Friday, September 7, 2012

Pictures of My House ~ Or an angst-filled post by the lazy, frustrated, perfectionist of Mt. Hope

[Yesterday] was house-cleaning and organizing day. Early this afternoon (after my dear April and I had spent the morning working on the mess), I had the brilliant idea of photographing my ‘real’ space. You know, the clean and organized but lived-in version of my ‘real’ space. It turned out to be a much more emotional process than I expected from start to finish. Maybe it is all the carbs talking (one more reason to feel frustrated with myself today), but golly, this is ridiculous.
It started with me being frustrated with my camera (I’m using my old one because my new one needs to be fixed like everything else around here). Frustrated with my non-existent technical skills. Frustrated that I couldn’t get the pictures the way I thought they should look.
I wanted to share an unedited version (which it wouldn’t have been anyway because my house never looks this clean), and I couldn’t do it. Pride? Denial? Aesthetic sensibility? Artistic license? A little bit of everything, I suppose. Every time I looked through the viewfinder, I’d see something that needed fixed, moved, or…edited. So I fussed. And it still didn’t look ‘good enough’ to me.
Then I went through the photos. More frustration. Bleh. I want to point out everything that doesn’t look good to me—so you know that I know it doesn’t look good, of course.
I used to have this idea that things improve over time. Why is that? Sort of that ‘moving up in the world’ dream. I had this idea that I would do all these projects around the house and the yard through the years and it would look better and better. Instead, I see all the dings and dents. The fireplace mantle I haven’t changed since Christmas. The boys’ room, which is just abused. The design ideas I’ve failed to implement (that feel pointless, quite honestly). The stuff we’ve accumulated. Every wall that needs to be repainted. And reality sets in. It feels as if things (house, camera, cars, body…) are crumbling around me and I don’t have the energy or will or ability to stop them.
This is a season. Yep. But it is a really long season. What are things going to look like in five years?! I don’t want to speed my way through this season so that I can have a house without dents and dings—without a family here to enjoy it.
How is it that I don’t have a creative bone left in my body?
And I feel like a failure for only seeing the dents and dings. I’m blessed. I should be cheerful. Grateful. Excited for each new day. But half of me is lazy and the rest of me is very hard on that first half. How do I find a balance between pushing myself to get my rear-end in gear and giving myself grace? I don’t know. Definitely not there, yet.
So I’ll spare you the whiny version of the abridged tour (now that I’ve already done more than enough whining) and just give details about a few things as they come up.
The library/office/”school room” is the cleanest it has been in a very, very, very long time. This is where my computer lives and where most of the school books and supplies are kept. (I’ll post pictures of the learning studio in the next week or two.)
I keep my purse, diaper bag, and library bag on the big chair. It’s just handy. The green tote is for our CC stuff (picnic blanket, snack/lunch bags, and whatnot).
The green bin holds our books and folders for CC (mostly Essentials stuff):

And now the view from the front door into the living room and the “school room” beyond (the bin is full of every miscellaneous “toy” I find lying about):
Also from the front door:
From the “school room” doors:
From the hallway:
From the kitchen doorway:
Into the kitchen from the living room:
I was so tired of the counter being covered with heaps of papers and stuff, so I bought cheap shoe racks and bins at Target and put them under the bar area (which we don’t use). The bins are full of craft stuff, office supplies, etc. They have made a huge difference. Much of those things are used at the counter or at the kitchen table in the nook, so it is nice to have them easily accessible but easily sorted and put away. (I still have one bin on the counter that I need to sort through.)
And the boys’ room. I was having a miserable time getting them to keep it “clean” due to both the lack of space and their inability to, well, clean and organize. I finally gave them two large bins (one for mostly Playmobil and Schleich toys and one for costumes and nerf stuff) and then they each have a bin to store anything else they want to keep (papers, souvenirs, trash, VBS crafts, toys…). Everything else has been put away in the attic (other than the miscellaneous bin in the living room which needs to be sorted and some toys for Lola upstairs). You might notice that there is still NO SPACE in their room. (And it is still well nigh impossible for them to keep it clean.) Sigh.
The end.
P.S. I wrote this post last night, and then my internet quit so I just went to bed (take that, to-do list!). I’m feeling a little better today, though I’m glad I lowered my expectations drastically since I’m not completely ready to start school. That, and the boys got in trouble when they were outside on break, and they are now grounded for the rest of their life.


Diane S said...

My Christmas stuff is still up on our mantle too! Your house looks beautiful.

April said...

