Home—a safe space to play, unwind, rest, nourish, and restore.
My love for a safe and restorative home began as a child. I always appreciated clean, welcoming, and restful environments. Whenever I encountered one, I would take note of the host's choices, the pieces that made the atmosphere so perfect in my mind. It could involve decor, cooking prep tips, or just the way I was greeted at the door. This never left and has built within me a deep desire to create a home that instills peace and joy in all who enter.
The tradition of making space in our schedules to do the simple tasks that create a restful and soothing home seems to have been lost. There's not much celebration of this skill in our current culture. In fact, it's been devalued and negatively labeled. If I say the word "chore" or "meal prep", how does it make you feel? Not excited, I'm sure. Our culture and our upbringings have given these simple home tasks a negative connotation. Most families either under or overemphasize them, conditioning us to see home prep and care as necessary evils to avoid or use as punishment. They are not presented as tasks that produce a restful and relaxing home. As a result, we grow up determined to make enough money to pay someone else to do it all for us. I mean... that does sound nice, right? In fact, wouldn't our culture say that if professional services are taking care of everything for you, you've officially "made it"? This is what our world is striving for, a chore-free life.
Most of us do not have access to a cleaning crew, an interior designer, or a personal chef, therefore, we are responsible for these aspects of our home life. Cooking, cleaning, arranging, and decorating, to create a restful space, does take effort, but I encourage you to look at it in a different light.
Let's try on a change of perspective today. Here on Merfleur, we often talk about pausing—pausing to find space, to rest, and to restore. Sooo I must ask you. Is your home a place you can pause? Do you avoid it or are you drawn towards it? The home is rarely used these days, except for on weekends or week nights, but isn't that the time you need rest the most?
Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, I urge you to make your home a place you're eager to return to for more than just sleep. Filled with people or simply hosting you, it can become your sanctuary.
Now this may sound a little odd, but I see intentional home curation as an art form. Every piece of art requires work, often involving uncomfortable, detailed, and repetitive work. Art includes both physical and emotional encounters. I believe the home carries both of these. If done well, the resulting atmosphere can evoke sweet emotion, soften hearts, heal relationships, educate, inspire, or bring joy to those who enter in and experience it.
When I recall spaces or homes where I felt at ease, relaxed, and refreshed, I often think of the people that owned or created them. These memorable individuals made the time to thoughtfully prepare and build the atmosphere—to care for and curate their space. It started with the individual's decision to honor the tasks required to care for their home (yep, cleaning, cooking, the works) and then progressed to the curation of their personal home style.
You and I, we are artists—artists of our homes. We are the ones that can build a peaceful clean space for ourselves and others to dwell in, all by simply by prioritizing home care tasks.
The skill of maintaining and curating a home is almost entirely absent in the generations around me. I sense this is due to lack of knowledge and experience. The generations before me/many of us got caught up in the fast and flashy of their day, forgetting to maintain and pass on the traditions and tasks of the generations before them. As a result, those of us that followed were not taught how to enjoy, let alone, do many simple tasks like cooking, cleaning, and generally caring for our home. We're told by our culture to remedy this problem by simply buying—buying services, buying gadgets, buying fast pre-prepared food.
I am definitely not saying I've risen above or conquered the art of the home. I actually waver between loving it and struggling majorly with it. I am terrified of sewing machines, prefer to buy properly prepared or fermented foods over doing it myself, dislike changing laundry loads, let my husband do the vacuuming, and avoid weeding like the plague... buuuut, at the same time, I long to learn how to master these activities and value the process of each. Slowly, and ever so surely, I am learning how to fold, the previously disdained, home care into my routine so that my space can be a continual place of rest for myself, my Love, and visitors. I do not pressure myself to be perfect or have it all "together". A peaceful home looks different for everyone, but for me it does involve doing tasks I have little natural skill for or just plain grew up learning to avoid.
This being said, I am not advocating for us to spend hours upon hours curating and caring for our homes. An hour or two on the weekend or 15 mins a day, whatever is easiest for your schedule. It shouldn't take over your life, that is unless you own a lot of things. Remember that whole buying, buying, buying issue I mentioned above? Well, that tends to lead to owning waaaaaaaay too much stuff, junk really. A simple home is an easy home to care for and keep peaceful. Anything you do not use on a daily basis can and should be placed in your attic or basement or given away!
By making your life simple you caring for your home can become more of a joy and less of a "chore".
A good current example in my life, involves finally taking the time to invest time and effort into our little place. We're currently renting, so I've suppressed my inner home artist over the last few years in hopes of saving for our first purchased home. Well, we recently decided to sit tight for a few more years, so I (finally) started curating a more life-giving space for us. It's been a challenge (I'm not really skilled with DIY projects or even wall painting!), but the results have been worth it!
As we make our home a true reflection of us—a place we look forward to inviting others into—I'll be sharing tid bits here and there on Merfleur and through Insta stories. Feel free to follow along, ask questions, and enjoy with us. I hope we can inspire and encourage you to create and maintain your own sanctuary. Let's challenge culture together, my friends, and learn how to savor a simple humble life.
À votre santé!