I live in such a slippery place in my mind when it comes to feeling calm in my home. Part of the work for me is being mindful not to let my expectations for my home be unlivable, letting perfectionism keep me from just relaxing into our foxhole as savoring the people I share it with. But I know for sure I’m more easeful in the homes I’ve lived in where I took the time to design spaces and systems that help my family thrive.
With this in mind, I was so excited to email with Oak Cliff, Texas, home stylist and now author Jessie Carrilo. Jessie’s new book, A Charming Home, is a room-by-room workbook for families to feel inspired and resourced to create functional, stylish spaces. Perfect timing for me with a new place to settle into! I hope you enjoy getting to know Jessie from what I was inspired to ask Jessie about her projects.
Tips for a Charming Home
The toddler years can really encourage us to “embrace the chaos.” What inspired you to seek calm and organization at this phase of life?
When I became a parent I knew that for the sake of my own wellness and by extension my ability to put my best foot forward with my kids, I needed to design a simpler lifestyle and a home that I could maintain with less effort and time. Our way of embracing the chaos was cutting a lot of unnecessary items from our home to free up space and time for everything our daughter was going to bring into our life.
I always say the goal is having a home that is easy to tidy, even if it isn’t always tidy. Much like adults, toddlers appreciate structure and knowing what’s coming next. They can get overwhelmed by clutter just like we do. So having a simple, intentional space is like creating a strong and safe foundation for them to explore from. It allows all of the wonderful chaotic, creative toddler moments to happen while providing a way to hit reset.
What’s the number one organization tool you can’t live without?
My go-back basket. Here’s how it works: grab a big basket and start in one room picking up things that don’t belong there (usually toys). Return them to their proper place and pick up out of place items in that space. Keep going until you have hit every room and your basket is empty. Some days when I’m short on time I’ll go through the house picking up only my toddler’s things and I’ll leave the basket in her room to put everything away later.
What’s one way a busy parent can start their organization and calm home journey if they’re not sure where to start?
Start a donation bin. Keep it in the garage or even in the back of your car. When you come across an item of clothing that no longer fits your child, chuck it in the bin. A kitchen tool that frustrates you? Into the bin! Once it is full, drop it off at your local donation center and start over. Make decluttering a habit for your family instead of a one-time project and you will see the impact in every area of your home.
What’s the biggest impact you’ve seen on your family since beginning the process?
As a society we are finally talking about the mental load that typically moms carry as they manage all the details and unseen tasks of family life. I have found that working with my husband to organize our physical space and the way we manage our home has dramatically lightened that load for me. Each type of item in our home is only stored in one place and we both know where everything is; so it’s easy for either of us to complete a task or take stock of what we need. We also collaborate on several lists in the Reminders app of our phones: a “to buy” list, a “meal planning” list, a “to do” list, and a list of ideas for family outings. With those two strategies alone, we have made all of that invisible work visible, easy, and most importantly a shared responsibility.
I’m so inspired to make my space my own now thanks to Jessie’s motivation. Jessie’s book and more on her services is available at her website. Images c/o Jessie Carrillo.