Home Sweet Home — 15 Rules To Keep It That Way!

Happy Summer to you ~

I  just spent the most wonderful weekend celebrating my birthday!

My birthday dinner complete with hydrangea centerpiece
(thank you, Andrea Dowding!)

I love being born on June 25 and here are three of many reasons why:

1)   I share my birthday with at least two other fabulous Women on Fire – Sandra Carlson and Lauren Wuscher.  This year was Lauren’s golden birthday — 25 on June 25!

2)   It’s the height of strawberry season in Ohio where I grew up and Massachusetts where I live now.  Instead of birthday cake, I blow out candles on strawberry shortcake. Someone is always kind enough to make for me. My mother made it when I was younger — and now my goddaughter Julia Celeste usually does the honors and tops it with her special whipped cream (sweetened with vanilla and a touch of maple syrup).  YUM!

3)   June 25 = summer!  Casual, relaxed, warm, sunshiny, flowers and flip-flops.

My favorite “birthday cake” is strawberry shortcake! This year made by my
dear friend and colleague Blue Cullen

My mother and my husband Rob both laughed when I requested that I only wanted one gift for my birthday this year – new bath towels.  Yes, really, truly, seriously — that is all I wanted.

Long ago, I learned how creating a home and an environment that works best for each of us supports our well-being and success.

Surrounding myself with beautiful towels and sheets and fresh flowers are special comforts of mine.  So are having “house rules.”

House Rules posted in home of Woman on Fire
Maria Dolson-Verroye, mother of eight

While I shy away from being a big “rules” person, I have come to recognize that having “house rules” creates a structure that allows our homes and lives to run so much more smoothly.

To keep our own home clean, sacred and peaceful, Rob and I invite everyone to leave their shoes at the door.

During my years of individually coaching hundreds of clients, I have seen so much pain, anger, anxiety and frustration from people putting up with behavior from family and friends that could be changed if only there were “house rules.”

So recently I asked a number of Women on Fire what makes her home run happily and efficiently … what truly makes her home a home sweet home.

Here were some of the inspiring responses:
1.  We have two rules in our house and they seem to cover everything: 1. Safety first. 2. Don’t make more work for mom! – Linda Sinoway, Bexley, OH

2.  I have a self-cleaning kitchen … if it’s clean, leave it that way. If you mess it up, you clean it up. – Anne Child, Rhosllanerchrugog, United Kingdom

3. Whatever goes on in my teenagers’ rooms — their clutter, whether the bed is made, whether their clothes are put away  — is their business. My only real rule is No Food Up There. 🙂 The result is: a measure of respect for the way they choose to live their lives; no arguing about how it “should” be; they clean when they want to (no nagging). – Michele Woodward, Washington, DC

4. House Rules. 1. Smile 2. Be happy 3. Listen to others 4. Speak kindness 5. Be happy with what you have. These expectations have been invaluable in raising our 8 children (for both we parents and for the kids). – Maria Dolson-Verroye, Gaithersburg, MD

5. My son can’t watch TV in mornings and per his request I won’t use my Blackberry during dinner. And absolutely no use of profanity or negative words by residents or visitors. My kid thinks I’m old-fashioned but my house rules make us more efficient and respectful.  – Sai Jimenez, New York, NY

6. Put things away after you use them…in their proper place. Saves hours looking for “lost” items.  – Gayla Saneholtz Price, Sarasota, FL

7. My husband and I both have large volumes of phone calls daily therefore when eating dinner we don’t answer the phone. – Margo Frazier, Spring, TX

8. We created a sign for our front door, which reads:
“Only Positive Attitudes Allowed Past This Door
In the Process of Experiencing: Peace, Clarity, Joy and Happiness…a Focused Life.
Do Not Disturb!”
Sandra Smith, Portland, OR

9.  Comfy clothes. – Carin Channing, Austin, TX

10. When you come in, you have to greet the artist-in-residence (hug is the preferred form of communication)–so when things are a little less busy, she’ll make cookies for you (or brownies). Be kind. No name calling even if it’s just kidding around during an intense round of board games. – Debra Bachelder, Mount Gilead, OH

11. The U.S. mail is sorted, business handled, and most of it shredded every day. – Patricia Wynn Brown, Columbus, OH

12. I have two rules. Don’t bring drama to the house. It keeps our home peaceful and happy.  Second is every time I catch someone leaving on lights, TV’s, etc when not in the room they have to pay $.50. Keeps them more aware of wasted energy, high energy bills, and keeps me from going behind them all the time shutting things off! —  Angil Tarach-Ritchey,  Ann Arbor, MI

13. Our rules are very simple. Gratitude (no sense of entitlement) and kindness.  As a result, the words “it’s not fair” have not been spoken in our home. – Andrea Dowding, Dresden, OH

14. My best rule, by far, is to hire a housekeeper. Even if it is only once a month. After years of trying to share the housework with my husband, we have decided that just doesn’t work. And the housekeeper is cheaper than therapy! – Michelle McClure, Columbus, OH

15. No surfboards in the living room. – Cathy Cook, Bolinas, CA

Tell us the rules that make your home run best! Please share it with us all in the comments section below.

Have a terrific week.  I’m off to spend my gift certificate at Pottery Barn for towels. (Thanks. I love you, Mom!)

Big hugs to you,