Today we went to visit some friends of ours - the kids and myself on a little playdate in the afternoon. Nothing unusual about that. And we have been there before, to their beautiful house. But today it all struck me. How calm it was when we walked through the door. Lots of cream and white and earthy tones but with shots of color in between ... the row of blue glass tiles in the kitchen. The splash of color from a vase of flowers in the living room. And the light. Huge fabric blinds behind the sofa softening and muting the afternoon sun so there was no harsh, just soft and glowing. The kind of place where you want to kick off your shoes, sit down with tea in a beautiful mug and browse through a magazine or finish a novel.
This is not a professionally decorated home. It's a family home and there are children's drawings and toys and it's a lived-in-space but it's so clean and beautiful and tidy ... downstairs there is a lovely area for playing and the toys look brand new and so thoughtfully chosen. No masses of cheap plastic toys at all - a wooden train table, a castle, a gorgeous pink kitchen with stainless steel pots. I wonder if it's the Japanese influence in the family, my friend's husband is from Japan. Maybe the good quality of all the pieces, the thoughtfulness of the items bought, the feeling of calm and serenity. I could have moved right in. Not like my house at all where all my containers and furniture are cheap (tho that in itself is not an issue, it's just that the cheapness is starting to show!) My house feels so mis-matched and things feel very chaotic as I unpack boxes and boxes from the not-moving.
But the thing is that even when my house is all tidied up (which right now it is hard to imagine it ever will be) ... i don't ever get to that stage of living which i saw today. The feeling that everything has it's place and the places are thoughtful. The house feels so calm because there is control and the absence of chaos. That's what i felt most keenly. The absence of chaos. Because my house seems filled with it and I feel it spilling out into every moment of family life. The days we go to the beach and leave the house frantically looking for flip-flops and clean swimsuits and where is that striped cooler bag. Usually ending up with someone shouting and tempers frayed. The mornings before school and camp. The last minute playdates. The nights of total mess and things lying around everywhere. I feel like I am always tidying and sorting but never arriving at my destination of house = sorted = ordered = in place = no clutter = peaceful = safe. Instead we teeter on the brink of chaos most days and if I manage to empty and re-stack the dishwasher and throw on a load of clothes I am doing well.
This is not good, for someone who does not work.
So today I am feeling really inspired by clean light organized spaces and I want that for my family too. I always have places for everything but this time I want everyone else to know where they are, and to make sure the kids learn to put things away and to be proud of clean ordered spaces too. I want our home to feel lovely and warm and to not be running around searching for things at the last minute. A little more peace. A little less chaos.
I am inspired to go shopping / dreaming at this (i have not been there since my days in London) and at this store. I am going to patch my walls with paint (we are just renting) and take my time before re-hanging pictures all over the place to make sure they create the right energy in a room. I am going to be thoughtful and try to keep the clutter at bay as i unpack and resort and put things back after a few weeks of being packed up. A few less things out. A few more in the basement in boxes. We have a dumpster outside and some charity donations piling up in the garage and that's a good feeling, to be clearing and making some space. Space to be organized, for everything to have a home, and to only keep out what we need and have space for.
It's good to have something to strive for, right ? I'll be reporting back on this soon with some photos of my new light organized home. Live in hope. That's what I say.