Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Something To Think About

I recently read a quote attributed to Ralph Lauren.  Mr. Lauren is a well-known American fashion designer, philanthropist and business executive. and although I've never kept close tabs on his talents or lifestyle, these words of his struck a chord with me.  The words I read are:

When friends enter a home, they sense
its personality and character,
the family's style of living ---
these elements make a house come alive
with a sense of identity, 
a sense of energy,
enthusiasm, and warmth, declaring,
"This is who we are; this is how we live."
                                      Ralph Lauren 

Over the years, Papa Pea and I have owned three different places (four if you count the 14 x 16' cabin on his folks' property they gave us as a wedding present and we remodeled and added onto making it a small house).  During much of the time in our different locations, we didn't have the wherewithal to make choices regarding construction or decorating that I would have preferred.  I've always felt a need to live in surroundings that "fed my soul," and so tried to make our homes comfortable, and to the extent I could, a reflection of my personal tastes.

Today books and videos abound encouraging us all to de-clutter, rid our personal space of all items not useful, superfluous and those which don't bring pleasure to our everyday lives or represent our true selves.  Ralph Lauren's words have caused me to take an objective look around my own home.  I realize some aspects do represent our/my style of living and personality, some don't.

Now I'm in the process of considering some changes (oh no, more changes!) so that my home environment represents more closely, "This is who we are; this is how we live."

Think about other homes you've been in.  Think about your own home.  Do you like what you see?  Does your home give a true reflection of you and your lifestyle?   Do you see any changes you might make?  Do you have the desire to make those changes?  Do tell! 


Susan said...

I have to admit to the fact that I squint mightily, when I walk in the door. As much as I'd love my home to convey a sense of peacefulness, I am afraid it conveys the chaos that is me, like it or not. It does have it's bright spots - art on the walls, a good sense of airy-ness, but it is almost always littered in dog toys, fleece blankies, dog beds, and other bits and bobs. Having been lucky enough to have stepped into your lovely home, I can't imagine how you would make it better! It is warm, cozy, attractive, all while being organized and functional. Wanna trade? :) xo

Michelle said...

Right now I don't have the emotional wherewithal to even consider your question. Just trying to survive the alien, er, teenager in the house.

wisps of words said...

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ― William Morris.

He said this, a long time before today's proponents, of this view.

Does your post mean, that you agree? That you see items in your home, which actually don't fit?

And that you are going to make an effort, to eliminate them?

And you are not just considering, doing this?

I ask, because I am Grrrrreat, for thinking about things, starting them, and then running-out-of-steam. I hope your plans, encourage me, to keep at mine.

Sam I Am...... said...

That is the best wedding present! I wish someone would give me that now so I could move out of this hovel! It wasn't a hovel when I moved in but all my parents stuff was still here and then I moved all my stuff in on top of it. Then I got sick and was going blind so for 2 years there were surgeries and trying to cope without seeing hardly at all...by myself. I had a very nice cozy farmhouse in Iowa that was hardwood floors and I kept clean then I come here and I had to replace the HVAC, the garage door opener, the roof and the roof again and then the porch roof several times.....no money left for cosmetics and not being able to see and with arthritis left me in a real pickle! I've been here 13 years now and things aren't much better. It took me a long t ime to get back on my feet. I get older and everything gets harder. I'm not giving up but I sure wish I could rip up all this germy, ugly carpeting...which I might! I thought I was going to move and then the girls got sick and now the carpeting is even worse! I'd be happy to have plywood and I could paint it. At least it would be clean. I have a carpet shampooer but I can't keep up. So, no...my house no longer reflects me and it makes me sad because I have to live here! What happened to the golden years? But I am still luckier than most people and I have cured myself pretty much of all the illnesses. I figure if God wanted me to move he/she would have made it much easier but every time I think of moving....something prevents it. I think sometimes making do can bring out your creative side....like I made pot hanger for my pots and pans out of an old broom stick handle and put it between the 2 cupboards on both sides of my sink. It works with s hooks and so far it hasn't fallen on my head! LOL! I also made a mantel over my fireplace that is 'jury rigged' also with no nails. I do what I can to make my home a home but I need to do better.
I have a feeling we would all love your house Mama Pea. I am not into new furniture or fancy/shmancy like all the magazines show....I like homey and cozy and you just know it when you see it...a home....not a showplace.

Lynne said...

