I have not been able to stop thinking about my decorating philosophy that I shared with you last week. In that post, I tried to express the fact that I believe our homes are more than just a roof over our heads. I believe that our homes are "haven(s) where we can regroup, gather as a family and create a stronghold for our children, our spouses and ourselves." In short, I believe our homes should be places where we can be happy.
A few days ago, a post appeared on Apartment Therapy which outlined 10 ways to make our homes happier places. A few of their points really resonated with me, and today I thought I'd share those points as well as a few of my own that are easy to incorporate and can make a big difference in how we feel inside our homes.
1. Make your bed everyday. I was very glad to see this on the AT list because I have long believed that the most important housekeeping task you can do on a daily basis is make your bed. If you had the chance to read my 40 bits of wisdom that I posted on my birthday last month, you may have noticed that #8 said "making your bed helps your whole house seem cleaner." This is absolute truth. And not only that, but if you make your bed, you're more likely to do the dishes, put away laundry and do other mundane (but necessary) household tasks. Which leads me to #2...
2. Bring every room back to ready. What this basically means is to make sure and clean up the little messes in each room as the day goes on. Keep things clean and uncluttered. I absolutely can not stand clutter. The AT article put it concisely "clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it." There's our buzzword..."haven". If keeping your house tidy can help it feel like a haven, then by all means, let's try our hardest to do so. Ever heard of Fly Lady? Her website has great, practical tips on how to declutter. If you have a hard time with organization, (or if you're a bit of an organization freak like me) I highly recommend her site - and no, she's not paying me to say that. :-)
3. Display sentimental items around your home. If we make our homes "galleries" of positive memories, they will help us to feel a sense of connected-ness and bonding with our families which, in turn, will bring about the feeling of a safe haven which we are striving to create in our homes. Based on the photo above, you may wonder why having succulents in my home is sentimental to me....well, the first home that we owned in Massachusetts had a little succulent plant in the flower bed by the driveway. I had no idea what that little plant was at first, but I was enchanted by it's plump little petals. I couldn't imagine any sweeter green plant could exist. Because of that memory, succulents hold a special place in my heart because they bring me back to that experience of owning my first house and the feeling of having my very own space in the world.
4. Start a gratitude journal. The AT article mentioned having a personal gratitude journal. I think this is a great idea, but I suggest carrying it one step further and having a family gratitude journal that sits at the dinner table. Take a minute each evening over dinner and write one thing in the journal that your family is grateful for that day. We have traditionally done this during the month of November and it's been wonderful, but I like the daily idea even better.
And a couple of my own suggestions...
balloon "chandelier" over the dining room table. We also share our "best things" and "worst things" from the day each evening over dinner. I also have a tradition of making sure our family photo albums are easily accessible on top of the coffee table, so that we can sit and look at them frequently. This is one of my kiddos' favorite past times and it really helps to strengthen us as a family unit when we share our memories together.
6. Make sure the majority of your house is family friendly. Now, I am going to insert a disclaimer here...I believe that children should be taught to respect their homes and possessions. But, that said, I don't believe in having spaces in a home that are too "precious" to use. A home should be a place where each and every member feels comfortable, safe and welcome. If we are trying to make our homes our havens, then it should follow that we should enjoy being there. We can't enjoy ourselves if we feel like we live in a museum where things are to viewed from a distance.
What about you, my dear readers, do you have any suggestions for how you make your homes happy places to be? I'd love to hear them!