“Of all the elements of a happy life, home is the most important.” – Gretchen Rubin
Always a sucker for a good quote, this is perhaps the best insight I received from reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Happier at Home. I’ve realized an important element to loving your home is recognizing how much happiness already exists there and then adding elements of comfort, love, and appreciation to the space. Given that Spring has finally decided to grace us with its presence (lets hope it’s here to stay!), I wanted to devote this month to nurturing my surroundings.
As you know, each month I set out actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for April and how they relate to each over-arching desire.
Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.
- Read a new book. Every month I choose a new book to read. This month it’s No Place Like Home: A Memoir of 39 Apartments by Brooke Berman. I chose this particular book because I feel a kind of kinship with the author. The book chronicles her journey to feeling settled without actually being settled (one of my biggest fears in life) and her realization that home is about the space you create, not just your address. Considering my bedroom revitalization project, I found this particular reading quest fitting for my month of home.
- Purge, reorganize, finish projects. It seems Spring is finally here to stay and with it my urge to purge, reorganize, and nest is at an all time high. I have a few unfinished projects around the house I’d like to tackle. In particular, I’d like to tackle the storage areas in the house (closets, the basement, cabinets, and the like). I have yet to touch these areas because they just seem so daunting. But I love to throw things away so I should enjoy the process if I can get my butt in gear. On top of those few areas in the house, I also plan on finishing up the bedroom transformation project and the few craft/decor projects still on my plate. I love my little bungalow home and all that goes with making it feel “homey”.
Give more love.
- Give back to the community. As most of you know, I am a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run – a program I am extremely passionate about. I’ll be sub coaching a few practices this month at various elementary schools teaching lessons in healthy eating habits and building self-confidence. I’ve gotten to sub coach a few times and it’s certainly rewarding to see the energy and excitement in the young girls but I also want to reach out to other parts of my community. I have a few ideas up my sleeve for the month (Earth Day will be here soon and so will the festival) and I am so looking forward to the opportunities. Giving love often makes me feel more loved in return.
- A squeeze in the morning, a squeeze at night. Self-admittedly I need to practice more patience with Miley. Particularly when my schedule is hectic, I don’t take enough time to give her a pat or kiss on the head. I’m quickly out the door and she usually sits there staring at me with those “Why are you leaving me? I’m going to chew something up!” eyes. Even worse, I hardly give my cat the attention I used to since getting Miley two years ago. So, I resolved to give more love to my animals this month. Not just in practicing patience (oh, you want to smell the flowers for the 15th time in a row on our walk!? Okay…) but in making sure I give them a few undivided moments of attention. For this reason, I resolved to squeeze, kiss, and smother both the Milers and Nanners in the morning and before bed.
Live a balanced life.
- Use the dining room table. The only time I ever use my dining room table is when I’m hosting a potluck dinner or family gathering of some sort. I love communal gatherings because it promotes conversation and together-ness, but since I live alone you can usually find me eating my meals on the kitchen floor or in the living room. While I may not have a roommate to share in the festivities with, I am making it a goal this month to have only home-cooked meals (no eating out, at least on my dime) and eating those meals at the table. I’ve gotten out of this particular habit and I want to re-instill that practice in my everyday regimen.
- Use a quiet day. This is the one goal I did not complete last month not because I didn’t have time, but because I forgot (oops!). Similar to my technology-free day, I’m looking forward to the solitude and quality reading/journaling time I’ll get.
April seems rather basic after looking at my goals for the month but I’m feeling simplistic at this juncture. Considering I’m still carrying on previous monthly goals like the one sentence journal, meatless Mondays, potluck dinners, and flossing I think I’m all set!
Feeling overly ambitious, I decided to tackle the big bedroom transformation project Friday night. While there is still a lot I want to do with the room, I’m feeling accomplished that the paint job is finished and that I even had a chance to put my creative skills to the test in my efforts to transform one corner of the room. While I’m not going to show the room as it is now (I don’t want to ruin the surprise once it all comes together) I will share bits and pieces as things unfold.
