American Spinster How-To: Enjoying Your Home
Part I: Establishing Your Space
I’ve written peripherally about this before, but today I want to devote an entire post to this novel idea. So here it is: You should enjoy your home.
Groundbreaking, isn’t it?
I know it’s not a new idea, but it’s something that people say they do, or want to do, and never actually do. Unless you’ve already paid off your mortgage or bought your home outright, you’re paying probably a large portion of your income to live in your home, and you’re probably not getting your money’s worth. Even if you’re not paying much for the roof over your head, it’s still your respite from the world. It should be a place you absolutely love to be.
But let’s break this idea down. Firstly, you’ll need to create/establish your space. What does this involve?
1. Your home should be comfortable.
You have a workplace (unless you work from/at home) in which to be uncomfortable. Even if it’s not obvious, stepping into an uncomfortable home environment can really sap the life out of you. This needs to be a welcoming place.
2. It should be restful.
There’s nothing wrong with having a game room (sounds pretty good, actually), but there should be a place in your home where you can relax, whatever relaxing means for you.
3. It should be private.
Sometimes there’s not much you can do about this if you have roommates, but your home should be a place where you can be alone if you want to. That means you have control over the boundaries; no one can show up and enter your home if you don’t want them to.
So how do you get this?
- Keep it clean.
When I say this, I mean whatever “clean” means to you. If you’re comfortable with a bit of clutter, fine. If you need every last corner to be truly spotless, okay. Mess makes people uncomfortable, so it’s important to keep your home at the level of cleanliness that works for you. I don’t mind visible stacks of papers or collectibles lining the walls of my home. But my stress level rises, however slightly, when dishes pile up or the floor isn’t clear and vacuumed. Determine what your comfort level of cleanliness is, and make time to keep your home at that level.
- Keep it energizing.
This can mean very different things for different people. For me, I like quiet. Loud music, background TV, or a howling cat take away from my peace. You might like a more active environment, spending time on the Wii, having friends over, or turning up the volume on a favorite album. Whatever re-energizes you after a long day.
- Maintain your boundaries.
As I mentioned earlier, this can be difficult when you have roommates, but even then it shouldn’t be impossible to have some control over the comings and goings in your home. If you’re the only inhabitant, this might mean learning to say “no,” which is not an easy task. From our earliest time as humans, our dwellings have been to keep us safe from the outside world, whether from the elements or predators. Today, it might not be a raging tiger after your life, but a raging human being after your peace of mind. You have the right to tell someone that now is not a good time. In fact, you have the right to tell anyone not to come around ever again.
Most of the time, however, this just involves saying, “I’ve got a lot of work to do here at home tonight. How about another time?” And that’s not a lie. Your work happens to be letting yourself get some rest, which is vital to your well-being.
If you have roommates, offer them a mutually-beneficial agreement regarding guests. This might be that no one has guests over without first telling/asking the other housemate(s). Or it might mean you set up visiting hours. From 5-8 each day, you know you might have other people in your home, but after that, they have to leave. Most people will understand that roommates work different hours, and will respect this arrangement.
Once you’ve got these measures in place, you’ll have established what your home is and how it’s maintained. The second part of making your home an enjoyable place to be is more on the visual side of things. See Part II here.