I’m so excited for today’s post! I’ve partnered with my friend Emily from Isn’t That Charming to bring you her latest installment of The Secret Series! Emily’s concept for this series is brilliant – she partners with friends and fellow bloggers from across the web to share hidden truths on topics ranging from love, business, parenting, and more.
I love this series because it’s an honest-to-goodness look at real life, in all its imperfect glory. Her first post included secrets to a happy marriage and her second featured secrets to being a productive mom. And today we’re sharing secrets to a happy home! Read on for some of my favorite happy-home tips! (And be sure to check out Emily’s post too!)
SECRET #1: DECORATE FOR YOUR CURRENT HOME,
NOT YOUR FUTURE HOME
I hear it all the time – from clients, from friends, heck I even hear it from myself at times: “I’m afraid to make any big purchases for my home – what if I move in a few years?” Trust me, I know. That dresser you’ve been eyeing is perfect for your bedroom. It’s the right size, the right shape, even the right color. “Ok, it might be perfect here, but what if I’m not going to stay here forever?” Ah, yes. The fear that we may spend our hard-earned cash purchasing a bedroom dresser that may or may not work in our next home can be plaguing. But it’s hard to enjoy the present if you’re always planning for the contingencies of the future.
Imagine your life for the next year or two without that dresser. Could you manage? Probably. Would your bedroom without the dresser bring you joy? Or would it fill you with anxiety because there is no proper home for socks and underwear? Probably the latter, right?
Purchasing big-ticket items like a quality sofa or a large area rug are scary because they usually cost a lot of money. There’s a lot of pressure to get it right. You feel like you’ve got only one shot. When Tom and I needed to purchase a mattress we shopped around and tried a lot of different models in the store. At the end of the day we went with an online retailer, without ever having tried it out. And why? Because they offered to give us a full refund if we didn’t like it. The promise that we could return it no-questions-asked was instrumental in helping us pull the trigger on the big purchase. But most big purchases don’t come with these types of guarantee. “Uh, I didn’t really like it,” is not exactly an acceptable answer for most retailers. So we feel like we’ve got one chance to find the perfect dresser, because in most cases you’re stuck with the dresser you buy.
All this to say, what happens if what we buy doesn’t work? We move. We change our mind. We have a baby. We’re over “coastal,” and are feeling more “boho.” I’m here to assure you, it’s worth the risk. The peace of mind (and if you’re anything like me – joy) you will find as a result of pulling the trigger on that piece of furniture is irreplaceable. And let’s play out the very worst that could happen: you could move in two years’ time and it won’t fit in your new home. Good news! We live in the golden age of technology where you can sell nearly anything online! If that dresser doesn’t fit in your next home, I guarantee you can find a buyer for it on Craigslist. Sure, you may lose a little money. But think of it as paying a couple bucks for a happy home (and mental sanity). You’ve essentially “rented” your happiness for a few years! (Hint: this is also a great time to mention the perks of buying used/vintage!)
SECRET #2: BRING IN LIFE WITH PLANTS
Breathe life into your space with some good old greenery! Not only do plants help liven up a room, they also improve the air quality in your home. I don’t have a green thumb myself, so I leave the plant-care to Tom 😉 But there is a plethora of resources out there to help you choose the right plant for your home (this video is a great start).
SECRET #3: TURN YOUR BEDROOM INTO A SANCTUARY
My absolute favorite part about our bedroom? We treat it as a sanctuary and minimize the use of any electronics in there. There’s no TV, we put our phones away, and we even have black-out curtains to keep the obnoxiously-bright street light directly outside our window from keeping us up all night. (Seriously, that thing is Kenny-Rogers-Roasters-bright).
I know, I know! I can hear you rolling your eyes through the computer screen. “I’ll never get rid of my TV – I won’t do it!” I get it. Watching TV in bed is the ultimate luxurious comfort. So I’d never pass judgement on someone for wanting a TV in the bedroom. But by removing it, you just might find your best night’s sleep ever. Turning our bedroom into a screen-free zone not only makes it a zen space, it also improves my sleep (and thus, quality of life). My body knows it’s time to shut down when I climb into bed. It also helps relieve my stress! When I head into the bedroom, I am genuinely relaxed (maybe even for the first time all day ha). Just mounted a flat screen in your bedroom? Not to worry! Try turning it off a little earlier and reading for a few minutes before bed. Try it for a week – and see how you feel!
SECRET #4: TACKLE AT LEAST ONE HOUSE PROJECT YOURSELF
Toilet handle loose? Need some extra storage for all those shoes? DIY projects can be a fun, usually less expensive, way to make a house your own. It can be anything – painting a wall, building a shelf, installing new hardware. You can do it. Yes, you! Don’t be intimidated – the worst that can happen is you need to call in reinforcements. And there are loads of DIY tutorials out there on the internets. There are also great articles on which projects you should (and should not) attempt as a novice. The benefits of taking on a project in your home are two-fold. You’ll not only gain a new, deeper level of appreciation for your space, but you’ll also feel a sense of pride every time you see that floating shelf.
SECRET #5: CREATE A LANDING ZONE
This is not a novel idea, but I still think it’s one worth mentioning: a place for everything, and everything in its place. We live in the city and don’t have a ton of extra square footage (you can read more about small-space storage solutions in this post). So I try to create a small “landing zone” when I walk in the door. A place to hang my keys, purse, and jacket means I know exactly where they are, so I won’t be scrambling for them as I rush out the door. After all, a tidy home is a happy home.
SECRET #6: HIRE OUT HELP (IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT…)
Listen, there is only one you, and you can’t do everything (trust me, I’ve tried!). Figure out the things that only you can do (your job, parenting your child, spending quality time with your spouse) and the things that can be outsourced. I’m going to let you in on a
little major secret – people feel guilty talking about how happy hiring a cleaning service makes them. Usually they feel ashamed, or are a little embarrassed to admit they’ve hired someone to clean their home. Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps it is seen as “class-ist” to hire out help. I say hire away, and don’t look back. Your time is money, girl. You are busy doing the things only you can do.
SECRET #7: … AND IF YOU CAN’T, LET IT GO
Truth be told, I can’t afford a cleaning service. Well, ok, technically I could, but I choose to do yoga instead. And I also don’t have time to clean my house (I’m busy doing yoga). So the way I see it I have two options – Option A: I can focus on what a failure I am and what a dirty home I have, or Option B: I can let it go. Easier said than done, I know! I’m the worst at letting things go (remember this post?!). It is a daily struggle for me to look past the dust bunnies and stray hair (omg it’s EVERYWHERE) to see the beauty that is my home. I’m the first to admit that if it doesn’t look perfect, I don’t want you to see it. But that’s my whole goal with this blog! To peel back my layers a little bit at a time, and hopefully inspire you to peel back yours too! We should all take pride in our homes, even if we can’t currently afford to decorate them the way we’d like to. Our home is our haven, and it’s meant to be cherished, not chastised for being messy and imperfect.