I don’t think I know that many people who are absolutely happy with their home as it stands right at this instant. There’s pretty much always something to do, something that’s not working, big plans for the future, items to save for.
Despite the fact that I feel like we are finally making a bit of progress on this house after living here for more than a year and a half, the ‘to-do’ list is still a mile long. I often comment to people who come over that we live in a home now of two halves – the spaces we’ve done live in stark contrast to those we haven’t yet touched.
Of course, I’m just as guilty as anyone else of not appreciating where we are right now at this point. I can watch in envy as I see other content creators (on Instagram, on blogs, on YouTube etc) who seem to be tackling a whole house remodel in less than a year. Of rooms being completely turned around in weeks or even days. Of moving out for a few months and having an entirely beautiful remodelled home to move back into without having to live through the dust and chaos.
It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking our own remodel isn’t moving fast enough and to not appreciate the long journey that we knew we’d be facing when we moved in.
On the other hand, I’m sure there are some out there that may look at the progress that we’ve managed to make and feel their own home doesn’t measure up. And this kind of breaks my heart because I certainly don’t want anyone to feel that way. Everyone’s circumstances will be different, of course, and everyone will be in a different place on that journey but it seems that no matter your own home, you can find someone out there who you feel is doing that much “better”. It’s little wonder why it’s said that comparison is the thief of joy.
And this is why it’s so important to take stock and to see the futility in making those comparisons (and believe me when I say that this advice is as much for me as it is for you). To realise that where we are right now – no matter what state our home may be in – is such a privilege. Even the fact that you have a roof over your head is a reason to be joyful, a reason to feel gratitude, because so many out there don’t have even that.
The truth is that every single small step to making your home your own is a reason to be grateful – even just getting some fresh paint on the walls. I talked recently of mini-refreshes – how and why I do them – and this allows me to feel okay about where we are right now but even the spaces I’ve not yet touched – there are still reasons to be happy and grateful over them.
Yes, we still have a huge hole in our hallway wall from where they put the beam in the dining room but that hole represents something – it represents progress, of making our mark on this home.
Yes, Wayne’s office/dressing room still has bright yellow walls and stained blue carpeting but he has a room to himself and that extra space is perfect for him to get away, play video games, relax in relative privacy without me worrying about all the leads or the socks he hasn’t yet put away. I love that it means that in our relationship, we allow each other space for our own hobbies and interests.
My own office still sports a rather shocking grey vinyl floor and stripped back walls but my office represents my own space – my business, my blog, having you guys along for the ride. I am so grateful I get to make a living from my own home, that my ‘commute’ is no longer a 4-hour traffic-heavy round trip as it used to be in the not-so-distant past.
I could go on about my own home and all the jobs and rooms we have yet to tackle – the ones you really don’t see much of on my blog or on my Instagram feed – but I know you probably have your own niggles about your home too and I just want to assure you that you can go around and look at these spaces in a way that brings you gratitude.
What do these unfinished spaces represent to you? Are there some small things you can do that don’t cost a lot or won’t take much time to make you look at it in a new light?
I find one thing that’s really helped me to get out of the funk of thinking I won’t be happy until every room is finished is to just clean and declutter. I know it’s not the sexiest advice but when my home is clean, I tend to fall in love with it all over again. I’ve been working on decluttering some of my old decorating items and my wardrobe and just seeing those spaces feel lighter and cleaner has made me feel happier about them.
Can you have a big declutter of the items that no longer – as Marie Kondo puts it – ‘spark joy’? Can you have a day where you just dedicate to cleaning your home, a single room or even a cupboard or wardrobe? You’ll be surprised how much better you feel. The fact that a space has the potential for the future should make us feel excited rather than depressed.
Once you start to focus on the positives of what you do have in your own home, you’ll begin to feel that happiness invades in so many other parts of life. Wayne often remarks that I’m always in a good mood and it’s mostly true. And it’s not because our lives are perfect, it’s not because everything is “just so” – I’m human after all and life is very rarely perfect. It’s simply because at the end of every day before I go to sleep, I think about the things I was grateful for on that day. And my home – in all its unfinished glory – is nearly always on that list. Having lived in plenty of previous living arrangements where I wasn’t truly happy, having a house that needs some work and which will probably take years to complete doesn’t seem so bad.
Can you think of three things you love about your home? What are things that happened in your home today that made you feel happy? Grab a notebook, write them down, start to journal your journey. There is so much satisfaction to read over when you’re feeling a bit down or that your home isn’t ‘enough’. I promise you, when you focus on the positives, that feeling of ‘enough’ will come.
Because no matter what it may look like right now or how much you’d still like to do, it’s already the space you make memories, it’s already the place you can make our own (whether you rent or own) and creating a home you love can sometimes take some time. So be happy for the journey you are on right now and be grateful for what you already have – and you might find yourself loving every bit – even those unfinished spaces.