Well at home: Finding the imperfect at home
Home is where the mess is.
I don't mean this lightly: mess can be cozy. It's a sign of living, a sign a home is occupied. Don't get me wrong, I live for reset days - that one dedicated day I embark into a deep cleaning routine. As you peruse the latest Architectural Digest magazine, you will notice how immaculate these houses are. Granted they were likely cleaned for the shoot but I wouldn't be surprised if the state of these mega mansions would be as such, 99% of the time. After all, they have help which sounds nice.
I may be generalizing but most of us do not have that luxury and most of the tidying is left to us. Being in this position has always left me with some anxiety - most commonly an urgent need of having a spotless house at all times. Admittedly, I've never been a messy person, after all, I am a full-blown Virgo. However, much of the traditional interior design content I consume showcases these unrealistic neat houses. Some of which feature a family of four+ (How do they do it?? Do the kids have their separate wing??)
With my anxiety at an all-time high, I finally found some relief when I read the book, Wabi Sabi Welcome, by author Julie Pointer Adams. In her book, Julie talks about the idea of embracing the imperfect home. She provides a list of examples of how people live in places like Japan, Italy, France, and Denmark, where living spaces can be relatively small. However, there is one example that struck a cord and is related to dog hair. She talks about embracing the little tumbleweeds of hair and not feeling the need to swipe those at the first sight of them.
As an owner of two very fluffy and adorable dogs, I LIVE in dog hair. It's on my clothes, my couches, and sometimes my food (how does it get there?) Pre-Julie, I acquired a cordless vacuum, a robot vacuum, and two Swiffer dusters to deal with this "problem." Now post, Julie, I realize that pet hair is part of the occupants in my home. Hair comes off as they wag their tails when I come home, it comes off when they play with each other, or when they cuddle with me on the couch. I can't imagine my life without them, and now, without a trace of them. Are you crying now? because I am.
Julie correlates this idea to the Japanese principle of Wabi Sabi - the acceptance of imperfect elements in life and viewing them as beautiful. Composed of three key elements: simplicity, imperfection, and transience. When applied in the world of design, it makes space for these so-called imperfections at home. If we expand, it's in your kitchen, in your mix-matched collection of silverware, or in your chipped favorite mug. It's in your living room, the coffee rings on your coffee table, the forever dented couch from your pet.
The book also explores the notion of finding charming moments at home. Imagine drying your laundry on a clothesline outside, collecting handmade or antique items, or filling your home with natural and soft fibers. Hosting a dear friend from out of town and greeting them with cozy slippers and a homemade flower arrangement. Arranging your space so that you sit by the window and bask in the morning sun. In all, this book is a well rounded view of how to make home a special place for you. A special place carved in this massive and busy world.
Now, my OCD is not entirely cured, I need therapy for that. But this book came close. I can't promise you that it will change your life, but I can say that it will reward you with some ideas on how to embrace home and the many imperfectly perfect moments at home.
Shop this book here