You don’t have to be an “organized” person to be intentional with things in your home. Messy drawers, jumbled closets & piled possessions don’t have to be a source of contention in your family. Trisha Childers encourages us to think differently about our stuff because when everything has a purpose, home life can be easier to manage.

Part one of a two part series, hang out with me and Trisha as we discuss some home hangups and how to change our mindset to be happier at home. Learn to live home on purpose!


Read the Full Transcription Here

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You’re listening to the Practical Family Podcast with Jennifer Bryant – encouraging your family to build strong foundations, and healthy homes.

Jenn: Today, are going to be taking a look at what it means to be intentional with our things. My guest today is Trisha Childers, and we’ll be talking about our new series called “Home on Purpose” a video series to help you to make sense of your stuff, and be more intentional with the things that we have in our home.

I actually got to know Trisha because she goes to church with us, and she got up and gave a workshop at our women’s retreat last year called “Home on Purpose” and her presentation impressed me so much that I wanted to bring her onto Practical Family, and what has come out of these conversations and even out of this podcast is the development of a video series that she has shot herself and we’re presenting to you this month, it’s going to launch April 20th and it’s called “Home on Purpose”.

We’ll talk more about the video series at the end of the show and how you can get these videos in your inbox for free. Yes, the “Home on Purpose” video series will be free and will be launching April 20th, so don’t miss that announcement at the end of the show.

So a little bit of background on Trisha before we start.

Trisha Childers actually has her Masters in Education from Stanford University.

She used to be a classroom teacher and taught Math, so Trisha’s love for order and logic and creating system and making sense of things naturally led her into this area of helping people to make sense of their homes and to make it easy to function as a family.

So I’ve invited her on today to encourage us in those things.

Trisha has two children of her own, they are five and three and just as cute as can be.

She and her husband have travelled around the United States, being that he is a Naval Officer so they are a military family and have had to reorder, reorganize, make sense of homes wherever they go, and so Trisha brings a lot of great stuff to the show today, and without further ado, here is our conversation we had right here in my living room.

This is “Home on Purpose” with Trisha Childers on the Practical Family Podcast.

Trisha I am so excited to have you here today in my living room and talking about order and what it means to be home on purpose.

Trisha: Well thank you so much Jen, it’s really fun to be here, I’m excited!

Jenn: Where does this idea of home on purpose come from, and can you talk to us a little bit about order?

Trisha: Sure, well you know a lot of people refer to it as decluttering, that’s kind of like the buzz word that’s out there right now, but I actually don’t use that word all that much because one of the biggest problems that I have when I use the word decluttering is that people get this idea that the stuff is the problem…”I have too much stuff”…”oh I’m such a bad homemaker”…”I’m such a bad whatever because my house is just so cluttered” and that’s not actually true because I’ve been in homes, I have a friend who has four kids and they’re about to adopt a little baby and she homeschools, and she’s got a lot of stuff in her home, but I would not call it cluttered at all because everything has a purpose, everything is there for a reason and it’s in a place for a reason, and I have been in some homes that don’t really have all that much stuff in them and yet somehow there’s just a disordered mess and there’s still that stressful response that we have, it fills you with anxiety and a little bit of over stimulation when things are not placed in certain way on purpose.

So I don’t use the word declutter, I call my ministry Home on Purpose because what we have to do is look at our stuff and say “why do I have it…why is it here…is it serving the purpose that I intended it to serve…and therefore, where should it go?”

Jenn: Oh I love that, that is the key word the “purpose”, “intentionality”, whatever you want to call it, and it reminds me actually of the example that you used at the retreat of the kindergarten teacher, right, you walk into a classroom and there is stuff everywhere, but it’s all for something, for an activity or a center or, you know I remember when I was a teacher when I just, I wanted the kids to be stimulated you know by stuff around them, to inspire them to learn, right, but sometimes the stuff can be overkill if it’s not for a reason like “why do I have the poster up, or why is that jar there, or why is it you know…”

Trisha: Exactly, and the other thing to think about if you don’t believe me that stuff in and of itself is not a problem, go to a kindergarten classroom because those twenty-five year olds function beautifully day after day.

