Day 28: A homemaking binder

Today I am going to start a three-day series about what helps me to keep my life sane. See this little folder? This stands at the center of what helps to make my home tick.

It’s my homemaking binder. These are all the rage all over the Internet, but I thought I would post mine and share a little about what it containes so you can get a few ideas for yourself.

Okay, so what is a homemaking binder? It is one central place where you can keep all of the details, ideas, dreams and to-do’s for your life in the home. It is a vital tool for a stay-at-home mom like me, but I honestly think a pared down version could work for any person (including singles!). A homemaking binder (or home organization binder, or home management notebook – whatever you decide to call yours) is your one-stop shop to running and managing your home. The truth is, if you run parts of your home like a business – well, it will be more successful & much less stressful. So, lets get into the details ūüôā

First, I do think it’s important to note that your homemaking binder doesn’t have to be pretty. I just happen to like pretty. But, it does have to be usable. I knew I needed at least one or two “pockets” to help organize my loose papers I have sitting around – bills & etc. I don’t really want to three hole punch all of my papers – that is way to much work for someone who has much, much more important things to do. Like play with littles. Or make chai. Or blog. But again, that’s me. You may get engergized by having all your papers three-hole punched & put into slots. Rock on, paper organizing guru.

Also, you will want to decide for yourself what “sections” you will want in your homemaking binder. Here are mine:

– Life Flow
– Dreams
– Menu Planning
– Keeping House
– Seasons

I will be getting into these tabs more specifically over the next two days, but suffice it to say (for now), that these areas are not necessary for each persons notebook. You do what makes sense to you & allows you to flow. As a stay-at-home mom most of my life centers around the home right now. But if you are single, your homemaking binder may just contain the more utilitarian parts of life (menu planning & keeping house).

So, that’s it for today. But tomorrow I will talk about what my first two folders hold as well as something called a “daily docket”.

Enjoy your day!
~ Melissa

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Day 25, 26 & 27: A message in your season

Sorry I have been absent friends, I have been somewhere without Internet! But I am excited to finish this month & share some of my thoughts with you.

A few days ago I recieved something in the mail I have been eagerly awaiting.

Isn’t it wonderful? This is a message that speaks to me where I am. In my season. I am a stay-at-home mom who can often get caught up in comparision. I have spoken before this topic, and it is still a temptation I must avoid.(Of course, saying goodbye to the Internet is a very helpful step in this process). But even still, I need something reminding me that where I am is where I am meant to be. And I need a challenge to see my now as a place I can cultivate life and beauty.

The grass is greener where you water it.
Beautiful truth.

Just to let you peek into my world, here is the exact state of my kitchen when I took a minute to hang this picture. Why yes, that is the leftovers from making lunch. And yes, it’s almost 3 p.m. as I write this. Why do you ask? ūüôā

What about you? Is there a message that speaks to you in this season? It could be a quote, or a verse. You could paint it & frame it. Or write it on your mirror. Or in your journal. But whatever you do, get it in front of yourself often.

Until tomorrow,
~ Melissa

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Day 24: To tomes, with love

Today’s post won’t be very long…but when I planned for this month, I knew I had to mention one of my greatest loves – books. For me, a home includes my favorite books – loved and often read. I know that the Kindle and Ipad are the new ways to read books, but there is nothing like real pages.

Our books are special. Almost sacred. And so we constantly cull through them to make sure the ones we keep are tried and true. We have no problem giving books away or selling them if they no longer speak to us. Especially as “movers”, we cannot afford to cart around 20 boxes of books we never read.

So today I say, “Books – welcome to my home”

~ Melissa

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Day 23: Tackle the master

Yesterday I wrote about the heart of your home, and I make the case that it is the master bedroom, rather than the oft-quoted kitchen. Allie left this comment, “oh my gosh‚Ķ our bedroom is ALWAYS a total mess of clothes and stuff. We often put things in our bedroom that we are not sure where else to put them. Any organization tips or advice on making the master room a place to cherish instead of a place to throw stuff? The furniture, decorations, bed/sheets/pillows are SO inviting, but we just cant seem to keep the whole room to stay inviting”

I thought that this was an¬†excellent¬†question as I will admit to my master bedroom having the same tendency. Especially with little kids – it’s a room I can stick something in and close the door knowing they won’t get into it. All of that being said, however, I do think there are some practical ways you can fight for that space.

1. Realize you are in a war, not a battle
This room is something that, both literally and figuratively, you are going to have to fight for. Spiritually and emotionally it represents your marriage – the oneness, unity, friendship and covenant that are the bedrock for your home. Practically, it’s the space you want to keep beautiful and clean. But both of those things are wars, my friend, not battles. You are in it for the long haul. You can’t expect to do it once & then *tada*, it will remain that way for the rest of your life. (Not gonna lie though, I wish this daily with laundry – why does it always get dirty again??)¬†You know how you have to wash dishes every day or the kitchen will be filthy? Your master bedroom is the same. Take the time to taz it daily – to make the bed and clear the clutter.

