Shoestring Style to Make Your Home a Sanctuary

Last week, we talked about the importance of considering your family home a safe haven, particularly for your kids. They’re bound to face criticism and hardship in their dealings with the world, so by making the family a place of acceptance, love, and encouragement, we offer our children an alternative to the craziness of the culture—a true refuge.

Is your home’s culture one that draws each family member into the fold… or makes them want to flee? 

Your mindset is key! If you need a refresher on how to exude a non-anxious, non-critical attitude so your children & spouse feel safe and empowered under the family roof, read more here.

Sadly, many family homes are just places for kids and spouses to seek isolation on their devices, not places to come together and grow as a family. 

Having a home that exudes a feeling of calm can also be strengthened by the physical setting. But don’t get caught up in the typical consumeristic trap of thinking what you have isn’t enough to foster more peace and unity. 

I can’t tell you how often I’ve told myself the typical IF ONLY lies—

    • If only we had more square footage so everyone could spread out... 
    • If only we could afford to have better furniture that felt more welcoming and not so shabby…
    • If only we had an open kitchen floor plan so our family time didn’t feel so disjointed…
    • If only we had a fancy outdoor space like the neighbors so we could all congregate outside together, then…
    • If only I buy this ______________, we’ll have more peace at home…

Sound familiar? Don’t buy into the lies. The key to a more peaceful and inviting home is not about size or budget. Take a peek into some of the windows of the nicer homes in your neighborhood. I will guarantee that those moms and dads are struggling just as much, if not more, with making the family home feel like a sanctuary. Sadly, many family homes are just places for kids and spouses to seek isolation on their devices, not places to come together and grow as a family.

Avoid that trap with:

3 Shoestring Style Tips to Create a Sanctuary for your family.

Remember, it’s less about decor and more about creating an environment that emphasizes a culture of unconditional love, but these suggestions can drive that message home.

  • 1. Implement a Basket System vs. a Basket Case System

  • Baskets, bins, and tubs are a great way to handle all the stuff that comes with family life: toys, tchotchkes, shoes, blankets, board games, books, magazines, and on and on... It’s as simple as creating a simple basket plan—like things go together. 

    • The containers don't need to be fancy to be effective. Your local dollar store will have lots of options. 
    • Strategically place the bins/baskets in each room where stuff collects. Don’t bother organizing the contents, just try to stay on top of keeping things off the floor and in the right bins. Your kids and spouse should help!
    • When does it inch into “basket case” territory? Having unrealistic standards. Aiming for perfection in the cleanliness/organization department will inevitably lead to tension and hostility. While a neat & orderly home is a great goal and should be worked towards, it’s not realistic or healthy to be obsessed with it. Family life is messy and when we accept that and don’t hold ourselves or family members to an unrealistic standard, everyone can breathe. Stop watching all that HGTV—it’s creating outlandish expectations.
    • Each night, do a 5-minute clean sweep and put the scattered things in their designated holders, and then pat yourself on the back. That little bit of order will go a long way to creating a more peaceful environment for you and your family.

  • 2. Embrace Some Minimalism in Your Style

  • In family life, less really is more. Am I suggesting you toss everything and try to achieve a clutter-free home? Not at all. (See above about perfectionism.) But reconsider the need for duplicates and hanging on to things you don’t use. There’s nothing as freeing as walking through the home in search of broken toys, duplicates, or unnecessary items to be pitched or donated. When we assess regularly, we are less likely to accumulate more because we are doing a routine inventory of what we already have. We will actually know what we need when we’re at the store. 

    • Do your counters, closets, and shelf spaces feel like they're crushed by the burden of all that stuff—get rid of some of it! You don’t need to tackle this in a day, a week, or even a month. Who has that kind of time? Set a time and take it on in periodic 10-minute sweeps through the house. Talk about a stress reducer!
    • Begin to embrace a mindset of less is more. When you get that insidious urge to solve your problems by buying more, remind yourself how calming it is to live in an orderly, low-clutter home. 
    • Challenge yourself to go stretches without spending on anything but necessities—especially as many Christians around the world are in the liturgical season of Lent, a time to practice sacrifice and self-discipline. 

  • 3. Green is the New Black

  • Ever notice how fancy hotels and spas always have plants and flowers strategically placed? That’s because they offer a sprig of life and hope. We all need a little greenery. 

    • You don’t have to become a full-fledged “plant mom,” but think about adding an inexpensive succulent, or another hardy plant in a main area of the home. 
    • Did you know plants, even teeny tiny ones, are proven to reduce stress and anxiety? That sure comes in handy in the middle of a toddler tantrum. 
    • They also help filter the air quality, so place a few plants in strategic spots and breathe easier as a family. 

    “There is nothing like staying home for real comfort.” 

    ~Jane Austen

    Looking for even more tips to add some cozy to your home? Check out this past blog with practical suggestions for adding more heart to your home.  Whatever approach you choose to create a vibe that says, kick your shoes off and relax, remember, a little goes a long way. There’s no need to institute major changes overnight. The tried and true Families of Character method is always effective—little daily steps that amount to big and lasting change down the road. Before long, your home will be a sanctuary from the storms of the world. You’ve got this!

    Craving more direction in the roller coaster adventure that is family life? We’ve got your back and Dramamine. Check out Adventure into Character. It’s a tool kit designed for parents who want more for their family—more peace, more laughter, and more love! It’s all just a click away.


    If you have an issue you’d like our help with, drop us a line at If you’re experiencing a problem, chances are thousands of other families are in the same boat. We’re ALL in this parenting boat together! 

    Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.

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