They know the routine, they know where everything goes, there’s a reading corner over here, there’s the dress up corner over there, and when things are put away they’re a little bit more out of sight then you realize, and they know how to go to the table in the middle and focus, and sometimes I go to a mom’s house and, toys is actually one of the topics that I cover because it looks like every room is a playroom and the toys aren’t that much but they are spread out in such a haphazard way that the kids don’t really know how to do play time properly and so you know you buy that educational toy for it educational value, and the kids don’t actually use it the way that you intended…”that’s not why I bought the toy, I bought it to teach you this so why aren’t you playing with it this way”…and so sometimes just by reorganizing a little bit and creating an area that promotes, I love the word you used, inspires them to think in a certain way.

Sometimes just being a little more intentional and purposeful about how we arrange the toys can totally change the way the kids play.

Jenn: Yes, exactly because, parents hear this: it’s not about the toys or even the quantity, I mean you are going to ultimately decide the quantity.

Every one of us has a different size home, you know what you can handle, ok, but it’s about the environment that you create around the stuff, ok, I mean I love to be in the kitchen and i have a lot of appliances because I love to cook but it doesn’t mean that the appliances need to be out everywhere if we put them in a place.

Anyway we will go into more practical examples as we talk, but Trish let’s talk about the hindrances that can both isolate and paralyze us from making positive changes.

Trisha: Yea, I come across that a lot where I speak to somebody and they say “yea I really need help decluttering…I really need help getting my home in order…I wish that my home functioned better, why can’t it just function better…and more often than not, they probably know exactly what to do, but something else is stopping them from even getting started.

It’s kind of just like anything else, it’s like losing weight or sticking to your budget, or any of those things that we know would be better for us, something stops us and usually it’s because we’re afraid that we won’t succeed, right, why start if you’re not going to finish, and then you also have to have that end goal in mind, we have got to know that the effort is going to be worth it.

I spoke to one woman who said “yea I know my home’s a mess but I already decluttered it last year and two months later it’s right back where it started” and so that’s why I focus a lot when I teach people how to get their houses in order, I focus a lot on habits because usually that’s the number one thing that stops us.

One of the topics that I cover is also food, food storage, and how we kind of declutter our pantries and fridges and freezers and usuallys it’s like our shopping habits are not matching our eating habits so we have to actually think about what we do instead of going to the store and just grabbing the thing that we are used to grabbing, or we like buying.

We have to think about: why do we like this, and it slows us down and forces us to change our habits.

Jenn: It’s the “why”. I love that it, most things in life, I mean to me at least, seem to come back to the “why”…why did I say yes to that thing…why did I do this instead of that…why did I use this word instead of that….I could have been kinder, or I could have, you know…and the way that we process our own decisions, it comes from the inside, right?

I truly believe that these things start from inside our heart.

If things are not ok inside, they are going to manifest in some way on the outside. It’s just, it happens, and I know this is an issue in marriage, in parenting, in the way that we use our words, right, but because today we’re talking about intentionality in the home, everything is a decision, everything that we’re looking at in our home is a conscious decision.

So how do we even, you know, how does our “why” fit into that order piece there?

Trisha: Sure, yea well and one of the things that also you need to think about is if you don’t get rid of something, you are choosing to keep it.

So you know when you open up that closet and you see that bin on the top shelf that you haven’t looked in in three years, by not going through it you are making a choice to keep it.

Jenn: So why don’t we change our habits? What do you think?

Trisha: A lot of people have a little bit of embarrassment, you know we look at facebook and we look at people’s pictures and things that they post and everybody’s house looks so perfect and so neat, and it doesn’t feel good to look at our homes and think “I wish this was different, I wish this was different…you know what I’m just going to do something else right now,” and it’s the same reason why I put off exercising, I know I needed to for several years especially after I had my babies, and I finally just said “you know what, if you don’t like the way you feel and you want to be stronger and you want to be healthy, you just have to do it,” and it wasn’t until I joined my workout group with a bunch of other mom’s that I was so much more motivated because you stood around and you looked at ten other moms who were feeling the exact same thing that I was, and suddenly I didn’t feel isolated and I wasn’t as paralyzed because I could see that other people were going through exactly what I was going through, and it’s one thing to know that in your head, everybody know oh you’re not alone, we wouldn’t be having this podcast if there weren’t a ton of women out there who had this exact issue, but it’s another thing to actually go on a blog and see somebody’s comment: “hey I just decluttered my pantry and it only took this long…I thought it would take a whole weekend but it only took an hour, that’s amazing,” and then you see their successes and their progresses and you think “oh maybe I can do it.”

