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Keeping it Real

Last week I gave you a tour of our 1,343 square foot brick ranch. The pictures I shared were from when we were trying to sell our home so they were beautiful – showing our home looking it’s best.

Well, this week, I’m giving you another tour of our home but this tour is keeping it real – nothing staged, just real life!

Messy Dining Room

I try my hardest to keep our table clutter free because we eat 3 meals a day there however it’s just seems to be a stuff magnet. Honestly, it’s mostly my stuff – we come home from running errands or church and I dump everything on the end of the table instead of putting it where it should go!
Finger Paint Mess

Ah, preschoolers and art. Before having kids, I dreamed of peaceful, non-messy, creative art time with my kids. Ha, ha! My boys love creating but boy are they messy. This time, I let them have a few different colors of paint and they were happily painting on their paper. Well, then the baby needed me and I left the room for 2 minutes and came back to paint everywhere – all over the table, chairs and the boys. At least they had fun, right? And, thankfully it was washable!
Dirty Dishes

This is an all too common scene around here. I guess because we eat 3 meals a day?! There’s really no getting around that. So, the kitchen is used and is pretty much never fully clean!
Laundry

Here’s photographic evidence of our mountain of laundry. I was warned before Cecilia was born that a third child seems to make laundry really explode. Well, it’s true! So much laundry. (But, who really cares if there is a little more laundry to fold – our third baby is awfully sweet and so worth it!)
Pile of Laundry

More laundry. Messy Bedroom

Noticing a trend? Laundry. Everyday. On my bed.

Confession – some days, I don’t get around to fully folding it all so I just dump what hasn’t been folded yet back into the basket for the night and the next morning dump it back on the bed to fold sometime that day!Livingroom

Living rooms are for living and we do a lot of living in ours so it’s rarely clean. This day, the boys were creating with big cardboard boxes. Art stuff all over, pieces of cardboard everywhere and a really sweet baby girl in the midst of it all!
Messy Kid Space

My boys love puzzles. I love that they love puzzles. I however, do not love puzzle pieces. So many pieces. I may break out in a sweat when I realize they’ve mixed puzzle pieces all together!Broken Blinds

One thing I find myself saying over and over is ‘we cannot have nice things.’ The reason I say this – my boys are destructive. I’m often quite impressed at the things they decide to destroy. One day, one of them spent rest time in the baby’s room and decided to bend back a piece of the blinds. (It has since snapped off…)
Unmade Beds

Right after deciding to put our house on the market, we decided to rearrange the kids rooms. When Cecilia was born, we had the boys in a full size bed and her crib in their room. We decided to separate Cecilia from the boys and then got the boys twin beds. Their beds had sheets and quilts but nothing on the box springs for months (and now they don’t even have the box springs thanks to their bunk bed!)
Messy Kid BedroomAnd, since deciding to stay in our home instead of sell it, we’ve been making some changes to make this house work better for our family. One of those things was installing some shelving in the boys closet for more efficient organization. So, everything from the closet was piled up in the corner for over 3 weeks. And, while the closet is finished and some things have been put back into the closet, there’s still a nice pile in the corner.

I shared these pictures with you so you remember that people often just share the beautiful (like the staged home tour I shared last week) on blogs, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I didn’t want you to think that was my reality because it’s so far from reality that it felt like a lie!

We all have messes (at least those of us with young children do!)

Stop aiming for an unattainable goal of a perfectly clean home. Embrace the reality that life is just a little messy and then you can begin to view your mess as beautiful.

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Brick Ranch Home Tour

In April, we decided we were going to sell our home and spent a few days thoroughly cleaning and taking pictures. I’ve been meaning to post them for a few months so you can have a glimpse into our home!

Our home is a basic little house built in the 70s, a  3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home totaling 1,343 square feet.

Here’s a glimpse inside:

Livingroom

Kitchen

Dining

Bathroom

Master

Kids Room

Play Room

After a few days of intense cleaning, decluttering (and maybe a little shoving things into closets), the house looked amazing! In fact, it was exactly how I often dream our home should look – super clean and clutter free. But, getting it show ready and ‘perfect’ really was eye opening to me.

Instead of loving the clean, clutter free look, it felt too sterile! It didn’t feel like our home – there were no signs of real life within the walls! Those (maybe) 2 days that it was ‘perfect’ really have helped me appreciate the beautiful mess of real life.

This little home tour is showing our home at it’s best – it’s never, ever this clean on a daily basis, so please don’t think this is my reality! Next week, I’m going to share a keeping it real home tour so you can see glimpses of our reality.

Brick-Ranch

When we purchased our home in early 2011, we were a family of 3 and the 1343 square feet was more than enough house for our small family.

There were a few things about the house that we weren’t crazy about. It is a 1.5 bathroom (we preferred 2), the kitchen is small and the laundry is in the carport. We compromised on those factors because the house is a charming 70s brick ranch on an acre in the area where we wanted to be. Plus, the price was well below the budget we had set when we began searching for a home.

We knew we were going to be able to comfortably grow our family in this home.

Living Room

With the announcement of our third pregnancy, we started to get questions and comments like “where will you put the baby?” and “you’re going to need a bigger house.”

