Lately, I’ve been going through my journals. As you can imagine, it’s not all pleasant reading. But some of it is funny, and even wise. Sharing:
I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so. My cooking skills are legendary for all the wrong reasons.
Of course I believe in miracles! I say that every time something I bake turns out well.
If I could, I’d have all-white furniture in my living room, and admire it from afar. I’d have to. There’d be no real living going on in that room, I tell you.
How do they do it, those people in the magazines? Their sofas and chairs are spotless, their kitchens – their entire homes and gardens — are immaculate. There are no books or magazines left behind on a comfy chair, no cushions fallen from the sofa to the floor, no threadbare old carpets, no signs of daily catastrophes in any of their rooms.
How do they do it?
“They don’t,” says my friend. “It’s just for the photos.”
“Then I wish they’d stop,” I replied. “They’ve given me an inferiority complex.”
A house can be a showplace, I suppose. But my home – now that’s something else. Though I am all for making a comfortable nest for my family and self, mine is a dwelling that shows the marks of living. By that I mean that items are often out of place, forgotten in one room on the way to another, left there till they become fixtures in their new location.
I’ve assigned a virtue to my brand of housekeeping. I call it the “lived in” look. Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. My home looks and feels lived in, with books, blankets and cushions comfortably misplaced and eyeglasses and notebooks in any room but the one where I most need them.
An interior decorator told me there’s a big difference between “storage” and “display”. My dining room cupboard was meant for display purposes, he said.
One thing the catastrophes of recent years have done for me: I have shed most of my false pride and pretense. And I’m trying to stamp out the rest.
I don’t worry about impressing anyone. As long as the house is clean, as long as there are fresh sheets and flowers from my garden in the guest room, and people have enough to eat, I’m content. But this attitude of mine didn’t happen overnight. It took years.
The wisdom that age brings is knowing that we don’t always have to accept what others think, or what they do…especially when we have experience of our own and some commonsense too.
I hope your new year is off to a good start!
58 thoughts on “Housekeeping Wisdom and Foolishness”
Ha, I’m known for my cooking as well…or lack of it! Spotless furniture? Not for me, I like my home to be comfortable and lived in. Don’t judge me people! lol!
Your reply made me grin. Thanks for it!
Oh, you make me smile on this Monday! All you need for your home is love. Who cares about dust and displaced things!
Well said, Jo Nell. I will remember that.
Your post gave me a big smile, Cynthia! And an equally big nod. Many nods, in fact. One for the items on their way to some other room, another to magical merging of display and storage… Here’s to the “lived in” styles and delicious baked pies!
Glad to meet a kindred spirit! You clearly know how it is. and I must confess those particular apple pies were made by my dear husband, but I baked that first cake! It was a miracle, I tell you!
😀 here’s to miracles!
So many very wise words Cynthia. I too go for the “lived in look”. Thank you for sharing:-)
Yay! Another vote for the lived-in look! Thanks, K. Hope your new year is off to a good start.
I seem to work by the same home rules as you – very comforting. Except that I cannot cook a sponge – neither a cake nor a pudding!
Haha! I barely can cook a cake — so glad that one turned out well.
It took me many years to realize that a spotless house isn’t the most important thing in life. 🙂
Me too, Jill. We have to grow up a bit — OK, a lot!
I’d much rather have a house that looked lived in than a magazine house, so your house always looks beautiful to me.
Aww, such a lovely response. I must have paid you to say that! (haha)
I wouldn’t have said it for pay. Your house looks very comfortable, like a place where one could relax. That’s my kind of house!
Happy New Year Cynthia, I am glad to be back online and read this. I’m a big fan of the ease maturity brings and love anyone who lauds ‘commonsense’ a previously innate ability that seems to be waning these days – along with taking responsibility…. but that’s a whole other rant 🙂 I love your vase of daisies ❤
Thank you, Pauline. It’s good to hear from you and I just visited your lovely blog too!
Wise indeed! I was especially taken with wanting to shed false pride and pretense. I have been guilty of both, but as I age, both seem to be falling away. Such a relief!
I hear you, sister. I’ve done so many ridiculous, embarrassing things in recent years that you’d think ALL of my false pride would be gone by now, but I’m satisfied that most of it has left the building!
I know just what you mean. My favorite thing is to embarrass myself intellectually by mispronouncing words on a regular basis. My father did the same thing, so I come by it naturally. We don’t even have the excuse of English being our second language, although we aren’t too many degrees removed from French.
Kudos with making peace with who you are and how you like to keep your house (lived in). I used to be close to show home, now I’m neat, clean, and tidy without being crazy about it. 🙂
I like your reply, Brad, especially the last line.
Thanks Cynthia. 🙂
Well, we have flowers and food – andI hope there is not too much sand in the living room. Happy New year.
Flowers and food are great staples, Amy!