So I think it’s really important if you’re feeling isolated to share what you’re going through.

Don’t wait to hear somebody else share with you, you share it, and then watch the other moms face go “oh yeah me too.”

So I always want to encourage people every time you do something that you’re proud of or every time you’re struggling with something and you don’t know where to start, talk to a friend about it, you know, comment on the Practical Family blog and see the responses that you get.

We need to not be isolated so that we’re not paralyzed.

Jenn: Amen Trisha, and we’ll talk later too about how you can join the Practical Family community because we’re going to offer some really cool things and challenges really there so that we can share these struggles and successes.

I know it doesn’t help just to be told what to do, everybody needs their own motivation, and real quick I can tell you that my own motivation began in our marriage actually.

I was messy before when we first got married, I left the dishes for a long time…two days [laughter] and my husband was just like “I don’t know what to do with this woman right now” [laughter], I mean really and I would get upset because “oh you don’t love me, you only love me if i do the dishes, are you serious [laughter], but it wasn’t until later that it really clicked and I had to come to a point in myself where I said “my choices are affecting my family” and now that we have kids, oh Lord, when you have kids it’s like even stronger to want to show them, so now my motivation is to give my husband a home that he love to come home to, and number two to model that order and that healthy environment for my kids because their little brains are going to either thrive or be stressed out based on what I do, you know.

Trisha: Exactly, yeah disorder just makes life harder.

You know just actually yesterday, my alarm clock did not go off in the morning and instead of waking up at 6:15 because we have to leave the house at 7:30 to go to church, instead of waking up at 6:15 I was woken up at 6:45 by my son poking me in the eye [laughter], not making that up, and when I said “Joshua don’t do that, don’t do that”, he said ok, and two seconds later the finger went in the other eye [laughter], and that was my own awakening in the morning, and all of the sudden it was like, wait I only have forty-five minutes, I have to get dressed, I have to get this, but I have a backup dress in my closet so that I can wear no matter what and I only wear it on those crazy mornings so I know it’s always clean, I don’t have to shave in order to wear a short sleeve shirt [laughter], and then when all else fails, I know I have eggo waffles in the freezer and I know that I have at least four or five bananas, so it’s like ok if we don’t have time for breakfast we can all eat an eggo waffle and a banana in the car, and fortunately we didn’t have to do that yesterday but knowing that it was there ready to go just in case took the edge off, because life is going to happen, and what I like to encourage moms to do is- this is not able having a neat, perfectly pristine home, that’s not what this is about.

This is about, we want to have a stress free day, we want to have a joyful day, we want to have a productive and a positive day, and if there’s order in our home and a routine, and if we go to bed everything is at least reasonably in its place, we set ourselves up for success so that even when life happens, because life is going to happen- alarm clocks don’t go off, kids throw up on the bathroom floor [laughter], you know things happen, even when that happens we are more set up to be successful in spite of that, and when there’s disorder and disorganization and a lack of a routine, everything is just harder, and of course when everything is harder what do we do emotionally inside, we clench.

It’s like we get clogged, we get blocked, and then we’re not in a position to you know be free to love other people, go the extra mile to help somebody else.

We are using up all our energy, our spiritual, emotional, physical energy just trying to get through the morning, and that’s not a good way to live your life, you know we want to live our life in a positive way, which I know you talk about all the time.

So when we have our stuff handled, we’re free, and order just kind of takes us a couple of steps closer to being ok with our own stuff.

Jenn: Amen.

Now you had connected this idea, and I love this Trisha, that the order frees us, and a lot of people see order and rules and routines as restrictive, and I get it. I feel that way when I, I think I’m self defeating sometimes like with the whole workout thing, like I used to workout and then I don’t, then I do again, and then I don’t, because I so sabotage myself sometimes because I don’t want to be restrictive, or I don’t want to be restricted by a budget- what do you mean I can’t just go and get a Starbucks whenever, you know and that’s hard, that’s hard.

