Want a happy, fulfilling home life next year? Where home is enjoyable, recharging and peaceful? Then work on letting go of certain negative ideas this year, so you can be freer to enjoy your time at home more in the new year.
1. The idea that your home has to be perfect all the time
Sticking to a cleaning schedule, having everything in its place in your entryway's landing strip, folding the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer and never having even one dirty dish stacked in the sink are all great things to aspire to (as well as whatever else might be on your "perfect" home list), but cut yourself some slack. Life gets in the way. Sometimes you need to take care of you before you take care of the laundry. Striving for your own personal ideals is fine as long as you leave room to be human every now and then — and remember to not beat yourself up or point out the negatives when guests come over.
2. Feeling like you need to be more cheerful or seasonal than you are
We advocate decorating your home for the seasons — we think it makes the year going by much more noticeable and enjoyable. But hey, if you've never been a Halloween kind of person, don't stress yourself out wrapping your front yard bushes with fake spider webs just to keep up with the neighbors. Enjoy the seasons in your own way — as small as simple as it means to you.
3. Thinking your home has to be finished to truly enjoy it
Spoiler alert: Your home's probably never going to feel "finished." Never completely, anyway, as homes tend to always be in a state of evolution. So waiting until it's finished to enjoy it? Futile. Learn to strike that balance of aspiring to a better a home for yourself (plan ahead for projects efficiently) and meditating on being grateful for the home you've got right now. And learn to ignore those things you don't love that can't be changed in order to focus in on the things you do love and make your home enjoyable.
4. Feeling like you have to DIY
We think tackling home improvement projects by yourself is a great idea! It's a fun way to save money, customize something in your home exactly how you want it and get that feeling of accomplishment when you're done. But it's not for everyone. Don't feel bad one bit if you just don't have the skills or desire to DIY something. If you want to learn, make time. If you don't have time, don't feel bad about calling in reinforcements.
5. Feeling guilty that you don't entertain more
Yep, we do think you should be sharing your home more. If it's a place you love to be in and that inspires you, filling it with your friends is another way to add richness and beauty to a home you've worked so hard creating. But work sometimes takes over your life. Or family drama just takes up a lot of your energy. If you want to entertain more but never do because of fear, then yes, get rid of those self-imposed limitations and get to entertaining! But if you're not entertaining more because you don't want to, don't worry! For some people being a great guest is just as rewarding as being a great host.
6. Feeling insecure about other people's homes because you compare your style
Ahh Instagram. The greatest app for simultaneously being inspired and insecure at the same time. But it's not just your friends' houses that might be inspiring jealousy; soaking up ideas from designer or professional homes with budgets four times more than yours can go from inspiring to dejecting pretty quickly. So get grateful for what you have more often. Aspire to more, but don't worry about what you can't have. Remind yourself over and over that you're only ever seeing the best angles of other homes — not the corners full of kid's toys and clutter. Know that no one will ever have the exact home that you've created — because you've infused it with your own personality and there's no one else like you!
7. Avoiding problems around the house and making them worse
In home and in life, avoiding problems won't make them go away. Nine times out of ten, they'll make things much, much worse the longer you put off dealing with them. So whether it's talking about a conflict with your roommate or getting that garbage disposal fixed, take a deep breath, dive in, ask for help if you need it and get that uncomfortable task over and done with as quickly as possible.
8. Feeling like you need to define yourself by your posessions
This is pretty tough, actually, because people who like the look of design usually like stuff. And loving everything you've collected over the years is not wrong. But defining yourself by what you own — that can be a bummer. Because then people putting down your style will hurt a lot more. Losing any of those things (or needing to declutter them every now and then) will be painful and sometimes impossible. Cultivate a practice of loving everything you own — but not needing things. Declutter regularly. Be intentional with purchases. Get out of the house every now and then.
9. Putting everyone and everything's needs before your own
It's getting cliche to hear at this point, but it seems we all need reminding of it pretty often: Put your own oxygen mask on first, then everyone else's. Next year, get into the habit of putting yourself first — before cleaning your house, getting the kids to school, before work. This is a hard-to-hear task, and parents will often just not be able to accomplish it. But it's worth putting energy in. And one way you can work on this is by simply filling your daily schedule with you-things first, then filling around it. See the first idea above about perfect homes.
Re-edited from a post originally published 12.14.14-NT