Embracing the chaos.

Written by contributor Rachel Wolf of Clean and Lusa Organics

Some days I fantasize that my home looks like something off of one of my Pinterest boards.

Well-styled, clean, and impeccably organized.

Simple, beautiful, artistic and inspiring.

With not a (dog) hair out of place. (So to speak.)

But then I open my eyes and look around. And I wince a little.

Because as it turns out I’m not living in that world at all.

Between meals my dining room table hosts a rotating assortment of art supplies, canning jars, science experiments, homeschooling projects, and clean laundry.

There is a mountain of library books set aside to return and someone is drying a salt map on the sideboard.

Our coffee table is home to a puzzle-in-process, we’re dissolving an egg shell in a jar on the counter, and there is a microscope set up in the corner.

While sometimes our house is clean for days on end, that’s not our norm.

Our life is messy.

Simplicity here

I don’t want to paint a picture of mad clutter and dirt. In truth, our family is on a path towards mindful simplicity.

Less buying. Less clutter. Less stuff.

When things feel out of balance we simplify and organize.

We work together and let go of some of what’s holding us back. When we’re done we feel more free.

I find myself again.

We also set aside one day a week for housekeeping. As a family we tame the clutter and clean each room.

When we are done it is comfortable, tidy, and clean.

Chaos there

But despite our simple intentions, we’ve still chosen to cook all of our meals from scratch.

We’ve chosen to put food by for winter, to garden, and to homeschool.

We’ve chosen to keep a flock of chickens in the backyard and two dogs in the house.

We’ve chosen to knit and sew and sculpt and have free-flowing glitter in the craft cabinet.

Indeed, this is the life we’ve mindfully created.

In all of its messy details.

So week after week, the chaos returns.

Mindful choices

Store bought tomatoes may seem less complicated than the September Canning Marathon, but I’ll keep gardening and canning just the same.

Because I delight in those colorful jars that feed us all winter, manic though it is in the summer.

The same goes for homeschooling. I’d rather have my kids by my side as we live and learn together – even with the chaos it sometimes brings.

Because our joy is found in these (often messy) details. 

So I choose to make peace with the clutter.

Because a little chaos means that we’re making.

We’re doing. We’re creating.

We are learning and living side-by-side in this house of ours.

The messes are simply a testament to how we spend our days – together.

And sometimes all that juicy living is downright messy.

This life we’ve built may not be picture-perfect, but it’s all our own.

And it’s brimming with laughter, learning, and love.

I think I’ll keep it. Chaos and all.

You can read more about our path to simplicity here and here. What about you? How do you embrace (or manage) the chaos that life inevitably brings?

About Rachel Wolf

Rachel Wolf woke up recently and realized that she's living the life she has always wanted. Her days are spent with and two spunky unschoolers, running LuSa Organics (her small business), and hanging the laundry out on the line. Rachel writes about her homeschooling, homemaking, and non-violent parenting path on her blog Clean.


  1. What you described sounds like my house! I strive for order, but it just doesn’t happen. I hope that as my littles turn into bigs things will get easier…but that probably isn’t the case! Thanks for the reminder that we are still able to sit back and enjoy life.
    Heather’s latest post: {31 Days} Intentional Living – Day 10

  2. Yes!I often have to remind myself that the reason our house gets so messy is because we really LIVE here. We cook and eat three meals a day together and that’s a wonderful thing.

    I’m a minimalist by nature but I find that most young kids just aren’t.. clutter follows them like Pigpen. But it’s ok. We do a daily clean up before dinner prep. And a more detailed clean once weekly – on Fridays, allowance day. 😉
    Carrie’s latest post: How To Survive The Hospital

  3. Yes! The chaos is evidence of a full and beautiful life. Thank you so much for the reminder to embrace and cherish the orderly and chaotic moments in life.

  4. I have to remind myself that “life happens in the messes!” Great reminder today. Thank you!
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau’s latest post: 4 Guidelines to Avoid Over-Commitment

  5. Except for the free falling glitter.
    melyssa’s latest post: Grandpa’s Least Favorite Song

  6. Yes and amen. Life is messy. Period. My husband came home from work the other day and looked around and just laughed and yelled, “kaboom.” It’s all good 🙂
    Rachel Marie’s latest post: We Get to Teach a Whole New Baby How to Clap….and other things happening here.

  7. It reminds me of the poem that says; “So, let the cobwebs have the corners and the dust bunnies rule the floor, I’m not going to worry about keeping up with them anymore.
    I’m going to fill the house with memories of a child and her mother… For we are granted only one childhood, and we will never get another.”

