel more confident and calm when life gets a little chaotic with a little one and work. Ultimately, I prioritize peace so I can prioritize people and serving others.

MUSIC

Do you like background noise in your house? I used to just let HGTV or Food Network run on low in the background all day, but then once Maxi got to be one, I decided I didn’t want to do that since I started to at least somewhat monitor how much tv she saw. Trust me, we watch movies, etc. But I just didn’t want her to have the TV on ALL day, even if it wasn’t the shows she watched. I’ve worked from home for almost 6 years, so I’d become so accustomed to the House Hunters host having her voice in the background of my house I needed something to fill it. I started to use our Amazon Alexa Echo ALL day!

I play worship music in the morning while Maxi eats her breakfast and we all get ready for the day. I play spa music {I’ll just say, “Alexa, play spa music.“} while I answer e-mails and write blog posts. I’ll play classical while I clean and jazz music while I cook. It just makes everything feel a little more calming and happy in my home and I love it!

NO SHOES

When things are clean they are a lot more peaceful, right?! Or that’s how I feel about it. We don’t wear shoes in our house unless I’m shooting for a blog post. We have a little mudroom/laundry room area when you walk in our house from our garage and so we just always take our shoes off there. I leave a basket on a bench to house our shoes there. Then once a week, I’ll wash Maxi’s tennis shoes or whatever shoes need cleaning. Maxi is so used to this step that right when we walk in our house {or anyone’s house} she yells, “SHOES OFF!” and sits down to take her shoes off. It’s hilarious!

BAKE

I try to bake something once a week because then I always know I have something homemade for my family for breakfast, a snack, or a guest that pops by! Now, I’m not Martha Stewart. I love hacks like Home Chef and am always more than happy to run through the Chick-Fil-A drive-through for lunch. ha! But with that being said, having a toddler and lots of playdates I have found that making some baked goods on Sunday evening makes our week a lot easier. And if I ever get stressed in the afternoon, I’ll make myself pause with a cup of coffee during her nap and just enjoy a scone or a muffin before I get to work. It’s a 10-minute moment that feels indulgent and gives me such peace during the afternoon.

My favorite blog for baking recipes is Elisabeth and Butter. I love her oatmeal, which my entire family loves for breakfast or a snack. These muffins are delicious and so are her blondies. I always remake her recipes which are simple, easy, and she also gives options to make them a little healthier.

LAUNDRY

When Maxi was little and all the laundry seemed to pile up and bottles were constantly being washed, I was told a trick by a friend. She follows the “one-load rule” where you start one load in the dishwasher and in the laundry a day. Typically, I’ll load the dishwasher in the morning and my washing machine, then I’ll unload at nap time and switch to the dryer then. I’ll fold and put away before bed and it helps me stay on top of it. But, I think a way to make your home more peaceful is to enjoy those simple mundane chores. Find a laundry detergent you love and treat yourself to it! Maybe you love something that fills your entire home like Diva washuse it to wash your sheets! Or a trick to make it last longer is to use a fragrance-free detergent and then add a tiny bit of Diva wash to it. Noodle & Boo baby wash is another favorite, and then I love The Laundress. Maxi and I have REALLY sensitive skin and most detergents give us a rash, but these don’t. I’m thinking it’s because they are a bit higher grade, but I’m honestly not sure. They are pricier, so I always mix them with fragrance-free detergent. I also love to use dryer balls with essential oil drops on them like lavender instead of dryer sheets.

OILS

I love to diffuse essential oils and have a blog post on some here. I diffuse Roman Chamomile in Maxi’s room to help her sleep. I diffuse Thieves in the air after school or birthday parties to help clear the air. I use Purification and Lemon in my kitchen after cooking. I think it just keeps the air cleaner and always makes my home feel a bit more spa-like! Something about a diffuser humming in the background keeps things feeling sweet and slow in the afternoons.