So, first step: painting. Let me just say I loathe, loathe painting but when the mood strikes I can get things done. I ended up using the same color of paint that I used when transforming the guest bedroom – a Bonsai gray. It’s probably my favorite color of all time for its mere transformational power. My room has always felt overly cramped not just because of my big furniture but also because of the room color – a dark mustard yellow. I actually really liked the mustard yellow but since my primary goal with this project is to make my personal space feel more open, I wanted to go for something airy and bright. From the first coat of paint, I instantly felt the room opening up.
A small project I took on in addition to painting the room this weekend was a quick make-over of a mirror I’ve had for years. The silver and black went really well with the dark mustard yellow but it felt plain and boring against the light gray walls. Going for bright, cheerful accent colors to the gray backdrop I opted for a sunny yellow (which happens to go perfect with my other accent color, royal purple). This particular venture only took about 10 minutes, 1 hour of drying, and $3.22 in spray paint. A quick and cheap DIY project which turned out fantastic!
After a really hard couple of months, I wanted to take on a project that would serve to revitalize my sense of self. I want every inch of my bedroom to be something that inspires me, comforts me, or just brings a smile to my face in one way or another. Every time I walk by the room and see this bright sunny mirror hanging there, I smile. It brings joy to my personal space and I love that.
You’ll notice in the corner is a stack of books. Wanting to personalize this corner, I chose books that have changed my life or inspired me in some way. Among those is a travel guide to Guatemala (be adventurous); Eat, Pray, Love (be prepared for endless and riotous waves of transformation); and the Heart and the Fist (live a life of intention). There’s a few more in there, but they’re mostly placeholders till I can sift through my other books and add to the pile.
It’s turning out beautiful and I’m anxious to start in on the other projects. By the end of March, I don’t think I’m ever going to want to leave my room!
I have had a whirlwind few weeks juggling work and school and quickly realized I am not doing so well on the whole balance thing. My motto these past few weeks: “There are not enough hours in the day.”
I’m pretty good at knowing when I’m close to reaching burnout and needing to take care of myself. So, I decided to take a little “me” time and booked a long weekend trip to Wisconsin to visit my parents. Even though I spent a good chunk of my time there studying for midterms and working, I realized more than anything I just miss their presence. They are the people I want to return to over and over, the ones I never get tired of and who lift me up when I’m feeling overwhelmed and down.
While the weekend was pretty low-key, it was exactly what I needed. I love that no matter how old I get, some things never change in the Schultz household. For starters, Saturday and Sunday mornings are about crowding around the kitchen, drinking coffee, chatting about life, and cooking breakfast. It’s quality family time and the perfect start to weekend days.
A few highlights from the weekend include visiting a christmas warehouse store – three levels of everything you can imagine “Christmas.” It was almost overwhelming but I got some pretty cool ornaments out of it, which I can’t wait to share pictures of when I set up the tree next week. We also spent a day at a wine/specialty olive oil bar which was a lot of fun. We had some bitch wine (yes, it really is called that) and sampled some of the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar I have ever had – ones that taste like pure chocolate, lemon, and basil. I’ve already put in a plug that I want a christmas basket from here, this being the second one. Other highlights include perusing a local bookstore, building fires, cuddling, and watching movies. It was the perfect weekend.
Home is happiness made simple.
I purchased my cute little bungalow home a little over two years ago and the joys of being a homeowner are never-ending. Although being a homeowner requires a lot of responsiblity I love the fact that I have privacy, freedom to live how I want and decorate according to my tastes, and the sense of pride I get anytime I tackle a home improvement project to fix it up. Mostly, I just really enjoy being able to relish in how comforting and homey it feels here.
