“I knew your house would look like this! It’s full of happy, just like you.”
I smile from ear to ear, as this is the best thing anyone has ever said about my home. Our house is not the biggest, the newest, the most organized, or even the cleanest, but it is full of happy by design for the people (two-legged and four-legged) who live here, as well as for those who are invited to visit.
Our homes, however big or small, are our sanctuaries from the outside world. They serve to shelter us from stormy days, as well as the emotional storms of life. To that end, I’m committed to creating and living in a lighthearted home. You, too, can have a home “full of happy” by focusing on just three things: Function, Look and Feel, and Spirit.
What level of chaos is right for you and your family? This can change from season to season as your family grows and commitments change. You’re not required to have a Pinterest-ready home, Marie Kondo’d to within an inch of its life, unless that’s what sparks joy for you. Remember, the goal is function, not perfection.
A functional home is:
• Clean enough that everyone feels comfortable.
• Organized enough that everyone can get their work done, keep track of their important and treasured items, and lay hands on a pencil, notebook, keys, clean towel, or ice cream scoop when they need it.
• Laid out so the rooms serve your purposes. You don’t have to use every space as it’s labeled. Your formal dining room might better serve your family right now as an office. Or a playroom. Or an art studio.
That said, there are two things I try to do every day: make my bed in the morning, and bring main rooms back to “ready” in the evening by putting things away, starting the dishwasher, and wiping down the counters. This helps me feel like I’m the boss of the chaos.
LOOK AND FEEL
What do you love? And whom? Where have you traveled? Where is your happy place? Use the answers as inspiration for the look and feel of your home.
There are no rules for decorating, no matter what home magazines and blogs say. Your home should tell the story of who you are and what’s meaningful to you.
• Use colors you love that make you feel happy
• Display collections of things you love – don’t pack them away
• Show off things that help you savor wonderful memories
• If you find something you absolutely love, it will find its place in your home
• Nothing has to match exactly – in fact, homes are so much more interesting when furnishings and décor are curated over time and reflect the personalities of those who live there
What words express how you want your home to feel? Warm and welcoming? Comfortable? Clean and modern? It’s important to be intentional and agree together as a family about the spirit of our home, as it’s our refuge and sanctuary from the outside world, where we often have little control.
A lighthearted home is one where:
• Everyone feels free to be their authentic selves
• People are treated with kindness and respect
• People feel welcome and wanted
• Problems are faced together, and big and small things are celebrated
I encourage you to fill your home with the people you love – don’t wait until everything is shipshape, because people come to see you. They’ll feel warm and welcome if you have a lighthearted spirit in your home. And don’t forget to use the “good stuff” – don’t keep it packed away for a special occasion. Being together today is a great reason to celebrate!
Dianne Callahan is a local author, motivational speaker, and three-time cancer survivor. Her book, Lighthearted Life: Simple Strategies to Live a Joy-Filled Life Even in the Stormiest Times, is available on Amazon. Her second book, Journey Through Illness, will be available soon.