Saturday, February 13, 2010

What constitutes a happy home?



When we think of "happy home" we often think mom, dad, children, dog and maybe a cat. But a happy home can have only one inhabitant, and can be different things to different people. There is no one way to have a happy home. That being said, I do have a few ideas on achieving a happy home, regardless of how many live in the home, or where it resides. I'm sure you can add a few of your own, and I hope that you will.

I think your physical home should reflect what you love most in life. Little physical representations of people, places, moments. A rock may represent a peaceful moment in a special place. A pine cone from that favorite pine tree in your backyard, or a shell from the beach you walk by and admire each day. It can be anything. But what is important about the object is that it has meaning to you. 

I think your physical home should be kept fairly clean. I think when our homes are really dirty it says that something is wrong, and adds to a sense of feeling out of control. That doesn't mean a spotless, sterile environment. Simply run a dust cloth under that stack of books on occasion. And while you're at it, ask yourself whether or not the objects that you are dusting really speak to who you are right now. How many of us keep things because it was meaningful to someone else? After all, that lava lamp that is gathering dust in the corner could be just the item a young teen is looking for to round out their "home." Keep stuff moving - give to charitable organizations those things that no longer represent you, or bring you pleasure. I've begun to cleanse my environment from the objects I really don't like, or have any attachment to. It's freeing.


Bring the outside in. Maybe a few plants, a bowl of fruit, a bouquet of flowers. I really think living things in our home are important. Plants clean the air and look pretty. If you don't have enough light where you live, how about a single flower in a small vase next to your bed?


Cook in your home if possible. I believe the most meaningful thing about a home is that it's nurturing, and what better way to nurture than to cook for yourself and others? We live in transitory times. The economic downfall in this country, and others, requires some adjustment. Going back to the basics can be fulfilling.  Good smells emanating from your kitchen will make you, and others, feel treasured. The price for an at-home meal is so much less than going out, and the atmosphere isn't rushed or full of other people's voices.


And last, but not least, be aware of the thoughts that you harbor. If you are thinking bad thoughts about your housemates, sooner or later you will say something that is hurtful that will make your home unhappy. There is nothing worse than living in a home full of tension. You cannot change the behavior of others, but you can accept responsibility for your own thoughts and behavior.

So here are a couple of my ideas on how to have a happy home. Care to share a few of your own? 

42 comments:

Brian Miller said...

wonderful post...the family inside makes where ever i happen to be home. also my books, a few rocks...pretty simple for me.

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

I agree with you completely. I just went through my cleansing period. I have a lot of clothing and trinkets ready to be given away.
My home is my sanctuary! Regardless of how ugly or expensive it is. The pictures and books on my shelf, tell a story and make me so happy.

This place is my niche. :)
This is advice to live by, Nancy!

Rose said...

Great entry!

Hugs, Rose

lakeviewer said...

Terrific ideas. And the sharing will bring out the best from each contributor:

Happy for me means safe, a comforting place where you can be at your worst and people still love you. Add books, music, great food, lots of laughter, encouragement, accomodations and a room of our own.

LMJ said...

These are all great ideas. The cleaning part is so true. I can't work on anything else unless my houe is clean.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

So true that there are many ways to make a happy home. The external environment does affect the internal and relational mood. And asking oneself what we are doing to make the home a happy, peaceful, emotionally safe environment is key.

What is that old saying? Home is where the heart is....

Teri said...

I think a happy home isn't so much WHAT is in it - flowers, mementos, etc - but that those you love are in it. It's a place where you know you are treasured and you feel the same about the others in the house. I've traveled to many third world countries and have seen many joyful homes that have no trinkets adorning it. Smiles and laughter dress the space.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Fantastic post, Nancy. Happy for me means laughter and meaningful relationships, tons of books and lots of animals, plants, and pleasing views from my windows.

Nancy said...

Brian - Simple can be wonderful, actually.

Phoebe - That is exactly what a home should be - your niche.

Rose - Thanks!

lakeviewer - I loved all of your additions.

LMJ - It does have an effect!

Bonnie - Love the "emotionally safe" place.

