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5 Ways to Have a Happier Home — Guaranteed

5 Ways to Have a Happier Home -- Guaranteed!

My husband and I have been married for going on 12 and a half years and in those years we’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons the hard way.

In the last few years, I feel like we’ve both become a lot more comfortable in our own skin, we’ve become a lot more settled in our personal family principles and beliefs, and we’ve become a lot less worried about trying to do what works for others and instead just doing what works for us.

As a result, we’ve experienced a lot more joy, peace, and happiness in our home. We won’t win any contests for having everything all together, having the best decorated home, having the most put-together-looking children, or always getting places on time. But we’re good with that.

We’re a work in progress. We’re in this together. And we’re seeking to fully embrace life — right where we are.

As I think back over the lessons we’ve learned along this journey of life, I wanted to share five things that have helped us have a happier home. I think I can almost guarantee that if you implement these in your home, it will result in more joy, peace, and happiness, too.
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1. Spend Less Time Doing & More Time Being

It’s so easy to get sucked into the go-go-go, do-do-do mentality that pervades our culture. But is that really what life is all about?

I don’t want to reach the end of my life and have the only thing people know to say about me be something like: “She was always busy. She got a lot done.”

No, I want to live life to the fullest. I want to be available for people. I want to listen. I want to take time to care. I want to invest my life in the people closest to me. I want to have time for what really matters.

I encourage you to cut down on schedule clutter and unnecessary commitments so that you have breathing room in your life to take time for what really matters. Set up good systems so that you don’t have to spend extra time looking for things, moving piles, or doing busy work.

Teach your kids to work together with you so that the house runs more smoothly and you all have more time to be together. Stress less about having things perfect and be okay with imperfect.

Clear out the excess from your life so that you can focus on the few things that really matter. Doing this will guarantee you not only enjoy life more, but that you have a happier, calmer home.

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This picture makes me laugh every time I see it! I posted it on Instagram awhile back and said: “Could not figure out why the ‘cream’ I was pouring in my coffee this morning looked so watered down. And then I actually read the box. Yikes… Clearly, not all brain cells are firing this morning. Or, maybe I just discovered a new kind on Bulletproof Coffee. Or not. Yuck.”

2. Always Look for Something to Laugh About

Life is full of hard things. Life is full of potentially frustrating things. And that’s why it’s so important that we learn to laugh quickly, easily, and often.

Find the funny in every situation. Laugh at yourself. Share funny stories with your friends. Don’t take life too seriously.

If you need some upbeat encouragement or things to laugh about, be sure to follow the Money Saving Mom® Facebook Page. I try to post at least a few things on there every day that made me laugh. Here was one from this morning. 🙂

You’ll discover — if you spend any time around me — that I pretty much always have a good story to share. I go through life looking for the humor that others might not see — because we all need to laugh more than we do, myself included.

So I try to notice those funny things and share them with others, instead of focusing on the hard and stressful things of life. I don’t always succeed at this, but this is what I aim for.

My husband and our kids join me in this much of the time, too. And it’s amazing how much happier we all feel when we pepper our daily life with large doses of laughter.

5 Ways to Have a Happier Home

3. Find the Good & Praise It

I read this phrase in a book years and years ago and it has stuck with me and influenced me in so many situations when I wanted to get bogged down and discouraged by the hard and heavy things, when I wanted to feel irritated by others, or when I wanted to be upset that someone had done something all wrong or dropped the ball completely.

Instead, I’ve made it a point to look for the good. Because there is almost always, always something good to be found — whether that’s in your spouse, your kids, your co-worker, your relative, or an acquaintance.

Choose to dwell on what’s good instead of being bothered and irritated by what’s not so good. Praise the good. Show gratitude for the hard work someone is doing or how your spouse helped you in some way or a positive attitude your child exemplified or for how your co-worker took initiative on something… find the good and praise it.

Gratitude can transform your entire outlook on life. In addition, when you verbally express it to others, it can motivate and inspire them to work harder, rise to the top, develop character, and be the best version of themselves they can be.

A home built upon praise, rather than criticism, is always going to be a happier home.

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4. Be Generous With the Hugs & Kisses

In our home, we are highly affectionate. I believe that human touch is a powerful force — providing comfort, healing, and nurturing, and communicating love, care, and compassion.

Not all kids are probably this way, but my kids need a lot of snuggles and hugs. It makes them feel secure, loved, and appreciated.

So we do our best to dole out the physical affection — even in those moments when it might not be what we’d want to do. (I’m an introvert and not a complete touch-y, feel-y person, so sometimes I’d really rather have space than snuggles!)

