Most of the time, I’m in charge of my weekend, but not this last one – it was in charge of me. I had high hopes of spending my Saturday gardening after I spent $60 at a local nursery on new plants and annuals, but the rain kept me from my plans, and I was forced indoors. In hindsight, it was a good thing, because instead I set the plants aside and concentrated on some much needed interior spring cleaning, and in the midst of that purging and organizing I came to a conclusion about my home.
I think a lot of us seek purpose in our lives, I know I do. In my later years, I want to look back and hope I made a difference, especially my family’s lives. It came to me during all that scrubbing and dusting that our homes need purpose just as much as our lives do, and I started to think about all the ways a home can serve a purpose beyond just the shelter of four walls and a roof. As I cleaned and decluttered, tossing out the unnecessary, polishing and displaying the lovely, I concluded that there are several elements in a purpose filled home.
A purpose filled home tells a story. Have you ever walked into a home that’s clearly been decorated by an outsider and it felt a bit… cold? I have, many times. Don’t get me wrong, I think interior decorators serve a necessary purpose, the best ones help people pull together a look that suits the resident’s lifestyle and tastes. However, my favorite homes, the ones of friends and family, the ones I recall from the past and love in the present, aren’t fancy or pretentious, instead they tell a story of those who live within because they’re so personalized, from the pictures on the walls to the books on the bookcase. I want our home to tell our story too.
We all know the famous quote by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Every season as I clean and purge, I think of those words and ask myself, is this thing Useful? Beautiful? Sentimental? If not, out it goes. It’s important to love everything in your home and I believe it’s better to live in a sparsely furnished space than to fill it with meaningless objects.
A purpose filled home is one which reflects the resident’s style, and without apology. We’re inundated with images from shelter magazines, Pinterest, design blogs, and other publications, it’s easy to fall prey to the notion that your home isn’t up to snuff. Nonsense I say. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go, and I know which ones aren’t for me. I respect and admire all great design, but at the end of the day I know what I like and I’ll stick with it through all the trends that come and go.
Perhaps you’re renting right now, and you have not control over many aspects of your current home. Given the chance, you’d rip out the tile in the bathroom or the carpet in the living room. You can dwell on it, or you can work around it. Instead, I encourage you to accept the things you wish you could change, set them aside, and instead layer those spaces with your favorite things – things with meaning, with beauty, with purpose.
A purpose filled home allows for personal expression. I love this picture of my daughter – here in our hallway she’s built herself a fort, a tent, a reading nook, she does this about once a week, filling it with all her favorite books (and a little juice for sustenance). Sure it’s inconvenient – I have to crawl under her tent to get to my bedroom, but at this moment in time she’s built herself a sanctuary where she can read, dream, imagine. Don’t we all need these a place like this too?
A purpose filled home is a sanctuary from the world. The days are long and filled with obligations that take us away from the place where we live but at the end of the day our home should serve the purpose of being a respite from the frustrations, problems, and stresses of the world.
Large or small, I’m a big believer in making your home one that works for you, one that suits your lifestyle, that delivers comfort when you walk though your door. Don’t cook or entertain but love to read? Then turn your dining room into library. Don’t have a roommate but you’re in love fashion? Turn a spare bedroom into a dressing room instead. Convention should never dictate the rules about how we live – spaces should make us feel the way we want to feel, and provide comfort so we’re equipped to take on the tasks we’re obligated to meet day after day day and week after week.
Ask me what’s wrong with my home and I can list a dozen things right now, from the baseboards in need of touch up to the fact that six years later after the remodel, we still don’t have a shower door in our master bathroom. (Compare that to the real problems of the world and it’s laughable, I know.) But if you ask me what’s right with our home, the first thing I’ll say is it’s filled with purpose. Or at least, I’m trying to make it a little more so everyday.
How do you fill your home with purpose?