I used to cringe when I walked into a home that displayed the phrase Home Sweet Home, either cross-stitched on a little pillow somewhere or framed on the wall. But then I moved for the umpteenth time to what I hope will be my final nesting place, and this move has given me a new perspective. I love coming home, even when it’s only been a day away because my home is becoming Sweeter. Now I get it.  

The decision to downsize your life is a big one. Eventually you get tired of coping with a life dominated by stress, and simplifying seems like the logical solution. You get tired and of being tired. With that in mind, my husband and I chose a small house which had a history of neglect. I hadn’t expected to enjoy something that needed so much work, but I didn’t groan…  well, maybe once. The yard was covered in blackberry vines and some corners inside apparently hadn’t been cleaned for years. This might seem nightmarish to home buyers out there, but this challenge has been very fun. Most of the doors don’t even close correctly, but all of this gives us the feeling of starting out on the ground floor. A golden opportunity to make it our own. 

The fact that we like this little beat-up place is surprising. But then again, we’ve always loved all that is cozy. Now’s the chance to mold our home into a sanctuary, a space where having morning coffee brings contentment and where every bedroom corner is designed for a good night’s sleep… or anything else that strikes our fancy….. 

Anyone can do this in any home, but the motivation to change things isn’t quite as strong as when you look up and see a bathroom fan that is dripping with rust, webs and whatever creeps and crawls up there. eeewww. I have been in a few homes where every detail is personal and thoughtfully tended to, but most people I’ve met over the years — I’m a veteran observer — don’t seem all that content in their homes. It’s just a place to park themselves between a constant string of activities or they just got used to the way things are. Certainly they don’t see it as a place with the capacity to comfort.

Changing the way you see your home, whether it’s a apartment, a condo or full-blown, mortgaged-to-the-hilt, house is important. Many things, of course, cannot be changed, especially if you have a landlord with her “own ideas”. But simple improvements can transform a home into a place that will nurture you daily. A nest that makes you say “aaah” when you come in the front door and sends you off most mornings in a better frame of mind. Seriously, changing the color of one wall or moving a painting from here to there can change the way it feels to be in a room. If artwork can’t be in the plan, a simple calendar with beautiful pictures costs $13.99. 
Here’s to discovering a better way of living in the new year. Out out, damn stress!