Not only does it promote closeness in our relationships, but we’ve found that our kids are so much more cheerful when their love tanks are filled up. And this results in an all around happier home.

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5. Stop Worrying About What Other People Think

Of all the things I’ve shared in this post, this one has been the hardest for me, by far. I’m a perfectionist and people-pleaser by nature. I want people to accept me. But more than that, I want them to like me.

But I can’t live my life and we can’t run our home to please others. Why? Because there are just plain too many different people to please. So if we try to please everyone, we’ll run ourselves ragged and still fall short.

Slowly ever so slowly, I’ve been breaking free from the bondage of people-pleasing. I’ve been focusing on seeking the Lord with my husband for what God wants for our own family. We’ve been making decisions for our family based upon what we believe is best for us — not based upon what we think other people would want us to do or what others would think we should do.

Has everyone been supportive of our decisions? By no means! We’ve gotten plenty of criticism and questioning for choices we’ve made.

But more and more, I’m okay with that. I realize that not everyone will understand why we do what we do. Not everyone is called to have the lifestyle we do or parent the way we do or follow the path that we are on.

We’re all different in different situations with different families and different needs. What is right for one family won’t necessarily be right for another family. And sometimes, those choices won’t make a lot of sense to everyone else, but that’s okay.

What’s most important is that our family is carefully seeking God’s will, carefully and prayerfully making decisions based upon the needs of our family and children, and regularly re-evaluating to make sure those choices and decisions are still the best for our family.

When we let go of worrying about what other people think and instead focus on doing what’s best for our own family, we’re all much happier for it.

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photo credit


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35 Comments

  • Mary says:

    Humor is sometimes the ONLY way to handle situations. My family has gotten many strange looks over our laughter at different medical situations.

    I woke up yesterday morning to my child bowling…in the living room…with apples and half filled bottles of water (yes, some had their lids off!) My gut reaction was to freak out about the mess. Instead, I laughed. I know that will be a memory I’ll cherish when she’s grown.

    My motto lately: All I need is Jesus, Coffee and Laughter.

    Everything else will figure itself out 🙂

    P.S. : When will your gratitude journal be back in stock?

  • Leah says:

    “Stop worrying about what other people think.” Yes, and amen!! Thank you for this post – lots of great topics to mull over and apply!

  • Alexis says:

    Love these insights. I need to work on a few (especially #1) but I think we have the hugs and kisses down! It is so sweet b/c now my kids (ages 2 and 4) won’t even go to bed with giving each other a hug and kiss goodnight. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of and I do think it makes our house a happier home.

  • Victoria says:

    Love it! I did notice however that your “be generous with hugs and kisses” focuses on your kids, I hope your hubby gets lots of hugs too.My husband seems to really need that and so do I . We find we get irritable with each other if we are not making it a priority to stop several times a day to just share a hug and kiss or to cuddle together even if it is just 10 minutes at the end of the day on the couch. OH and I love the Lego house too!

  • Dusty says:

    I have three children and lately we have been on the go constantly. We literally have something going on every single night and I work full time. I am burning out fast, but I know that this time of extreme busyness will be over in about 6 weeks. Right now for us it is scouts, ball, church, ball ,ball,ball, church/ball and then we start again! Add to that the end of year band and choir concerts. But again, I know that ball ends here at the end of June and the kids will be “bored” come July and August..lol.

  • Kelly Cox says:

    All very good points! A happy home, pleasing to the Lord – certainly a goal for us too! Affection, just being – love those. Thankful hearts and willingness to make time together will be so helpful as we strive toward happier homes.

  • Jaime says:

    YES, YES, YES to the stop pleasing other people. This is the piece of new parent advice I wish I had a few years ago. We are the experts in our family and children, and should not feel that we have to justify our choices to others. I used to constantly defend our choice for me to stay home and not send our kids to daycare, which my extended family thinks is a necessity for child development. No more!

  • Kathy in Illinois says:

    A very good post, Crystal! I will be married 40 years this summer. We have always done what we think is right for us. Humor, loving God and your children and being content with what you have has worked for us. You have such a sweet family!
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Crystal…another great post! I am really trying to work on a few of these in my own life. My husband travels for work and is sometimes gone a few weeks at a time so it is me and my toddler son. I need to remember that while it is hard having my husband gone for so long, it is even harder on my kiddo because he doesn’t really understand what’s going on. We are definitely an affectionate family as well. And the one thing I’m trying to work on is being “here” for my son. I am totally a work in progress!!! 🙂

  • Laurie says:

    Crystal: I love this post. My girls are 7&11. I have chosen to work less to be home more. It was the best decision. We love to cuddle and just have days at home with no agenda. My kids favorite days are when the can stay in their pj’s all day and watch movies. We as parents do not have our children very long in life and I truly treasure each moment with them. I am blessed to have had the sense that I would never over schedule them and let them be kids.

