The Cozy Protective Mantle of Home

07/28/2009

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“Studies of hunter-gather societies show that a person’s turf helps provide identity, privacy, intimacy, and protection from stress.  One reason our homes are so precious to us – and being homeless is so debilitating – is that every time we cross the threshold, we wrap ourselves in a cozy protective  mantle of memories that helps sustain our persona.” The Power of Place, by Winifred Gallagher.

As you may know, I have been reading The Power of Place and thinking a lot lately about my personal space – both my physical location in Dallas and my personal space at home. I love to travel, but I don’t desire to be a digital nomad for any longer than the length of my next trip.  The connotations of being location independent (or maybe location flexible) are more appealing to me since my work can really be done anywhere I have an internet connection, but I still want the benefits that a dedicated home has to offer.

I don’t think that being location independent means that one should have to do without the benefits of feeling at home either.  I’m intrigued by what makes a place really feel like home, what makes it more likely to provide the “cozy protective mantle” that gives relief at the end of the day when you finally cross that threshold.  What do you think? What does being home mean to you?

My Favorite Apartment

I remember clearly the feeling of coming home to my tiny 600 square foot apartment in Washington, D.C. after traveling somewhere – dropping my luggage near the door, collapsing onto my tiny green couch to enjoy a few minutes of interrupted quiet, and thinking “I’m home.”  There was nothing inherently beautiful about this apartment.  I rolled out of bed in the morning directly into my tiny galley kitchen, the air conditioner sounded like an airplane ready for liftoff, and the place was really drafty.  Admittedly, the location of the apartment was great – five blocks due west of the White House, a few blocks north of the Lincoln monument, and around the corner from my classes at GW law.  I’ve lived in a bunch of different apartments since this studio in DC, and most have never evoked the same feeling despite the additional space, amenities, and often cheaper price.

Making My House Into a Home

About a year ago, I bought my first house.  Needless to say, I have learned a lot in a year about the cost and effort of maintaining the physical structure.  Now I’m focusing more of my energy on creating this feeling of home and changing my physical space.  What I do know is that too much stuff can stifle any feeling of comfort, relief, or creativity.  I have focused on the outside of the house, so now I needed to focus on the interior and some home organization.  So I have begun to eliminate excess clutter from my space.  One garage sale, two eBay postings, and a big trip to Half Price Books later, my space is feeling homier again.

10 Clutter Busting Tips

As a part of the larger effort to rid my life of excess stuff, I’m still working on improving at these things.  Like balance or being present in the moment, ongoing effort is required, and I don’t ever expect to feel finished with this effort.  There are still a few more piles to go through, and there always will be.  These tips are a little rigid for me, but I think they hit all the important points.  I’ve used tips #1, 5, 9, and 10, but the rest are where I’ve got room for improvement!  I think the most important tipis probably #2.  Never let it get too bad!  What do you think?  Any other tips to offer?

  1. Open your mail over the trash
  2. Do a daily 5 minute cleanup
  3. File newspapers and magazines once a week
  4. Purge wire hangers monthly
  5. Clear closets yearly
  6. Arrange wardrobe by type
  7. Fold sheet sets inside one of the pillow cases
  8. Don’t overstuff drawers
  9. Eliminate unused items in kitchen
  10. Make a list before you shop

Originally from www.dominomag.com.

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