2. Start off right
If you have never truly tackled your master bedroom, then the advice I gave above to taz it will seem completely overwhelming. You have to start with an organized room to easily pick it up. So you may need to dedicate yourself to one really good, deep clean to get that room right. Take the afternoon or evening to shut the door and start to wade through all of the clutter you keep in there. Make piles (give away, throw away, put away) so that you don’t leave the room until it’s done.

3. It’s okay to procrastinate
When you are cleaning your room, beware of rabbit trails! So often when I clean a room I get sidetracked by another task. I am putting away the clothes on the dresser when I see an old¬†T-shirt¬†and think “I really need to go through my clothes and get rid of some stuff.” The next thing I know I am knee-deep in stockings and pants –¬†not¬†the original goal. If it helps, bring a notepad in with you so you can jot down ideas of things you want to do in your bedroom in the future.

4. Appearance is everything
Sometimes it can be easy to distract yourself from some of the purposes of your master bedroom as you plan and dream for it. It’s important to be practical so that you can keep this room clutter free. If you usually get ready in here & you try to move all your stuff into a drawer – well, it might just end up right where it started…cluttering your dresser top. So be practical – get a few baskets you can easily dump things in that really help to¬†hide¬†your clutter. Because sometime¬†appearance¬†can be everything. So do you need a new clothes hamper that makes your room look nicer? Or maybe a curtain over your open closet so that you don’t see all the clothes? Take a look at your room to see what might help your room be both useful¬†and¬†beautiful.

I hope this gives you some ideas about how to practically tackle your master bedroom where clutter is concerned. Of course, making your master room beautiful is such a personal thing, but a clutter-free room is important for everyone. Thanks, Allie, for the question. I am actually tazing my own master bedroom today & planning for this room to be my big project for November. Go & make your home today!

~ Melissa

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October 21 & 22: The heart of your home

“The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home” – this is a well-known and often-said quote. But I am here to make a case against it. While the kitchen can often be the center of activity in the home, and a wonderful place to gather and find joy, I believe that this is truly the heart of a home:

While this isn’t¬†our master bedroom (what I would do for a view like that!), I do truly believe that¬†this¬†room is the heart of your home. So often we focus our attention and our energy in making the public spaces of our home worthy of others. I know that I myself am guilty of this. But it is our marriages, and our marriage bed, that is truly the place we should be fighting for. Both literally (in the care we take to decorate and care for this room), and figuratively (in the way we make time to talk, dream, laugh and indeed¬†create love).¬†

So I urge you today to go take a good look at your master bedroom. Is it a peaceful place? Have you invested into your mattress, your sheets? Do you find rest here? Is it beautiful & reflective of the love you are cherishing? If you can, remove anything in it that speaks to work. And please, take the TV out. This room should be made for conversations, laughter and love.

Protect the heart of your home.

~ Melissa

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Day 20: Ignore others

Yesterday I talked about finding inspiration. Today, I want to talk about ignoring it.

While the Internet & others can be wonderful sources of ideas and creativity, sometimes the healthiest thing you can do for your home is to ignore others. We can get paralyzed by others opinions, what is the latest fad, and how much we don’t have (or have access to). So sometimes? You need to ignore what the latest trend is, and just do your thing.

My sister, for instance, paints each room in her little house a different shade of bright. And it suits her. She could care less who says what about what colors are “in” – bright makes her happy. Bright rocks her world.

So I say find inspiration but be more than willing to let it go. Or ignore it. Because sometimes, what makes you happy and what suits¬†your home isn’t in the rule books.

~ Melissa

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Day 19: Find Inspiration

Good morning internet friends,

As I am on the journey of discovering what I want my home to be, it’s important to me to find inspiration. I am not an artist, so I don’t usually have creative home-beautifying ideas just pouring out of my head. However, especially with the Internet, there are some amazing resources & places to find inspiration.

Here are a few of mine:

1. Pinterest
This is a gorgeous (and addicting) site of pictures that have inspired others. The best thing about it is that it is searchable, so if you are looking for specific ideas you can find them. Beware of¬†comparison¬†though…most of those pictures are homes perfectly staged.

2. Blogs
There are 1 million blogs out there about home decorating, improving and designing. There are blogs that focus on the practical & blogs that focus on the heart of the matter. Here are two of my personal favorites:
The Nester
Ashley Ann (not just homemaking, but lots of good stuff)
Like Mother, Like Daughter (this one focuses more on the heart)
Life in Grace (she has a wonderful 31 Days of Hospitality going on)

3. Real Life
It’s okay to copy your friend’s and relation’s homes ūüôā If you see something you like in the real world, don’t be afraid to try it in your home. Even ask them to help you if they were creative enough to do it on their own. I am about to put this into practice myself. I have a good friend who draped her ceiling with cloth several years ago. I LOVED the look & am about to replicate it in my master bedroom. ūüôā I would have probably never thought of it on my own, but thanks to her creativity, my room is about to become more beautiful.

Go out & be inspired!
~ Melissa

P.S. Tomorrow I will be talking about why you should ignore my advice from today ūüôā

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