AIRPLANE MODE

Do you implement airplane mode on your phone? I do this all the time! When I’m playing with Maxi or on a deadline for a work project, I’ll turn my phone on airplane mode. If Paul and I are enjoying wine and a charcuterie board, he doesn’t want to hear my phone dinging 14 times from a group text. I just turn it on airplane mode. This way I’m not tempted to answer a random call or grab my phone to text. I’ll also time batch my text messages. I’ll check about every 45 minutes to an hour and see if I need to respond to something immediately. If there are things like a group text and I’m a bit busier, I’ll respond in a few hours. I don’t do it to be mean at all, I’m OBSESSED with my friends. However, having a continual influx of social media, DMs, e-mails and text messages can be one of the most mentally draining activities we participate in WITHOUT realizing it. It’s a habit like drinking coffee, but we don’t recognize the stress it can lead to. Y’all, we as humans were NOT meant to be in contact with thousands of people all day long. Not only is it emotionally draining, but it’s also not helpful to what our focus is. You can’t be focused on your kids, taking a call and be answering stories at the same time. We have to remember what these tools were used for- they are to make life easier. If these things aren’t serving you in life, make little parameters so that you can have them to make your life easier and richer with relationships! A text message won’t just go away, we can manage it in a few hours. Now of course, if someone needs something ASAP- I respond. But for chatting, I try to time batch. It also isn’t loving to my friends for me to try to help them with something if I’m changing a diaper and reading an e-mail at the same time. I am not giving them my full attention, which they deserve. By time batching and sitting on the couch giving my friends my FULL attention, I can give them better conversation and really get much more joy out of those breaks in my day. You know how people never recommend mindless eating? They always say, sit while you eat, enjoy it, pause throughout your day. I say the same for mindless texting. Of course, I don’t do this with each and every text and am texting my mom or husband back as I walk into the grocery store, etc. {You get the idea!} But for the big text things, I time batch! Try time batching with your phone and see if it makes home life a little more peaceful.

THREE THINGS

Find the three things that make you feel the most flustered in your home and pick solutions. We can’t make everything in our home peaceful. Depending on your life, your job, the number of kids, or pets- we can’t cease all the chaos. And honestly, I don’t think I’d want to! 😉 BUT we can be proactive in three small things.

For me the three things that can make me feel stressed are: running late out the door, clutter, Maxi’s toys being lost.

  • Running Late: I’m an Enneagram 1 so y’all know I’m a girl that stresses over running late. I used to always be 15 minutes early. I had a child and now I am barely making it on time. For me, a way that I can try to be on time is to always have our bags ready to go. I keep 5 bags in our mudroom: her dance bag, her school bag, her backpack, my purse, and a tote. Her dance bag is for dance class and has a little cardigan, her dance shoes, a change of tennis shoes, and a snack. Her school bag has diapers and a change of clothes, her lunchbox, and her folder. Her backpack has these wet bags in them. I use one for diapers and wipes. I use one for restaurant toys like coloring. I use one for snacks. By keeping the wet bags separate things stay neat and clean and I can just toss in the washer when need be. I grab her backpack if we are going on a playdate, to church, or somewhere that makes the most sense. I, of course, have my purse with my own things for moments I’m by myself or with Paul and he carries the backpack. Then I keep my tote there, which has the same items as her backpack and I can just throw my keys and sunglasses in there. I’ll carry a tote if I’m just with her going to lunch or running errands. I found that it was easier to just keep two sets of diapers and wipes in the tote and backpack, instead of ALWAYS switching bags before we’d walk out the door. It was taking an extra 5 minutes and so I thought, “Why don’t I just keep all my bags ready to go at all times so the only thing I have to switch back and forth is my keys?” Keep your lipstick in each bag- your purse and backpack, etc. I took about 30 minutes and basically set my bags up to where I could grab any walking out the door depending on what we were doing {I take a backpack to the park, but not a tote. But if I’m going to shop with Maxi, we grab the tote.} and I can’t tell you how much time it has saved.
  • Clutter: Y’all, I can’t with the clutter. And when you work from home with product, you know clutter piles up. Boxes and just THINGS can be such added stressors. To help, I’ve made one little “command center” area in our home. It’s the corner of the dining room and I actually don’t see it 90% of the day- out of sight out of mind. ha! I put things I need to mail there, I house return boxes, gifts to mail, cards to send. I used to keep all that on my kitchen counters and I hated it. I felt like it was the first thing I always saw. Then I moved things to the guest bedroom and I NEVER saw it and would forget. Move things to a command center where you won’t’ see the clutter all day, but you’ll be reminded to move it daily or mail it out. I also have a rule that if I bring something in my home like a new sweater, I’ve got to move another piece out to donate. If you buy a new makeup item, see if you have any expired makeup to toss. This helps keep things under control. Another thing that I help corrals clutter is to have a mail zone for incoming mail that you need to open. Get a cute basket at Homegoods, keep it in a corner and toss your packages and mail in there during the day. Then, at a designated time each day, go through your mail, write your thank-you notes, and wrap up things to return. Boxes become the biggest source of clutter for me and I used to just open mail as it came throughout the day. I’d have an Amazon box on my counter, a return box int the dining room, a birthday invitation on my coffee table. It looked like shipping and receiving in my house. Now I just keep a basket and know I’ll deal with it at a certain time so that things don’t cause clutter.
  • Maxi’s Toys: I’m actually doing a blog post on ways we organize Maxi’s toys, but our new system has been a lifesaver. Things don’t get lost and I can clean it up in 5 minutes. But before that, it would pile up in her hallway. One trip to Ikea later and problem solved. I’ll be sharing the post soon, but utilize Pinterest and see where you can cut down on toy clutter and make it easier on you to clean up and keep track. It honestly was the best $200 I’ve ever spent!