I just love, love, love looking at photos of your house. I never get tired of it. I even find myself scouring your archives looking at your house pictures. I love even more seeing these real, lived in pictures-- the diaper bag on the chair, the broken knob on the ikea dresser (incidentally we have that same dresser)-- it make me relax and realize that the lovely does exist in real life and visa versa. This brought me a peace and contentment with my own home, as is. Thank you Heidi.

Christie said...

I think your house is charming and lovely! I love the storage ideas ... the under-the-counter boxes, the shelf that wraps your boys' room, Is it an older home or a new home with old-fashioned details?

I share the feeling of wanting a creative, orderly, yet lived-in home (as I stare at the overflowing kitchen sink, the schoolbooks covering our dining table, the food dehydrator waiting to be refilled, the wet diapers to be hung). I do have to remind myself that these are all things I like to do, even if all at once is a little overwhelming!

Danielle said...

"...half of me is lazy and the rest of me is very hard on that first half." Hehehe. I love this so very much. I resonate with what you are saying and feel that way often myself, but honestly, your house is just gorgeous. Your eyes are the only ones that land in the broken knob (or for me, the stacks of who-knows-what stashed in any corner available).

Danielle said...

also, I still have white Christmas lights hanging over the entry into the living/dining room area, and actual SNOWFLAKE lights still hanging over the sliding glass door. At this point, why take them down??

Hannah said...

This absolutely resonated. Everything seeming to be broken? OH yes. A complete lack of creative drive when it comes to home-beautifying? Definitely. Honey, your house looks better than mine does, because even when mine is completely clean, I can't escape the yellow laminate countertops, the brown 1960's kitchen appliances, the stained carpet in our (dark) multipurpose room, the ugly tile in the entryway, etc. And yes -- the feeling that I need to be giving thanks in the midst of it all, because ultimately we're blessed beyond belief? Very much so. But it sure is a battle sometimes.

Melody said...

Lovely :-) It is the perfect word to describe your home! Don't worry, I have a Christmas wreath hanging in the middle of our living room window...Now it's to the point where I might as well leave it up huh?! lol

Mel W.

carole said...

I am laughing at some of the similarities - especially in the boys' room. We have the same bins under the bunk bed, and until just recently had a red dresser that could be a match to yours. I use the same green (Target) crates in the school room, as well as those cardboard colored boxes with lids (hooray for those - I only wish I had more than 3). :) I've been thinking of installing a high shelf for a while now in the boys' room. Your photo definitely convinces me.

April H. said...

Your house is charming and comfortable! Whenever I walk in, I always feel like it's a fun place for kids to grow-up. It shows your love for books and it is bright and cheery. I love it. Thank you for sharing your family with me!

jeana said...

I adore your home! I always go back to your home posts for ideas. I've wanted you to post more, but absolutely understand the drained to the " what's the point" season. I'm just now slowly coming out of it myself. Im really having to learn to balance the important and the creative stuff. Knowing both have their importance, but not draining myself in either area either. I truly love your style!

Whitney said...

I'm a long time reader and a first time commenter. Just wanted to comment and say that your home really is lovely. I can tell the colors and furniture are chosen with care. It looks "lived in," but in a good, people love this place kind of way. I think people love your home. It just looks, well, full of life.

(and I adore that statue on your piano - it looks like the Winged Victory at the Louvre. Have you seen the documentary The Rape of Europa? The story behind the moving of that is...incredible).

Rachel said...

I'm like some of the other commenters, I often come back to your home posts. I love your home! You decorate it well and it looks so comfy and very charming.

I've always love the 2 lamps you have on your mantle. My big question is... how do you conceal the cords? I assume the lamps work and I assume they are electrical rather than on battery. I just don't want to have the ugly cords hanging down the side of my mantle.

And I loved your assessment of your home and its making you feel. For me, the thing is that we don't want to complain, being ungrateful, and yet we don't want to seem like we're some sort of super human. Being real is always good.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This post so resonated with me. I feel just the same about my house. We've had an ongoing redecorating/remodeling project since last spring, and I just can't get motivated to even get things completely cleaned up from it. But your home is lovely--truly. I come here for inspiration and even show pictures of it to my dh. :-)

You're doing a wonderful job!

Heidi said...

Thank you, everyone, for such kind words. You all cheered me up to no end. :)

Christie~ It is an older home *and* some of the charming details have been added later by the previous owner who did a bunch of remodeling.

Whitney~ Yes, it is the Winged Victory (well, a little reproduction :)). I LOVE that statue. I haven't watched Rape of Europa. Sounds fascinating. I'm putting it on my list.

Rachel~ I happen to have an outlet on my mantel. :) (So thankful for the previous owner who did so much remodeling of this house!)