A huge part of homesteading is our gardens, they provide us with not only nourishment but an oasis of our very own creation. We become the masters, the creators, the artist and the designer in our gardens. But homesteading isn’t just about gardens.
Homesteading is the combination of many different elements, each complex in there own way. Homesteading is not something to be taken on by the lazy, or the uncommitted. It takes time, dedication, and planning to create the perfect system. But once that system is developed it becomes the most rewarding work you have ever achieved.
A huge part of homesteading is creating a working, functioning home that is both warm and welcoming as well as healthy and healing. I will admit I have never been the best at keeping a tidy home, but at the same time I have never had a real home of my own. Despite owning a house it never really truly felt like home, instead I would call my parents house home. I had grown up in that house and it was where I went whenever I was under any stress or in need of sanctuary. It wasn’t something I realized until my parents moved, I was a little sad that the place I had associated with comfort was no longer going to be accessible to me. Then I realized that my life was in a time of transition as it was, I was pregnant at the time with Little Man and it was time for me to form my own home with my own little family. Our home is temporary despite it being one of the houses I have spent the most time of my life living in, it is only temporary and that is something I need to keep reminding myself. I get attached to things and find change difficult but to move forward in your life change is necessary; without change there is no progress and without progress there is no future. So that is why I have decided tonight’s post will be about the home.
When we first moved into our home it was a glorious blank canvas but in a way sterile, somehow over the last two years we have managed to make this place our own, all be it a little crowded. People spend a lot of time looking at glossy magazines picking out their furnishings and coloring for their homes. There are so many methods as to creating the “perfect” home and people pay others millions of dollars a year to create the best home for them. In my opinion these aren’t homes, I could never feel completely at ease in an environment that has been created by a complete stranger. Homes aren’t spotless well put together rooms that are almost in practical to their use because they have been purely formed on look rather then feel or use. Our house is chaotic, it doesn’t have a set design or color scheme but it is comfortable for us. It contains an expression of ourselves and our family that no one else in the world could ever recreate.
My goal for this week in our house is to declutter a bit. As our family has recently grown we have acquired a whole lot more stuff and acquiring that stuff has made me realize how little we actually need. I grew up with this odd habit of randomly going through everything I owned on a semi-frequent basis. I would throw out multiple rubbish bags full of stuff and give away a fair bit to charity. It’s almost like cleansing your home or in my case my bedroom. I haven’t done this in awhile and things have accumulated, sure our house no longer looks like a sterile motel room but at the same time we don’t have a very big house and when it gets to the point you have run out of room to put things away it is time to have a de-clutter.
My mother always told me this saying which she got told by a principal at a school she worked at and it was “If in doubt chuck it out”. Meaning if you aren’t sure whether or not you need something or want to keep it then dump it; it is obviously not of that great importance to you otherwise you would be sure. The other is give yourself a time limit, if you haven’t used something in a few years or months and don’t have a use for it anymore get rid of it. If it is in good working order then think of it as a creature, would you rather the object go untouched, unused in the back of a cupboard or would it be happier in a home where it would be regular use. Every item we own has a purpose but a lot of the time the things we own aren’t of use to us. Why not let their purpose be useful to someone else? You can either sell (we are lucky to have trademe and other buy/sell services in NZ) or give it away to charity or a friend in need. You will be surprised what other people could re-purpose into something that they actually need.
Realistically all we need to live is Food, Shelter and a source of warmth or protection. But mentally we are more complicated and need a positive healthy environment. No one wants to come home from work to somewhere that they don’t feel they can relax and unwind. When I was studying fine art we learnt about the psychological effects of different colors on the human brain. Blues and greens had calming effects as well as the ability to make one feel refreshed at relaxed, while yellows uplifted and energized, purples stimulated passion and desire and reds weren’t so good they tended to create hostility and stress. This is probably related to our animal instincts in some way, green the color of forests and trees give a sense of security to many animals, blue could symbolize the ocean, the hypnotic and relaxing way the waves rhythmically crash open the shore. Red though is the color of blood and that for all animals instantly induces a fight or flight tendency. Either is stressful as both require a rush of adrenalin and quick thinking. If you are sitting in an office space all day facing a red wall I would suggest turning your desk away unless of course you prefer to live under stress. Our house is green, when I say that I am not meaning the outside (that is white) but the walls inside. It is almost too much green but it is something that attracted me to the property, along with the large shady deck, space for a garden and that annoying modern tendency of convenience to everything. Our kitchen is a lovely bright shade of lime green and our lounge a slightly duller more mint green. It is amazing how much color can effect your mood.
To create your own oasis you really need to surround yourself with the things you love, no matter how weird or wonderful they are. Other people will always have something negative to say about your style whether it is in your home or outside of it because it isn’t what they would have chosen. That is the whole point of you being you, if we were all meant to like the same things and see the world in the same way we would have been created identical but we were. The variations in our DNA not only make us unique but they allow us to express ourselves differently from the next person. If you aren’t brave enough to express yourself in your external world (outside of your home) then at least allow yourself the freedom to express yourself in your own home. Show off that collection of odd shaped rocks you found on the beach. I collect suitcases and books, I have over 200 books when I last counted and a lot of people would find that weird but books are a huge part of who I am. Suitcase’s I’m not so sure what my fascination with them is, but it becomes practical as well because I can store craft stuff in them or photos etc.
Anyway this post has gotten a lot longer than I intended it to be. My point was to create the “perfect” home for you and your family you don’t need some expensive designer or ideas from internationally recognized magazines you just need to create a space that works for your family and is comfortable for all members.
On another note: We Made IT! As of 1am our little family will have survived 11 nights straight of my partner working whilst I was working also and a teething baby on top. As a reward we are having a family day tomorrow, neither of us working, just fun.
Please excuse the errors in this, I understand there are a few. I will edit it once I have had a little more sleep.