I've been told many times how comfortable and welcoming my home is, which makes me feel good. I do have many items but their ones that have a lot of memories to me. It does get harder to keep it up as I get older, but I'm lucky enough to have two daughters that are wonderful to me and come when I need help.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - You are such a sweetheart! (You never did figure out the house you saw when you were here really wasn't ours, did you?) ;o)

One of the things that makes you happy is your love of your dogs . . . and the colorful toys, blankies, and beds are all part of that. It's an integral part of your life. Just the same as all the wonderful food and handwork items you consistency turn out. If that doesn't contribute to your sense of identity, energy, enthusiasm and warmth in your home, I don't know what does.

Michelle - Hang in there, m'dear. One of these days, he will miraculously change . . . or be old enough to move out. Then you can get on with all that is more to your liking. And peace of mind.

wisps of words - Yes, I do agree with William Morris. I see items in my home that are here not because of my choosing, but rather . . . well, for other reasons. I'm looking at them in a new light and realizing there is nothing (other than old, invalid reasoning) that keeps me from getting rid of them. There are those who feel we procrastinate only because the task at hand is something we DON'T want to do. So if we REALLY want to do something, we'll keep that head of steam going and DO IT. Chug-chug, toot-toot, let's encourage one another!

Mama Pea said...

Sam I Am - You've been through some pretty horrific challenges that required you to take time off and do nothing but take care of yourself. Consider those as "time-outs" when you did what you had to do to survive. But look at you now. You have created such a full, interesting, contented life for yourself with all of your homemaking skills and beautiful, inspired handwork. And the writing of your blog. Sure, you don't have the means right now to re-do the house you're in or move to another one that would be more to your liking (been there, done that) but with your positive attitude, organizational skills and can-do outlook, it just could happen! The best is yet to be?!

Lynne - Those many items that mean a lot to you because of their memories are just the ones you should surround yourself with! And because your daughters love you and want to help, don't hesitate to let them help you when you need it. They must enjoy your home as much as others!

Goatldi said...

I have one rule when I visit friends and when they visit me. I didn’t come to analyze or sanctify I came to visit friends . To perhaps break bread or share a glass of wine. To soak up the companionship and savor the moment.

When you visit me you come I hope you do the same. And if in either case we take home a nugget of something we would like to incorporate in our lives. Then bravo!

Let us celebrate the differences as well as the commonality. Let us not worry about “perfection, normal or the latest hot topic of what one should do .” Of advice dispensed by self appointed experts whom will most likely be forgotten about in a length of time. And replaced by the next “qualified self appointed expert.”

Most importantly let us be grateful that we all don’t want the same environment as it would get really crowded.

I will take a seat now she says pushing aside her soapbox.

The Wykeham Observer said...

I like my house, but it was basically the creation of my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, not so much by me. I would like it better with less stuff, and am gradually getting that done. People who come here seem to like it a lot, but I would like it to seem like my house. That is the problem with a house that has passed through generations. The nice thing about spring and summer is I have been successful making the outside my own. So I just need to let myself appreciate the balance.

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Lisa said...

What a timely post Mama Pea! Out of curiosity back in January I watched some of Marie Kondo's Netflix 'Tidying' Shows..... and though I may not agree with her entire concept.... what struck a HUGE chord in me was when she encourages one to 'envision the life they want to lead and consider if the item fits in that vision'. That just clicked with me and has enabled me to get rid of stuff I thought I'd never get rid of. And I feel so much better for it. And I'm still getting rid of stuff as I go over things again, months later, the vision gets clearer and clearer. Thanks for encouraging us all along the same path.

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - Whoa up there a minute, my friend. I don't know Ralph Lauren's personal thoughts behind his quote, I only know what it meant to me. I wouldn't want anyone to judge the vibe my home gives off compared to anyone else. I do want it to say "this is me" and that I feel comfortable in it, it give me joy.

You, dear lady, have so much vitality, humor and basic zest for life, YOUR life, that I have no doubt anyone visiting you can see and feel that when entering your home.

I was in a home yesterday that was unfinished, a little ragtag and messy but also had a very comfortable, welcoming feel which made me sense the family living there was truly happy. The home gave off the energy of the couple (and kids). I know they are striving to make their environment more to their liking and yet they presently emit welcoming vibes.

I don't believe a home has to be show room ready with expensive antiques (or the most modern trappings) to give a sense of the people living there. It should just reflect YOUR own personal sense of identity, energy, enthusiasm, etc.

I'm not striving for perfection in my home (it'll never happen), but rather want to have it feel good to me. As should everyone else. We're in total agreement that a person is the important element here (along with that bread and glass of wine) and like you, I don't go to someone's home to visit their spic and span floors or grandmother's beautiful rocking chair. I want to visit the person.

Your words from atop your soapbox are always welcome here.

