4 Questions for Getting Your Home to Maintenance Mode


We moved to this house back in May (it’s now October) and I’m still trying to get it to maintenance mode.

What is maintenance mode you ask?

Maintenance mode is where everything we have actually belongs here, and everything has a home. Maintenance mode is where our space is planned out in a way that makes sense to us. Maintenance mode is where I’m done sorting and re-arranging and I can simply maintain our space and focus more attention on other things…like my family…or this blog…or some business ideas that are floating around my head.

Some of you may think “Well I’m not moving anytime soon”, or “I haven’t moved recently,” but there are lots of things that may cause a shake-up in our living spaces – a new pet, baby, business, or hobby just to name a few. Some of us simply live in chaos for years and are numb to what a energy-drain and time-sucker living in “set up” mode can be.

If you came to my house today, and then visited again tomorrow, it’s very likely that some piece of furniture would be in a different place. In fact, that’s what often happens to my husband – he comes home from work and something is different. A few weeks ago I completely re-arranged our living room furniture. The next day I switched our dressers over to different walls. Then I moved a bookshelf from our bedroom to the dining room, and during this whole process, I’ve built up a big box of stuff I want to get rid of.

All of this takes time and energy and I want to get through it as soon as possible (I know…it’s October….and I said we moved here in May…in my defense I was either very pregnant or very early postpartum. Even now at 2 months post-baby it’s hard to get stuff done)

Here are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself as I work toward “maintenance mode.”

What do we want the function(s) of this room to be?

This almost goes without saying, but I’m asking this question because I’m thinking of turning our living room into a little preschool for my daughter, so I’m seriously questioning exactly what we want this space to be. This would mean a huge shift in our current arrangement. NOTHING would be where it is now. It’s all about making this space work for our purposes.

Is the amount of space we’ve allotted to a certain activity proportionate to the amount of time we spend on said activity?

Case in point: We only use our dining table for eating, but it takes up almost half of our living/dining area. I don’t think we spend half our time eating, so it shouldn’t take up half the space. I’m thinking of demoting it to a corner of the room. Never mind what interior design experts might say. Chances are no one from HGTV will EVER see the inside of my house.

Is this ____________ worth the investment of money/and space we put in to it?

I’m specifically thinking about my desk. It takes up quite a bit of space, and it’s currently catching paper and whatever junk doesn’t have a specific home. Heck, I’m sitting on the couch typing this post up. CLEARLY I don’t HAVE to be sitting at a desk to get stuff done, and CLEARLY I was more enamored with the idea of a desk rather than the functions of a desk when I bought it (curse you Pinterest and all your lovely office spaces!). I’m conducting an experiment to determine whether or not I really need it, but that deserves its’ own post.

Even when we’re in maintenance mode, these questions are still helpful. Just because we’ve done something a certain way for 20 years doesn’t mean that’s the best/most efficient way to do things. It’s healthy to entertain other ideas once in a while, just not too much, lest you throw your whole house into chaos.

How can I best utilize the assets of our space?

Can we fit all our clothes in a closet rather than buy a dresser? Can we use those built-in shelves for our book collection? Our house doesn’t have a ton of built-in storage, but we try to make the most of the storage we do have by editing what we have so that our things fit nicely (still VERY MUCH a work in progress).

Eventually I’m hoping that things will settle down in our place, and these questions have been integral in helping us (and by us I mean me) get there.

Are you in a place where you’re happy with your space? What (if any) changes would you like to make?

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I think it took us about a month to unpack and get into maintenance mode but then again I’m not as critical as you though you bring up some great questions. Like the one about how much space something takes up vs how much it’s used. If I answered that I might have to get rid of a lot of stuff ;). Guess I like keeping them around just in case plus I have the luxury of space which you may not have. Hope you get to your maintenance mode so you can enjoy your home and two lovely daughters!!

  2. Hi!
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  3. Just discovered your blog and I’m loving it! My husband and I just completed our 2nd international move in one year and I completely understand the idea of maintenance-mode. We moved into our new space in July and I feel like we are finally in maintenance-mode now that it is October. The first two nights we still had our clothes in suitcases in our living room and my husband felt like he was going crazy. We did a push to get all the clothing put away in the closet so at least that would be done. It takes time, it takes effort, and it takes giving yourself a break and cutting yourself some slack. It sounds like you are making great progress and I love the way you write, I’m looking forward to exploring more of your posts!

    1. Thank you so much Dana! Two international moves in one year?!?! You’ve been busy for sure! Glad that you’re finally feeling settled. It’s such a great feeling.

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