I was thinking this morning of my first little apartment. I was so excited to move out of my parent’s place to one of my very own!
It was a little hole in the wall that I shared with my then best friend. We had nothing but our clothes when we moved in. Finding the necessities was all that we did. Most of those things came from our parents or were purchased at thrift stores or found at the curb.
When I got married we didn’t have a big budget. Just a few pretty wedding gifts and no furniture. We rented a furnished apartment had only the basics. It was a three room place in the back of our landlady’s home. We made it cozy by getting a cat who had six little kittens in the corner of our small closet!
As we were able, we moved to a rental house. It was small too, but was in a nice quiet neighborhood with great neighbors. Our daughter was born at that time. Bringing a baby “home” really changed our lives! My only decorating there was trying to keep the place clean enough for a little one to crawl around! I thought nothing of decor then, only being a Mommy! I’m so thankful that I was able to stay home and enjoy my little girl. We took many walks to the park and played out in our yard. She didn’t like the grass at all. She would cry if her little knees touched it. My mommy time was so precious that I didn’t even think about decorating.
Our next move was to our very own home. We were able to purchase that home due to the generosity of my husband’s contact with a contractor. I think having “my very own house” was where my interest in decorating began. We had to strip wallpaper, paint, get REAL furniture and do yard work!
This was in the 70’s and I was very interested in making MY home look “perfect.” We had avocado green appliances, gold shag carpet! We bought an expensive Ethan Allen dining room set, bedroom set and furniture for the living room. Everything had to match back then! When I think about all of that expensive furniture, I realize that I don't have ANY of it now! Times change, tastes change, styles change. My current home is filled with things that other people gave away or sold for a song. I like it better that way.
When my boys came along, my decorating came to a halt! Having two under two kept me too busy to even think about the house! Eventually, when all of the kids were in school I went back to work part time. I took some cake decorating classes and did counted cross stitch in my “spare time.” The house stayed just like it was for the most part. No time for doing anything new.
Over the years I’ve usually gone with what’s “in” when I was decorating. I wanted my house to look like those in the magazines I was reading at the time. Doing that really didn’t make my house feel like home. It only made me feel like I could entertain without feeling embarrassed.
Do you try to make your house perfect enough for guests? I was constantly cleaning and uptight if someone came over unannounced! When you have three kids it’s impossible to have the perfect house but I sure did try!
Now I am older, and hopefully wiser too. My kids are grown and each have their own place. I’m finally finding MY style. I am no longer trying to please anyone else. I’m not trying to be perfect either. I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to look like one in a magazine, it doesn’t even have to be clean. It just needs to be HOME.
I’m renting again now. Back to square one perhaps? I’ve discovered that bringing color into my world and gathering pretty things around me makes my home my sanctuary.
I’ve learned so much about myself just from the past homes I have lived in and how I’ve decorated them. It’s taken years for me to find myself but I’m getting there!
What makes me feel at home now is all of the things I’ve collected that have dear memories attached. Some of them are as simple as a handprint my youngest made me when he was five, a wooden pineapple his brother made and painted. It came with a little card that says, “I love you momy. I want you to eat this pineapple.”
I have family heirlooms and things I’ve collected over the years too. Having these things around me makes my house feel like home. What’s missing is the laughter of my children and the messes they made. Yes, I do miss their mess. Didn’t ever think I would, but I do!
I hope that wherever you are in your life, you feel a sense of peace and comfort when you walk in your front door. Make your home yours and don't worry about what other people think or do. Just enjoy what you have right now...