For us, a cosy, tidy home is steadying and reassuring especially when everything else going on in the world at the moment can feel unsettling.
I want to make things easier for our family, and together we have worked out easy systems and routines that aren’t time consuming and flow with the day. It makes our home feel more comfortable. No large blocks of time put aside for cleaning. The simplest tasks can be done without wasting time looking for things because everything is in its place.
We value things in their place because it benefits us and frees up time to work on renovation projects and gardening, things that are our priorities at the moment. The predictability is grounding, the essentials can be done – like paid work, having regular meals and taking care to rest at the end of the day without feeling like everything at home is in a mess.
This didn’t always come as naturally to me as it does now. And I do remember someone saying loud and often: “Don’t put it down, put it away!” All jokes aside, there is so much gratitude for what we do have – taking care of where we live is also a form of practicing gratitude, honouring what we have and ourselves. When we look after what we have, we are looking after ourselves.
What does this look like for us?
The bed made in the morning is a present for our future selves when we hop back into bed in the evening. Everything tucked in where it should be and clean linen makes for a restful sleep. Don’t get me started on the smell of linen that has been air dried in the sunshine. Even if it can be aired for an hour on the line after being dried inside during the colder months. Such a snug feeling.
How often do you change your pillows? I’ve just ordered some new woollen ones, I wait until they are on special. We have been trying some pillows made from recycled material, and while they are good on the daybed, I prefer the woollen ones to sink into for nighttime sleeping. It is all about the little things that add up to form a bigger picture for us, and that bigger picture is a cosy home.
We tidy as we go. Pick up and put away as we go. It takes a bit to get used to, but again it’s like a present to our future selves. I want that present to be a cosy home where I know where everything is, not a heap of stuff everywhere that would take a day or week to set right. I don’t want to waste my time sorting a big heap of stuff, and I definitely don’t want the anxiety when I would have to look at heaps of stuff everywhere when going room to room. At the moment that would do my head in!
When we start to prepare anything in the kitchen, we fill one sink with hot soapy water and wash anything we can as we go. After meal time, the sink is refilled with hot soapy water, dishes are put in the dishwasher, any dishes are hand washed, rinsed, dried or air dried on the sink rack and the kitchen benches wiped. All ready for the next time we use the kitchen. Small easy steps that flow, no big burst of energy needed or time put aside to do it. More time to do other things.
At the end of day before going to bed, we all put things away that we have been using or reading, refresh the couch pillows and putting them and any throw blankets back in place. Wipe the coffee table or put any flowers in the compost bin that have gone past their best during the evening. The dishwasher is put on again if it is needed.
Laundry is kept as up to date as possible. I don’t iron, the steam would burn the scars on my hand. We hang everything up to dry to prevent extra creases, wear linen and cottons that don’t necessarily need an iron. Michael’s work clothes fortunately don’t need ironing. Yes…I know…some of you will be shaking your heads in disbelief or shock or disgust. It’s all about focusing on what we can do and doing the rest well enough. Good, Better, Best. In the laundry department Good is Good Enough.
Vacuuming gets done when it needs it and that is usually twice a week. On Fridays we dust, give the house plants a soak in the bath and change the cushion covers on the couch. It’s about doing things little and often. Far from pedantic or precious, the cottage is planned for comfort and to be lived in.
For me at the moment it can feel like some people aren’t holding themselves accountable with their actions and also not being held accountable for their actions, I can’t rely on those people doing the right thing. But I can be accountable for my actions in my own home. I can trust myself to look after myself and my family the best way that suits us. Part of that is healthy meals, a comfortable home to rest and relax in at the end of the day, a peaceful room to sleep in with clean linen and waking up to a small posy of flowers next to the bed. The indoor plants watered and the garden tended to. Flowers inside that brighten up the cottage and make it smell divine.
Our cosy cottage would not be possible without Michael, Liliana and I all working to our strengths. It definitely isn’t me doing it all and I literally wouldn’t be able to. We check in with each other and ask “What are some of the day to day things we do have control over that would help keep our anxiety down during these times?” A cosy, tidy home, preparing healthy food, time tending the garden, having time to work on projects and quality time spent together are always at the top of the list. What are yours ?
Tending a cosy home.
January 14, 2022