Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Purpose of Home.

Mom and my daughter having a chat while we were redoing the living room during the ORC.

I am not a minimalist.

I wanted to be one. But then, I always want to do what the counter cultural popular kids are doing.

My motivation wasn't to save the planet or anything (and indeed, how are you saving the planet by decluttering, exactly?) No, my thinking was: surely, if I have fewer things, I'll be able to keep my home clean and tidy all the time?

But it doesn't work like that. There is a relationship between the amount of stuff you have and your ability to keep a clean and tidy home: but there is an even bigger relationship between your habits and routines and a clean and tidy home. I keep forgetting that.

Over at Apartment Therapy, the editors resurrected the introduction to the ten part series Maxwell Ryan wrote on what AT is all about. His first installment is all about Terence Conran and his message about home. That message goes something like this:

A good looking, well functioning, enjoyable home supports a good life. Or, more pithily, a good home is the foundation of the good life.

Isn't that wonderful?

A bit of pretty.

Sometimes, it is all too easy to lose one's way, to think that the prettiness is the point. I do love decorating, I truly do. This year has been so much fun--even through the stress of a six week challenge and the disruption of painting the kitchen (and the bedroom)--but, in the end, it is all about creating a good looking space that functions well and which we can enjoy. (As an aside, they say that yellow promotes arguments...I am wondering if family meals will be more peaceful now the kitchen is grey.)

This blog, then is a record of how I get my home to the place where we can enjoy a good life. I love that. It's not about the house.

All this tired, hardworking man needs is that blanket.

I mean, I know that. But I'd forgotten, I think. My struggle with establishing good home habits and routines, my preoccupation with clutter, my passion for prettiness--they held a meeting sometime this year and wrested purpose away from the life they were meant to support and onto themselves.

And that's Ok.

For a little while.

However, reading through the series today, I came across this statement:

What you see in a home is where a person is truly at.


and this:

In a very real way, the experience of building a home becomes identical with finding one’s path in life.

Rita and Cane, of the now (sadly defunct) site, This (sorta) Old Life, said, "How we do "house" is how we do life." (Though I am sure their rendering of the idea was much more grammatically correct.)

And though I agree with this, it also makes me sad. Really? Am I doomed to be disorganized? Cluttered? A messy house = a messy mind? It makes the state of the house about me and my mental state. (And to be honest, that's a wee bit narcissistic, isn't it?)

But, of course, I am not the only person who lives here, it is not all about me--but about the state of the dysfunction in our family--and that's hardly better!

My daughter making cookies back in March when the cabinets were yellow. Does she really need the cabinets to be green to make cookies?

But, I don't want to end this post on a down note. It seems clear that what I need to do is establish habits--a routine--that works for me and my crazy life. The next ORC isn't until April (and I'm thinking hard about tackling the back hallway and stairwell). So, I have time to make the little things, the small daily repetitive things my focus. And, to extend the logic, if a messy house=a messy family, I'll need to focus some of my efforts there.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I am not a minimalist either. Clutter does get to me on occasion, especially when I can't find something.

I came across and interesting quote by Albert Einstein recently that made me stop and think about clutter.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Have wonderful holidays with your family.

You have revamped some rooms, let the holidays begin.


Alana in Canada said...

Lorraine--what a great quote! Thanks for lifting my spirits.

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