My last post began a discussion of the “atmosphere of the home”. We continue now to delve into specifics that affect that atmosphere.We will discuss the environment of our homes. By environment, I mean,the management, order, and decor of the home life.
First, let’s tackle management and order. This is by no means a complete look at this important topic. It is rather an overview. There may be future posts that go into greater detail and specific suggestions.
By management of the home, I mean routine and regularity. The atmosphere of the home life is greatly affected by the daily hum of activity. If that hum is rhythmic and in tune, then the family is as well. If the hum of activity is choppy, off key, and without composition, then so is the family.
I love schedules. I write and rewrite them. I hover over them tweaking and changing. However, what I have come to realize is that no schedule if worth the paper it is written on unless it is implemented. Also, over the years I have found that routine with approximate times laid out is far more realistic and less stressful for our family. Our schedule should be our slave and not our master.
For example, do we have general waking times for various family members? How about times for personal care and grooming? What about personal devotions for all those able to read and write? Are meals expected at about the same times each day? Are certain times allotted for marketing and errands? What about schooling? Do the family members know where they are to be and when? Are family times and devotions an expected activity in our homes? Are bed times well routined?
If a family must answer no to many of these questions, then that family must also admit that these areas are negatively affecting the home atmosphere. Can there be calmness of spirit when all are vying for the shower at the same time? Can there be productivity and impact where irregularity and lack of consistency reign? I believe that all of these factors contribute heavily to the negative or positive atmosphere of the home. Get a handle on routine and regularity and the atmosphere will improve.
Of course, I realize that there are seasons that change routine. Babies, sickness, loss, even some joyful seasons such as weddings, graduations, vacations, etc… can impact the routine. These are not causes for which to throw out all attempts at routine. Rather, these are times to enjoy the benefits of the effort you’ve already given to establish working routines. These events are merely blips on the radar screen of routine instead of earth shaking cataclysms. Life will fall easily back into routines that are well laid and worn. And the comfort of routine can help the family function through such times without putting effort into planning. It’s already done. You just follow along the well worn and secure tracks of your routine. The routine calls you back to order, peace, control. Routine brings comfort to the home atmosphere.
Regarding order, do our homes exemplify the old adage, “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”? I am not talking about structuring our home to look like a magazine layout or an ad for California Closets! By order, I mean finding realistic places for the stuff that makes up our home life. Is there a place for keys? Shoes? Coats? Books?
These several items can reek havoc in your home if they float around daily with no assigned place. I really think they multiply unashamedly overnight! How long can the atmosphere of home be sweet and loving when no one can find the keys, Bibles, coats, and matching shoes so as to be on time for church? What kind of atmosphere do we then carry with us to the car and then into church when we finally do find everything? You see, order does affect atmosphere.
I don’t know if cleanliness is next to godliness, but it sure is akin to order. Is the home atmosphere one of cleanliness? Is it generally clean in a healthy way? Is it picked up? Presentable? I know, I know…it’s hard. Things tend towards disorder not order. Sort of throws out the idea of evolution, huh? But that is for another post!!
Listen, I live in reality. My reality includes 1 very busy husband, 4 active children, 2 hairy cats, 1 hairy dog, and many visitors. My house is not always spic and span. But it is usually surface clean. My house is not always picked up, but it is never too far from getting that way. You see, I have discovered over the years that routine cleaning and picking up does so much to impact the atmosphere. I don’t just mean the “how it looks” atmosphere, but the “how we feel in it” atmosphere.
Having times set aside for chores and specific cleanings along with several daily pick ups keeps us only steps away from order. We can get the house “presentable” in little time because we have been faithful to routine and order all along.
This cleanliness doesn’t just present a good atmosphere to outside visitors. This cleanliness presents a good atmosphere to those of us who live in it. We see clean rooms and we feel secure, well cared for, important. We sense order and we feel safe, relaxed, and in control. Our home is a haven of refuge, not the wreckage left behind after the tornado.
Despite our best efforts, some days are just flops! But, overall, orderliness and thoughtful management have done their jobs to lend calmness, security, and relaxation to our home atmosphere. If you find your home lacking in these qualities, try implementing some routines and managing time and resources in the home.
Next time, we will address the topic of home decor and it’s affect on atmosphere. And, I don’t mean country vs. primitive vs. traditional vs. contemporary vs. eclectic. In the mean time, give time to prayer over your routines or lack there of and then sit down with paper and pencil. Write out a list of absolutes – like meals, bedtimes, wake times, baths, etc… Then add other items as you get a handle on the basics. Assign certain cleaning tasks to certain days – a load of laundry each morning, bathrooms on Tuesdays, kitchen on Fridays, etc… Occasionally reassess what isn’t working and try something else. Stay faithful and you will find your rhythm and your home will hum along sweetly!