It’s hard to deny yourself something by waiting, delaying gratification, or in this case moving, like doing it, doing the work to get to the positive result that not going to come instantaneously, but what I love about setting small goals in the home, like if you just say I’m going to tackle this one junk drawer right here, and it’s a small goal and you can feel good about it, and making that choice in that direction is a good thing.

But I like how you make those connections even to the spiritual side of things because the Bible talks about the fruits of the spirit.

The fruit or the, I like to call it the result of being with God, or making choices that are giving our lives over to Him and wanting better, wanting what He wants for us, and the fruits of the spirit are, can we name them together…love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and the biggest one at the end, self control [laughter]. I didn’t have them all in my head so I’m glad I let you go on with them [laughter].

Trisha: Well I’ve spoken on this several times so I’ve got those ones, I don’t always say them in the exact order, and one of the things I notice is, depending on the translation of the Bible, goodness is sometimes translated to generosity, and that’s another thing about having an orderly home and orderly budget and things like that, when you are free you’re free to give and you’re free to be good to other people.

Jenn: You’ve been listening to my conversation with Trisha Childers, creator of the video series “Home on Purpose” which we are releasing on Practicalfamily.org on April 20th so the “Home on Purpose” video series that emulates the principles that she’s been talking about in this episode will be available to sign up for free for anybody who just clicks on the link, put your name and email in and we will send you those videos once per week beginning on April 20th.

Or if you sign up after the 20th that’s fine if you’re listening to this show later in the year, once you sign up for the series you’ll start getting the emails in those same increments and you’ll get to see that video series and actually start to practically apply what Trisha is talking about.

So be on the lookout for that.

Also, we have the opportunity for you to join the “Home on Purpose” facebook group hosted by Practical Family, and that is the accountability group basically that you’ll get to be in with other families who sign up for the “Home on Purpose” series, and as you walk through the seven day starters together, you’ll be able to comment, give feedback not only on the videos but let us know how you’re doing!

Trisha and I will both be active in that facebook group, and be asking questions, checking in, you’ll get the chance to share you know how the steps are working for you.

So please click on the link in the show notes to check that out.

Thank you families always for listening.

This was only part 1 of the “Home on Purpose” series.

We had such a great conversation and I split it into two episodes, and the next episode you’ll hear is the continuation of our conversation where we talk about the Biblical principles that are related to having an intentional home, being intentional with our stuff, honoring our family, loving each other, and why all of this matters.

You have been listening to the Practical Family Podcast and remember to check us out on facebook or on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

Like us on all of those platforms and you’ll be able to stay up to date on what we do, and don’t forget to join the Practical Family community where you’ll get my exclusive newsletters on things happening here at home and how you can strive to be more intentional in your family by living practically and simply.

You have been listening to the Practical Family Podcast where we are here to encourage you to build strong foundations and healthy homes.
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Hi! I’m Trisha 🙂

Creating order out of chaos has always been a source of joy for me, and just a part of who I am.  Two of my favorite memories of my teenage years are the time I reorganized the resource room of our church’s children’s ministry, and the Saturdays I spent helping an elderly handicapped lady clean and organize her small home.  Watching someone’s life go from frustrating and difficult to enjoyable and easy is such an amazing experience, and I cherished being a part of that.

As someone who loves logic and order, you may have guessed math was my favorite school subject, and teaching being a strong passion of my heart, I naturally put the two together.  I have based my teaching methods on the same methods I use in home organization: create regular routines and structures that make it easy to be successful.  After teaching middle and high school math for five years, I married a naval officer and I am now a stay at home mom with a headstrong 5 year old girl and goofy little 3 year old boy.

Although I have always enjoyed helping friends improve the function of their homes, it has only been recently that I have come to realize just how pervasive the frustrations of maintaining a home really are.  With this lesson series, I aim to provide practical and thought provoking guidance that will help women create homes that are easy to maintain.  In doing so, I hope your home and your belongings will cease to be a source of frustration and become a place of peace and joy.

Click the Home on Purpose image to sign up for the free video series!