Some lessons just take a long (hard and occasionally miserable) time to learn. That applies to lessons in life, work, love and yes, even home. No matter what age you are in your home-making life, peruse this list of the things we wish would have learned sooner. Our hard lessons might save you trouble (or, you could share your own ideas to save others!).
Tara: Letting go of the "just in case" things
I come from strong packrat traditions, where you would never throw something out—no matter if it's a twist tie or a dresser—on the off-chance you could use it later. I guess it makes more sense when you live in the suburbs and have basements and attics and sheds, but I live in 500 square feet. I've always been more likely than family to donate things I don't need, but it was the queen of organizing Marie Kondo who really made it okay to let go. I already paid for that thing and holding on to it doesn't put the cash back in my wallet. Plus, it feels good to get rid of stuff (after you properly thank it, of course).
Under-planning can make a party
As a host, I’m fussy by nature. I love me some punishing party prep—stooping to vacuum hidden corners, fingers cramping as I mince fresh thyme for savory treats. I suppose I like guests to feel special. It also means that when life gets busy, I’m apt to quit hosting altogether. Waaay too much work, I shudder. So the wine glasses gather dust. My home turns a little lonely. And I start to feel stuffy and prim. That’s why I’ve begun forcing myself to suppress that sense of occasion and just invite people in already. No braised meats or bespoke cocktails. No premade playlist. I simply: 1) Tell folks to come over. 2) Tell them it’s casual. 3) Tell myself it’s gonna be fine. And it is. If friends really cared about upscale snacks, they wouldn’t be laughing in my kitchen at 2:00 a.m., polishing off a pizza. That too is special.
Adrienne: Getting into a cleaning routine habit
The only regular cleaning my family did growing up was the few times a year when we had guests come over! This always led to really stressful, overwhelming, "mega" cleaning sessions that took days. I'm sorry to say that stuck with me through my early adulthood longer than I should have let it. Figuring out a regular cleaning schedule that involves small amounts of cleaning more often means I never have to devote an entire week to scrubbing caked on dirt.
Taryn: Spend money on your bed
I’m still learning this lesson, actually, as just this morning I resolved to buy a better pillow. Good sleep is so important to living a happy, healthy, neck-pain-free life, and yet many people are content to buy the cheapest mattress, prettiest sheets or whatever pillow is on sale. Investing in a good bed is investing in a good life.