Phil - I have no doubt that if you wanted (and when you want) to change more of the interior of your beautiful home, you would (will). As you say, by making the outside totally "yours," you have already achieved a happy balance. Yay, for that happy balance!

Lisa - Yes! Making ourselves happy, content and enthused with our life doesn't mean only altering or changing our surroundings. We also have to be in the right place to change our thinking! Maybe ten years ago wasn't the time for you (or me) to get rid of certain things, but now is! Changing our thoughts or ingrained feelings is not easy. (Just ask me, the queen of it's-always-been-this-way. Ugh.)

Katie C. said...

I pretty much like my home except I need to get the two full bathrooms redone. They are stuck in the sixties. Blue tile, blue tub, blue sink, horrible uncleanable floor tile. We got rid of the blue toilet. Anyway, one will be done this summer. I’ve got my pennies saved up.

Overall, it’s the clutter that gets to me. It accumulates when I’m not looking. Then one day, I’ll look around and every room is trashed. How the heck did that happen?! I’m currently in declutter mode right now. The two cats and guy keep looking at me with the “hairy eyeball” look to see what will end up in the donation pile next. They shouldn’t worry. They are all keepers!

Tim B. Inman said...

Here's my 2 cents worth: I think all that 'decluttering' stuff is just a good excuse to sell books. I like my 'stuff' as George Carlin referred to it. It makes me feel good and happy. I live in an old family farm house. I have my own stuff, but I also have the aura and the stories of the presence of people past - now gone - to draw from the walls and the floors and the spaces. I like my books and magazines at hand. I like flowers in season, even when they get wilted because I'm a guy and I'm not always 'on' for flower maintenance.

As part of my working career, I did in-home repairs for grandfather clocks. Sheeesh! In many of those homes, I felt like I was in a furniture store showroom. Grandfather clocks are expensive, and the homes they go into are not cheap either. Most of those owners had read and subscribed to the 'no clutter' philosophy. Very seldom were the owners happy gregarious interesting people. So the lesson I have taken away is: 'No clutter, No joy.'

If the clutter starts smelling though, then it has to go....

Goatldi said...

Good grief Mama Pea. My post wasn’t directed at you and R Lauren’s quote had not a thing to do with it.

Apparently we have another case of internet confusion. No need to explain yourself. I am not in any way upset .

Have a lovely day.

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - Oh, yeah, it's the ever present repair and upkeep that we all face. We're at a point where we're nearly done with our additions, remodeling, changing and now the things we did 20 years ago need repair. :o\ And who doesn't have "clutter" in a lived-in home? How sterile our surroundings would be if rooms were always in pristine condition. Like doing dishes or laundry or grocery shopping, picking up and putting things away is just part of living. I think the problem comes in when the clutter piles up. On the other hand, if you're the only one affected and it doesn't matter to you, what's the big deal?

Tim B. Inman - Well, there you are! That's exactly what I was trying to get across. The way you keep your home with all your "stuff" handy, and the memories your old family home provides, is an indication of who and what you are. AND IT'S NOT A BAD THING! You're happy with it, it makes you feel good, it's comfortable. Our daughter kids us (or maybe she's not kidding?) about what she'll do to our home to make it more to her liking when we kick the bucket and she inherits it. And that's as it should be. We're not all alike But I do believe we should strive to be authentic, if that's possible here and now.

Those homes you saw when servicing the grandfather clocks? If you ask me, the sterility DID say something about the way the people in the homes lived. Obviously, it was okay with them . . . if they were being true to their feelings and not those of pressure from others or those books!

Goatldi - Yeah, I maybe did take your comment in a way other than it was meant . . . and I did go on ever so long with what I felt was a needed explanation of my intentions. Oh, the written words don't always say what you want them to, do they?! (Now where's that wine?)

Elizabeth said...

We lived 28 years in a cape style home with the bedrooms upstairs. When my husband retired two years ago we decided to downsize and look for a ranch style home instead. With the help of a wonderful realtor we are now living, at the ages of 67 and 71, in our dream home. It is only 4 miles away from where we were. A huge plus as we were able to keep our doctors, dentist, etc.

Getting rid of long held "stuff" as we began our move was interesting. But I must say that, in doing so, we both find ourselves happier and somehow calmer. Almost like a weight has been lifted. Had to explain but oh so worth it.

Athanasia said...

I'm very happy with my house. We have been in it 6 years now. It is a 3 bedroom ranch with an open concept kitchen-dining-living. We need large area for gatherings when family gets together. We are next to the family farmhouse that we moved out of so my daughter and her family could move in. That is the house I grew up in and my mother before me.

