What I’ve Learned About Homemaking in 31 Years


love birthdays, be they mine or others’.   I celebrated my 31st yesterday.  Usually, I don my birthday princess crown for a good week leading up to September 1st and make as much hoopla as Hubs will tolerate.

This year’s “birthday princess week” (don’t knock it ’till you try it) was pretty low-key, but filled with simple pleasures like a date night with Hubs, a short personal retreat, gifts from my parents, coffee with a new friend, cards from loved ones, and cake with my sweet little family.

I could easily make this a “what I’ve learned about life” post, but in the interest of staying on the topic of “homemaking with intention, beauty, and mirth” :), here’s what 31 years have taught me about making a little haven wherever I happen to be.

31 years Worth of Lessons About Home

1.)  Home is wherever I am.

Moving 6 times during my childhood and 11 times over the course of my marriage (with a cross-country move to college in the middle) has taught me to embrace wherever I am for whatever length of time I have there.

Rather than wishing for someplace else, I’ve found that attempting to bloom where I’m planted is better for contentment, joy, and relationships.

2.)  Company makes a house/apartment/etc. feel more like home.

The sooner I invite people over and share a meal, the quicker my home feels warm and, well, homey.

3.)  The more I like my home, the more I’m apt to open it to others.

I realized early in my marriage that a cute and cozy home could be as easy as a trip to Hobby Lobby, some good lighting, and a few easy decorating tips (a la blogs like this and this).

Filling my space with beauty makes me enjoy it more and helps me feel more comfortable sharing it with people.


4.)  If I wait until my house is perfect to invite people in, I will always be waiting.

Better to invite them into the imperfection.  What better way to learn that home and hospitality are not all about looks anyway?

5.)  Zero mess is not a prerequisite for enjoying my home.

Do I like my house to be relatively tidy?  Yes.

But am I ever going to stem the tide of Megablocks, food thrown from the high chair, and reusable stickers?  Probably not.

So, to save my sanity, I’ve come to terms with a continual sprinkling of all of the above.

6.) Zero mess is not a prerequisite for having company.

Do I typically clean before having people over?  Yes.

But sometimes? I don’t do much–as a kind of reminder to my recovering-perfectionist self that a few (or a lot of) crumbs are not going to make people like my home (or me) any less.


 7.)  Making a home a haven for family and friends is a worthy endeavor.

I used to wonder if it was materialistic to spend time/energy/money on my house.  In the pursuit of purposeful simplicity and good stewardship of my resources, should I just leave the walls bare?

Then a wise interior decorator friend asked me if I thought it was truly more noble to have a “frumpy” house.


After realizing #3 above, I had to answer: no.  A home filled with beauty blesses my family and (I hope) others.  At the very least, my enjoyment of it makes me want to share it.

In decorating, can you go overboard in time/energy/money spent?  Yes.

But the same could be said for pretty much everything in life.

And I’m sure I go overboard at times.  And I do stuff I later say “meh” about.

But I’d rather do something and learn as I go than do nothing and have bare walls.

What have you learned about homemaking over the years?

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About Jenn

Jenn is the mommy of two small children + one obese cat and wife to The Hubs. She enjoys making pretty things out of random bits, filling her home with guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one-woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe.

  • Christy

    *** It’s better to think long term and invest a little than short term and have to keep buying the things that break or fall apart. (Buying real but inexpensive frames for photos and ditching posters and cheapos post university was a lesson there). ***You can get great stuff from charity shops and for free. (My favourite piece of furniture is a grey leather sofa I got for free 7 years ago through a friend of a friend and have made my guy friends move it to 4 houses for me!)*** It’s worth taking the time to get photos printed, buy decorative throws, put nice cushions and candles around..it helps your sense of “place” and means you are more motivated to stay

    • http://www.asimplehaven.com/ Jenn at a Simple Haven

      Yes to quality, friends helping move, and taking the time to make things cozy! You’ve probably moved as much or more than me at this point, huh? :)

      • Christy

        I think you actually still win in big moves. I might win if we count small moves and living out of a suitcase for a few months at a time. Prob close! x

        • Christy

          I cant’ sleep and weirdo me decided this was a good hour to “count” and give you a specific number. First move ever was to Miami. (Yep.. my parents have neverrr moved) (does three different living quarters at Miami count as three moves? You counted it as one.. I’ll leave it as one for now!) 2nd move was Liverpool (with Ohio visits in between for a couple months), third back to Ohio (Hudson), then Stow, then Newcastle (Sandyford), then Newcastle (Jesmond Vale), Newcastle (Jesmond) Newcastle (Ilford rd area) then that US sabbatical and then the Irish thing and back to the same house in Newcastle… complicated.. And little trips living out of a suitcase on projects and in America… voila.

  • http://www.thisvintagemoment.com/ Breanne @ This Vintage Moment

    I too love all things birthday, and Jared is a great sport about it. I agree with all that you said, I’m still hesitant to invite people over though. I love it when we do but it’s just getting up the guts to do it. =)
    We’re doing all kinds of homey stuff around here this month, putting a few more roots down and holes in the wall and it feels great.

    • http://www.asimplehaven.com/ Jenn at a Simple Haven

      Nail up those walls! (And then I want to see pics :)) And get those friends over!! :)

  • Mare Ball

    I’ve learned the same things. Homemaking is important, noble work. I’ve loved creating a home for my 3 kids, now grown, and and my husband. It’s unfortunate that there’s still a bit of a dismissal of homemakers as not doing as much as they employed woman.

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