The sand pit is another issue..
There is so much wisdom here and no foolishness at all! I like a lived-in house but I wish mine would stay clean and tidy for just a while longer!
Me too. Housework is never done.
I have a sign. ” If you are coming to see me, you are welcome any time. If you are coming to see my house, make an appointment.” Reading your post made me feel so much better about how I live.
I absolutely love your sign’s message.
Maybe you get distracted by words 🙂
Maybe you’re right! (smile)
Homely is love ❤
Good Afternoon from the USA Cynthia-
I have not been reading or posting much these days. My life is in caretaker mode. I have parents that now live 20 minutes from me ( after 35 yrs living states away) and aging. I also have a preschool grandson ( living down the street) to help watch these days. I had a few moments before I pick him up and wanted to say, I read your book to him today!
Yep, I purchased Myrtle the Purple Turtle months ago, but I was waiting for a quiet time where it was just “Sam and me” -lol. No one around and I wanted to make sure he paid attention. He LOVED the book! The illustrations were beautiful + as usual, the story was perfect for him where he attends preschool.
We live in a city that has a preschool early childhood program which is multicultural. We have parts of our city where we have people from a variety of countries. Many do not speak English, or it is not their native language. When I walk in to pick him up, people are talking in languages I have never heard before, but so glad he is getting this experience at a young age. My husband and I moved here after college to complete his internship in psychology back in the 80’s. I was in the arts and education.
The book was perfect, and the part about the friends being green, brown, etc. and how they all were unique was perfect for him to read today!!! He loved the part where they helped her turn over from sleeping on her back. How they ALL played after-he loved it! I use to teach preschool children as my second career( I have had several in my lifetime-LOL), but it was a book I wish had in my classroom of little turtles:-)
Sam gave it a “thumbs up”….yeppers, it is a great book, and each classroom should have one with teachers reading it to them!!!!!!!
Have to dash to pick him up and hope to read it again:-)
Hooray! what a great response to the book, Robbie! Thanks ever so much. I’m glad you read Myrtle to Sam and that he liked it. Thanks for explaining about where Sam goes to school and why the book has extra meaning– I can see that. And thanks for the review of Myrtle. I love it!
Happy new year to you and Sam and your family. You made my day!
p.s.I have the “lived in look” ….my kinda look!
So glad to hear, Robbie! I hope 2018 is a great one for you and your family. Please say ‘Hi’ to Sam especially for me!
So I have REAL friends with a REAL white sofa:). I thought they were just for magazines also–but they took the plunge! And have children/pets. I’ll let you know in six months (wink, wink).
Yes, please do, K. And ask them how they keep it all clean. I’m curious.
Clutter versus lived-in. I have piles of “works in progress”, some more enticing than others… Then there is the “procrastination room” which contains all the objects that we will get around to some day… but for today…
Another great idea: The Procrastination Room. Now, why didn’t I think of that?
Would Hamlin approve? He seems a get-her-done kind of guy.
You may have that right, Oscar! I’m the procrastinator— haha.
I swing wildly between loving my comfortable house, where things are made and books are read and everything is left out and around and at hand, and feeling slightly uneasy about the mess and all the *stuff*. I did just buy a Roomba–the little robot vacuum cleaner–and I LOVE her!
I’m much the same, Kerry. And I have often wished for one of those Roombas, especially on painful days. My friend has one, and I could sit and watch it at work for long minutes!
I agree with you Cynthia when you write “My home looks and feels lived in”It has to be a place where we live and not a place for exhibition. A house must be a living and welcoming place.
Well said, Michel!
I too struggle with walking into friends homes and it looks like they have no children and they don’t live there. I’m always envious and think how do they do it, where do they find the time etc. However, most people who come to our home comment on how “warm” our house is. I’ve been told this many times from new visitors. Recently my 28 year old niece commented on how she wished she had my talent for making a house feel warm and homey. So I guess I can say my sometimes messy home reflects the warmth of family from within. That’s MY story and I’m sticking to it 🙂
I like the sound of your home, Tina. And I’m not surprised. In fact, I would be surprised if it were otherwise!
I am so with you on this one, Cynthia. “Lived-in” is the look. Every time I look at a home-oriented magazine, I think to write them with the challenge of devoting one issue to home design for people who actually have pets. Imagine all that open kitchen shelving they show in a house with multiple cats – or shedding dogs! Yech! Here’s to housekeeping wisdom! (And that’s a fab-looking dessert up top!)
Staging in homes and photoshopping faces and bodies – that describes our lives right now. My body and my home have a lived in look and that’s because it’s real. 🙂
With nine cats, there is only the “lived-in” look available here. 🙂
I hear you, sister!
I bet your home is lovely! Don’t know enough about your cooking though 😉
Trust me, the cooking is average. But my husband cooks when we have guests, so it works out!