Teri - I so agree it is the people in the home. That is the most important aspect for me. Like Bonnie said, home is where the heart it. But some homes only have one person, so the smiles and laughter have to be replaced by things that make that person smile and feel treasured. Third world countries have a lot to teach us, don't they?

Trish - I like all of those things!

California Girl said...

Nancy, this strikes a chord with me as I no longer live in my own home and am trying to determine if it's possible to turn the upstairs portion of my MIL's home into my own space, filled with things I love. It is so difficult. It's been repainted a color I hate; it has carpet I loathe, everything is out of date and I am spoiled by my other house. I realize I am whining but I realize how important this decision to stay or go is. It's more complicated than just "stay or go" because of the circumstances of the MIL's health etc. But, boy, you are right when you speak of the home environment reflecting what you love. When it does not, when it is foreign or barren or cold, it gives back nothing.

Nancy said...

California - I agree! I would paint, re-carpet, do whatever I had to do to make it my home. Paint is pretty easy, and rugs can change things up if carpeting or flooring is not possible. I don't think you will be happy until you make it your home. I saw pictures of your last home and it was beautiful. Your MIL has a vested interest in making sure you are happy, don't you think?

Jayne Martin said...

Hmmm... I think I want to live in your home. Seriously, such wise words.

Joanne said...

Music.

Fire in the fireplace.

You mention cooking at home, which I so agree with. And after dinner, a comfortable space to kick back with the newspaper, a good book, a throw on the sofa.

luksky said...

We have a household rule....whenever we bring something new into our home we get rid of an item whether it be clothing, furniture, a toy, etc. It works well.

Nancy said...

Jayne - Thank you, such a nice thing to say.

Joanne - I love all of your additions! There is something about a fire - maybe a nod to our primal selves?

luksky - A very good rule. I've been doing that with clothes. It keeps things fresh, and does away with clutter.

Pat said...

All great advice. I know I don't like clutter, and when things look open and clear, my mind feels clear and I'm less tense. This is hard to do since we live in a trailer and my husband doesn't like to live this way (less mess). It drives me crazy.

Great post.

Nancy said...

Pat - My husband is a clutter-bug. I know exactly what you mean. :-)

Mary Ellen said...

I love the photo - and this is good food for thought. It's (way past) time to tackle that clutter. . .

ρομπερτ said...

Remember "home" meaning a warm meal on the table and family around, ability to solve whatever kind of problem there was, between the table and the entry of the kitchen.

A wonderful Sunday for you all.

Lily Robinson said...

I think a happy home also has room for friends. My daughter has a plaque that says, "May our home never be big enough to hold all our friends."

Erika C. said...

I really appreciate your thoughts here. I think that what we surround ourselves with in our homes says something about us and also informs our lives. THe principles of Feng Shui are really true. I don't really understand it but it works.

At the same time, I think as someone else answered to your post, our true homes are our bodies, minds and hearts and we carry these everywhere. In a way, how we fill our inner selves has even more of an effect on our lives.

Thanks again for visiting my blog and I am glad the resources I mentioned were useful to you.

love,
Erika

linda said...

i loved this post, it is so true on so many levels...as for me, i will be thinking about this...what jumps to my mind is flowers and cooking, the smells of good natural food and something fresh, be it a bouquet or a single branch, leaves, one stem... nature brings such soul to a home...you are so right about that! and space clearing, as you again mentioned!

otherwise, pics of my family but that's a given...i will be thinking,thank you for such a provocative post!
xoxo

Nancy said...

Mary Ellen - It makes a difference, I think.

Robert - Well said.

Lily - Yes! I agree.

Erika - Our inner selves - the most important, for sure. When all else fails that's what we have left.

Nancy said...

linda - I'll bet your walls are full of beautiful, meaningful paintings. :-)

Natalie said...

Family, sea items, love, music,and my cooking! To top it off, a nice glass of red on the deck watching the sunrise. :)

Nancy said...

Natalie - Great ones - music, so important!

natural girl said...

