Maintaining a Perfect Home

Did you laugh out loud when you read the title of this post? I did when I wrote it! Perfection is just not possible, unless you are Jesus, and since we are not, let’s just get into reality. Maintaining even the look of perfection is rarely possible, if not just all out boring. But what we can talk about is maintaining the perfect home for you and your loved ones.

Since we have decided to throw that ‘P’ word out the window, there are many adjectives that we can come up with to focus on when thinking of ways to better our homes. Frankly, that is the goal right? Aren’t we just trying to make them better than they were? Off topic, let me quickly share an amazing quote focused on that word BETTER. A good friend of mine shared this with me, who many years back, went through a tough time in her life. The advice she received was epic and has always stayed with me “You can be bitter, or you can be better?” Boom! Mic drop. That’s it friends.

This applies to like 47 million things in our lives, even our homes. Quit being bitter that you think someone else has something you don’t, and just focus on what you can do to make yours better. Not better than theirs, but better than what it is currently. Growth and change are the goals. We can never get everything done. Let me say that louder for those of you in the back, NEVER! Sorry sis, truth be told, there will always be a “to do” list. And remember when you said that “you will go back to that (whatever THAT is) or can get it done when you’re a grandma”? Well I’m a grandma, and that giant list of things I was going to do, I probably did get done or just moved on from something else, but I still have a project list as long as my arm. So there’s that.

There’s probably about 47 projects that still need to make this room “complete” (AKA how I want it) but for now, we are just enjoying it. Even though it may be this way forever.

Since we aren’t ever going to get everything absolutely perfect, let’s focus on the many ways we can make our homes better. Here are a few ideas:

Don’t those seem a bit more obtainable than perfect? Indeed they are. Choose one and let that be your focus. But let me also throw something out there that I know many of you tend to forget, as I have this conversation with my daughters all the time. There is a time and a season for everything. Having a particularly clean house may not be in your season currently, but that doesn’t mean that we swing to the opposite and let it all break loose, if you know what I mean. The point is to do what you can do NOW, in the circumstances you are in NOW, and try to make it better than it was. And one day, you will have a different budget, more energy, fewer people messing up the house, or more people who can help with chores, and things will be different. Creating a home is about being comfortable and safe. To me, it’s about having a perfectly imperfect backdrop to live the life you want.

This room is clearly not staged, just how we live: lots of magazines to read, dog food bowl out, usually there is mail on the counters but it was recycling day so they were clean! Nothing is perfect, just cluttered comfort, the way we like it.

Which brings me to my next rant. Here are my top 5 tips to help you create that (im)perfect situation you need now.

Continually edit and assess the problem areas

Problem zones in your home will be the clue as to what needs your attention and maybe where to start. When there is an area that is continually out of sorts, taking a good long look of how to make it better and work more efficiently will be your first step to making things work for your current life. Here’s an example; there are continually messes all over the floor in the hallway as you enter. This tells you, you need some help with your ‘drop zone’ area. Time to do a mini overhaul and hang up hooks, provide baskets and easy storage, or provide a different area that can help tame this particular wild.

Easy DIY wall paneling in entry
I like to keep the entry free of clutter as it is the first impression that people get when they come over. A drop zone was created in another room where there was no mudroom but now has all it needs to control the shoe and coat clutter.

Focus on your hot real estate

What do I mean by ‘hot real estate’? These are your prime locations that are easily accessible to you, like kitchen countertops, eye level shelves in cupboards and closets, and open areas or wall spaces in high traffic areas. These are the places that should contain the items you use daily or weekly. Anything that has not been touched or used in months in these spaces should be moved and put into storage that is less accessible.

The area around the stove is a hot real estate spot so I keep items out that I use all the time; pepper mill, olive oil carafe, vitamins, these items are all hidden in the wood tote and the vintage basket. This keeps them out where they are used but they still look pretty hanging around.

Create places of comfort and convenience

In a home, my favorite places are those I can curl up and read. Whatever activity you like to do, think about where that can take place and rethink a space a bit. Should there really be a room in your house that is never or rarely used? If you never use your dining room, think about how you can change the storage in there to become a place that is convenient to craft, do puzzles, homework, etc. Each space can be used in multiple ways. And wherever comfortable seating exists, make sure there is options for good task lighting, along with places to set a drink or snack.

An open floor plan allows the dining room table to get used for many activities. Puzzles are stored in a nearby cupboard so if I have a few days to work on one, I can easily pick one and spread it out on the table, while still being a part of hubby’s late night movie watching.

Use it or lose it

This doesn’t mean that you need to throw something away, just because you haven’t used it in awhile. Rather keep the items you are currently using for your daily life, season of life, or actual seasonal items handy. Everything else can be moved to wherever you store (and or hide) your excess crap such as a coat closet, basement, or under the bed. An example might be to store away those winter coats, hats, and gloves during the summer months when they are not in use or put away your children’s sporting equipment if they are engaged in a different seasonal sport at the moment. Keep things moving in the main areas of the house, or store them for later.

These low cabinets under the window seats (there are two in the kitchen) are the perfect spot to store the china we use at the holidays and other seldom used appliances.

Add enjoyment and beauty to daily rituals

This tip is exactly the reason I like to use all my milk glass for everyday. I don’t feel like things should only be saved for special occasions, as daily life should be beautiful. Why not carry a basket out to the mailbox with you to collect all the things, or use small dishes you collect for condiments instead of putting large Costco sized ketchup on the table? Pretty dishes and fabric napkins don’t add too much to the usual chores we are already engaged in (what’s another dish in the dishwasher?) Whatever you are doing each day can be made more beautiful in a simple way and with very little effort. It is sometimes these small rituals of adding beauty that mean the most collectively after the end of a mundane day.

An enamel tray holds all the outgoing items that are awaiting my attention, and keeps them near the door so I don’t forget. A cute basket remains handy for mail or a quick trip to the market so I can get out quick with just a wallet and keys.

Whether you need to make some organization tweaks, start a list of small projects for a refresh of a space, or plan a whole room renovation, you can be comfortable knowing you are working towards the perfect home for you and your loved ones (human and animal alike). After all, the new rule in decorating is there are no rules, so work to make your home match your current needs and desires.

Speaking of rules, I do have one that has served me well in the past. Many times it has been necessary to first, lower my expectations, but never my standards. This helps with so many of life’s queries from raising children to keeping a clean house. Lower expectations will keep you from being disappointed and beating yourself (or someone else) up, but your higher standards will allow you to continue to strive for better! So wherever you are in your quest of keeping and creating a home, set your sights on making it perfect for the you of right now.

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