I’m writing a Two Part series on Living Arrangements. This post is all about Happy Homes, how to be satisfied with your home and how to make the best of what you have. In the next series I will talk about the many different living arrangements people have around the World and why adopting a simple home can save you money but not take away from what you want from your living space.
As someone who has spent the better part of a year looking for somewhere new to live I can safely say that the whole experience of house hunting is not a pleasant one. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved, for a start. There are a lot of places we would like to live in but they are well out of our range in terms of everything humanly possible.
I think the problem with finding your ‘dream home’ (which is entirely like anything you’d dream up in your mind, non existent) is that when you set your standards they are rarely met. And if one or two things don’t fit, you make them fit so that a house becomes your home – and I’d go as far as to say that it turns into your dream home.
There is an age old “if these walls could talk” saying that I’ve heard more times than I care to count. If my walls could talk then I would consider getting my home dedicated/exorcised. Also, consider the certain Swedish furniture conglomerate that ran a TV ad campaign a few years ago in which they proclaimed that houses had souls – that love, not money was what gave the home it’s soul. I’m not swayed either way on the argument myself so, do you believe homes have souls?
What is it with our need to constantly categorise and humanise everything? After all in the Wizard of Oz there were three non-human characters all searching for human traits and body parts. The lion wanted to be brave, the tin man wanted a heart and the scare crow wanted to have a brain – I don’t even want to think how he functioned without one. They were humanised, much like Andy’s toys in Toy Story , the talking horses, cows, sheep, dogs, cats and everything in between that we’ve seen our whole lives. Animals and non-human characters speaking like humans and having human feelings and experiences.
Now homes have souls, hearts and our walls might be able to speak. I wonder if my walls are crying. No? Oh it’s just a leaky roof.
To be happy in your home, you need to be happy first and foremost. Where the house is plays a part in it; is the neighbourhood decent for your needs? If it’s not, do you have adequate security measures? Do you have enough room to swing a cat? If you cook a lot, is the kitchen to your satisfaction? Do you have the number of rooms you honestly need? If you have most of these things and you’re satisfied with your life in general then you’re more likely to have a happy home and be happy with your home.
I personally believe that most people have more than they need out of their homes yet they are not satisfied with their home and then I see others who struggle happily with what they already have. It’s all about perspective.
So, how can you be happy with where you live? It’s simple.
Get comfortable with where you live. Metaphorically and physically. When my couch started to get lumpy I felt annoyed at the couch. Then I realised if I throw a couple of pillows down I have comfort once more. It’s also about acceptance of where you live – if you want to stay there long term, be at peace with this. If you don’t, do something about it.
Big Love. No, not the TV show. I’m talking about thinking before you speak, acting before you react and flighting before fighting. In short: cut the crap. Stop picking at your house mates for every little niggle you feel about them. Show them love, bake them cookies, lace their brownies with tranquillizers if that’s the only act of kindness you can perform for them and yourselves – just don’t implicate me on that one. I’m working on House Harmony myself so I know this one can be tricky, especially when someone has annoying habits. The point is you need to learn to deal with it if you want a happy home. So deal with it!
Keep it fresh. A clean home to me is a happy home. When my home is a mess (around 98% of the time) then I feel a mess (so, again, 98% of the time.) I like to let the air circulate in my home by opening windows wide and keeping all doors open to let some good fresh air into them. Get others involved in the cleaning and running of the home, leaving it all up to one person is never going to create a happy atmosphere …okay who am I kidding. You can’t get others involved unless they want to be, so either live with the fact you live with slobs and do everything yourself, hire a cleaner or accept the fact you’re the slob of the house and you’re quite happy with the mess.
Make it personal. Add your own touch to your home; change over photographs in frames every few weeks of happy times you’ve had. Keep a diary of things you’ve learned that make you happy in the week (a challenge I have just started.) You don’t have to fill your home with ‘things’ to make it pretty; a nasty couch can be transformed with a favourite throw – or why not try and make some silhouette pictures? As seen on Life Is Sweet.
Join me next week when I talk about living in shipping containers, tents and the man who invented a sliding door system in his flat all in order to get more space from his living space.