Reconnect with what made you love your home
Last weekend, my granddaughter and I had a sleepover. Filled with movies and popcorn and ice cream and staying up too late, it was a glorious evening. When we woke up on Sunday morning, she asked if she could wash my car. Now, to me, washing the car is a complete chore. Dragging out the step stool, bucket, sponge, rags, and hose are not at the top of my to do list. I’d much rather just drive through somewhere and get the job done in a few minutes instead of a couple of hours.
But, in her mind, there’s not much more fun than (a) helping out Grammy, and (b) getting to play in the water when it’s hot outside. Washing the car is a two-fer smack in the middle of the win column.
As I watched her play/work, the joy in her face was evident. It made me think back to the stuff I found fun as a kid. Washing the car was right up there on the list of things that were not just a blast, but also made me feel a little bit grown up (like the day my feet could finally touch the floor when sitting in the back seat). Where did that feeling go, I wonder?
It probably went to the same place the joy in my house went
When we bought our house, we knew it was a project. It had termites. It needed a new roof. And new electrical. It didn’t have a single stitch of insulation anywhere, so energy efficiency was a pipe dream. But it was ours, sitting right next door to the house my husband grew up in. And it was full of possibilities.
We can tear down that wall!
Look at how big the living room is – when’s the housewarming?
The yard has plenty of space for a garden
It’s fun to pick out new light fixtures
But, over the last 15 years, that initial excitement has given way to the day to day reality of being a homeowner. There’s the time the master bathroom toilet sprung a leak and ruined the wood floors in the bedroom the week before we were hosting 24 people for Thanksgiving. And the time the hot water heater sprung a leak at 10pm, spraying me right in the face when I opened the closet door to investigate a hissing noise. The random thunderstorm that uprooted a tree and almost took out the carport. The piece de resistance was Christmas morning, when water started coming out from under the kitchen wall. That little present led to a 37 foot tunnel under the house and replacement plumbing. Ya know, the fun stuff.
All of the kids are grown now. It’s a lot of house for just two people. It’s a big yard to take care of. The garden that seemed just the right size years ago now seems to be too much, so we’ve let the lawn take back over a significant portion to avoid spending every weekend pulling weeds. And when you’ve lived somewhere long enough, all of those things that you did as an excited new owner have become dated. The faux wall finish is no longer au courant. The paneling we swore we would paint “just for now” is still there. The wall between the kitchen and the formal dining room (what? who actually uses this room?), that I swore would be torn out immediately, is still there.
And the joy in our home slowly dissipated until it just became the place we live and maintain.
Reclaiming the joy
One of the things I like best about social media is that it is so visual. Pictures of kids and cats and moms and dads and vacations. And homes.
Lots and lots of homes.
Friends crowdsourcing paint colors. Recommendations for the best flooring guy. Debates over the pros and cons of dishwasher brands, refrigerator with or without french doors, and traditional or front loading washing machines (here’s a tip: the front loader is a don’t in my book unless you want to spend every day looking at the open washing machine door so it doesn’t get mildewy and smelly).
As I’ve watched friends and family tackle their own home renovations, it’s reminded me how excited I was the first day I set foot through the door of my house. The promise of creating our own retreat. An environment that reflects who we are. What we love. What’s important to us.
And it has inspired me.
I started small, with a new paint color and flooring in the master bedroom. And the results of that little makeover caused more inspiration. The home office is next, so I’m slowly decluttering while planning in my head exactly how I want the room to look. It’s invigorating. And I’ll probably make some impulsive choices that I’ll regret later. But I’m reconnecting to my own home.
Finding….no, reclaiming…the joy in my personal space. You can, too.