In my adult life, I’ve lived in six different homes. None of them were perfect. Not one was my ‘dream home’ and yet I figured out there are ways to love your home even when it’s not your dream.
“Home is the nicest word there is.” -Laura Ingalls Wilder
How to Love Your Home
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If you’ve been feeling dissatisfied or frustrated with your home, I hope these tips help to reframe your perspective. Home should be a place of refuge and haven from the outside world. You can learn to love your home even with its annoyances and quirks.
What home is
What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? It’s easy to get caught up in the structure, square footage, amenities, and appearance when that isn’t the whole picture of what home is.
“A house is made of brick and mortar, but home is made by the people who live there.” -M.K. Soni
As you think about how to love your home even if it isn’t your dream keep in mind that your house is a structure, but home is the life that happens inside it.
It’s easy to get caught up with appearance and convenience and what you may imagine that you want or need. I’ve been guilty of thinking that a different house could improve my life, but really the house is just a shell and the moments and relationships that happen within it are what matters most.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about your ideal home unless it keeps you from being happy where you are now. Keep in mind the true purpose of a home. All the bells and whistles that can come in a home won’t create peace within you and the relationships that exist there.
“In life we may live in many different homes, but where we are loved and feel safe that is the place where we are at home with family or friends.” -Catherine Pulsifer
Focus on what’s good
As you are figuring out how to love your home, focus first on the characteristics that you like about your home. What does work well in your home? What would you miss if your next home didn’t have that?
I have found redeeming qualities in every place I’ve lived. Each one had some things I wish I could have brought to the next house.
For one it was the amount of cabinet space I had in the kitchen. For another, it was the beautiful rose bushes and large bedrooms. In the house I live in now it would be the garage and the peonies that bloom each year.
We also love our neighbors dearly so even if this house is not my dream, my neighborhood is. Focusing on the positives and what I love here makes me feel a lot better about my home.
What do you love about your home? Think about what you’d miss if you moved. It helps refresh your perspective when you focus on the parts you love and appreciate about where you live now.
Work with what you’ve got
We’ve both owned a home we lived in as well as rented a couple of them. Sometimes living in a rental can feel confining. You aren’t able to change much or fix the things that bother you in many cases.
Shortly after we moved from our last rental to our current one, I found the book The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith.
This book opened my eyes to possibilities I never would have imagined. Myquillyn is definitely more daring in her style and approach, but I loved that she got me to think outside the box and really try to invest more in where I’m living even if I don’t own it.
It was after reading that book that I bought fabric and recovered our toss pillows. I also bought secondhand curtains for the home and got an area rug.
While I didn’t opt to paint things like she did, my house felt much more like a home instead of a plain all-white rental after doing just those few simple things.
Initially, I didn’t want to invest time or money (not that I spent much) into this house. I thought it would be temporary, but almost six years later we still live here and I’m so glad I chose to make this house home for however long we are here.
Look at your home as a challenge to solve rather than a problem. Whether you own or rent, think of creative solutions to the things that bother you. You can love your home even with its quirks.
Focus on what you can control
A big part of how people feel in their homes relates to the state of their stuff. When you’re overwhelmed with the things you own, it’s hard to feel like you love your home.
The good news is, you can take back control over your stuff and decide to work through decluttering it.
Don’t fill your home with things that feel like burdens or remind you of past mistakes or sadness or regret. Can you imagine how much more you could love your home if it only contained items you used and loved?
The excess is often what brings us down. It feels defeating and home is a constant reminder of chores that need to be done, projects that are unfinished and messes that are waiting to be picked up.
Owning fewer things lessens the ability for your home to get out of control with stuff. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can begin with easy items to declutter or quick areas to declutter that have a big impact on your home.
Perhaps you’ve tried decluttering before but are still feeling unsettled in your space. Check out this list of reasons why your house still feels cluttered to see if they apply to you.
“I realized the clutter of my home was becoming more than just a personal annoyance and was actually affecting the quality of my life.” -C. E. Mroz
Highlight the things that make you happy
One great thing that comes from decluttering is clarity. The process helps provide a clearer picture of what you really like and what you don’t.
As you declutter the various areas in your home, you may discover things you loved that you’d even forgotten you had. A beautiful part of decluttering is that in getting rid of the excess those favorite treasured items get to shine as they are no longer being overwhelmed by other things.
Find those things that bring you the most joy and put them front and center in your home. Don’t save your favorites and best for special occasions.
Every day is a special occasion so choose to use your things and enjoy them now. It will help you to love your home more.
You’ll come to a point where you need to choose gratitude in order to love your home. It’s so easy to get a skewed perception of what we have to be grateful for when we see beautiful and expensive homes featured on shows on HGTV.
If you find that watching those shows makes you feel worse about the home you live in, stop watching them. It’s not helping you love your home more. Instead, it can breed envy and discontent.
Choose to be grateful for the roof over your head and the protection from the outside world. Your home provides warmth and comfort and a variety of things that many people in the world do not have the privilege of.
Being grateful will help you to love your home more as you choose to focus on the gift that it is rather than everything it’s not.
“Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.” -Sarah Ban Breathnach
Love your home
Through remembering the true meaning of home, focusing on what you love, working with what you’ve got, clearing the clutter, and highlighting the favorites you are choosing to love your home. I hope that you find your home to be a place of respite and love.
