Don't Sweat It

With so many lovely home photos, clever DIY projects, and organizational how-to's swirling around Pinterest, it's easy to come down with a case of comparison fever. I know far too well those mixed feelings of inspiration and envy, and for a perfectionist like myself, it can leave me feeling inadequate.

I can't be the only one who feels the weight of disappointment and stress when my home doesn't look quite the way I want it to. Do you fret about your space? 

"My house isn't Pinterest-worthy."

"I have a junk drawer... or two."

"My house isn't spic, span, or spotless."

"My list of home projects is never ending."

Today I'm putting my own spin on the normal home "before and afters" by replacing those negative thoughts with positive truth. Let's weed out the unrealistic expectations about our homes and throw them out the window. 

Whew! Because mine doesn't either. As gorgeous as the homes in those photos may be, we can't possibly hold ourselves to such a high standard. Projects like those require experience, time, and a pretty penny - and I don't know about you, but all of those are sparse for this gal. 

So instead of getting green with envy or blue with despair, why not choose to see this as an opportunity to get creative? After all, a change of heart goes a lot further than a change of circumstances. 

Jake and I lovingly referred to our first rental as "the Cottage", but that description was far too generous. That little shack was a far cry from any magazine spread! We filled it with wedding gifts, inexpensive Target finds, and mismatched furniture that friends and family donated to our Desperate Newlywed Fund. The type-A designer in me had many grand ideas for that space, but the limited 22-year-old in me did the best to make due with what we had. 

There wasn't anything super special or valuable about the structure or the contents of the Cottage, but it sure was lived in and loved on. It may not have been perfect for a family of 4 (or for people who enjoy air conditioning) but it was perfectly ours. 

I truly believe that designing within our means and embracing what we have translates into a cozy, homey space that's distinctly and uniquely our own. And those pristine designer rooms ain't got nothin' on that. 


I believe that a junk drawer is sign of a house that's being used. I've finally come to grips with the fact that not everything has a place (or maybe it does, and it's place is the junk drawer!)

Instead of forbidding the use of a junk drawer, why don't we set a more realistic goal of cleaning it out and weeding through it every once in a while? 

Not to worry. So is John and Sherry's.

Young House Love is my favorite daily read. John and Sherry have my dream job of renovating a house and blogging about it, and they're currently in the process of transforming their third house. Yesterday they shared their list of completed and future projects, and oh my word, it overwhelmed me. Humor me by checking it out.

Once I recovered from the initial shock, their list set my heart at ease. Friends, it is totally normal to have things that you would eventually like to change about your space.

If you're like me, you might be a little/lot antsy to splash some paint on your walls and spend your entire savings account on a shopping spree at IKEA. But my more rational state-of-mind knows it doesn't have to be done in one day, one month, or even one year. And to be honest, it makes the changes so much more fun when they finally do come around. 

My best friend Jenny visited us in Charlotte a couple months ago, which was the perfect opportunity for a trip to IKEA. Somehow I was able to exercise self control and walk away with a couple fun throw pillows, two sets of lovely white curtains, some dark woven placemats, and a couple cute plants. It didn't break the bank, and wow! What a difference it made in our Suite.

Was I able to cross every project off of my to-do list after that trip? Of course not. Two windows still have blue curtains, my shop supplies are in need of a clever storage solution, and my desk looks oh-so boring. But I'm slowly making it ours, one IKEA trip at a time.

I'm realizing that our home is going to change as we change. Our tastes will change, our family will grow, our needs will be different with each season of life. There will always be projects on that Home Project To-Do List, so I'm choosing to embrace it.

Good news, my friend! You're normal. There's only one person in my lifetime that even came close to achieving spotless perfection in her home: my childhood next-door neighbor, Ms. Alice.

Ms. Alice ran a tight ship, from her perfect 60's hairdo to her so-clean-you-could-eat-off-of-it garage floor. White carpet, white sofa, white countertops, white hair, white pants, white car, white dog (not even kidding). I held my breath and watched my step during the off-chance I was ever allowed to set (bare) foot in her sterile home. That house was paralyzing, stark, and uninviting.

Don't get me wrong - it's a great thing to keep a house clean. But it's another thing to stress and obsess over it. The truth is, you could be cleaning your kitchen this very moment, but dust would still be accumulating on the dresser in your bedroom. 

Come up with a realistic cleaning routine that works for your schedule and do your best to stick to it. When life gets busy, cleaning might get postponed and that's okay. Do your best, don't stress about the rest. 

Maybe more important than all of the home projects are the bigger heart projects of contentment and thankfulness. 

Your house may not look like a magazine spread. You might have a junk drawer (or two), crumbs on your countertops, and a wish list full of home projects. Don't sweat it, friends! We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can absolutely change our outlook on them.