Loved this post!
My home is my sanctuary and filled with things and people I truly love.
I have been doing a lot of baking lately and my family love to come home to the smells in our house.

Sylvia said...

Those are excellent tips. I read it to my husband and to my teenage boy - specially to him. :)

Rain said...

Hi Nancy! :)
For me, a happy home is where I can spend days and days indoors and feel 100% comfortable, happy and busy! Also of course, a happy home means happy and healthy pugs too. I have simple mementos of nature all around me too.

Deborah said...

Nancy, I really liked this post. The home I have in France is not 'mine' as such, and is full of things that are important to my sweetheart but have no significance for me, and in some cases are tricky reminders of the life he had before me.

I have had to learn to look around all that and make it my home in other ways: reducing the clutter, re-arranging furniture, making joint decisions about some new pieces to buy. But it's not the same as being 'mine' or eve 'ours' for sure.
I like the cooking thought - we do this together and I feel most at home when I bake!

otin said...

My formula for a happy home is to remove those people who seek to destroy it! :)

Nancy said...

natural - Your home sounds lovely. I'll bet your family loves being there.

Sylvia - Did he roll his eyes, like most teenagers? LOL

Rain - Your home sounds perfect, filled with love.

Deborah - Hopefully you can make it "home" with a little time and creativity. Cooking can make things homey anywhere, especially when you do it together.

Otin - It sounds like that's been no easy task, Otie!

Marguerite said...

Great ideas and I totally agree with you! It is so important to de-clutter a home. I do this on a regular basis to help keep the positive energy flowing. My rule is, if something doesn't make me smile, out it goes! Happy Valentine's Day!

The Redhead Riter said...

Yes, you are so right. Arguing and tension makes home a hell. Been there, done that. Lovely post.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Come and view my note to you...
http://theredheadriter.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-spy-valentines-day.html

gayle said...

I so agree!!!

Shrinky said...

You are so right, I often find a cluttered, chaotic house frequently reflects a troubled and unhappy mind. That said, a house should be lived in, a warm place of comfort which you can enjoy and relax in. Much of my furniture and decor could use a good make over, if not altogether replacing, I patch up and mend as we go along - but it is comfy and familiar, most of all, it is HOME!

Linda Pendleton said...

Right on, Nancy... Our home reflects who we are at a heart and soul level.

Clutter leads to chaos...
Comfort leads to peace...
Beauty leads to joy...
Happy leads to love...
Love leads to all there is.

Reya Mellicker said...

I love it that the bear is reading the Washington Post. Very nice.

Home is where the heart is. I like your ideas about how to make a home a happy place. Personally I like a clean home but some folks are happy as clams in a total chaotic mess. Go figure.

The Good Cook said...

Nancy - once again, a thoughtful post. Lately I too have been culling the collection. Simplifying, I call it. When we move from here I will only be taking truly cherished items, until then, I am slowly giving away or donating anything that is no longer needed or has no meaning (that does not mean value) - as value and meaning are two different things.

One thing I would add to a wonderful list of home "musts" is a quiet place of one's own. Even if it's just a comfortable chair with a lovely pillow.. one place that you can rest and revive and feel safe.

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Land of shimp said...

Hehe, I couldn't help but think when I read about the "keep a clean home" advice that the "something wrong" is sometimes a teenage son in the basement! Not that I'm pointing fingers at my son, only, I totally am :-) I don't go down there, but every ten days or so I send him down with disinfectant wipes, a vacuum, and instructions to kill whatever might be growing.

Then I make my husband check to see if it is at least something less than a biohazard!

So my advice is: Have standards, but remember you love the people in your life more than the things :-) If I made my son keep his room up to my standards of clean? I'd be nagging him a great deal, and that wouldn't make either of us happier.

So I've settled for "Not particularly likely to cause our untimely deaths" :-)

Fun post Nancy, and I like your advice, by the way. Particularly the urge to not keep things for the sake of simply keeping them. Plus, if you do something like buy a new toaster, don't store the old one as backup if its still usable. Seriously, tons of charities would really benefit from those kinds of donations. If you can spare? It'll do some good elsewhere!

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