One of Dave Ramsey’s semi-obnoxious, but true quotes is to “Live like no one else now so later you can live like no one else.”
At least for me, this mentality can be hard to adopt with Pinterest showing us what we need to wear, Facebook showing us where our friends are vacationing and restaurants they’re trying and lifestyle blogs showing us how to decorate our homes. I found this especially challenging after we moved into our new house and had a blank slate and the temptation to fill every room up with gorgeous furniture. Thinking about where Ben and I want our lives to be in 10-15 years, or even 30 years down the road helps put things into perspective and makes it easier to quiet my desire for a kitchen table that doesn’t wobble, an extra set of chairs to add seating to our living room or new hardwood floors to add character to our house.
I also realized that I appreciate what we have so much more when the house is clean. When the living room is organized, dusted and vacuumed, I light a few candles and curl up on the coach to read or watch TV. And when the kitchen doesn’t smell funny, I’m much more likely to cook something edible or ask friends to come over for dinner. A clean home is a home we enjoy and actually “live” in as opposed to just mindlessly running from bed to work to home to bed to work to home and back again.
Yesterday afternoon I took advantage of some alone time while Ben was out and deep cleaned our kitchen and living room. While I cleaned, I binge watched Fixer Upper, a renovation show about a couple named Joanna and Chip based in Waco, Texas who help clients find homes that fall below their housing budget so they have a little wiggle room for some huge renovations. I like that the families in this show are normal people with normal budgets and Joanna and Chip make the most of their client’s dollars by finding great deals and doing almost all of the work themselves. Most design shows focus on homes $500K plus and the projects feel so out of reach. Fixer Upper shows what’s possible in humble ways.
I’m slowly learning what my design style is and finding pieces that echo our personalities. Because we’re saving to build a hefty emergency fund and eventually pay off our home early, our design budget is purposefully limited and I typically find myself looking for new finds at Target, Home Goods or in relatives’ junk piles.
When we first moved in, I spent months looking for the perfect items, but couldn’t find exactly what I was hoping for and didn’t want to waste our design budget by settling on pieces we didn’t love. My tastes also change frequently and we’re in a very wear-and-tear stage of life, so affordable pieces are key until we learn to stop letting our dogs onto the furniture (but who am I kidding). Eventually, I spent enough time in Target to find a few items that wouldn’t blow our budget and that would at least make our house feel a little more homey until we came across longer term items. One Saturday, I built up the courage to actually purchase what I’d picked out and told Ben that I wouldn’t spend more than $500 total for everything we needed. He’s pretty good about trusting that I’ll keep his design style in mind when I shop and much prefers that I just come home with the goods so that he doesn’t have to spend hours shopping with me. He also has veto power if he really hates something.
A few hours later, I came back home with three full bags and a giant rug. Ben looked at me warily and wanted to see the receipt before I showed him all of the stuff. `When he saw that the total came in below $500 at $410, he kissed me hard on the lips and started digging in to the bags.
We ultimately landed on an area rug, a lamp, new curtains for the kitchen, two table cloths, two small rugs for the entry way and the kitchen and a few accessory items. Our house is certainly not “designed,” but it makes us happy and incorporates our personalities enough to make us feel at home. (Turquoise wall, anyone?)
These items won’t last beyond a few years and we’re still searching for those “perfect” pieces, but they cozy up our home and give our doggies more warm places to lounge about and shed their dog hair.
Living in the now and enjoying what we have even if it’s not perfect is what makes life feel perfect and that’s what matters. So now that my kitchen’s clean and the dishes are put away, who’s coming over for dinner??