There are so many things I want as a part of my lifestyle. I believe that most of us have a dream version of ourselves tucked away in our minds. But life is not perfect, it is all about progress. Most of my goals are achievable (with hard work and time) but for my year of living lovely, I wanted to break down my larger lifestyle changes into smaller goals. My first of those goals for January is “make home sweet.” As simple as it sounds, between sayings like “home sweet home,” and “home is where the heart is,” home is a big theme in our lives. There are movies, countless magazines, and songs all dedicated to thoughts about home.
I don’t believe that you have to live in extravagant luxury to be happy. I happen to like small spaces and I love my tiny studio loft. I love my surroundings to be natural and simple. You don’t have to have all new furniture or live with expensive things to be happy at home. Home means very different things to every person. For some people it is a conversion van which they use to travel the continent, for others it is a college dorm, a room at an assisted living facility, an apartment in a big city, or a farm in a small town. Some people live alone, with a large family, numerous pets, or even in communal living. So when I say “make home sweet,” I don’t mean buy new things or move. I mean love where you live right now, even if it is only a temporary place. Find ways to make the most of your home right here and now.
Our shelters provide sanctuary, security, comfort, and that feeling of “home,” no matter where that may be. As a kid I had three different bedrooms at three different houses. As a teen, I lived out of a suitcase spending time between each of my parent’s houses every other week. In college, I made my dorm my home, until I had to start all over the following years in different dorm rooms. I even spent a semester in England in a town house with other international students. During summers I couch surfed and after college I moved through three apartments in Maryland, and another in Connecticut before I made it to my loft where I am today. At risk of sounding a little cliche, I have learned that home really isn’t an exact place, home is a feeling. For me, after living in numerous environments, I learned that I am happiest in a very small town and within short distance to a lake or the beach. New England tends to feel like home to me with the historic colonial little downtowns, the waterfront, cute cafes and diners, numerous parks, easy access to cities for local adventuring, and a variety of weather with all four seasons.
It has been almost a full year since moving into our new loft and we are going to be renewing the lease! It feels good to be in a place for more than a year at a time. As far as rentals go, I have learned that it is ok to make it your own, in fact, life feels so much better when we personalize our spaces. Still, sometimes I am afraid to get too attached to a place, especially knowing that it isn’t “permanent,” but then again, what in life is truly permanent?
I have made January, the first month of my Year of Living Lovely project, all about home because it is the best place to start. When where we are feels like home, we can focus more on other aspects of our lives and seek comfort right where we are.
My three goals for January are:
- Create a personal space
Last year when I started this as a personal project, I did a good job of decluttering. I’m not a hoarder, but I do have some pack rat tendencies (books and paper, anyone?). When life gets busy, I tend to get lazy when it comes to keeping my space clean, but I have always been a clean freak about my room. In 2017 I decluttered and donated at least 30% of my belongings. Growing up in a household that was concerned with scarcity, letting go of items I “might need one day,” was tough, but the rewards were so much more worth it. I felt lighter, had less to clean, and my home had a feeling of calm. When we moved, we were able to go through almost everything. I discovered that I had more than enough, and just what I needed. It gave me appreciation for the good things in my life.
Last year I felt that life was so stressful, and my apartment was the perfect illustration to how stressed out I was. I found minimalism through numerous blogs, and although I am not a perfect minimalist, I understood the value of removing excess to make room for who and what is truly important in my life. I still have bookcases full of books, but I also know when to donate a book that no longer brings value to my life. This month I will be continuing the journey with my digital life, more paper documents that need going through, and other hidden spaces in my home. I’m looking forward to jumping further into my decluttering to lighten my life this year.
I used to love drawing out ideas for my new dorm room during the summers as I waited for the next semester to start. Even when a space is not permanent, there are many perks to making it personal. I know that with a rental, this can be hard, but there are plenty of free or affordable ways to personalize a home space without making big changes. If you own your own home, this step is going to be so much easier. With the renewal of our lease, I intend to really make our apartment feel like a home this year by making subtle changes to the bathroom and the other rooms in our apartment. Our environments have a profound impact on our happiness and comfort. This year, my word is “now.” I’m not going to wait until I can afford my dream home to start living the way that I want to right now. Life is to short to wait for perfection.
Create A Personal Space
I am such an introvert (and proud of it!) so it is no surprise that I like having my own quiet space. This month I created my own little mini “office” using a hand-me-down vanity table right next to my bed and a small inspiration board hung on a string on the wall. One day I would love to have a small home library and even a photography studio, but I’m not living that life right now (or maybe ever) so I’m not going to make any excuse to prevent me from living the way I want to right now. So I created my own creative center. For people that share their homes with others, especially children, having your own space for business, a creative outlet, a hobby, meditation, or for simple relaxation, makes a world of difference. You don’t need a lot of space to make one, but find (or create) a space that is all your own for that you can focus on you and your goals this year.
What does home mean to you? What steps are you taking this year to truly appreciate where you are right now?
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