For as long as I can remember, "home" always meant comfort to me--it was a place where there was always plenty of food, lots of wine and great coffee, a sunny living room to relax in, and filled to the brim with family and friends more often than not. And it was always clean, too--my mom is super organized and does a great job keeping the space around her pretty near spotless. I always joke that our apartment never looks better than it does when she comes to visit, but it's true--she empties the dishwasher, cleans the counter, and puts away laundry so efficiently that I don't even notice what she's doing until she's done.
As I'm sure you can gather so far, tidyness doesn't come naturally to me, and it's actually always bothered me--I want to be neater; to make the time to fold and put away laundry as soon as it's dry or to never wake up to a dirty sink, but it takes constant effort on my part. It's irritating, but I guess it's just the way I am.
My brother came to Charlotte on Thursday night and then my dad joined us for the weekend and I realized how much I love having people visit us--entertaining and hosting family and friends always makes me feel so proud of the home that Rob and I share, even if the dishwasher needs to be emptied and I have empty picture frames hanging in the hallway. Creating a life somewhere doesn't happen all at once; like most things, it takes time and patience and work. But waking up and pouring fresh coffee into mugs and making a big breakfast for my family; that happens in the moment and it can be so great, even with wrinkled laundry waiting for me in the dryer.
Here are a few relatively simple things I've learned over the past few weeks about making a house (or apartment) feel like a home:
- Get rid of stuff--lots of it. I promise you won't miss it. I'm pretty sure that clutter is the enemy of peace. I'm still working on this, but every time I drop a big bag off at Goodwill, I find that I like my home a lot more.
- Put things in their place, every time, no matter what. It takes just as long to put something away as it does to ignore it, except it won't bother you anymore if you deal with it right then and there. Like I said, simple. But effective.
- If you're on a budget (and who isn't?), just do your best with what you have. Pillow covers make a huge difference to a couch or bed. Move things around--I'm constantly rotating candles, picture frames, and other little knick-knacks from one coffee table to the other, or from the kitchen counter to our guest room dresser. It's a nice, easy, and cheap way to refresh your space.
- Wipe down surfaces regularly--I love to just go over everything once at night before I go to bed. It ensures that I've put everything away, and I get to wake up to a clean living room and kitchen. I'm loving Pledge Multi Surface because it's great on my granite countertops, but it'll safely refresh all of my surfaces without clouding them up or leaving a residue. (It also smells like heaven, which helps.)
- Always keep a bottle of wine and/or something delicious to eat in your fridge--what good is a clean and cozy home if you aren't ready to share it with others?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.