All that aside, it really sucks when things start breaking down. When one thing goes, it’s just a matter of time till the next thing. And before you know it you’ve spent tons of money you don’t really have. A year ago my dishwasher broke. I’ve been doing dishes by hand for the past year for the very fact that my small and awkwardly sized dish washer costs $700 to replace. Ridiculous! I’ve been getting along just fine though and then all of a sudden my washing machine broke. I inherited all of this equipment from the previous owners, who inherited it from the previous owner, who also inherited it from the previous owner. So basically what I’m getting at is this equipment is ancient and I knew it was just a matter of time till it wanked out on me. So instead of getting upset I put on my big girl pants and headed to Lowe’s to check out replacements.
It really is amazing how much some washing machines cost. Being cheap Lindsay, I went for the second lowest priced one and although it’s not all that pretty it’s still energy-efficient so I don’t feel cheated at all. Since I was there I figured I might as well get around to replacing the dish washer too. I walked out of the store making a huge dent in my wallet and while that normally would put me in a bad mood I actually left with a feeling of elation at the prospect of having new home appliances. This is how you know you’re getting a little wacky!
So now I have new home appliances installed and they’re working wonderfully. I forgot how much I love dishwashers and now I never want to part with one again. There’s still a lot to conquer in this little old house but I’m excited for the upcoming adventures!
Today was a mostly noisy day. I came home from work with one of the worst headaches I’ve had in a while. Any small noise was making me cringe. While all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and read when I got home, I challenged myself to get up and moving. I’d been sitting all day and with the migraine I had brewing, I really didn’t want to end up in a melancholy mood just sitting around the house doing nothing. So, I decided to make tonight a quiet but productive one.
Since I’m the only one in the house I normally keep the TV on in the background on low. Sometimes just the drown of the TV makes me feel less alone but the first thing I did when I walked through the door was turn that sucker off. I hadn’t taken Miley to exercise since Sunday so I knew I needed to get her out of the house to run her energy off. I marked the dog park off the list more so because since I’m a regular there, all the other regulars want to chat and catch up on life. However, there is a two-mile trail that starts at the dog park and goes back through the woods along a creek. We walked the entire two-mile trail just as the night was starting to cool off. The water flowing down the creek bed and the bugs humming and chirping immediately released some of the tension in my body. I instantly felt more at ease; the woods are my sanctuary. My headache started to ease up and by the time we made it back to the parking lot, it was gone.
I felt so rejuvenated after our little hike that I ventured outside for a quick run around the neighborhood. I’ve been slacking on training for my 5k mostly because (let’s be honest here) I’ve lacked the motivation to do so. When I get home from work it’s the last thing I even want to do plus the heat is a good deterrent (read: excuse) too. Tonight was cooler though and with a slight breeze it really didn’t feel too bad. I’ve decided to try getting up 20 minutes earlier in the morning on my three run days during the week. It’ll be cooler and I think it will make me feel less guilty not having taken Miley to the dog park in the afternoon. She isn’t a great running partner but I need to start taking the time to train her a little more (another thing on the to-do list). You never know, maybe her little attitude will simmer down a bit although I won’t count on it.
I spent the rest of the evening working on some smaller projects around the home. Next on my long to-do list for a minimalist home was cleaning out my bathroom. The great thing about this room is that I don’t have to really sort anything. I could absolutely start from scratch since it is such a small area. It took me all of 30 minutes and I purged an entire trash bag of bathroom items. While in other areas of the home I’ve had to sort items into trash, treasure, transfer piles and then put stuff away I really only had to use one rule for this room. If you use it, keep it; if you don’t get rid of it. Unlike the doom of tackling my basement, I felt the bathroom was much more manageable. If I can keep getting the small stuff done around the house I think it will eventually make me ready to tackle the bigger projects. At least we hope.
After a hearty meal I feel tired and a little bit sore but my headache is gone, it’s finally raining here (yeah!), and I feel much more at peace. Time to curl up with a good book, some hot tea, and my cuddly dog. A quiet night is the perfect end to a noisy day.
Every day this week, I’ve woken up feeling more energized than normal. My most productive hours of the day seem to be in the wee hours of the morning when most sane people are still sleeping. But – I’ve crossed a lot of to-do items off my list both at work and at home and I’ve tackled some minimalist living, de-cluttering at home. All of my accomplishments this week have left me feeling more productive and efficient and it definitely has added a lot to my overall happiness.