    I often feel the same way as expressed in your post: “I talk about it in my blog here: http://tc-twistedfairytale.blogspot.ca/2012/09/rambling-thoughts-from-overtired-mommy.html
    Twisted Cinderella’s latest post: Wordless Wednesday: Couch Cushion Castles

  8. My “September Canning Marathon has extended into October.

    And I am thankful. Not for the mess, but for the blessings. 🙂 Because that’s what is behind the mess, the many, many blessings. Children. Food. A warm, comfortable home. It’s not impeccable, but it’s precious. and beautiful – in its own, messy, sometimes a little dusty and splattered way.
    Tricia’s latest post: In which I don’t discuss homosexuality

  9. What a wonderful reminder. I needed this today – thanks!

  10. This is me, too- I find a lot of peace with cleanliness- but we are living life here!
    priest’s wife’s latest post: Eggplant Spread a la Old Country-’31 days’-day 10

  11. This is us also. People wonder what we do all day; they just need to walk in the front door to know. 🙂

  12. Charmaine says:

    Another me too! I don’t deal well with too much clutter and mess (though I am a naturally untidy and disorganized person!) and it does stress me out, make it harder for me to think (and find things), etc… BUT I remind myself that it is a sign of us living and enjoying life. I read this quote the other day: “Please excuse the mess. The children are making memories.” I thought that was brilliant! (Though for us “our family” would be more appropriate as a lot of the mess is my own!) So I try to keep this in mind and find a balance with living life and keeping the clutter to a level that doesn’t make me insane. 🙂

  13. “And sometimes all that juicy living is downright messy.” Genius.
    Heather C’s latest post: Neat Trick: a mommy PSA

  14. I think this year, I am tested to see if I can embrace chaos. We had to replace all the plumbing and break the concrete in the basement, so I had to move almost everything out of the basement. That meant my art projects and art supplies! It was a big mess in the basement but also in the rest of the house with all the dust. The basement is nice and clean now but all my materials are spread around the house and I don’t see an end to have everything well organized again! So I try to learn to breath 🙂

  15. 1) “Free-flowing glitter”: that’s not chaos, that’s bravery (or insanity!).
    2) I LOVE the picture of the tomatoes and the canner – it looks like a mad science experiment.
    3) Thank you for the reminder that a little chaos means that there’s fun and learning going on in my house.

  16. No one seems to notice the mess except for me. I need constant reminders to let some things go for the sake of sanity and happy times. Thanks! 🙂
    Debbye’s latest post: 7 Tips To Successful Sibling Room-Sharing

  17. I needed to read this today. 🙂 I have a piece of paper on my desk on which I’ve written, a few years ago, “Five people live, work, and learn in this house. Six meals a day get made and eaten in this house. Art projects, science projects and messy FUN happens in this house all the time. There’s a price for it… and I’m okay with it.”

    But sometimes, I just wish the kitchen floor could stay clean for… you know, 15 minutes.

  18. Beautifully written. And just the encouragement I needed after a tough day!

  19. Anna Brown says:

    Love this post. It’s so true that life is messy, and it’s in the mess that memories are made. Obviously it’s important to clean frequently, but not having a perfect house every moment of the day is part of life.

    I’m reminding myself of that, even though I currently live alone – I, too, cook daily and even for one person that gets messy quick. Plus, between my full-time job, part time business, and boyfriend, I don’t have the time I used to devote to the house! 🙂 But life is great!!

    Thanks again for this post! 🙂
    Anna Brown’s latest post: Greatness on Display

  20. The other day I could fill the anxiety building in my chest as I looked around our house. We had rain all weekend so there was no outside time which meant more things out and shorter tempers.

    I was starting to breathe heavier, heart beating faster when it hit me – it won’t be like this forever. When your kids are grown, you won’t have toys and crayons and children’s books around. Your floors won’t have little footprints on them from kids running in and out of the house.

    And then, I almost cried. Ha!

    I wouldn’t give up the messes for anything and just need to remind myself of that.

  21. Thanks I needed this! Lately I’ve been drowning trying to keep up with all that we do and the chaos that is left behind us. It just seems I can never simplify enough! Maybe I just need to make peace with the chaos!

  22. This is such a good reminder. Finding peace among the chaos can be so difficult. Sometimes when I am focused and intentional I remember this is the life we want and there is joy to be found in the chaos. Other times I let myself get distracted my a million little things and the chaos becomes overwhelming! For me it is a constant back and forth, but I am working hard to focus on the peace and joy aspect. So much so that I named my blog a haven of chaos, because my goal really is to have our home be a haven amongst the chaos!

  23. Hello!
    So glad I found your blog. I can tell I have so much to learn from it. I just wrote a post you might really like on my blog about simplicity. I would be honored if you would check it out!

  24. I get this. I look at the Pinterest pages, and the blog posts wit beautiful houses, with orderly home education happening and think, “how’s that?” With 5 children, one dog, and an undersized house it looks rather chaotic here!
    Emma Cummings’s latest post: Teaching Spelling in a Meaningful Way

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