Earlier last month I enjoyed a quick visit from my SIL, Mara, from A Blog About Love. (She’s lovely, if you don’t already know it.) While staying here, she sneaked a few photos of my home and posted them on her blog. Actually, we talked ahead of time and I got all excited like, oh, maybe this will prompt me to move forward with a designer and get the rest of this home furnished. Maybe I can document it on my blog. And maybe, I’ll get some traffic! Or, even maybe Design Mom will feature my home in one of her Living With Kids posts. Ha, ha, ha. Like having a gorgeous living space isn’t enough incentive.
Home design is not something that I like to write about because, while I love looking at great design, I got pretty burnt out during the design and build process, moving, and selecting the few furnishings that I do have. Oh, and the housing market collapsed. And the financial markets. And, hmmm, maybe I won’t get into all that. To top it all off, seeing the wake of destruction that a mastiff puppy and a small boy can inflict on a home, sent me over the edge. I threw in the towel and turned my attention to more gratifying pursuits like Zuma (just kidding, wink, wink), homeschooling, running and raw foods.
When I saw the photos that Mara posted, I was quick to notice that in every single one of them, there were piles of stuff lying around. Yikes! What a mess. My husband and I lovingly refer to ourselves as “loose space” people. Usually, it is a comfortable level of messiness. If all the surfaces were clear, I’d feel anxious. However, if I can’t find a book title, or an important piece of mail, I get frantic. I look for the happy medium between sterile and chaos. Seeing my mess, even my comfortable mess, on Mara’s blog made me slightly uncomfortable.
Just this last weekend I really felt the pain. My husband had invited his colleague and family over for dinner. I’ve met them before and think they’re great people. To have them in my home, I wanted to make a decent impression, so I went on a cleaning Frenzy of epic proportions. Did I really need to completely empty the coat closet and reorganize everything into plastic bins??? An hour before they were to arrive, I was exhausted and cranky. Unfortunately, our friends called to cancel. I was disappointed, yet I enjoyed spending a quiet evening (before my big race) with a clean house.
During my cleaning frenzy, I was very conscious of how much space goes unused in my home. The extra bedroom that I had hoped would be filled with more kids (story for another day) is now an office where unpacked moving boxes still line the wall. The separate living and dining area, it is used only when we have company – even then, we all typically congregate in the kitchen. The little den off the master bedroom – I’d hoped it would be a nursery. Otherwise, I still don’t understand why master bedrooms are designed as suites. How much space does one need for sleep? Otherwise, who has the time to lounge about their master bedroom all day? The piano room – I won’t argue that luxury. Someday I imagine bookshelves will line the walls and we’ll all be fighting for couch space to read and gaze out the window. Yet that is even redundant with our family room that also has books and a comfortable couch. I could squeeze in the piano if need be.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am grateful. If it were only my decision, I may not have picked a large home. However, I’m married, and with that partnership, decisions of this magnitude are never made by one. The result, I have enjoyed the extra space as I fill my home with visitors, short and long term, and extended family members. We have room for a foreign exchange student, and maybe, just maybe, more children. It’s just a lot to maintain, and I am very aware of how consuming consumption can become.
There are days when I want to let go of it all, pack an RV (or boat!) and travel for a few years.
My favorite design and home trend these day is Tiny Homes. This particular family is so inspiring to me over at Tiny House Family blog. While their small home of 320 square feet seems extreme, it’s a stepping stone as they become debt free and build a larger, but still small home. I love how because there isn’t a huge amount of space inside, they spend so much more time outside gardening, exploring, creating, etc.
After my most recent, exhausting, cleaning frenzy, I’m going to be far more selective of what enters my home. What do we want? Versus, what do we need? What can I give, sell or throw? It’s a particularly good time to think about this as the holidays are quickly upon us.
How do you contain the mess with kids, dogs, family, etc? I’d love to know.
Photo credit for all images of my home go to Mara Kofoed.