At the heart of simple living is staying home. This is so hard for most of us, because our homes are often a combination of boring, stressful, and depressing. The best way to stay at home without feeling trapped is to love being at home . This does not mean being satisfied with all your decor. It means having an emotional connection to your home. There is no way to buy it, but here are some ideas to create it.
How to love being at home:
1. Make a reading spot
Make sure you own at least ten books that you love to read and are easily accessible to you in your living room. Not classics that you think you should be reading, but books that you truly love, whether they be novels or home decor books. Group them together on a shelf in the room you are most frequently in. Try to get in the habit of settling down to read instead of watching TV. It feels more productive and not so gross.
2. Start planning your meals
Nothing is more damaging to the budget than going out to eat for dinner all the time. The most difficult and most important part of getting dinner on the table is having a plan. Even if it is frozen pizza and carrot sticks, have that plan either written down or firmly planted in your mind. You won’t feel anxious all afternoon because you have no idea what to serve for dinner, and won’t be forced to waste time and money going out to get something at the last minute. Knowing what’s for dinner for the whole week is very peaceful, but just having one day planned is good too.
3. Do all your housework in the morning
Work as hard as you can all morning, to the point that you are maybe a little overworked. I like to set up a weekly schedule with specific things to focus on each day, but it’s not necessary if it doesn’t interest you. Make your bed and clean the bedrooms every morning. Do a bunch of laundry, clean the house, arrange your bookshelves. Stay busy. Then when afternoon comes, you can take a break… but you won’t be bored. Boredom is the enemy of staying home. Getting everything done in the morning allows you to focus on dinner in the afternoon. You can turn on the radio and have a drink while you cook. You start feeling that maybe being home is fun.
4. Grow something
Anything. A big garden, a small garden, herbs in containers, a house plant. The more things that are at your house that require care, the stronger your connection to your home. The stronger the connection to your home, the less you will want to get out all the time. Plants can be beautiful, they can be useful, but the most important thing about them is the care they take and the emotional response that creates. Maybe this sounds a bit wacky to you. Try it anyway.
5. Automate less
Having a bunch of machines running the show does not make you feel like you want to be at home. It makes you feel like you are not really that important and might as well be out shopping. I love many of my machines: the dishwasher, vacuum, bread maker, and deep fryer are all my friends. But don’t neglect the human element of your home. Everything you can do by hand at home strengthens your bond to it. Sweeping by hand, hanging your laundry, or heating water in a kettle instead of the microwave will all affect your sense of home satisfaction. Just a few things done by hand will make a difference.
6. Do Something Creative Every Day
Not cooking, cleaning, gardening, or laundry. Something else. I am not artistic but I am capable of creating things, and that is what I mean by creative. You can create a pretty photograph, a napkin you’ve sewn, or a new gallery wall. It doesn’t have to mean retreating to your art studio or composing a song. Obviously completing one project a day is not realistic, but working on one every day is usually doable, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Keeping up this takes you out of the consumerist mindset that tells you your main function is to buy things.
7. Declutter and Beautify
Not decorating. I don’t know how to do that. I just mean taking your everyday practical spaces, and make them appealing to you. For me, this means natural materials, warm neutrals, and visual calm. For you this might mean bright colors, lots of modern art, and lots of energy. In my shower and by my sink I’ve switched everything to wooden brushes and clear bottles, and now those practical spaces are uplifting instead of soul crushing. Try making your cabinets and fridge pretty when you open them. It is depressing to pull a drawer open and see a jumbled mess. This is hard for me and I have to make a conscious effort at this. But when I open a door and find everything looking pretty and organized, it’s like a little gift to myself.
8. Change the view out your window
What do you see when you look out your windows? Your old deck furniture and some cracking planters? The back of someone else’s house? A bunch of outdoor toys sitting around? Perhaps the curtains are always closed? Change it, as much as you can, to something you’ll enjoy. This might mean putting some flowerpots out. It might mean making your kids put their outdoor toys away every time they are done. Maybe a bird feeder would help, or even just bird seed scattered on the ground every morning. Looking out the window should be a happy thing.
9. Get some natural light and fresh air
This is the different between a home and a prison. Open the curtains unless it is night. Open the windows whenever you can. Its very nice to air out your bedrooms early in the morning. If it’s cold out, shut the bedroom door so cold air doesn’t rush through the house. Find the sunniest corner of your house and put a chair there. Spend the mornings in places that face east and the afternoons in places that face west. It’s good for you.
10. Change things up
Rearrange your furniture to make a conversation grouping instead of facing the TV. (I’m super guilty of this.) Style your bookshelves by mixing in some picture frames and vases that you already have. There is plenty you can do to mix things around the house without spending any money. Simply rearranging throw pillows, blankets, frames, and fresh flowers makes a big impact. Keep in mind many small things can look like clutter, but a few bigger ones make more of a statement.
This doesn’t mean that decorating isn’t fun. But don’t rush into it out of a sense of dissatisfaction. The concept of slow decorating helps you decorate over time and with your own personality.
Love your home
When you take care of your house it will take care of you. Of course everyone needs to get out every now and then, but hopefully these idea will make you feel connected to your home and make you want to be there more.