Have you ever walked into your kitchen and your heart sank before the day started to see piles of dirty dishes from the night before? A sink full of dirty dishes may be your daily environment or occasionally when life gets hectic.
Do you believe that one habit can genuinely transform your life?
Have you gotten so busy that many habits you've had in the past are going by the wayside? Maybe you've added another baby, moved, or entered into a new season of life. Would you like to regain control of your home again?
Years ago, I'd wake to my kitchen sink full of dirty dishes and feel overwhelmed for the day to come before it even started. I didn't just have dirty dishes, but piles of junk on my kitchen table. The mess would breed more clutter in my tiny little kitchen. It was suffocating and depressing. This scene awaited me every morning as I tried to figure out how to run a home with a new baby.
My husband and I married before we graduated college. I was finishing up my last year of college while trying to figure out how to be a wife during that first year of marriage. My husband was working full-time while also getting a college education. Life was nuts, and we were in a season of survival and change.
Two months after I graduated with a degree in elementary education and became a licensed teacher, we found out we were pregnant. Between nausea and intense exhaustion, I found a teaching job and began my first year teaching Kindergarten at a local elementary school in my county.
I look back at that season and wonder how I ever survived.
It wasn't long before I realized my heart desired to stay home and create a place for my family to grow and thrive. I didn't want a career like I thought I did. So we took a step of faith, and I quit my job when my son was born, 19 years ago.
My hectic life came to a screeching halt.
After the hustle of college life, planning a wedding, a first year of marriage, and the whirlwind of my first year as a teacher; I had no idea what to do with all my extra time.
So I just sat in front of the TV with no vision.
Before Netflix, Amazon prime, and smartphones, I scanned the local stations to see what could entertain my son and me while we waited for my husband to get home in the evening. Hour after hour. It's hard to believe this was how our family life began. If you can relate, there's hope.
My house was a mess. I was depressed. I honestly had no idea how to build a home.
Then I discovered a sweet author, Elizabeth George, and couldn't put her books down. I soaked up all her wisdom and chose one habit to focus on—my kitchen.
We were living in a small home without a dishwasher. I was exhausted by the night's end and had no desire or motivation to clean up my kitchen after dinner. So I let the soiled dishes sit.
The problem was that I didn't feel any more energized in the morning to tackle it. I felt defeated before my day even started.
Together with my husband, we devised a plan. We would no longer leave dirty dishes in the sink at night. We committed to each other that we'd stick to this new habit. I could not have imagined how life-changing this one commitment would be for our lives.
When I woke up that first morning to a clean kitchen, I couldn't believe how energized I felt to tackle my day. I woke up to a clean slate and, therefore, a clear mind.
It didn't stop there.
With my renewed energy and a clear mind, I had the space and ability to take up more habits. It was simply a springboard that propelled me to implement more change.
Next, I wanted to tackle the paper clutter on our kitchen table. The kind of clutter I had to scooch over every night before we ate dinner.
Now that my kitchen was clean, I wanted to use it and learn new skills.
Following, came the inspiration to try new recipes and build new skills in the kitchen. I no longer wanted to buy prepackaged and boxed mixes. I wanted to learn how to cook nourishing meals from scratch.
One step at a time, I watched less TV and spent more time creating and building a home.
Over the years, I've used trial and error to develop lasting systems that work so well for our family in many seasons.
If you wonder if my husband and I still live by this rule, the answer is a resounding YES! Over 20 years later, we do not go to bed with a dirty kitchen. Do we miss a day or two here or there? Rarely. That's how life-changing this habit has become. Through exhaustion, new babies, sickness, and beyond, we clean our kitchen every night.
Do I have hard days that require more rest? Absolutely. That's when my husband and kids pitch in and take over for me. As a family, we've also developed a 15-minute cleaning routine, so the kitchen clean-up takes minimal time.
Would you like to see our family in action and more tips?
You can see this and many more tips surrounding this one habit in my 28-Day Challenge.
I invite you to stick around for more stories and inspiration from my 21 years of building a home.
Before you leave, don't forget that building habits will take time. It will also take some trial and error figuring out what will work best for your family. Start simple and build upon this foundation I have shared with you today. Share any tips you've found helpful over the years below.
Thanks for dropping by today! I hope you found encouragement for building a peaceful home. If you know another mom who might benefit from what you've learned here today, be sure to share this post with her!
Before you go --- I have laid out all my tips to creating calm in your home, and you can get it below:
Learn my 4 Daily Habits to Calming the Chaos at Home
Looking for more calm in your day to day life?
A calm home is possible--with the right habits.
Learn my 4 daily habits here, it's free: