Do you ever feel like you can’t slow down your brain enough to love your home right now?
Maybe you aren’t in your forever home. Or maybe you can’t afford the projects you want to complete the most. Or maybe you have young children and you can’t have nice things at all. (Preach.)
I’ve always been someone who has looked ahead. The next project. The next job. The next home. But the problem with this kind of thinking is that it keeps me from fully appreciating the present.
It’s not that different from having a baby. When my son was smaller, I wondered about all the things I wanted him to do next – when he would sleep through the night, when he would finally stop crying, when I could get a little sleep.
But when those things finally happened, I was too busy to enjoy it. Because I was thinking about the next things – when he would walk, when he could talk, when he’d (finally) be potty trained.
And now I look at tiny little babies and regret thinking about the future instead of basking in all that sweet baby goodness. (I mean, I just want to pinch these little cheeks through the screen right now.)
Do you see how that can happen?
The same thing happens to too many of us in our own homes. We’re too busy with the “buts” to find contentment in our homes – as they are right now. (But, the backsplash needs tiled. But, the bathroom needs to be remodeled. But, this house is just way too small.)
This is something I’m always working on in my own life. And, friends, it’s not always easy. I love our home. But I’m not always content at home – because there’s always something. Even if this may be our forever home, I find myself struggling to feel content.
Here are a few things I’ve done to help – maybe they’ll help you love our home and feel more content, too.
Train yourself to think about the positives.
I found myself caught in a habit as I was showing friends our new home. When they’d compliment something, I’d immediately point out all the things we still need to do.
“Oh, don’t mind that closet – there still aren’t any shelves (eye roll).”
“Well, it will be great when we finally have the money to finish the basement.”
Stop it. No one cares. And that means I shouldn’t care either.
Now, I make myself pause. I make myself say “thank you.” And instead of seeing what needs to be done for this unrealistic idea of perfection, I make myself think about positives. How far a room has come. How great it is to have extra space. How much I love the wall color.
Mind you. This isn’t automatic. This is a habit I have to cultivate. And you have to make yourself do something to create a habit.
I even had a book made of with all the photos of our house building. This is a literal way to see how far we’ve come. It’s hard to be frustrated about the lack of progress when you see that first hole in the ground.
Give yourself permission to treat your current home as your forever home (even if it’s not).
I was visiting a friend at her home many years ago. As I complimented the wall colors, all the great woodwork and the enormous fenced-in backyard (WITH A HOT TUB!), she cut me off.
“It’s okay for now. But obviously, it’s not our forever home.”
Have you ever felt this way? I have. It’s easy to discount the home you are currently living in because you know it won’t be forever – so why bother loving it too much?
But this is a recipe for disaster. Because the more you treat your home as temporary, the more discontented you’ll become.
Even when we lived in our small barn, I tried to find solutions and projects that made our home feel like a home – not just a temporary space. I painted walls. I tried out different patterns and decor. This helped it feel more like our forever home, and not just like our “in between” home.
Prioritize those must-have projects.
It’s fun to dream about everything you want to finish in your home – all the projects you want to tackle to make your space perfect and magazine-worthy. It can be fun to talk about and dream about them and pin about.
But, there are only so many hours in a day. And some of those require sleep and work and eating and grocery shopping and surfing the Internet.
So as you keep talking about all the things without serious progress, it can lead to serious overwhelm. You may begin to feel like nothing will ever get done.
Why even bother if you can’t do everything right now?
I know many of you feel this, too. Because I’ve been asked by many people how to prioritize all those projects. The answer isn’t black and white. It’s all about what matters to you the most.
And what matters the most can’t be everything.
Time and money are needed for every single project you work on. So, it’s fine to dream about all those projects, but until you are willing to spend money and time making it happen, it doesn’t matter.
Ryan and I have a really simple way to nip the overwhelm in the bud. When we talk about projects (conversations that happen almost daily), we always have a concurrent conversation about importance of the project.
I would love to have a kitchen backsplash – like, tomorrow. But is it more important to finish the backsplash over finishing the shelves in the linen closet? (Answer: no.)
So, that means linen closet shelves are still at the top of our project list. And then a few other things. And then maybe backsplash.
By prioritizing projects as we are dreaming, it makes it much less overwhelming. And it also makes it feel less unfair that everything isn’t done right now by a pack of Fairy Godmothers.
Just as important, Ryan and I also have regular talks to actually plan time on our calendar to complete projects we decide are most important. So, if we want to do the shelves, we have to plan time to actually do it.
This sounds simple, but it’s all too easy to let projects go because you never actually schedule the time for them.
If you’re like me, you may also struggle with finding contentment in your home. But with a little focus, I’m finding more gratitude and contentment right where I am – even if there’s more to do down the road.
What do you love most about your home?
(It’s Valentine’s Day – so let’s feel the love.)
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