7.24.2012

Making Ourselves Happy at Home~

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...


5. Cultivate family traditions.  They don't need to be big and fancy...small traditions are what create the fabric of a family and home.  For birthdays in our house, I always create a 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!

xoxo
Wendy

16 comments:

Dear Wallet, said...

Great ideas, thank you for sharing them! I can absolutely attest that making my bed makes me a much calmer, happier, and more productive person each day! Probably because the chaos of pillows and tangled blankets isn't inviting after a day of work!

Home Made Modern Mom said...

Boy, do we think alike! I love this post. I think the "art" of making a home has gotten a bad rap in the last several decades. Home SHOULD be a haven and if no one cleans it, takes care of it, or makes it smell and look pretty, what kind of a haven can it really be for us or our families? Way to go, Wendy, for reminding all of us why we do this!

countrycharisma said...

I wholeheartedly agree, especially making the bed! I am so proud of my husband who now makes the bed on his own!!! Now, sometimes I have to go behind him to tidy it up, but it does set the mood for the day. While he catches those few more z's, I am making the coffee, putting a load in the washer, reading my Bible, and now will add the grateful list, I can walk in the bedroom afterward and the bed is made. Grateful for the small things, Carrell

WELCOME! said...

\i've never really thought much about "making my bed" ...but my husband said the other day "I know it's been a hard day when you don't make our bed."
It's true...making our bed is some kind of mirror into how our day is going. :)

Great post!

Kimberly said...

Great tips! I definitely agree with making your bed and keeping each room "ready". Straightening up the house each morning really sets the mood for the day and keeps me happy and productive. The gratitude journal is a fantastic idea! It's almost impossible not to be happy if you're continually focusing on all the blessings God has given you. :)

Thanks so much for sharing!

xo-Kimberly {allons-y kimberly}

Emily said...

Great post! I also believe in the power of scent and it's ability to evoke certain emotions. I like to have candles or scentsy warmers or plug-ins in each room so that the house smells welcoming and inviting.

Jeannie-JB said...

Dear Wendy,
I recently found your blog {I know - where have I been, right?} and your philosophy about the home being a haven for the family has been on my mind since I first read it.
I watched a show last night that had a song about the 15 year old girl who came to the U.S. from Ireland and was bullied until she committed suicide. I can't stop thinking that if we really can make our homes a fortress for our family, our kids will feel so safe there, this kind of thing won't happen again.
I know it's more complex than making your bed, but I believe the family traditions, photo albums, etc. can be the first row of bricks we lay down to protect our kids {and families as a whole}. Your ideas about home can help us all build that haven for our families. Thank you!

Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication said...

These are great pieces of advice! My house constantly stresses me out, but that's because I don't keep up with it as I go. I definitely should work on this!

Anna See said...

i love these ideas! the made bed always makes a huge difference!

arkie said...

I so agree on the making of the bed! I love straightening up and can do our small home in about 30 minutes. It really helps make things feel more comfortable!

Dixie said...

My son had wrote on a small pc of paper, I love my mom. Kept it for a long time in my wallet and just recently decided to frame it. Plus my 36 yr old niece had played with liquid embroidery when she was little. One said she loved me the other was silly like your a bird, your a bird in the sky with little m birds drawn in. Sweet so I framed those also. Plus my mom gave me a mirror wall shelf and that makes me feel good. Was in my childhood home. Have photos up of my son where I won in at the fair. My bathroom holds the photo that my son won at the fair. These are sweet memories for me. On my kitchen cabinet is a pencil drawing of an apple that my son drawn in 6th grade. Framed and on easel.

Jaime Smith said...

Those are all great suggestions! One thing that really helps me and my family is to make music together. We will sit around sometimes and sing songs, play with little instruments, and dance around the house. It is a great way to bond, and everyone feels more joyful after that.

Stacey said...

These are such good ideas. We always make the bed...period. It makes me feel so much better. Now I'm going to work on getting more of those little things my boys made out and visible. They are 20 and 23 now and I miss them from the little days. :)

jaime ♥ raising up rubies said...

Wendy...
thanks so much for these words of wisdom...these points are sweet reminders of what life is all about, our homes & our relationships and what we choose to do with them!
thanks for the encouragement today...
♥ much love

Anne @ Unique Gifter said...

Your home-as-haven comment is interesting. I was at a shower the other night at a woman's house and she corrected herself when she said "my house." She immediately said, "I mean my home." I suspect for exactly the same reasons you have explicitly identified!
A friend just got married and they plan to repaint the entire interior of his house, so that it becomes their home.

Shanda Davidson said...

I started my little blog last month for just this purpose - to join a community of bloggers that strive everyday to make their home a haven and to inspire me to make my house a home. There are no scared places in our house - we have a den, kitchen, two beds/baths, and it all gets used!