The New Year traditionally brings resolutions: we intend to lose weight, drink less, exercise more, be kinder or more patient, or just generally be better people.
What if you had to make resolutions for your home? Here are five ways to approach your home with more respect and sensitivity. Homes, like people, can be abused, neglected, misunderstood and abused and, like people, will sooner or later be adversely affected. Here are some tips to avoid this.
Do not have anything in your house that is not beautiful or useful.
Decluttering is all the rage, but it still happens more regularly on television than in our own homes. Most of us have closets that we don’t want to think about, wardrobes full of mysterious items, furniture that we don’t like or really use, trinkets that collect dust but not there. ‘love.
It’s hard to make big changes, and huge industries have sprung up to help us make it. Marie Kondo says that an object must “cause joy” if you want to keep it. Others embrace the idea that if you haven’t used it in – three months, a year, a season – it should be gone.
But the easiest, most personal way to have a home furnished with things that work for you is to ask these two questions: Is it useful? Is it beautiful?
You’ll never throw away your favorite spatula because you grab it every time you cook. Whenever the afternoon sun shines on your tribal rug, the colors make you smile. You love to put flowers in your grandmother’s vase because it makes the flowers even prettier and brings great memories. These are the things we want to surround ourselves with: the things we use and the things we find beautiful. Everything else is mess.
Before launching an expensive and disruptive renovation, ask yourself a few tough questions.
Start with: do I WANT this or NEED this? How will the process affect my family? Our finances? Is it really the best thing for our house? Am I influenced by peer pressure or over-enthusiastic decorating experts?
Renovating can, of course, solve problems and make your home more functional. But, before you take on a project that will likely cost more, take longer, and be more disruptive than you expect, make sure you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons.
Bring skeptical sensitivity to trends.
We love trends. They mark the passage of time in a very specific way and express the spirit of the times of each moment.
But keep in mind that the hotter the trend, the more dated it will look once its moment has passed. Think how the appliances in avocado green and harvested gold are the perfect representation of early 1950s interior design. Many homeowners now wish they had installed this trendy sink in the bathroom. Cascading kitchen islands were very hot a few years ago and now look very old fashioned.
If a trendy item suits your home and your tastes, and if you think you will like it once again its past moment, then go for it. Otherwise, think again.
Clean your gutters, paint the woodwork, clear away dead trees, shovel snow, prevent water from seeping in.
In other words, do routine maintenance and treat your home with the respect it deserves. This is literally where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Young and new homeowners are often shocked at how much maintenance a home needs. But another way to look at these chores is the best way to get to know your home better, check its condition, and give it regular care. You may even find yourself enjoying some of the work.
Replace the elements of the house in kind.
If you live in a house built before 1970, be particularly sensitive to the materials of its construction and, in case of renovation or replacement, try to match them as best as possible. A two by four was no longer two inches by four inches, but rather an inch and a half by three and a half inches. This can have a huge impact on smaller construction projects. If your windows are good, clean the wood and glass, don’t replace them with vinyl windows; they will never adapt properly. If you have old clapboards or shingles, don’t cover them with foil or vinyl; which will promote rot and mold. Replace them with real clapboards or shingles.
Treat the elements of your home with respect and your home will reward you with shelter for years to come.