Almost six years ago, I moved with my husband and two little girls from sunny Southern California to rainy Western Washington. When we relocated, I figured that the rental house we moved into would be temporary, but almost six years later we still live in that “temporary” home. Life doesn’t always go as planned.
My husband and I have lived in three homes during our 12 years of marriage. We owned the first one and rented the other two. I know what it’s like to feel like your home isn’t ideal and that you’re stuck with it.
Over the years, I’ve come to embrace the here and now and learned to love my imperfect home. There are things you can change. Sometimes it is the actual physical things in the home that need a bit of altering, but other times it’s your focus and perspective.
You too can learn to love your imperfect home. Here are some tips to get you started.
How to love your imperfect home:
Look for what you like. In any home that you live in, there is always something you can find that’s likeable. It may be something small or lots of somethings. When you focus on what you like the things that you don’t feel smaller.
Do you like your neighborhood? How about your living room? Did you finally get the fireplace you’d been wanting? Maybe there are trees or flowers you enjoy. There are good things you can find in every home if you look for them.
Often our minds shift to what annoys us about our space. We can get stuck obsessing over the things we don’t like which then overshadows everything we do like. Choose to look for the good and focus on it. It will help you enjoy your home more.
Change what you can. If you own your imperfect home, think about what you could change that would help you to like it more. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders. If you are renting and don’t want to have to repaint again before you leave, focus on other simple changes you can make.
We live in a white walled rental. There is pretty much zero character in the home itself. I worked with what we have by adding curtains, sewing toss pillow covers, buying a few rugs, and hanging things I love on the walls.
There are simple changes you can make to make your house feel more cozy and more like home. A few changes with color, texture, and ambiance can go a long way.
Let your favorites shine. Everyone has favorite things in their home. It could be a piece of art, a piece of furniture, or a statement piece of some kind. Let your favorite things shine in your home by letting go of the excess that detracts from them.
Clutter steals your joy. It prevents you from loving your home and using it the way you want to. As you learn to let go of the stuff that is holding you back you learn to love your home more. You’ll feel more at peace and like your home is a haven when your favorite things are highlighted and the excess is donated.
Decide to be grateful. Gratitude is a choice and what you focus on grows. As you choose to be thankful for what you have, you’ll enjoy it more. Don’t compare your home to anyone else’s or to the ones you see on television.
Keep in mind that home isn’t just the four walls you are surrounded with. Yes, it provides shelter from the outside, but home is about the life that is being lived there.
Your kids will remember the interactions you had and the memories you made. They won’t focus on the fact that the yard was small or that they shared a room. In fact, sharing a room brings about some great memories on its own.
As you embrace the here and now, you learn to love your imperfect home. Any home can be your dream home. It’s a matter of perspective.
(This is an abbreviated version of the post how to love your home when it’s not your dream.)
Julianna Poplin is a writer and professional declutterer. She created The Simplicity Habit to help encourage busy moms who want to create margin so that they can say yes to the great. You can find her on Facebook and at The Simplicity Habit.