One of my major feats this week was tackling my home office space. Truth be told, it’s actually never been functional as a home office space since I’ve moved in. It’s more of a storage space for over three years of bills, tax receipts, old computer equipment, dog and cat medicine, non-functional smoke alarms, and the likes. I’ve been putting off tackling this space for a while because the amount of junk I would have to sift through just seemed overwhelming and time-consuming. But I knew I needed to keep the bigger picture in mind. I wanted a home office space where I could work from home if I needed, blog, and check e-mail. And, most importantly, since I start grad school in just a few weeks, I needed a place that isn’t my couch or bed to write papers, study, and finish projects. Basically, I wanted a sanctuary that inspired productivity and which was free of any distractions. I needed a place where “shit gets done.”
The process itself was actually cathartic. Since clutter absolutely drives me nuts it felt good to throw out mountains of junk mail, papers, outdated phone books and calendars, and old bills. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as anxious as I thought I would purging practically everything I’d been hoarding. In fact, once I was on a roll, I purged like it was nobody’s business. Using my minimalist living guidebook The Joy of Less, in just under two hours everything was in its place and my home office space was fully functional. I finally got around to hooking up my new printer/fax/copy machine which I’ve been sitting on for over a year now. Only office-related supplies sit on top of my desk within easy reach and everything else worth treasuring is filed neatly away in a file box. I’m pretty proud – it really does look great. I wish I had a before and after picture to convey how amazing it looks now. But you know me – not an avid picture taker so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I was asked last night what adds to my happiness and I answered with my usual responses of coffee, Miley, family, and friends. Now that I’m on a roll again, though, paring down and tackling clutter is certainly one of those things. Less stuff and a tidy, functional desk space = joy. I am such a nerd, I know.
After a weekends worth of work, I can finally say my guest room is complete (sans home accent furnishings). Yeah!! Last night, my Dad came over to help me hang the headboard. I was also able to talk him into staying a little bit longer to install curtain rods and replace my outlet sockets (thank you again by the way). After three hours of work, we got it all sorted out and I’ve spent tonight putting together the bedding, rug, curtains, etc.
Out of this whole process, hanging the headboard had to be the most challenging and frustrating part. It took drilling over 11 holes in my wall to finally find a stud we could hook the screws in the back of the headboard to. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered (not just in this room) that in my house, a stud finder lighting up doesn’t really mean there’s an actual stud in the wall. We finally got a groove though and a combination of using a stud finder and knocking on the wall to look for hollow spots finally allowed us to find the right place to screw in the hangers. I know I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of my brother Austin and my Dad, but I had a feeling of such accomplishment when it was finally on the wall. It was a moment of giddiness – I love those types of moments.
While I was finishing up the room, I started thinking about how much effort and work were put into making this room over. For being on such a tight budget, it’s hard to renovate your home the way you want and finding ways to do home improvement projects within those budget constraints sometimes make you think the amount of effort and work you have to put forth isn’t worth it. Well, I can tell you that I am extremely happy I decided to go with the flow. My budget was $200. My final breakdown of costs to re-do this room are:
- Headboard: $7 (free wood, free labor, only paid for the yellow spray paint)
- Curtains: $16 (4 curtains at $4 a piece)
- Curtain Rods: $40 (2)
- Paint: $38
- Supplies: $0 (all donated)
- Rug: $40
- Pillows: $20 (on sale)
Total cost: $161…almost $40 under budget!
Not only am I happy that I was able to save a little bit of money, but I am so proud of how well the room turned out. Less really is more in this uniquely laid out room. It used to be jam packed with all of Miley’s things, extra blankets, a dresser, an 8×10 rug and a bed. It was just too much. I prefer this feel and layout much more. It’s warm and inviting and at the end of the day – I kind of wish it was my room! It’s a room sans home accent furnishings (wall art, etc.) but that will come with time. For now, here is the final product!
Filed under crafting, DIY, home