Our answers were “we’ll put the baby in the room with his/her brothers” and “we have plenty of room.”

As the months passed, we started thinking that maybe our house wasn’t big enough.

Simple math says it’s small. Our 1343 square foot house divided by 5 people is 268.6 square feet per person. (We realized that per person, our house was smaller than our 576 square foot first apartment! We had 288 square feet per person there.)

A few weeks after Cecilia was born, John David was browsing real estate listings and an 1,800 square foot home on 7 acres with a barn and shop caught his attention. We went and looked at it and fell in love with the farm. Within a few days, we decided we were going to sell our home so we could buy a farm.

Throughout the month of May, we had several inquiries and a few showings and were hopeful that our home would sell quickly so we could buy the larger home and farm.

Towards the end of May, we started really questioning whether this was the right move for our family and began praying for direction. Sure, the 1,800 square foot house (with a bonus room, attached garage and fireplace) on 7 acres was exactly what we wanted. But, was it what was right for our family now?

We started evaluating the work of keeping up a farm. John David’s job is not only a job, it’s his calling. With his job he’s not home every single night of the week at the same time. With 3 small children, I don’t want the responsibility of having to care for a farm on his long nights. Plus, the honest truth is we have a hard time caring for our acre (and nearly half of it is wooded). The care of 7 acres seems quite daunting.

We also looked long and hard at finances. Yes, we can afford the larger home. The asking price was a figure we can afford, at least on paper. Figuring the mortgage payment on the larger home into our budget worked but it left very little money and our budget would be very tight. To us, it’s not really worth having a larger home if we can’t live life because all of our money is going to the house!

But, we need more space, right? Well, 500 more square feet would definitely be nice but isn’t a necessity, at least at this point in our life. We’re comfortable in our current home. Our boys share a large bedroom, Cecilia now has her own room and there’s plenty of space for the things we own, especially since we choose to live minimally.
Dining Room

We’ve decided that living small in this house means we can really live large.

An affordable mortgage means our finances are not super tight.

Since our finances are not super tight, we can spend more on healthy food, eating out and experiences. Plus, we’re able to be more generous since we’re not simply scraping by every month.

Living in 1343 square feet means we have to be intentional about our possessions as a family of 5. We evaluate purchases not only based on whether we can afford the item but also based on if we have space for it and if it is a necessity. We choose to live minimally but our home also forces us to live minimally since we don’t want to be overrun with stuff!

We’re content living small. But, we really think we’re living large.

(And, the lovely pictures in this post were taken for our house listing. My house is never, ever this tidy!!)

 

 

 

Establishing a Cleaning Routine_m

Since I’ve been pregnant, all of my nesting energy has been focused on simplifying our home and implementing routines in an attempt to make the transition from two to three little ones a bit easier.

While I know adding a new baby to the mix will definitely change the dynamics in our family, I believe that having simple routines in place will make household management easier while recovering from birth, caring for a newborn and helping our boys adjust to their new sibling.

I have established a morning routine, evening routine and weekly cleaning schedule that have really helped make our household management simpler.
Morning Routine

My morning routine is quite simple.

I make beds which make the bedrooms look tidy.

I start a load of laundry. I typically do a load a day which keeps it manageable and really makes it easy to stay on top of our laundry.

In the kitchen, I unload the dishwasher while prepping breakfast and then once we eat breakfast, I tidy the kitchen back up by loading the dishwasher and washing anything that needs to be hand washed.

This morning routine is simple and easy to complete every morning.

Cleaning Schedule

I also follow a weekly cleaning schedule. This cleaning schedule is very simple, focusing only on one area a day.

On Mondays, I deep clean both bathrooms.

Tuesdays are spent cleaning the bedrooms – washing sheets, dusting, sweeping, removing things that don’t belong in the bedrooms and getting rid of any clutter that has crept in (frequent decluttering keeps clutter from taking over!).

Wednesday is pretty simple, just cleaning the dining room. This involves washing the table, cleaning the floors and removing things that don’t belong in this space.

Thursdays are spent cleaning the living room.

And, Fridays are for special projects or as a catch up day if I missed cleaning an area during the week. My husband is off on Fridays so I don’t want to have routine housekeeping scheduled on this day.

Saturday and Sunday don’t have any housework assigned to them, we try to relax and enjoy the weekend and spend time working outside. We only do our morning and evening routines on these days.

You may notice that the kitchen is not assigned a day. That is because I’m in the kitchen everyday and part of my morning and evening routine is to wash and put away dishes. And, every time I wash dishes, I also wipe down the counter tops so the kitchen stays clean.

Evening Routine

 

My evening routine begins right after supper is finished. I tidy the kitchen and load the dishwasher/wash dishes. I’ve found that ending the day with a clean kitchen helps to get the next day off to a good start.

While our boys pick up their toys each evening, we straighten up our living room and sweep the living areas.

By the time we’re finished with our evening routine, our home is tidy which makes our evenings more relaxing.

These cleaning routines, coupled with living with less, is really making a difference in our household management. And, we’re certainly hoping that it eases the transition to becoming a family of 5!

Do you follow any type of cleaning schedule?