“Home sweet home. This is the place to find happiness. If one doesn’t find it here, one doesn’t find it anywhere.” -M. K. Soni
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I recently downsized to a house half the size of the houses I’d lived in for the past 25 years. I really wasn’t looking forward to it as we all loved a big house. However, after decluttering and having shelving added and making plans for the garden, I love it here. I can see where I can fit all my stuff in and make the most of what I’ve got, plus it’s so much easier to clean!
That’s wonderful, Kim! Thanks for your comment 🙂
I really enjoyed this article. You touched on so many things that are going on in my life and the stuggles I’ve had with clutter.
So much excess is left from one son moving on as an adult and me struggling with not wanting to get rid of his momentos that I think he’ll regret not taking with him.
I have always found going through things so difficult as I see sentiment in most things. And by donating them, even just going through stuff is painful. I know what needs to get done, I just don’t know where to begin! At the same time I want my space back…
I’m so glad you found the post helpful, Patti. You are welcome to email me if you’d like some help troubleshooting the situation 🙂
What a lovely post. I am thankful for a roof over my head, my Adult children and the freedom of living in retirement. What I don’t like about life is being a widow/pensioner living with a disability. Getting on in life is having FOCUS. I don’t focus on what I don’t have but on what I have.
I have spent 8yrs. de-cluttering and still going. Secret is not becoming attached to your belongings. Hold them loosely. I live in the U.K. having a fight with online shopping but coping. I bought so much to make the home ready to pass on to my Adult Children and now my daughter is planning to live in the U.S.A.. She had her Visa appt cancelled due to the Coronavirua difficulty but a new appt is in May 7th. She will be embarking on a new life in America and I will be de-cluttering. I will miss her so much but she is ready to live her own life. My advice to her is to live more frugally and to learn to LIVE WITH LESS.
Thank you for your blog Julianna. Best wishes
Thank you for your lovely comment, Doreen. You have such a great outlook on life 🙂
Going through this now and have no idea how to start. I have multiple sclerosis and have moved a few times since my divorce and my daughter moved out when she went to college and came home during summer. She recently graduated and moved in with her boyfriend. I can’t seem to clear out the things left behind and move to the beach where I want to be just in case she were to want to come home. Well she recently got engaged and moved in for good with her boyfriend. I know. She needs to sprout er wings and fly and I need to declutter, downsize, and move to the beach while still able. So hard. I know she is happy and I’m happy for her so now I need to be a new kinda happy for myself!
And thank you this helped
For the first time I am accepting my shelter and I am grateful for it you helped me!thank you
I’m so glad you found it helpful!
Moving from a nice size house into a one bed apartment I thought the toughest part would be the cramped size. But I actually love having a smaller place. What I don’t like is that there are only 2 window’s, both on the same wall neither at an angle that gets sunlight at sun rise or sunset except during the middle of winter when the axis shifts slightly. I used to get seasonal depression due to lack of natural light and now sometimes I don’t want to go into my home after work because I know the darkness will dampen my mood. I have no yard for my dog to run and think it’s a little unfair to her. I’m trying to focus more on the positives since this is what I have right now. It’s close to work, I do like the layout except the lack of windows, it has a pool and a church next door that allows the neighbors to walk their dogs on their property. The grounds are pretty well maintained so not unsightly to walk around outside. I don’t want to live here forever but it’s not the worst that could be and does have things that I like.
This article really touched my soul Sadly we forget that we have so many things in our life to be thankful for one is roof over our head for which 75% of the worlds populations is struggling for …so be thankful
Thanks Juliana for this lovely article
I found this article so informative. I have to stop looking at the beautiful houses on tv and where ever and be thankful to God for the one he gave me. Thanks again …😊🥰
Much needed article. Well said. Thank you.
Love this article.! So helpful to remember and refocus and cultivate attitude of gratitude. We have recently downsized, got rid of a hoard of clutter and more to go. Realise I have an issue with emotional attachment to things ,but so liberating to let them go too! Especially when know they are being of benefit to others!
Love the quote about a house is a structure…home is the life that happens in it!
I am always planning for my next major life event. I know when I am over 70 years old, I need to move to
independent living which will limit my space, especially for storage. That is why I’m downsizing even more now. Giving my sister half of my formal dishes. Mailing sentimental items Mother gave me to nieces on her side of the family.
I try to always buy pre-owned books and then donate those I no longer need to my local thrift store. I have found great classic petite clothes on sites like Poshmark and Ebay. The more stuff we have, the less time we have for important things in life.
I love how you brought up using or displaying your favorite things now and to stop waiting for that special occasion. That’s definitely the outlook I want to have more often.
My mother and her sister are unable to stop buying (they are 91yo and 85yo and both living in their own homes). Their homes, basements and garages are filled to the point where it is uncomfortable. I have cleaned, organized, sent loads to charities, had a garage sale to help my Aunt and had a large auction for my mother. They start buying again and by the time I come home (they are in the Midwest and I live in Florida but spend most of my time there) everything is filled up again. This scenario has played out for years. I am worn out with this situation and at a loss as to how to help. Recently my Aunt was looking into senior living facilities. The realtor talked about bringing in someone to have an estate sale or auction to help her get ready for a downsize….she began crying and that ended that. I am at a loss as to how to help.