STYLE Savvy: Pretty Places

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"Pretty places" by Lisa Hess (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay (2015), CC0 Public Domain

When you’ve lived in a house for practically a quarter of a century, things get tired. And at my house, one of those things is me.

When we first bought the house, we excitedly poured ourselves into painting, updating, upgrading, and all the things you have the energy to do when you’re twenty-something (okay, thirty-something) and childless. Every summer, I’d take on a project, using the time between school years to take something in my house to the next level. By the time our daughter was born, we’d put our stamp on nearly every room in the house.

After our daughter was born, I had a little person to pour my energies into, and just keeping the house in halfway decent shape was an accomplishment. Still, when she was little, I tackled house projects while she napped but, after a while, it became easy to coast when it came to household projects.

Now, our empty nest looks a little bedraggled in places. I try to get excited to paint rooms and tear off wallpaper borders, but I’d rather write. Or sleep. Having become accustomed to looking past the little flaws (and the larger ones), I’m half afraid to look at this house from anything resembling an objective perspective because I’m afraid the to-do list would do me in. If it’s an organizing project, I’m all in, but my enthusiasm for scraping, painting, and big projects has waned.

From time to time, though, an organizing project meanders into decorating territory and I get that spark of enthusiasm home improvement projects used to give me. Last week, I ordered two bins from Target to house my daughter’s paperwork for various things, which were reaching the point of needing file space of their own. As is the case so often in our little house, bringing in something new meant reconfiguring something old.

As is often not the case, however, this time I’d planned for it. Within half an hour, I’d brought order to the paperwork, relocated some items to the less-than-prime storage that was appropriate, yet overdue, tidied the space and made it look nicer.

For the rest of the night, every time I walked into the room, I smiled.

It took a few days, but it got me thinking. What if I set a really small goal — one I could actually achieve with the time and energy I have available? I mean, isn’t that how goal-setting is supposed to work?

So here it is: my small goal. Each week, I want to make one thing (or one space) in my house just a little bit more beautiful. Organizing helps, but I want to move beyond just making it look good (putting everything away, for example) and add a little touch of beauty somewhere. It might align with an organizing project, it might mean looking at a space with fresh eyes and moving things around, or it might mean actually tearing off that tired old wallpaper border or repainting that window trim.

I’m sure it’s the new bins speaking and my optimism will get squashed by real life some weeks (no sense in making the bathroom look pretty if there are no clean towels), but it’s worth a shot. My house deserves it, and so do I.

After all, we’ve been together for a quarter of a century.


Copyright 2018 Lisa Hess

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About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at Catholicmom.com. She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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