Those of you who read my blog regularly or saw the article about our home in the local Design and Living magazine last month probably think we are living in a blissful place where the counter tops are always spotless, the pillows are always fluffed and the pictures all hang perpetually straight.
My husband’s six year old niece is an honest child. I was giving her and my sister-in-law a quick tour of our home when she blurted this (very true) statement:
“Your house is messy.”
We were standing in our lower level living room, the one our teen daughters utilize the most. There was a half eaten bag of Doritos on the floor, pillows everywhere, and my youngest daughter’s Russian tortoise in large wooden crate who normally resides at her dad’s house but is living here while they try to sell their home. (Because apparently a large reptile in a box is not an attractive selling point for potential buyers.) We’d also just glanced into my daughters’ bedrooms on the tour, which were further teenage explosions as teen environments typically are.
Kids are messy. Life is messy. And our homes get messy, too. And just because I love interior decorating and photography doesn’t mean my house is some magical exception of perfection. (I am writing this article with my laptop perched on a white linen pillow . . . covered in pet hair.)
Oh trust me, I’d love to snap a picture of the filth, especially the teenage chaos and post it here – but there are real people behind those photos (my kids) who would not appreciate my public shaming. My pets? They probably wouldn’t mind. But who wants to see photos of hairy pillows? I’ll refrain. I’m sure you can visualize.
And so I’d like to share a few tricks with you about how to find some order in the chaos of your own life and peace about the fact that your house will never, and I mean never, be one hundred percent clean and neat one hundred percent of the time. Even if you live alone, there are pets and life obligations that pull us all in several directions. It just isn’t possible.
But if you do like things neat and orderly, and most of us do, then quit looking at the big picture and narrow it down. Find one little corner that you can focus on and put your energy there. (Notice I didn’t suggest you focus on an entire room? Exactly. A whole room might even be overload. So start with just one little corner.)
One trick I use is I allow myself the luxury of purchasing fresh flowers every week. Wherever I tuck those flowers, that is my focus for beauty, order and peace. Normally, I keep them on my desk in my home office (where I spend the most time) but I move them around when the lighting is great for photos. The photo above is the last day of life for these red beauties and I thought they looked so stunning in the sun. (Note – what is in front of the lens is neat. What is behind me is a dining room table full of my kids’ crap. Just because you don’t see the mess, doesn’t mean it isn’t there!)
Another trick I use in my favorite little corners is incorporating words. My Rae Dunn pencil holder above is a nice little reminder that life isn’t about using our energy for vacuuming and endlessly picking up. There is a lot we can do with our time and energy, and sometimes we need to spend that time creating. Not cleaning.
It’s one of the motivators I use when I pick out products for Grace 1972, I like to find pieces with meaningful phrases that my customer can place in their own little home corners. I try to find messages that bring people peace, joy and a smile to their heart.
I like to imagine that an exhausted new mom may glance at these in the middle of the night with her baby’s 10th ear infection and forget all about the fact that her laundry pile rivals Everest, or a working mom coming in from the red eye flight after a long business trip sees these words and is just glad to be home, even if the dog did just barf all over the living room. Again.
And so that is my little piece of advice, friends. Find a corner and put something in it that brings you joy. Here are the favorite corners of my own home, but as you look at them, imagine my little red haired niece honestly proclaiming to you as she follows you around on this little photo tour, “Her house is still messy!”
Have a blessed Sunday! — Audra
My Favorite Corners
Peace, Joy and Blessings,
Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.