cleaning,  decorating

The Easiest Way to Make a Pretty Home

I thought I’d go for a sensational headline to kick off my 2017 blog posting. I’m baaack!

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about after my Christmas blogging break. I didn’t do much that was project or craft-related. I tried to feed my kids cereal three times a day instead of cooking. I stayed off the computer more than normal. The days were lazy and unscheduled, which is needed from time to time.

Well, except for that one day when we went hiking and Handy Husband swore this was a trail.

That’s totally a trail, right? Needless to say, that wasn’t a lazy day.

I did flip through a few home magazines during the holidays and the pages were filled with trends for 2017. What’s hot! What’s not! Color of the year! Projects to try! Win a dream home!

Stop the MADNESS!  No, really. Stop it.

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest and greatest home trends out there. As we speak, I’m preparing to cover everything in my home in chevron patterns. Wait…what’s that? Chevron is out? Shut. Up.

I can’t believe I missed it.

I truly hope you’re not coming to this blog for current trends. Yeah. That’s going to be a bit of a problem.

How about a story and my unsolicited opinion on home trends instead?

I started taking down Christmas decorations at 8 a.m. on December 26. Yes, I’m a Scrooge.

The Command Hooks I used to hang our Christmas stockings, which should have been damage free, ended up removing a tremendous amount little bit of the paint on the mantel when I pulled them off. Admittedly, I got a little hasty with the tidying up, but it was just so exciting to put all the clutter away and let the house breathe again!

I might have been a little bummed about that fiasco or even irritated because Handy Husband was giving me that “I told you so” look, but the mantel already had a few chips and nicks when we moved in. You had to look close, but I noticed them every time I dusted.

Yes, from time to time I do dust. It pains me greatly, but I do it.

I could no longer ignore the chipped paint on the mantel. It needed to be taken care of, so while my family immersed themselves in a Lego building marathon, I got out the sandpaper and smoothed down the rough edges around the chipped paint.

Once the surface felt smooth, I cleaned the dust up and gave the mantel a couple of coats of fresh paint.

The process was pretty cathartic. I hadn’t painted anything in months and it felt exhilarating to bust out the paint brush and improve how my home looks. While I had the paint out, I moved on to repainting a few shelves and a picture frame too.

That’s when it hit me – figuratively speaking. The easiest way to make a pretty home is NOT the most glamorous. It’s not by following trends and buying all the fancy things.

The easiest way to make a pretty home is to simply start by taking care of what you have.

Do paint touch-ups as needed.
Wipe the handprints off the walls.
Replace the gross caulk around your sinks, showers and tubs.
Vacuum. Not just the floors, but use the wand to get cobwebs out of the corners.
Dust. While you’re at it, wipe down doors, moulding and lampshades.
Clean your windows. Especially that gunk in the windowsills. That’s gross.
Get the leaves out of your gutters.
Fix that one roof shingle that was damaged during a storm.
Pull the weeds in your flower beds.
Recycle or give away stuff you don’t use.
Throw away or recycle broken items.
Fix holes in exterior vents or siding where rodents can get in. Rodents in houses…not good.
Clean the grout. Seriously. Get out the toothbrush and go to town on that grout.
Pull the refrigerator and stove out and clean underneath them. You know it needs to be done.
Fix the door that squeaks or the drawer that doesn’t slide properly.
Change the filter on your furnace and refrigerator water dispenser.
Replace rotting fence boards or siding.

All of those things you need or want to do to sell your home or to get your deposit back from your landlord. Do those things now so that you can enjoy the benefit of those improvements.

I realize home maintenance isn’t always fun. Sometimes it isn’t easy. But it is where you need to start. You can buy the newest home decor items and create the neatest DIY projects, but if your home is dirty, falling apart or otherwise neglected – none of that stuff will matter.

A home that is well-maintained and lovingly tended to will outshine all of the others. Every time. No matter its age. No matter its style.

It will be a place where you like to be. A place where others like to be. A place that brings you peace and comfort in a world of crazy.

I’m not saying your home needs to be spotless and sterile. I’m not saying laundry isn’t going to pile up. I’m not saying messes won’t happen. I’m not saying your family won’t have epic Lego building marathons that give you all the twitches.

That’s life. That’s real.

The beautiful chaos that comes from filling a home with life, laughter, memories and happiness should be celebrated.

I used to work in the homebuilding industry and there was always a joke about “putting lipstick on a pig.” In other words, you can waste money and time trying to superficially make something look better, but if what’s underneath it is rotten, dirty, not functioning or falling apart – all that effort will be wasted.

It goes back to my point. I don’t care if you are renting, owning or living in your parents’ basement. The easiest way to take make your home pretty is by simply taking care of what you have. After that, you can build from there.

And don’t forget, pretty is in the eye of the beholder. Home trends are driven by the big marketing machine. Be true to what you like even if it’s no longer trendy…if you wait long enough, it will come back around anyway!

Happy 2017, everyone! Please come back on Wednesday for more unsolicited advice, sarcasm, humor and maybe an idea or too as well. If you need me, I’ll be following my own advice and re-caulking the shower today. As much as it pains me. It needs to be done.


Thanks for hanging out with me today! If you’re not sick of me yet, here are some other posts you might enjoy. 

One Touch Cleaning Rule

Fixing Nasty Grout is Pretty Easy

How to Remove Ring Around the Toilet

Board Games Even I Enjoy

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