I recently moved into a new house. Well, new-er, I should say, it was built in the 1920s. One of the areas I struggle with is contentment, and with the purchasing of a new home, there are always some immediate needs. Like new paint. And extra cleaning supplies. And a new couch. And new lawn furniture. And fresh artwork to put on the walls. And that $900 banquette seating I pinned a year ago for the kitchen to make a “Cozy Coffee Conversation Corner.”
I digress. You see, all of my belongings were wonderful and stunning to me just a month ago, and with the purchase of this new space, all of a sudden, my spirit longs for more. As I poured over Pinterest and visited furniture sites, a soft voice in my heart reminded me that a very short time ago, I was in love with my own décor.
Listening to that inner prompting has become a necessity to keep my peace in all areas of my life. While some consider “it” a conscience or an inner critic, I’ve chosen to label that every-present gentle push that I need to reason with myself when my brain goes wild, the Holy Spirit.
Packed with reason, compassion and a vibrant sense of humor just when I need it, the spirit within me brought to my attention that a couple of years ago, we were almost homeless. That was the smack in the toosh I needed to reassess, unpack my belongings and get a grip on my self-control.
So I did what I do best – I made a list. Instead of tearing out a random sheet of paper, I opened up a fresh notebook (because when you adore paper products, you always seem to have a spare around) and assigned a room to each page. This “House Love” journal is an ongoing house wish list. Not a digital board somewhere on the internet, but a tangible list of improvements and touches that I would like to see over time.
When faced with the “I want it all now mentality,” replace that mindset with the “I can have it all, but not all at the same time” mantra. Snag small swatches of paint, tile even, fabric that pops out to you, snippets from magazines, and add them to a notebook.
Next, take these five steps to regain your inner peace and resist the urge to overspend:
1. Shop in your own house
Ditch the label on your boxes and move artwork and window treatments to different rooms. Unearth heirlooms from storage, give them a good cleaning and display them. Bring all of your décor and tchotchkes into one room and take inventory of what you have, shedding expectations of where something “should” go and give that item a new home.
2. Before you buy anything, live in the house for a bit
Observe the light, see how you function during the day, make note of high traffic areas and spaces where people congregate. Open all the windows and take note of the cross breeze. Don’t forget the garden can play a fantastic role in making your house a special place to be. Strategically planting fragrant flowers or ones that attract butterflies and hummingbirds make for a work of art as you sit inside!
3. Sit in different parts of each room and find the “sweet spot” for relaxing
Observe the view, not only out windows, but lovely blank walls within each room and even beyond. What’s just beyond the room you are sitting in, in the hallway, for example?
4. Get your own smell in there
We all have it, a smell of sorts, and it’s important for this crew to get our family “stink” in this new house. I’m laughing as I’m typing this, but it’s true! Our collective perfume is essential oils, specifically lavender and lemon and frankincense. For freshening up the house, I like to use Thieves from Young Living Essential Oils. A combo of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus radiata and rosemary, I could go on and on about the benefits of this blend, but I’ll spare you. (But seriously, Google it.)
5. Start coloring
If you must buy something, make it paint. A fresh coat of paint really hits the spot for aesthetically making your house a home.
Now, resist the urge to turn on the television and watch “Fixer Upper” while you unpack. Turn on Pandora instead and jam to your favorite tunes while you slip into your new digs. Take a tour of your garden, clip some fresh blooms (even if they are pretty weeds, who cares?!) and settle in.
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will,” said L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.
This article was originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on August 24, 2017.