Home … What feeling or emotion does that word conjure up in you? Maybe the home you grew up in was chaotic and full of all kinds of messiness. But what about the home you are in right now? Whether it is a studio apartment where you live by yourself or a 3000 square foot house with many bodies filling the space … what do you feel when you think of your home? And what do you want to feel?
“The ache for home lives in all of us,
the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
No doubt about it … my home is my favorite place to be. It’s quiet (now), peaceful, and restful. I have worked from home for the past 26 years and while I have always loved being home, it wasn’t until the last few years that I began to learn and understand what was important to me in creating a space that I was comfortable in and welcomed others at the same time.
This is obviously easier now that my children are all grown and mostly out of the house. But there are many principles I have learned over the past few years that I could have applied during the crazy years of toddlers to teens.
When we moved out of our family home two years ago, I decided that was a good time to ditch many of the decorations and some of the furniture we had collected over the years. Much of it was outdated and had run its course, and most likely had been purchased simply because it was cheap so I could justify it. But I knew when we moved, I wanted a whole different feel in my new home. Because I spend so much time there, I wanted it to make me feel at peace and happy.
As someone who visited women’s homes over 2,000 times in my former career, I knew the difference between a home that made me uncomfortable and anxious to leave, and ones where I breathed a deep sigh of contentment and wanted to just take my shoes off and settle in. It had nothing to do with the size or affluence but everything to do with mood and ambience—colors, cohesiveness, smells, organization. And always, the welcoming nature of the host.
“Home should make you feel like a “valued customer” the moment you
walk through the front door … a safe place where you can make mistakes.”
But where to begin? Where I always begin! Nope, not on the internet, but with books! Several books and podcasts helped me as I began to navigate the direction I wanted to go. Although I do admit Pinterest was quite helpful as well!
The first book I read was The Cozy Minimalist by Myquillyn Smith. As I was starting over, it gave me so much direction on how to get that cozy feeling I wanted but keeping it simple and uncluttered at the same time. This helped me to not overwhelm my budget and gave me a direction in which to go. And since we were moving into a rental for a year, I knew I needed my purchases to work for the eventual home we would be moving into even though I had no idea what that home would look like.
The next book I borrowed from the library was Home Made Lovely by Shannon Acheson. I loved this book so much I went out and purchased it. What I loved the very most from Shannon’s book comes from the first chapter where she challenges you to stop and think about your why and who you are doing this all for? Is it to compete with your sister-in-law, friend, or neighbor? Or is it because through our home atmosphere, we have the opportunity to bless all those who live there with us and create a comfortable place to welcome others into our home.
Your answer to that question may be different than mine, and the way you want your home to feel will reflect you, not me. But my answer is, I want my home to be a place of peace, comfort and security for those who live here and all who enter through my door.
The third book I am currently reading is one I so wish I had when my children were young and growing up. It is called, Reclaiming Home by Krista Gilbert. Again, she talks a lot of about the why but includes great organization tips for participation from the whole family. I highly recommend all three of these books.
I have also gained a lot of insight through podcasts. This spring, The Open Door Sisterhood (of which Krista Gilbert is one of the hosts), did a fantastic “Spring Refresh” series with a variety of guests on topics of de-cluttering and organization. Another one that has been valuable is The Lazy Genius podcast.
One of the main topics from each of these authors and hosts is that you cannot create the home of your dreams if there is clutter and disorganization. I know that feeling and I’m sure you do too! This is a big topic so I’m going to save it for a separate post. Bottom line is … we all have too much stuff. And it takes time and effort to manage all that stuff, so let’s do the hard work of clearing it out and then implement the systems to keep it going. Much more on that to come!
I hope this has sparked something to help you think about your home and the space you would like to create with more intention. If you’d like to explore this further, I’d love to walk this path with you. Just let me know!
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