Once upon a time, two families went on a beach vacation together.
The two families were the same in almost every way. They each had two children of the same ages, and they had matching rooms in the same hotel just across the hall from each other. They even brought the same amount of stuff in the same number of suitcases.
The only difference was that one family was Intentional and the other was Impulsive. That one difference made all the difference.
The Intentionals and the Impulsives
The Intentional Family started preparing several days ahead of time. The night before the flight, everything was packed, boarding passes were printed, and they arrived at the airport with time to spare.
The Impulsive Family didn’t begin preparing until the night before the trip. Mom scrambled to make sure they had the perfect matching outfits for photos on the beach. Mom’s phone charger, Dad’s sunglasses, and the kids’ sunscreen never made it into the suitcases. They rushed to the airport, had to wait in line to print boarding passes, and barely made it to the gate on time.
When the two families met up at the hotel, the Impulsives were already a little grumpy. They didn’t want to waste any vacation time, so they dug around in their suitcases, threw on their swimsuits, and headed right down to the beach.
The Intentionals patiently took the time to make a basic plan.
Each member of the family chose one drawer to use. They agreed on one corner of the room for shoes, another corner to dump wet beach clothes, and one small drawer for the most valuable items: wedding rings, cell phones, wallets, etc.
By the time they made it down to the beach, the Impulsives had been having fun for over half an hour, and they had already posted pictures on Facebook and Instagram of their perfect family getaway.
Both families had fun all afternoon at the beach.
When it was getting close to dinner time, the Intentionals packed up their stuff and headed back to the hotel room. They put the sandy stuff stayed in its corner, took time to rinse off their bathing suits and hang them up, and they each had time to shower before dinner.
The Impulsives, determined to make the most of their vacation, stayed at the beach until the last possible minute before rushing up to their hotel room. Again, they rummaged through their suitcases, throwing things on the bed and on the floor as they found fresh outfits for that evening.
After dinner both families went for a walk together on the beach in the moonlight.
When the Impulsives came back to their hotel room, it was a mess. They knew they should tidy up, but they were so exhausted and they were covered in dried up salt-water. They dumped their stuff on the floor, showered quickly, got into pajamas, and fell into bed.
The next morning …
It only took the Intentionals about 10 minutes to get ready for the beach.
The Impulsives, woke up to a disaster.
The bathing suits from the day before were still damp, and sand had gotten mixed up with the clean clothes. One kid couldn’t find his flip flops, another kid’s goggles had been stepped on, mom had forgotten to charge her cell phone, and dad realized he never got anybody to spray sunscreen on his back. It took them an hour of bickering and frustration to get ready. By the time they made it to the beach, nobody was in a good mood.
As the patterns continued, the Intentionals spent more and more time having fun, while the Impulsives spent more and more time solving problem after problem.
On the last day of the trip, the much anticipated photo shoot fell apart. Mom had forgotten to pack the right kind of bra to go under her dress, daughter’s dress was found under the pile of sandy beach towels, Dad had an awful sunburn, and Son wouldn’t smile.
Although the Impulsives certainly had more fun on the first day, in the end it was the Intentionals who truly enjoyed their entire vacation.
Intentional in All Areas of Life
Most of my Home On Purpose clients are frustrated with some aspect of home management. Toys are everywhere, cooking dinner is stressful, laundry is endless, and nothing seems to stay where it belongs.
I hear over and over, “I have tried decluttering, they have tried reorganizing, but the improvements don’t last.”
While decluttering, downsizing, and reorganizing are all important steps to take, they only work when they are accompanied by Intentional Habits. Habits such as . . .
– Staying on your feet 10 extra minutes after dinner to make the lunches for tomorrow.
– Deciding what you will cook for dinner the next three nights before you go grocery shopping.
– Creating a reasonable clean-up routine for your children and training them to put away their toys regularly.
– Making a plan for your day and sticking to it.
It Gets Much Easier the More You Do It
Being intentional in this way is hard at first. Taking the extra time to do things right sounds like more work, but the opposite is true.
When we manage our home and our stuff with intention, every task gets easier. We don’t waste time looking for things, we have more elbow room to work, and the house looks and feels more pleasant. As a result, our stress level goes down, our mood goes up, and ultimately life is more enjoyable.
If you don’t believe me, try it!
Choose the most annoying area in your home and force yourself to attack it with intentionality. This week I will stay on top of the laundry. This week, we will tidy the play room before lunch. This week I will do the dinner dishes before I sit on the couch.
As you build the habit of making intentional plans and sticking to them, and you realize how much easier it is to stay on top of things, what you will feel is freedom. I promise, it is worth the effort!
Home On Purpose is a program dedciated to helping women take their next steps toward an easier and more functional home.
There are many ways to get started!
Join the Home On Purpose Facebook Group to connect with other women who are also taking steps toward a more functional home.
If any area of your home is causing you frustration on a regular basis, it is time to solve the problems, ditch the excess, get organized, and build the habit of being intentional.