Tuesday, May 3, 2011

House Woes

When you spend the majority of your time in and around your home you look at it a lot.  There are days that you see it, but don't really see it.  And then there are days that you really see it and, if you're anything like me, you find fault.

If only there weren't so many marks on the walls.  If only our couch didn't look so worn.  If only we had new caulking around the sink.  If only we could repaint, recarpet, redecorate, renovate, bump out this wall...the list goes on and on forever and ever and ever.

But do we really need to do these things?  No.  We do not.  And if we're honest and tough, we'll tell ourselves that, mean it and believe it.  Taking a look at the squalor that many people in our world live in should cure us mighty quick.  And, if it doesn't...well, then, we have some issues we need to work on.

All that said, there is something about change that we crave and I would like to suggest that we can have our change and eat it too (I have to talk about eating somewhere in this post).  Here are some suggestions for when you experience those house woes....

1) Get.  Rid.  Of.  Clutter.  Donate it, recycle it, store it (if you must).  Often, having less in a room gives it a whole new, fresh, bigger look.

2) Move the furniture (and pictures on the walls) around.  Old pieces look new in a new spot.  And, you may even burn a few calories while doing it.

3) Wash your windows.  This may seem a bit silly, but trust me.  Sparkling clean windows are beautiful and brighten up any room (that has windows, of course).  If you don't have one, spend a couple dollars and buy yourself a squeegee (cheap ones work great).  It makes washing windows a breeze.

4) Use baby wipes on your walls.  I think baby wipes are awesome for wiping up finger prints, pencil marks, you name it.  Just do a test spot in an inconspicuous place to make sure it doesn't clean your wall too well.

5) If you were smart, you saved leftover paint and can touch up areas the baby wipes can't clean.  I just got done repainting two doors and some trim in our mudroom, as well as touching up the wall paint.  It's a new room, I tell you, and it cost me nothing.

6) Set out a vase (or canning jar, if you're like me) of fresh flowers from outside.  It makes any room look better.

7) Rotate toys by packing some up and storing them.  There will be less clutter under your feet and, in a few weeks, you can switch out the toys and the kids will think they have something new.

8) Most importantly...stop looking at catalogs, magazines, blogs and those blasted redecorating shows that cause house envy.  I used Catalog Choice years ago and haven't missed Pottery Barn catalogs at all.  The world doesn't know what we need even though it pretends that it does.

Since we're in our homes so much, it's nice when we enjoy them.  But, hey.  We're big girls, aren't we?  Let's not be blown by the wind and succumb to shameless attempts to make us think we need stuff to make us happy.  We are smart, intelligent beings who can think critically about all this perfect-house-hype and consider using our money to help those in squalor instead.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." 
Psalm 23:1 (italics mine)
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  1. Thank you so much for this post. It's just what I needed this morning!
    -Laura Kauffman

  2. Your post was exactly what I needed. Thanks!

  3. This makes me feel better, knowing I'm not the only one! ;) I recently painted the entire downstairs of our home and it made me feel much better! Thanks for this!

  4. THHP, I havenever read that verse in this way, but WOW! Certainly seems it would apply!! Adding some fresh flowers does amazing things for any space. Just cheers the heart and brings the outdoors in. I keep a few tiny vases (about 2 1/2" tall - 5") for little treasures the girls bring - weeds really, but beautiful. Someone told me that weeds are just God's flowers planted where we don't want them. LOL! True! And declutter - definitely! I use to tell myself, "If God called us to the mission field suddenly, how fast could I pack and unload stuff?" It helped me think through what I needed to get rid of.
    Have a great week!

  5. Wonderful words, great reminder. We've lived in our home almost 9 years. This will probably be our last summer here before moving. I've been looking at our home with a whole new light, and appreciating it more than ever before. There is nothing wrong with making your house your home, but it shouldn't be your shrine.

  6. I have been wanting to move furniture around, just haven't figured out where to put things yet. It does give a "new" feel to old stuff.

  7. If you haven't tried them yet, Mr. Clean magic erasers are AMAZING things that take ANYTHING off of any surface...dirty cabinets, marks on floors and walls...they make my house look new...maybe I'll buy stock in them:)

  8. Excellent post! Yes. I, too, struggle with "house woes" and the disconetentment such thoughts bring. Your advice is sound and so needed. Thank you.

  9. Great post! Needed to hear this today (am taking a break from cleaning up the room two of my girls share).

  10. I too struggle from time to time with "house woes"; usually after a string of days where we are inside more than out...Then I think of all those folks who lost their homes to tornadoes, or all those loosing their homes because the levee had to be breached in Missouri- and realize that I'm blessed.

    My oven made a big pop this morning and quit, I lost a tray full of biscuits :( Good news I did get the menu completed yesterday, now I know to make an ovenless menu!!! The repairman is coming Saturday.

  11. Wow after a long and hard winter of looking at these four walls this post just fit the bill : )
    You must be a mind reader....

  12. Good, sound advice! But I don't think it's good to ignore our surroundings, as in saying "I don't have the money or time I need to make things look nice." Environment is important and making our homes look as nice as possible (with whatever time and money we have to work with) can pay back huge dividends. Your suggestions would all go a long way toward creating a nice homey, comfortable, pleasant atmosphere. (I'm going to go wash windows now!)

  13. Oh boy! How well I could relate to this post. I really, really struggle with contentment with my house. Ours is old, definitely not updated or modern by any stretch of the imagination. And, all those projects we thought we'd do on our house still aren't done 10 years later. Something about starting a family puts everything else on hold.

    I feel very inadequate sometimes when I see those magazines, tv shows, blog posts where perfection seems to rule. And, I've been embarrassed to have people over to my house.

    I'm trying to let go of that kind of thinking. I've been thinking a lot lately about making my house a home, being a good steward of what we've been given, being content. And, I actually was going to do a blog post this week with some of the same thoughts you put here.

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging word!

  14. ha - I tried to touch up a wall last year and realized it had gotten too dirty so the touch up looked too bright :)

    My husband showed me a post on an architectural forum he's on about how people are decorating their homes like mall displays. Apparently, people identify so much with the consumer mentality that they want their homes to look like the bed, sofa, kitchen, etc. in the department store WHERE NO ONE ACTUALLY LIVES. How have we come to this?! My best friend and I like to remind each other that our houses take lots of work to freshen and clean because our families really live there and that entails mess, scuffs, dirt, and broken things.

  15. thanks for posting this :) you must have been living in my brain for the last few weeks... :) it's good to have some words to "get me started" on making things anew...

    by the way, are you still taking questions like you were before Easter? if so, i'd love to know a few things:
    1. explain your philosophy on disciplining your children...especially from a biblical standpoint. do you spank? time out? firm talkin' to? how do you and your husband deal with misbehaviors?
    2. how did you potty train your kids? can you give your advice about potty training :) steps, process, how you knew the kids were ready, etc. :)

    that's all for now :) i have more but i have to think about how to word them :)

  16. Great post. I loved it. So true. :o)

  17. How did you know I was thinking about redecorating this week?!? It really is too easy to forget how blessed we are even if we don't have a perfect "house beautiful." Thanks for the Catalog Choice link. I'll be glad to keep those powerful temptations out of my mailbox and out of my home!


  19. I love to decorate, and re-do. It is what I do....it is just about the only thing my husband and I share interest in (home & garden projects). I agree with being thankful for what we have, but I also need to feel good about the space I live in, need it to be visually pleasing. For me, it is being surrounded by the people and things we love that make it "home".

    Great tips for sprucing the place up, the little things can have such a big impact on a room.

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