Thursday, October 2, 2014

day 2: what does your space say about you...

Welcome to my series 31 days to more order.  If you are new to it, you can read the other posts in the series here.

Today I'm covering; what does your space say about you.  Have you ever stopped to think about that? Have you intentionally created a space that you live in that reflects you and the other people that live in it?

Seven years ago, my husband and I bought the house we currently live in.  We needed to move because our family was growing and we were outgrowing the 1300 square foot townhouse he bought as a single guy.  We finally found a house that had 90% of our criteria in an area we loved.  The couple selling the house had recently had the entire house professionally painted with colors that a decorator picked out.  So the house was totally move in ready.  Literally, all we did was move our furniture in and put our pictures on the walls that already had hooks from the other couple.

It was a super busy time in our lives and that was all the thought I could put into our home.  Our children were 3 and 1/2, 18 months and 7 months old.  Not only were our kids super close in age, but our youngest was adopted with multiple special needs which required a lot of appointments and therapies (you can read Grace's story here).  I truthfully remember very little of those early years.  I could barely stay on top of meals, dressing everyone and cleaning my home let alone decorating it and making it my own.

As my kids got older, we started to make our own mark on our house by painting bedrooms, bathrooms and the kitchen.  We also added artwork in places that we needed to put our own nails and plastered over nail holes from the previous owners.  It was during this time that I first thought about what I wanted my home to say about me and our family.  I decided I wanted to create a home with intention and purpose.

I'm inherently a list maker.  So I sat down and started to write down things that I wanted my home to reflect and represent.  My parents still live in the house that they raised me and my sisters in and I love going back there.  So I thought about my childhood home and what made it special to me.  I wrote down anything that came to mind about home and then I thought about what I wanted my children to feel about their home.  In the end, I had a lot of different examples and words written down.  I finally decided on three things that I wanted my home to represent to me, my family and my friends.  I want my home to be welcoming, comfortable and safe.  

1. Welcoming - I wanted to create a home where others would feel welcome.  We have crafted spaces in our home where you can sit and visit.  Where kids can play and not worry about making a mess.  We intentionally have not finished our basement, so our kids (and their friends) have a place to ride bikes or scooters in the winter.  I made a goal that I would always be ready to have people over.  Which leads me to my second criteria for my home.  

2. Comfortable - My goal is to have you feel at home in my home.  We have space that is lived in, which means if you drop by during the week we may have to move the laundry basket off the couch so we can sit and visit.  I must confess that I hate housework.  But unfortunately, it is one of those things that I must do daily and weekly.  However, sometimes the clutter of daily living piles up and I'm okay with that.  I'm so okay with it looking cluttered that sometimes I don't even put my clutter away when we are having people over.  If you've been to my house more than once, I may not hide my clutter in the laundry room before you come over.  I may also ask you to grab whatever drink you want after the second time you visit and mean it when I say to help yourself.

This does not mean that I allow my kids to just leave there stuff everywhere.  My children have been taught to pick up after themselves and how to clean.  But sometimes weeks are busy and people get lazy and things pile up.  So I give myself a little grace and don't stress out about the clutter.  I vowed to never use clutter as an excuse to not have people over

3. Safe - This one may not have been something you would naturally think of when trying to define what your space says about you.  What I mean by safe is that I want my children to grow up knowing that we value them more than our belongings.  So, our home reflects the age and stage of our kids.  We have a super comfortable, lived in home.  If a child makes a mistake and spills their milk on the couch or gets paint on the carpet or writes on the table in permanent marker or knocks a picture off the wall throwing a ball or breaks a window throwing a toy or pukes chocolate donuts on the living room carpet (all true stories), I want them to know that it is okay.  That mistakes are made and we all make them.

I want my children growing up in the confidence that they are loved and home is where we make our mistakes first before we are set free on the rest of the world.  Now, let's just say that the same child threw another ball and broke another picture, then his consequence would be paying for a new picture out of his allowance and birthday money.  Because let's face it, sometimes our actions require consequences.  We also have not spent the money to replace our worn carpet in our living room.  It is currently impossible to get really clean, no matter how many times it is steam cleaned.  But if we paid to replace it, then we would stress out if the kids spilled something or if people wore their shoes or whatever.  So we chose not to get new carpeting until it our kids are a little older and it won't stress my husband out if it gets dirty.

Over the past few years, I have kept these three goals in mind as our family continues to live and change our home.  I pause every six months or so and see if my home is still meeting my three goals.  We have people over a lot and I was so pleased a few weeks ago when a friend came in and said that it feels like coming home when she comes to our house.  I told her that, that was my goal.

So, what does your space say about you?  What do you want it to say about you?  I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about what you want your home to reflect about you.  Write down some words that come to mind when you think about the word home.  Brainstorm with your spouse, family, roommate or friends.  Then take little steps towards making your home purposefully reflect what you want it to say about you.  Tomorrow I'm going to be talking about purging and getting rid of unneeded, unnecessary or unwanted stuff.  Once you do that, it will be a lot easier to have your space say what you want it to about you.

Have you thought about what your space says about you?  Does it say what you want it to?  Let me know in the comments what your home says about you.


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