Summer Tips for a Happy, Messy Home

You read that right. You won’t be reading any blogs from this girl about organization and cleaning tips. I will leave that up to the great people out there who have those skills. Please read on for encouragement for a happy, messy home, or at the least, to feel better that your home is not as a much of a battle field as mine.

Years back, my husband told my mother-in-law, when they were talking about shelving and storage in her home, that we could not offer much insight since we [my husband and I] were a bit on the “sloppy side”. I was horrified then that he would say that to her. But, it was fully true, and as you can imagine, things have not gotten better since having kids.

I have not accepted my messiness. I still battle the battle of trying to keep a clean home. I will keep searching and reading the blogs on “Clean Home Hacks” and “Tips and Tricks for Organization.”

With that said, a couple weeks ago, after a particularly rough day of battling a baby fever and trying to get ready for our Kansas City trip, I was ready to lead a MESSY HOME REVOLUTION.

I built a fortress of reasons why a messy home was okay. As I held my baby and shirked all of the responsibilities of cleaning my home, I told myself I was exactly where I needed to be. As I ran my son around to some fun summer events, and cooked meals for friends in need, I shrugged at the dish mountains.

I had a wall getting taller and wider for feeling happy in a messy home.

I’ll admit this wall came crumbling down like the baby plowing through one of my toddler’s block towers, when my 6 year-old neighbor came into the house with my reluctant invitation and stated in kind of a disgusted tone, “Your house is messy.” The tears inside of me were as real as my son’s tears when his creations get knocked down- my ego deflated and the desire to defend myself on such an attack by this little girl was real.

So, I may have been dramatic, probably due to my own guilt of the house being a mess. Still, I feel the standards for having a clean home can get in the way of just living. I really do not believe creativity, adventure, and fun can be an organized neat process all of the time. Life needs a little mess. So, take it for what it’s worth, here are my counters to some of the regular home messes.

Messy Kitchen

I think a messy kitchen just means home cooking is happening and mouths are being fed. As much as we have tried to have a routine of cook, eat, and clean up, sometimes there are events to run to. Sometimes, it’s nice to just go back to playing or doing projects before the sun goes down.

I have found I leave the kitchen is huge messes for when we rush off for playdates and picnics where I take food. We have adventures and fun waiting for us. Actually, usually there are scheduled adventures and fun we are running late for already!

The kitchen will be even messier if you let the kids help cook and bake, which what a great activity and skill to pass on. Is there flour puffed out everywhere on the table and flour? Props that you let the kid do that and own that job.

Messy Laundry

I have tried to create systems for laundry- do a load every day. One load a day is not enough. By the time I have it folded and sorted in the basket and the baby hasn’t gleefully unfolded all I folded and organized, sometimes scooting that basket out-of-reach and ready to be put away is a victory in itself.

I find laundry in the summer is REALLY hard to keep up with. We sweat and play hard. Abe is a sweater, and I mean He. Sweats. A. LOT. We go to the pool and get clothes wet and sunscreeny. I have a husband who gets night sweats. I have kids with bloody noses and are just overall kind of gross. None of this stuff is avoidable. As far as I can see, laundry just is a struggle. There is victory to no one running around naked.

Messy Play Areas… So, Messy Everywhere

Toys, things, and toys are everywhere. Between all of our projects and the kids toys, all I have to say is- AH! We have an ebay store, where we literally buy one man’s junk, store it in our house, and hope another man buy’s it as treasure. We have house projects and hobby projects. I think that makes us interesting… And we have kids.

We have tried to establish the toys need to stay in Abe’s room or in the basement. You can bet this doesn’t always happen. You can also bet that the basement and his room are the problem-spots of our anguish.

My husband actually is more bothered by the messes of toys. He and I continually disagree on how many toys are too many. The thing is, we have a day’s worth of imagining, learning, and pretending to do. All of the toys have potential for great imaginative play. Books are spewed about because we are reading and building great minds.

Abe’s favorite toys are the messiest- Legos and wood train tracks. I personally really enjoy drawing, art, and writing stories with him. Markers and crayons are everywhere.

In the centers of these messes, are blossoming creativity skills and creations that I would gladly, well not gladly, sacrificially step on a Lego for.

I remember my mom and dad always trying to get me to clean my room- see, how far this problem of mine goes back? Now, my husband and I have become my parents and probably a vast majority of parents in constantly telling our child to CLEAN YOUR ROOM. My toddler has become me from the past, who thought- what is the big deal having a messy room?

Despite my parents efforts in having me clean my room, I still have this problem of battling to maintain organization. I am still a good person. A messy room is not the end of the world, and maybe the efforts to make the kid tidy will work and maybe not. We have to choose our battles.

Messy Bathroom

This you are probably just avoiding because kids make a new level of gross in the bathroom. You should probably just clean that… This may be a self pep talk…

Go Forth and Don’t Clean

So there you have it. I hope I have provided some reasons to feel happy with your messy home. When I see a messy home, I see creativity, fun, adventure, togetherness, and presence as well as a daily struggle.

I have one more thought. The book I read from last week has continued to be on my mind and influencing my thinking. In the book Dibs In Search of Self (I reviewed this book last post), Virginia Axline, the author and the doctor of the troubled boy, Dibs, had a job to be 100% present, observant, and there for her client. It kind of made me think- isn’t it too bad that it is not possible for a parent to be 100% present. There are a lot of demands that do not allow us to be 100% present with our kids and not worrying about this, that, money, work, projects, cleaning, cooking… It made me wonder what percentage I am present for my kids. I cannot say for certain, but I do know I want to increase that percentage.

I also want to give a shout out to Sandy for always inspiring me, always encouraging me, and modeling how to selflessly mother and be present for her children.

Thanks for reading this. I realize this is just kind of my own rant of what I keep telling myself in order to cope with my organizational shortcomings and a mess at the end of the day. Truly, I hope everyone can be happy with whatever state their home is in as long as you all are having a fun, together summer.


  1. Oh my gosh!!! That was the best surprise!! Geez-these kind of things make my eyes tear up. So I still get a little freaked out when somebody gets glitter on my couch … just saying … but it’s crazy how much I have changed. Play-doh still has to be outside. I think having Joe was a huge impetus on priorities. The dishes in the sink now have to be done before the end of the day. The coffee cups and breakfast dishes can sit there all day … who cares. Last year I got a bigger, deeper sink to hide more dishes. 😉 It took me until this age with constant work to get there and still working on it, just so you know. Also, wait until they are teens!! LOL!!! Love you, my friend!!


  2. WOW this post is hilarious Erin, but also so real and true! I don’t have kids but I can totally understand and partially relate to a messy house due to many reasons and how sometimes life just is messy! lol

    Also, “I really do not believe creativity, adventure, and fun can be an organized neat process all of the time. Life needs a little mess.” THIS! This should be printed on a banner on my front door.. And probably your front door too, to keep away those criticizing little girls!
    Here’s to the fun and messy houses every where!


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