Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Keeping a House

I know, I know.  Writing about this makes it seem....well...like I am just a boring housewife, who only thinks of her children and homemaking things.  But.  It's not true.  And I really have something to say about this.  So. 

Why is it that no one really talks about homemaking in a tangible way?  It seems to me anyway, that you either hear about the Marthas who talk as if they have it all together and their houses never are in disarray.  Or you hear about the women who talk about housework only if it is to complain.  Or you hear about taking care of one's home, in a decorating sense...you know...like about how to pick out the exact right color or have the cleverest idea for storing your shoes.  And it should be noted that this last one of the three usually involves spending money on some elaborate system or overpriced product.

What I would like to know....is how to keep a home that is clean and tidy and beautiful, without spending money or contacting an interior designer.  I would like there to be a magazine that is about housekeeping when you have a brood of children and making a room artisitic when you only have ten dollars!

I would like to read something that reminds me that taking care of my old bookshelf that has no paint and is not quite big enough, is better than spending money that I do not have on one that is fashionable and more useful.  I really would.  Because then I wouldn't have to spend so much time convincing myself that these truths really are true.  I wouldn't have to work so hard at stopping the comparing that happens in my mind every time I see a picture of someone else's living room.  I would look at what I have and see what a gift it is, instead of wishing it were something else.

I read once that "Comparison is the thief of joy."  And I really believe that.  The tricksy thing about it is, that I can stop comparing and feel fine and joyful and content, but then a friend comes over and I worry that they are comparing!  I worry, that although I am fine with what I have or don't have, that they will feel bad for me!  Oh to be truly content with the things that matter.  To be deeply rooted in them so that the little things are just that...little things.


  1. lovely reflections my sister to be! there have been a few magazines that have been around that had the goal of reuse and sweat equity in mind but they loose there focus as they get popular and bigger companies get the idea that they can market the idea and profit. this just leads to the watering down of the content and then it all goes to pot!

    in the spirit of what you are talking about i hear two distinct things.
    one is being satisfied with what we have and the other is simply having organization for that stuff. in my experience it doesn't matter how satisfied i am or grateful for that matter with my space, possession or the like... if my space is not orderly or difficult to maintain because of lack of storage space... i go crazy! even after down sizing and going minimal, there is just a base line amount of stuff that a person and family generates and uses in day to day living!

    so don't be too hard on yourself if the bookshelf is too small to hold all the books... its ok to want for more shelf space. books are wonderful to have and they need places to live just like people!

    some of my most favorite furniture has come form the side of the road, given to me by a neighbor or friend, found at the thrift store...
    there are so many creative ways to take something old and repurpose... but this means time and a few tools and a little bit of experimenting with taking things apart and remaking them.

    i have worked amazing miracles with sheets of plywood (wood laminated about $40 for a 4' x 8' sheet ands about $25 for smooth non surfaced sheet the same size ) and wall brackets ($1.50-$8 each depending on the size and style) plus you'll have to find the studs in the walls.

    home depot will cut the wood for you (or maybe even a local lumber yard?) then you can just sand it your self and use paint of stain to seal. i bet you could get a whole wall full of shelves out of one sheet. and do the project for $50- $80 .
    hehehe love you

  2. Clean and tidy, I've found having a routine of set things I get done on set days helps. Otherwise I just never get to them..!

    As for decorating, I'm still learning. Sometimes it's as simple as backing a bookcase with scrapbook paper (less than $10, as you say!) and colour coordinating your books. ;)

    The fact is though, your kids are going to remember the love and attention, not the perceived attractiveness of your home.