Happy Messy


There's a plate smeared with peanut butter to my left. A pile of newspapers is to my right. And a mountain of graham cracker crumbs behind me.

And in the middle of it all, it's dawned on me that I may have stumbled across the newest decorating trend.

I think it's called happy messy.

I'm sure it will take the country by storm, eventually. It hasn't been mentioned in design circles, or featured in any kind of magazine. Give it time, it will be, I'm sure of it.

This idea has slowly evolved since the morning I poked my head into my daughter's room. The early sunlight was pouring in through the windows, lending a soft glow to everything it touched. And there, in the middle of it on her freshly unmade bed, sat my daughter. She was happily writing. I was struck with the peace, the happiness. And then I looked around and was astounded by the mess. The piles of clothes that never made it  to the dresser were tossed on the floor. Cast off toys and the scattered beads from a broken bracelet assaulted my feet. Dishes crusted with dried cereal perched on the desk.

There was nothing tidy. But there was happiness. There was creativity.

And isn't that what I want for my kids, for my home?


A happy, messy and lived in home does not come by accident. It has come with a conscious decision to be okay with the mess and the undone.

I create this happy, messy home by allowing my family to live. To run down the halls, create art, decorate their rooms their way. It comes by choosing not to freak out over smeared peanut butter and jelly and hand prints on the back slider.

Happy messy comes from creating a place where my kids can just be, flaws and all.

It's not about certain colors or accessories. And it doesn't cost much to attain it, unless you count me letting go of my ideas and my control over the home. It comes from realizing that happy kids are much more important than a perfectly swept floor.


At it's worst it's a disaster, at it's best there's a baby doll peeking out from under the couch and giant sticky spot on the counter.

To achieve this look all you need to do is take one standard house and add a few well loved children, and a pet or two. Then, now this is the hardest thing, let go of pride and the desire to keep up appearances. Leave all perfectionist tendencies at the door and learn to say yes to living and no to cleaning. Well, within reason of course, the toilets still need a good scrubbing from time to time.


The thing is that when I can just let go as a mom and not worry too much about keeping things a certain way, my house, and it's inhabitants, are much happier. As a recovering perfectionists, this is hard.

But seeing my content daughter, writing songs in her messy room makes it all worth it. If I'm too busy fussing about clean I will miss that. Imagine how different it would have been if I would have come in yelling about the mess. Sure, I'd love a clean house. But I'd choose happy people in my house over spotless any day. I figure that one day, the kids will be gone. I'll clean then.

But today I will put my feet up, enjoy the summer sunshine and the happy mess makers.
And I will really live in my happy messy house.


14 comments:

  1. Good Words this morning. Thank you!

    So often - I really let the messy get me... and I turn into the one who is that not-so-happy mom. I really (honestly) don't want my kids to remember me as the mom who always gets "overwhelmed" by the messiness...and lets them know it.

    Certainly, there are boundries and balance... I'm definitly going to be praying about this one.

    Again, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess it's something that changes with every season of life, doesn't it? It is easy to get carried away by the mess...I'm so very guilty of that one! But I am working on swinging the other way, and bathing it all in prayer!

      Delete
  2. love this! our house was upside down this morning (I have a love-hate relationship with play-dough) and after swim lessons my kids dumped popcorn on the floor. Why do we strive for things to be so tidy? obviously its good to clean sometimes. but really, I like your thinking :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Julia! yes, we do have to clean...but-sometimes we have to relax and let that go too. and I totally hear you about play-dough....ugh! :)

      Delete
  3. hmmm, i get where your coming from, but i think i disagree. it's difficult to keep things perfectly clean all the time if you expect your kids to live inside. however, i also want my kids to know that living in a big mess is not ideal. sure jelly gets spread everywhere, it's perfect opportunity for them to learn to clean it up. yes toys get strewn everywhere, but at the end of the day, or at the end of play, they need to be cleaned up. i don't function in a messy environment and have at least one child who is the same. to me, a tidy room IS peaceful. it's easier to find things, its easier to relax, it's easier to spend time together as a family if everyone can find a seat around the table.

    yelling at the kids to clean up the room is never a good idea. and yes, sometimes the mess can wait. however, at the end of day, my house is much more peaceful if everyone chips in to bring the house back to order again. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally get what you're saying, maybe this post makes it seem as though we live in constant mess? We don't keep things messy, and I fully expect everyone in the house to do their share in cleaning up.

      I guess I'm coming from the standpoint of the mom who once always demanded clean, who would often prohibit fun things in the house because of potential messes, and who was miserably grumpy at the messes life created. I prefer tidy, hands down. But I know I live with three certified mess makers, as I teach them to clean up after themselves I've learned to relax at the messes. And I truly wish I had done this years ago, it would have made for a happier and a less stressed out me-even when it wasn't perfectly clean.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective! :)

      Delete
  4. Hey another Oregonian who is a happy messy, like me. I love a clean home but if the grand children are here the mess can happen if it means they leave with positive and good memories.
    I live in 'Yamhill County wine country'...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear it's beautiful there in wine country!

      Sounds like you're a great grandmum to let your grandkids just live and play...they'll have great memories of time at your house!

      Delete
  5. I love having a clean home, but sometimes I'm a little obsessed about it and need to lighten up a bit! I love that you call it a "Happy Mess" -that's a great way of describing it! I'll have to remember that next time company comes over and i'm internally freaking out about the mess....haha :)

    thank you for your word of encouragement! I hope you have a beautiful day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you!

      and don't worry, you're not the only one who internally freaks out over the mess...I do the same. And chances are, our guests have no idea...they're not there with their white gloves to check our baseboards! :)

      Delete
  6. I love this idea of happy messy, thank you so much for your wise words as I pray and want grow to find that place of balance and moderation in all things...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love the happy messy!! Thanks for sharing a lovely post! xo Heather

    ReplyDelete
  8. Happy Messy...it speaks to me. Embrace the a little messiness and happy kids!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you! yay for happy kids! :)

      Delete