COMMITMENT BOUNDARIES

I’ve always been one to thrive when I have downtime and as an introvert, I crave it. But I hardly listened to myself until I had a daughter that is the same way. Maxi NEEDS her quiet time at home. Her behavior shifts and meltdowns happen when I drag her around. Squeezing in an extra playdate or activity doesn’t benefit her, it just benefits a calendar and expectations. At 2.5 she can now tell me when she doesn’t want to leave the house or do something and while she can’t rule the roost 24/7, I really do my best to listen to her. When we had my best friend, Taylor, staying with us last week we were go-go-go-go. On Wednesday night, I had planned a fun dinner and maybe a movie. I told Maxi about it and she said, “No, Mama. I stay home.” I realized she was exhausted and just needed to cuddle on the couch. We did just that and she was so much happier. Maxi is like me in the fact she isn’t happier on the go. She’s happiest at home in her jammies playing with her toys. I carve out commitment boundary times during the week {usually Monday mornings, Sunday afternoons, and other hour blocks in the week} where we don’t do anything. I will tell people that our family needs downtime and I’m happy to do something at another time. That may seem intense, but our family operates so much better when we have that set time where we all can just do nothing as a family. I also recognize this isn’t as realistic if you have multiple kids, but since I can do this with Maxi I really try to prioritize it. Even if you don’t have kids, I think this is so important. Take 2 hours a week where you don’t schedule commitments and you just stay at home and rest. I think we associate rest with just sleeping, but there is mental rest, social rest, physical rest, emotional rest. And our body needs those things. Make time for it so that it actually happens.

SNACK PREP

The kitchen is what I always associate with having a clean and peaceful home. Living in open concept homes the past few years, I started to see that correlation between a few dishes piled up and feeling like I had a messy home. Take right now for instance. I’ve got about 3 cups in the dishwasher and some groceries on the counter to put away and I walked out of my room and thought, “Should I pick up the kitchen or finish my blog post first?” It just grabs your attention and then it’s in the back of my mind while I do other tasks. I’ve learned that when I prep snacks the night before or even the morning of, I use fewer dishes with Maxi throughout the day. For Maxi’s snacks, I love to fill up a muffin tin with different options like cut-up fruit, bell peppers, carrots, raisins, crackers, and cereal. You can see a picture of how it looks here. When she wants a snack, I can pull that out and not only is it giving her lots of options which she loves, it avoids 14 different little bowls throughout the day.

10-MINUTE TIDY

As moms, I think it’s easy to be torn between, “Constantly cleaning and sitting and just living.” In fact, this is something I DM with y’all about quite frequently. While I’m a pretty black and white person in terms of what I think I should do vs. don’t do, this is an area I really try to live in the gray in. Because let’s be honest, we can’t NOT clean. I mean…things have to get picked up SOMEHOW. And I see a huge uptick in stress related to my job when my home is a disaster. I’m home with Maxi and so when she goes down for a nap and I have 6 hours of work to cram in a 2-hour nap, I NEED the house to be clean so I can hyperfocus. But I also don’t want to spend the entire day cleaning and missing out on just enjoying my home. This is when the 10-minute tidy comes in. I set my timer and do 10-minute tidies {Maxi can even help!} BEFORE things: before bed, before we leave the house, before naps, before I start to cook dinner for the day. You could really just tailor it to your schedule and maybe clean a max of 30 minutes a day, but by making those set 10-minute breaks you are tidying up so you can focus on other things, while not stealing too much of your day. I will turn on music, make it fun with Maxi, and she enjoys it. When the timer goes off, this is when I try to practice as much discipline as I can. Even if I’m still sorting through things, I pause, and move on! If things are still a mess, I have to know they are just supposed to be that way for that time of day.

