How to Squeeze More Joy Out of Your Home Every Day

published Jul 15, 2015
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(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

Charm dissolves into routine faster than we realize. What once was a new home filled with excitement and promise can become just another place you see every day. Nothing special. Nothing to mention. But while turning on autopilot while at home is allowed, why would you? If you want to squeeze a little more joy out of whatever place you call home, try these four things.

1. Be enthusiastically appreciative for every square inch

There are plenty of times and places in life where playing it cool is an acceptable way to move through the world. But home? Home should be where your cool defenses get lowered and you actively geek out about things you’re really, really excited about your home. Whether you’re a naturally enthusiastic person or have to be coaxed into showing a little enthusiasm, don’t hide this emotion from your home’s walls. Or your home’s floors. Your home’s art. Whatever it that you like about your space. You can call it gratitude if you want to — though that term has turned a little overused and grating these days — but it’s really more about stoking and showing your excitement in a visual way. This kind of display will hang in the air, multiply and make your space a nicer place to be in (particularly on the days you’re not feeling very enthusiastic about anything outside your door).

2. Be open to all that it tries to throw at you

We tend to stiffen and resist unexpected and unpleasant things hurdled our way, most especially when those things are at home when our defenses are down. But a magical thing happens when you relax and accept whatever your home throws at you — from bug intruders to broken light fixtures to dirty dishes — and instead of fighting it, find the beauty/humor/fun in it. This is a habit that takes cultivation — our first reactions are natural and strong — but when worked on, can create this wonderful feeling of openness and acceptance that might even leak out into everyday life in the world.

3. Work with it to get your blood pumping

It can be easy to look at your home as a never-ending series of items on a to-do list that mock you and make it feel like there’s never enough time in the day. From cleaning chores, to spots that you just organized already feeling out of whack to all the things you’ve got to do to keep a household running, it can be easy to see home as a place that’s fighting against your desire to feel inspired. That’s why you’ve got to work with the home you have. You’ve got to spend time creating those spots that give you a daily dose of motivation. Or offer up an incentive to practice a passion. You’ve got to fill your home with the things that excite and motivate you.

4. Explore the nooks and crannies

When’s the last time you ran your fingers down the spines of your books on a bookcase…reading titles and flipping through pages? Or the last time you stopped to really look at and appreciate a piece of art you stare at everyday? How about the last time you looked at what’s hiding in the back of a drawer, cabinet or closet? Just as there are plenty of ways to find beauty (and adventure) in the everyday surroundings of our neighborhoods and commutes to work, so to can those things be found in the very ordinary surroundings of our home. And by exploring them on a regular basis, you’re a willing participant in a practice that involves being continuously intrigued and delighted by your home.