    • I love this comment! We’re big fans of regularly having what we call “Comfy Pant Days” — where there is no agenda, nowhere to go, and nothing to do except hang out, snuggle, and just enjoy being together.

  • kariane says:

    Yes! This is so true. Focusing on what’s important, and letting the rest take care of itself, as well as laughing, smiling, and hugging A LOT make life so much more enjoyable. We’re working to simplify our lives — creating more mental and physical space — so we can focus more on the things that bring us fulfillment and joy. I’m writing about our journey every week here: http://everydaymindfulliving.com/simplify-saturday/

  • Molly says:

    Here’s a funny. I dyed my hair with red box dye because I wanted to cover some greys. Not only did it not cover them, it turned out all splotchy, and my husband looks at it and says “Maybe we should pay somebody to do that from now on….”
    I love him. 🙂

  • Crystal,
    Coming from a family who gives huge importance to spending time with each other and physical connection, I acquired those aspects and use them in our family as well.

    I remember the times were we hardly had any money left for the next day. Still when we were together, we used to get stomach aches with laughs. Even now I thank my mom for the wonderful childhood I had. Not because I got everything I wanted. Its just that they made us their prioritz and spent a lot of quality time with us.

    Im a people pleaser too and slowly working to come out of it and enjoy the life without worrying about what others would think.

    Im also working to laugh more and take things lightly.

    Thanks for your reminder. I really need it at this phase of my life.

  • Charity says:

    Crystal, I just love this post! Such sound advice. I wish we could go back to the beginning of our marriage and not try to keep everyone happy, please everyone, and fret over what everyone else thought. 10years later we both have more guts than we did then. And as you said, more and more we care less what others think. And we’re SO much happier. I also love what you said about loving on each other physically. I am constantly amazed how this calms my children and bonds us closer. My 4yr old son asks for “mommy snuggles” daily and it is such a precious time. 🙂

    PS. Did one of your babes build the Lego house?
    PSS. I love the fuzzy family picture! 🙂

  • Anna says:

    Wonderful post, as usual!!
    Crystal, I too am a perfectionist and people-pleaser. I wish I weren’t! I’m sure you’ve shared before, but please tell me what you’ve done to overcome these problems. I just wish I didn’t care so much about other people’s approval!

  • Kerry Hunt says:

    Hi Crystal,
    Such great wisdom! I attended our women’s retreat with Annie Pajcic who did an amazing presentation on being “planted.” I think you would enjoy her and suggest you check out thouartexalted.com with the emphasis on art and creativity for kids too.

  • Amen! Crystal this is a lovely post!

  • I LOVE this post. My “word of the year” this year is “savor”. I am trying to take more time just enjoying life with my little ones, rather than focusing on things that need to get done. I’ve also found that we are happier when we forget ourselves and serve. We have a weekly service challenge as a family, and it has done wonderful things for us. We forget our own problems when we help others. <3

  • K says:

    I love you, Crystal. So what we’ve never met! I’ve been reading, learning and watching the Lord grow you for 6 yrs now and it has been sweet. I pray for you and refer to you often enough that the people closest to me know who you are. So, we are friends. And this post, along with countless others are, in effect, you being a dear friend to me and the other 10,000 like me. Praise God! And thank you for taking us along.

  • Kate says:

    I am a Type A extrovert who is always on the go and also likes to plan out my activities/successes very carefully. I also enjoy being around people – it energizes me! 🙂 Basically, I have trouble relaxing, because my mind is always thinking about what I did wrong, what I could do better, who I need to visit, etc.

    We took the longest vacation we’ve ever taken {much needed} after some of the most stressful 4 months of our lives (work and family obligations). I was un-reachable for the most part and pretty disconnected from the stressors in my life, and wouldn’t you know it, I had a complete meltdown on vacation because I couldn’t handle the thought of possibly missing something that needed to be handled at work, needed to plan out our summer, felt bad just relaxing and not doing things, etc. Major wake up call. I need to work on learning how to breathe and enjoy just being, not always doing. Thank you for your encouragement.

    • Pamela Moreno says:

      I just shared your post with my husband. Words of wisdom ! I can’t tell you how much I have come to rely on your posts.

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