It started out as a very basic ranch that we built a number of years ago knowing we would move out of the big house eventually. It's been lived in over the years by his parents and various siblings of his and sometimes missionaries on furlough. Since we moved in we added a four season room and a large deck and expanded the garage to 3 1/2 cars so that we have a summer kitchen in one end. My husband is a carpenter so we eventually get things done, not always right away but in the end.

We have much extended family in the area and when they come by or we visit them it is nice to see family items in display or on use, be it dishes or photos or a favorite stuffed armchair. I have read that ridiculous book making the rounds and it was a waste of my time.

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :)
Well, you know my situation.
Even though this house is not my forever home, I try my best to make it that way. I like the quote, but honestly, how other people feel about my residence makes no difference to me, though it's good food for thought. How Alex and I feel about our residence is what makes the difference - after our last futile trip to NB, when we walked through the front door, we both felt AT HOME. It was safe, cozy, comforting and warm. We are definitely de-cluttering, but only those things that have piled up and are gathering dust! My office is filled with little things that bring me joy...my memory board, my little paper machier pumpkins, my cheese label collection - yeah I have a collection of those lol...home is where your heart is right? :)

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

When we downsized our house about 11 or 12 years ago we got rid of a lot of stuff. We had two out of three kids going off to college and went from me 2200 square foot house to an 1100 square foot house. Luckily we had quite a bit of storage in the garage. I started realizing over the years that I had too much holiday decor, knick knacks, old stuff that I really didn't use. I gave away some of the sentimental items to my kids of the things that they did want. Started donating and or selling things on Craigslist. I realized as I've gotten older that I like less clutter how many used to. Ironically I didn't think it was clutter in the first place! So over time I'm looking at what do I really really love and what is kind of blah. Or what do I have that I'm used to having? Everybody always compliments this on her home and they come in although I always see its flaws. We have a bright and Airy house, I repainted most of the inside a few years ago. We also paint the exterior of the house a few years ago which made a huge difference! After reading Marie kondo it helped me clarify what sentimental items I still wanted to keep or not. Now that I'm older I also have read up a little bit on Scandinavian death cleaning. It's not really morbid it's more the idea that if you drop dead tomorrow how much stuff with your kids have to go through or your family? I know that it's hard to do because I had to do it myself when my mother passed away. So the reality is I think you have to balance all of that. What do you want to still have in your home every day that you use and enjoy versus what is becoming just more stuff? And also looking at what could somebody else really use and love? My elderly aunts gave me a wonderful print with an incredible frame from the late 1800s to early 1900s. She was in her seventies I was about thirty and I really loved it. It makes a lot of sense looking back. So that's my idea. And I think sometimes it's just a long process of tweaking things.

Mama Pea said...

Elizabeth - I've heard so many people expound about that "freeing or lifting" feeling after downsizing or de-cluttering. I think many of us don't even realize how much "stuff" we have hanging around until it's the right time (or we're forced!) to do something about it. As far as I'm concerned, the sooner the better. But I still want to keep certain things that possibly aren't useful in the true sense of the word but still bring happiness and good feelings while in my environment.

Athanasia - You sound like a good example of creating a home that is just what you, personally, need. Your large family needs a comfortable gathering place and the fact that you all get together often makes your home perfect.

Nancy - I agree it IS a long process of tweaking things! Maybe to what extent we want our homes to reflect our own persona lifestyles is connected to where we are in our life's journey, how confident or comfortable we feel about it. Of course, during the years we have children in the house dictates what our homes look like, too. Several years ago I was visiting with an acquaintance who with her husband was building their "dream" house (they had no financial worries) and I questioned if she was going to buy all new furnishings. She said no way, she was going to wait and do that as a special gift to herself AFTER her two boys were grown!

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Depending on what kind of shape or Furnishings are in might be kind of sad on a certain level to have a brand new home with some funky furnishings but maybe hers weren't that bad! I can see both sides of waiting till after your kids are grown to buy some nicer things but most people can't afford more expensive things when they're raising children. I know we couldn't. We didn't buy a Flexsteel couch until after all her kids are grown. Just one of those things. And I do agree that it's very freeing to get rid of things! I got rid of about one-third of my clothes this winter after realizing that once I worth saving to wear once I lost weight, were things that I really liked anymore anyway. Things that I thought that that look good on me really didn't it was just too much not being thoughtful enough about it. Then there were things that I just didn't like anymore. Is I packed away all these clothes for donations I thought somebody is going to love these! And once they were gone I didn't miss them at all. Freed up closet space and I bought some new things that I really like and wear.

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