Sunday, March 29, 2009

Managing Chaos, part 1

I read this post, and while much of it didn't really relate to where I think I am right now, this line completely connected with me: Managing chaos with beauty, quality, and ruthless simplicity. In my last post I mentioned how I can feel overwhelmed with Life with Littles, and it is precisely this concept of managing chaos that makes me say, "Aha! That's what I need!" But not only do I want to contain some of the craziness, I want to do it with Beauty, Quality, and (this is my favorite part) Ruthless Simplicity. Because I want to figure out in real terms what these three components look like, I'm going to blog a separate post for each of them, detailing how specifically they will work in our life.

In this season with my little guys at home (and one on the way, of course), I want to be diligent and faithful both, not only to them, but to my home and husband as well. And that can feel a bit like juggling puppies at times, let alone seem unsightly (say, when the house is a wreck and Hunny's due home in two hours). That's where Beauty comes in. If you're surrounded with beautiful things, don't you want to take care of them and keep them beautiful? Having finally just bought some new (via Craigslist) furniture, Hunny and I have laughed that we have "grown up" furniture, but the truth is that it's nice! We want to keep it that way, and Hunny's turned into this crazy cleaning machine... he has to straighten the living room every night, and I think that stems in part from the "let's keep this nice" theory. (Well, that and the "hey we spent $x on this and don't want to throw it away!) I've culled the boys' toys from time to time (cross-country moves are a nice incentive), and have decided to do so again so that I can replace some of the obnoxious bright plastic toys with some more classic wooden varieties, or even just toys that encourage more imaginative play. Not that we have to get rid of everything; I'm sure the silicone, oversize "lego" type blocks are just as good as a more natural version; I am, however, looking to get rid of battery-operated thingamajiggies as soon as the batteries no longer cooperate! Following with my last post, I'd also like to set up a specific space for Bear to work with some of the more hands-on activities I'm planning for him, and continue encouraging him to clean up when he's done.

I think I'm learning that beauty can come in several forms, too, for instance, just turning the classical music station on more often than the chatter-filled radio or another pet-themed kid's variety show. I love classical music, but rarely turn it on, so I'm going to aim to choose this musical choice a little more often. I go through phases where I need less sleep just keep the house cleaner than at other times, but I'd also like to go back to my FlyLady days, most specifically the idea that I want to "bless my home" (that's what she actually calls it; I love that it's not "chores," or "housework," don't you?). I'm also going to be a little more proactive to teach the boys to clean up after their first activity before moving on to the second-I get lazy and it's often easier to just do it myself, but that's robbing them of an opportunity to learn.

So, in short, I'm going to keep nice things nice through home blessings, cull the toys to replace lesser quality with a more beautiful and imaginative choice, and be intentional about the sounds and sights of beauty in our home, from cut flowers to music, and most importantly teach my children to love beautiful things and desire to take care of them. What do you think of managing chaos while keeping beauty, simplicity, and quality in mind? How do you keep your home beautiful?


Aunt LoLo said...

That's fabulous, and just what I needed to hear today. It's so hard to keep life beautiful when you're covered in Babie Uckies...but life is definitely better when I do!

runningtherace said...

This is a lovely post, Misty. I am really looking forward to reading the rest in the series. To answer your questions, I am trying to have fewer decorations. Since my hosue is so small there is really no extra room for nicknacks. A friend once told me that she "doesn't collect things that collect dust." I think that if the few things of beauty I do choose to display are sparsley distributed throughout my house, each item will stand out and be enjoyed more than if I have a dozen things together detracting from each other. I'd love to see a picture of your newish grown up furniture!