FAVORITE CANDLES

Lastly, I think scent is such a powerful tool. You can get a whiff of someone walking and be reminded of a person or certain stage of your life. I love for my home to convey warmth and comfort to my family and so I typically go for scents that represent that. As I’ve gotten older, I definitely worry more about candle quality and grade as I know fragrance can be filled with not great things! I’ll burn candles for a little bit at a time and prefer to get soy candles or candles that have a high-grade wax. So while some of these are more expensive than your average Homegoods candle, they don’t’ give me a headache and you only have to burn them for 10-15 minutes to get the effects all day! A few of my favorite candles are above.

What do you do to implement a little more peace in your home?

 

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17 Comments

  1. Annaliese wrote:

    Love this post so much Katey! So many helpful tips!! I moved apartments earlier this month and got about 50% unpacked before getting tired of that – now all of the clutter from the remaining boxes is driving me so nuts. This post really is my motivation to take care of the rest of it ASAP haha!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Girl, moving is ROUGH! I feel like boxes last far too long. Congratulations on your new apartment! xx, Katey

      Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  2. Ana wrote:

    This truly was the perfect Monday morning post! Thank you!! 🙂

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Thank you for reading, Ana! Have a fabulous week! xx, Katey

      Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  3. Gosh, your home is the loveliest! Great list of suggestions too – I also love baking, especially in fall. It’s so calming! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Thank you so much, girl! xx, Katey

      Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  4. Katey- thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. I love your outfit posts don’t get me wrong, but I also love these types of posts where you remind us of what’s truly important in life, especially for us type A’s who try to do it all. Dirty dishes is one thing that stresses me out, so often times I’ll unload the dishwasher at 6:15 am when my husband is eating breakfast and we can chat. It seems crazy to some to be doing dishes at 6 am, but I start the day with an empty dishwasher and can easily load things in throughout the day, which avoids the dishes piling up and makes me a happy camper. You’ve gotta find the solutions that work best for you! Definitely going to try playing music throughout the day like you suggested.

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Thank you so much, Jessica! Girl, I love that little ritual you shared. I’m the same way. If I just do little things throughout the day, I can be FAR more focused on my relationships. When I let things go I find myself getting crankier and honestly no joy to be around. xx, Katey

      Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  5. Baleigh Tycom wrote:

    This is an amazing blog post! The content is such good quality, thanks for sharing! I can tell you put a lot of time into and it is deeply appreciated! Love following you!

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Aw, thank you so much, Baleigh! 🙂 I’m so appreciative of your readership! xx, Katey

      Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  6. Rebecca wrote:

    Katey! This post is so good! I just finished the book Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchin Rubin, so this came at the perfect time for more ideas on how to have a peaceful home—I’ve really been noticing recently how it affects everything else. Love it!!

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  7. Hadley wrote:

    Love this! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips! I’m a stay-at-home mom and will be implementing your ideas!

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  8. Alma wrote:

    Katey, this post is what I needed today , so thank you . I’m in constant stress if my house is a mess, especially the kitchen (what is it with kitchens?😂😂I’m definitely gonna try your tips and I’m gonna jump in the diffuser/candle joy haha.
    Have an amazing week.
    Ps.love your house and your style ,and I really enjoy your stories on Ig.
    Alma

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  9. Megan wrote:

    Omg Katey! This is such a great post! My husband and I live in a town home and half of our personal junk and my business junk sits in our guest bedroom and creates clutter because we have no storage space! Ahhh! It drives us crazy. I recently got an office, hallelujah, and will definitely be implementing some of your techniques once my guest room is officially back to an actual guest room! Haha! Thanks for the inspo!

    Published 16 Sep 19Reply
  10. Alex wrote:

    TURNING ON MY DIFFUSER NOW🙌🏻🙌🏻 This was so good, thank you.

    Published 17 Sep 19Reply
  11. Dee Nowak wrote:

    Oh I love HGTV.. it’s so relaxing after a long day!

    And these are such great tips, Katey. I’ve recently cut way back on my social media time and it’s made such a difference in keeping me calm and in fighting overwhelm. I love the idea of putting your phone on airplane when you’re working and reminding yourself that nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait a few hours.

    Dee ~ Vanilla Papers

    Published 17 Sep 19Reply
  12. These are so great! I’ve just moved in with my boyfriend and we’re trying to keep our home peaceful, but also positive as he works in sales and life can get pretty stressful. I have never worn shoes in my house and love it that way – I’m also finding that candles and letterboards with positive sayings are a great way to keep your head up and on straight. Also – who doesn’t love clean kitchen and bathroom counters?!

    K A T E L A T E L Y || fashion + lifestyle blog
    http://www.katelately.co

    Published 17 Sep 19Reply