Part of a series of ten segments, checking the progress of my 2017 New Year Resolutions.
Of all the resolutions I set for 2017, I’ve made the least progress on this one. To understand why, you need to read post #7 in my series. But that’s ok, as it simply means this one will carry over into 2018 and I look forward to what we are able to do in a year’s time.
We bought this house knowing that there was a separate structure on the property that could be my husband’s music studio. We set all kinds of financial goals for ourself before we invested the money to renovate the space for this purpose. But a couple of years ago we took the plunge, and along with it built a patio, fire pit, and sidewalk that connected the house to the studio. It was downright magical to see this space come alive. Students are blown away when they see the studio. Even fellow musicians are in a bit of awe with what they see. We’ve spent way more time outdoors in our own yard having bonfires and dining al fresco since all of it was built.
The inside, however….has stalled.
I have a philosophy about personal space, and I recognize full well that I’m one of those people who has the good fortune to make this philosophy a way of life. I haven’t really written my “home sweet home” philosophy as a sort of manifesto. Maybe this is the beginnings of it. It boils down to these things:
- Sprawl no more than is necessary. No “McMansion”. Actually I’m fascinated by those tiny homes, I just don’t think I can pull that off just yet with the five of us and a baby grand piano.
- Own no less than what gives community and privacy to the people living in the home. Give each person in the home a space to call their own, and a living space where they can commune if they wish but also have a little privacy.
- Make home your sanctuary. Have it be beautiful, comfortable, and functional. Colors and furniture that support the purpose of the room and that work together from room to room. In particular, preserve the master bedroom as a sanctuary. No desks, no mental work, no TVs. The master bedroom is a spiritual place above all.
- Keep it clean and orderly. I fail so often on this but essentially have a place to store all of your things and return them to that space when you’re done using them. Cleanliness is self-explanatory.
- Maintain your possessions in good working order. Fix, replace, or do without what is broken. There is beauty in some worn items, but sometimes wear and tear reveals an ugliness and lack of quality. I think it’s perfectly ok to update and renovate what is revealed to be junk.
- Simplify or even downsize your stuff. Do you really need to keep everything that comes into your home? Do you need the break maker, the blender, and two waffle irons because you got them as a wedding gift? Can someone else use what you have? Can you donate or regift it?
- Mind the “flow” of the space. Is is cramped? Is it sparse? Is it inviting?
- Purify the air. Let fresh air into the space or use essential oils to drive a mood.
- Let the light shine. This is one part of my manifesto I can’t retrofit into my current home so easily. I so wish the natural light was abundant. If there was one thing I’d change, that would be it.
- Make the space what you need it to be. If you use your formal dining room only once a year, change it to something you will use, like a piano room or library. If you gravitate toward meals and communion with other people, make your kitchen the focal point of the home. If a closet has shelving that defies logic, change it. Why tolerate bad design?
It’s so easy to talk about all of these things and take action on them like money is no object. But I think it’s important to feel warm, safe, and inspired by your home. And now I’ve cleared the hurdle that was the laundry room, I’m ready to tackle some bigger projects, like redoing the bathrooms, replacing the woodwork throughout the house so it isn’t so dark, fixing some storage space in the closets and garage, and fixing up the basement so it’s a bright, inviting space for the kids in our home and their friends. Some of these plans may seem frivolous but they align with my “Home Sweet Sanctuary Manifesto” and I can’t wait to make progress on them.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on how to turn your living space into a home improvement heaven? Do any of the points in my manifesto resonate with you? Do you have any good ideas to share with me? I’m all ears.
Photo by Ember + Ivory on Unsplash