Let’s give it up for our homes. They were really there for us last year. Like a good partner, they gave solid support when we needed it, and stood by (or survived) us in bad and worse times, through getting fatter, sick and sick. Now is the time to show them a little appreciation.
Being in a relationship with your home is like having a long term relationship. After a while, you can get complacent. You let certain subtleties slide. One day the two of you pick up your clothes, manage your batch of mail, do your own dishes and wear cologne, and then human nature sets in. However, as anyone in a long-term relationship knows, many small loving gestures are what bind relationships together in the long run. It’s the partner who brings you your coffee the way you like it every morning or turns the side of the bed every night. It’s no different with houses.
I – and I’ll bet you – didn’t stop my end at home. That said, I’ve asked a lot from my home over the past year and haven’t given much back. This week I felt motivated to change that. As more and more people take COVID-19 into their past, either by surviving it or getting vaccinated, I see glimpses of a future where we are not so tied to our homes and where we cannot go on trips that are not strictly necessary (after Catch a breath!).
This optimism led me to look around my house for ways I had been negligent, for ways to show my gratitude. I didn’t have to look far. From the front door I saw, oh my god, this doormat that looked like the loser of the national mud wrestling competition. How did I miss that? (Hint: Because it’s more convenient not to see.) The crumbling, shabby, unwanted mat was the same one I pulled temporarily from the front door of my old house three years ago. It then had to be replaced. Now an exorcism was needed.
I hear an echo of myself saying in a previous column, “The entrance to your house is your handshake to the world. Keep it beautiful “I choose to follow my own advice. I am ordering a new, improved doormat. Even if our only visitors these days are DoorDash, Uber Eats, Instacart, UPS and Amazon Prime, we owe it to these drivers to make their visit enjoyable and enjoyable.” not feeling like they have to put on hazmat gear to get to the door.
Next, I notice the empty ceramic container on the dining table. Before the pandemic, there were always fresh flowering plants. I gave wrong reasons why flowers beautify that nobody sees. Because you see them, that’s why! I take the jar to my favorite flower shop and ask the florist to fill it with life.
Now I’m on a roll. The yellowed ceiling ventilation covers in the bathroom had to be painted. This also applies to the once black burners on the kitchen stove, which look as worn out from use as the sole of an old shoe. The kitchen towels should be demoted to the rag bin and so on. Check, check, check.
While your list might look different, here are eight small, affordable steps to show your home that you care.
• • Replace what is worn. If your doormat is in tatters, your carpets have run their course, and your tea towels look like they were last used to wipe a car engine, get new ones.
• • Fix what’s broken. If you’ve lived with blinds that are only raised on one side or a broken faucet that you have to turn on and off with a wrench, put an end to it.
• • Remove what is dated. If you still have an outdated intercom system in the wall, a keypad for a security system that was put in place as President of Gerald Ford that nobody knows the code, or a landline phone jack in your bathroom, pull it out and mend it Them things up.
• • Paint what is faded. If you too have what was once a white ceiling vent cover that is now the color of aged Gouda, take it off and spray it with white paint. Then grab a can of heat-resistant flat black spray paint for stoves and grills and restore your cooktop burners and grates.
• • Touch up what is being worn. If the high-traffic corners of your house are looking a little messed around the edges (and aren’t we all?), Run a magic eraser or little touch-up paint over them. Wite-out and sharpie pens are also your allies when touching up white moldings and wooden furniture.
• • Recover what was struck. If your sun-faded, rusty mailbox looks like a lunch bucket salvaged from a WWII bunker, repaint it or get a new one if your homeowner’s association allows.
• • Purify what is neglected. If the main signs of life outside your home are insects in cobwebs, unplug the pressure hose and clean the power supply. Pay special attention to windows, doors, and walkways. Then take out the glass cleaner and stepladder and clean the car lamps. Replace burned out lightbulbs. These outdoor lights are the adornment of your home. You should sparkle.
• • Bring flowers to your house. If the vase on your table has been empty like mine all year, fill it up with something fresh and lively. It will remind you that it is high time to live again. When the doors of our houses open again to the long forbidden world, bringing flowers for your house is an excellent way to say thank you for your presence.
Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books including Downsizing The Family Home – What To Save, What To Let Go, “Downsizing The Mixed House – When Two Households Become One” and, in June, “What To Do” With Everything what you own to leave the legacy you want. “You can reach her at marnijameson.com.