You might have stumbled across one of our favorite quotes on our home page. It reads “home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling“. And I really believe that. While people are always kind to compliment the design of our house, or the projects we’ve tackled; the greatest gift is when they tell us how at home they feel while visiting. Here are a few of our favorite ways to create that feeling in ten minutes or less:
Create Stations. If you have two or three places you keep odds and ends, or items you use regularly, then chances are when you go to find what you need – it’s going to be in the “other location”, and you’re going to be left feeling frustrated and like everything is out of place. We have a home for absolutely everything, no matter how “insignificant”. With the exception of Jon’s tools, because there is absolutely no organizational system in place and only he can find the screwdriver in that mess. We also set up regular-use stations; like the coffee machine for example. That lives in our pantry, and to keep things efficient; we included mugs right next to the Keurig, sugar and Splenda for guests (we take ours black), and right beneath it is the drawer of teas. Same with the microwave. That lives in the pantry as well, and right above it you can find popcorn bags and oatmeal packets. Like by like goes a long way to homey.
Stock Up. One day I ran out of concealer, and I felt paralyzed by it. (the drama, I know 😉 ). It was a key step in my morning routine that I couldn’t complete and as small as that might seem, it threw me off. Jon found it so odd that I didn’t have a backup, and encouraged me to get two of everything just in case. I started that rule with all of the important items that keep our home functioning. Laundry detergent, paper products, cleaning sprays, even snacks. Having all of the things you need when you need them lends to the feelings of safety and trust which to me = homey. That, plus all the fixings for an impromptu dinner, and ingredients on hand to make cookies for dessert.
Make Room. When you’re bursting at the seams, it’s suffocating for everyone. We follow the one in one out rule and it has been such a game-changer for us. Make room in your entry so you don’t have to fumble when friends pop by unannounced. Make room in your cupboards so items are easy to find. And make room in your closets, so you can access tomorrow’s outfit without the anxiety of no spare hangers, yet nothing to wear. Ask Alexa to set the timer for ten minutes, and clear out one space at a rip. It’ll go faster than you think!
Create a Signature _______. This could be a signature scent (like a candle or oils blend you diffuse on the regular) that always smells the same. Or it could be something like offering guests your signature cocktail; maybe a candy display, or forever filled cookie jars. Something that is a given – that everyone who enters will trust they can find there no matter what day they stop by, that signifies it’s uniquely yours. I used to stop by my Grandma’s house to surprise her when I was in the area, and one thing she always had on hand were my favorite tea bags, and a tray of packaged treats in the oven (which I once scorched while pre-heating to make dinner). It instantly envelops you in a feeling that you belong.
Take Note. Did you notice that your welcome mat is tattered and worn? Your towels have been around longer than your hot water tank? You’d really like to buy new throw pillows to freshen up the sofa? Keep a running list on your phone, and take a look before you head out for your next shopping adventure. That way, if you see a great deal at Home Goods, you can snap it up! We keep running lists for Amazon, Whole Foods, Costco and just general home maintenance on an app on our phone. It’s called Wunderlist and is easy to see them all in one spot. If you’re not one for extra apps, just the notes tab works well!
Cleanliness is next to Homeyness. You know that feeling on a Sunday after you finish all the laundry, you have fresh sheets on your bed, the fridge is stocked, the house is clean…Why can’t we keep it that way all week?! Yes, that feeling is glorious, but it’s short-lived. Instead, I like to do a mini load every day so there is no “laundry day”, and you’re not a slave to the dryer alert for ten hours straight. In casa de NixonPack, we each have chores and do them solo. So for example, I am nutso about the dishwasher. I like to load it a certain way, and I know where every immersion tool and spatula live when it comes time to put them away. I happily claim that chore as my own. But taking the garbage out, wiping down the showers, and vacuuming the stairs, those fall into Jon’s camp. Outlining who does what and when makes your home run like a well-oiled machine. We both find that if we take just a few minutes to tackle something, it’s done before we have to dread it. And soon every day feels like Sunday.
What would you add to the list? THANK YOU for being here. If we’re still friends after you realize my anal cleaning tendencies, I know we’ll be besties for life.