The way things have always been.
It’s what everyone does or has.
I want to play it safe.
It’s just OK.
Ever use these phrases when describing your own home? Or maybe even your own life? There is nothing wrong with living a simple life and embracing what’s make you “you”. In fact, I encourage everyone to always stay true to themselves. But are you living an authentic life? Are you creating a home that you love…. not just like? Maybe you are or maybe you aren’t and either answer is fine. Today though is the day you go beyond the typical, the safe, the average and start creating the extraordinary life you have always dreamed of. And, believe it or not, a great place to begin building that life is within the walls of your own home.
Staying on the Safe Path
I’ve lived most of life in the “just ok” zone. I think that is why I am so drawn to learning more about how to break free of it. I have built a home based on the ideas of what I thought people should have. You need a couch, artwork on the wall, and, of course, lots and lots of things. You stick with safe colors like beige and taupe and brown. You should have decorative lamps, decorative pillows and decorative trinkets. That’s what people do, right?
About three years ago, I realized that my home doesn’t really represent who I am. I didn’t even like most of the stuff I worked so hard to get. How could I have bought that? Or that? And what was I thinking when I chose that for the wall? Maybe the reason is because I use to be a different person and have grown over the years. Or maybe it’s because styles and fads have changed. Or maybe I’m just coming into who I really am now that I am in my mid-30’s. For me the why’s aren’t as important as the “what am I going to do about it”.
Slowly but surely, I have started to rebuild my home. I have a strong desire to make it represent who I am. I want people to walk in and see “me” (and my family’s style too, of course…. I do share!). I realized this doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time. It takes effort. And it takes learning how to walk away from what doesn’t work.
The Problem with “Just Ok”
I think that we so often sell ourselves short. We don’t fully embrace who we are and what we love. Maybe we don’t know how to go about it or maybe we just don’t care enough. But I challenge you to care more! When our homes are what we would label as “just ok”, we aren’t embracing the life we all truly deserve. A life where we get to come home to a house that brings us peace and joy. When we are proud to have guests over. Enjoying everything we surround ourselves with.
It’s tiring to live the status quo. To keep up with the Jones’s. When we say “to heck with it” and do only that which feels right with our soul, we embrace something that can bring so much contentment to our lives: authenticity. When we live truly authentic lives, there is a indescribable calmness that comes over us. Hardships seem easier. Moments are more cherished. Our path becomes more clear. Changing your surroundings can truly change your life.
That Time I Took the Picture Down
Change is hard. Anytime we make shifts in our lives, both large and small, we are met with resistance whether from an outside source or from within. Last May 2016, I began a organization-type course called Uncluttered. This 12-week course is offered by Joshua Becker, a well-known and respected minimalist advocate and blogger. You can check out his blog, Becoming Minimalist, here. (By the way, the next course starts May 01, 2017 – I would highly recommend it!)
Each week during the course you had a specific challenge to complete. I was cruising through the tasks and finding great success. Then came Week 10 – Experiment with Less. Hmmmm, what did this mean to me? I knew what I had to do but actually doing it was much more difficult than I could have ever imagined. I’ve had this artwork in my dining room since my husband and I got married. It was one of the first pieces that I purchased to “fill my walls”. It is large and neutral and totally worked within the space. But it had been there so long that I just simply got use to my surroundings. It wasn’t something I loved or even a color scheme I enjoyed. It was “just ok”. I would even go so far as to say it was “meh”.
I knew I wanted to take it down, but acknowledging that one fact led to a million other questions. Even removing one single piece made me make some touch choices. Here is the process I used.
Question 1: What would I do with it? Answer: Sell it on buy, sell, trade site for 1/3 of what I paid for it.
Question 2: What would other people think? Answer: Talk it over with husband first to get his ok (he was a little resistant but I convinced him!). For other people, just let them know I am redecorating.
Question 3: What would I replace it with? Answer: Nothing…. for know. I refuse to put anything in that spot until I find something I love!
Question 4: Would there be a fade mark on the wall from where the picture was? Answer: There was not! Seems like a silly question, but these are the things you think about!
So I ended up selling the artwork… to someone I knew. She was thrilled and even sent me a photo of it hanging in her living room. This piece “fit” her style and her home so much better. It brought her joy and, in turn, brought me joy. I was happy it found a good home.
My picture in it’s new home
More importantly, I realized through this process of “taking down the picture” that I don’t have to just settle. I don’t have to keep something just because it has “always been”. I can choose to let things go. When your hands of full of “stuff”, you can’t reach for anything new.
How to Discover What You Love (and Want)
When I began my journey to discovering what I wanted in my home, really finding my style, I used some specifics techniques. Here are some ways you can apply them to your own life and home:
Browse your pinned decorating images on Pinterest – what types of things, colors do you pin most often?
Enter different decorating styles into Google – which ones are you immediately drawn too?
Visit a store like TJ Maxx or Home Goods and find items that you love – notice the colors, designs and aesthetics they all have in common.
Take away what you don’t like in your home – leave that space open for the BEST of the BEST. (remember the time I took the picture down?)
Be prepared to go with your gut – always! If you love something, buy it. Sure, if it’s a big purchase, you can sleep on it but never underestimate your instincts! For me, I bought a house in two days…. I just roll that way and always trust my gut!
Find out more about what colors you like – check your closet, your wedding colors, even your car to discover more about your hue preferences (mine are black, white and shades of blue/green).
Start clearing out the clutter! Remove the stuff taking up your space. Here is a good post to get you started!
One of the main inspirations for my blog, The Decluttering Queen, is the unyielding desire I have to help others embrace their authentic life. Far too often the stuff in our homes hold us back. It may seem trite, but in my heart of hearts I truly believe what we surround ourselves with has a direct and palatable impact on how we live each and every day.
Is there something in your home holding you back? What would your dream home look like? What small step can you take today to get there? Start asking the questions that matter!