Monday, February 10, 2014

A Year-long Quest for Lovely (A 30 by 30 note).

In reviewing the half-way-through my 30th year goals, I've realized that the only way the rest of my tasks will get done is if I schedule it to get done. I'm not a schedule kinda gal, but I'm all about goals and accomplishments this year, and it's time to buckle down and suck it up. Life with three kids sort of demands it. Otherwise, our greatest accomplishments each day will be getting out of our pajamas and maybe sweeping up last night's dinner crumbs. Life has got to be more than that.

A lot of my goals are possible to accomplish here and there, but there's one that stood out to me - one that I feel cannot possibly happen in time for my birthday, but is single-handedly the one item that will bring the most happiness and satisfaction to my life. And if that's the case - I should probably pay more attention to it. The little goals that are easy to cross off are fun, but shrugging at the big, will-really-make-me-feel-great-ones, citing that they were just too far out of my grasp - is nothing short of a crime. It's time to push through those loftier goals - reach out and take hold of the things I REALLY want.

Of course, things like that take dedication, hard work, and diligence. And so I've decided to take this one really big, totally satisfying task, and turn it into its own goal.

Ironically enough - this task is #1 on my 30 by 30 list. A significance I didn't realize when I wrote the original list, but maybe that should tell me something. It was obviously the first thing that came to mind when I asked myself, "What do I really want?"  That should have been a clue.
1. Have a "Home Made Lovely" worthy home by my 30th birthday, even if I don't actually participate in the series! I just want it to look like it fits in with those homes - happy and bright!
Every time I read over that goal, a slew of excuses came to mind. "Well, I'm pretty sick and uncomfortable, maybe I can work on it after the baby is born," turned into "Well now I have a refluxy newborn that won't let me put him down for 2 full minutes," and "I can barely keep up with the dishes, what makes me think I can pay more attention to my house?". These things are all valid, so I accepted them as soon as I thought them. And meanwhile, I became more envious of people with those beautiful, bright homes - more wishful that I had the time, the talent, the drive, to end up with such a pretty space in my own home.

But why? Why not just do it myself?

And let's really think about this for a minute. I spend A LOT of time in my house. I live, parent, love, cook, clean, craft and everything else in this house. I leave so infrequently these days, it's kind of ridiculous (though the blizzard-y sight out my window right now makes me thankful for that at the moment). Even when the weather turns around and Jake is a bit more manageable, most of my ventures out of the house are quick and for the kids. So understanding that most of my life is being spent within these walls - shouldn't I just absolutely adore my surroundings? The best I have right now is contentment. When everything is cleaned up (for five minutes), and the clutter is kept at bay, and kitchen is sparkling, and the sun is shining through the windows - I'm content. But I'm not in love. I'm not energized by my space. Part of that is limited - the layout of my living room is frustrating, and our rooms are quite small. But it can be better. I can get so much closer to love that I am right now.

I know that I'm fighting a few battles, here. There's cost, of course. We don't have the sort of budget right now that will allow for new furniture, frivolous purchases, and things of that nature. I'm also fighting (hard) against the mess and chaos that is three kids. And a husband who, while absolutely excellent at helping me keep up with the never-ending tasks (like dishes, laundry, etc), seems to lack the organization gene. The man loses everything his hands touch, and even after I organize things and make it clear about where they belong (seriously, I even labeled everything in my pantry to help him "get it")...he ignores it. Admittedly - I'm a sentimental pack-rat. If any one object is tied to a memory or milestone, it's a challenge to get me to release it. And finally, my house isn't the best with natural lighting. There are a few bright spots, but I feel like there's just not enough, and we've never been able to get quite enough of the right lighting where we need it. I can't do much about natural lighting, and I have to be stingy about any lighting purchases.

But there is so much more I can do. And most importantly, I want to.

As I'm reading The Happiness Project right now, I am so inspired to just DO. I told myself that the New Year would be a fabulous time to read a book about dedicating a year to happy things, and I was right! I'd already set my resolutions for 2014 by the time I picked it up, and it's been such a fitting and inspiring read for where I am at the moment.

And so, I've decided to turn this one piece of my goal list into my own year-long quest.

I suppose that this is an awkward point to start a year-long project - it's not Jan 1st, or my birthday, or anything particularly noteworthy. So I decided that my quest begins and ends in February, and what better day to finish up than Valentine's Day? My goal is not just to have a lovely home, but a home I love. It feels fitting. And I want to share every step of the way with you.

First on the agenda? Setting goals.

I've already established that I have until February 14, 2015 to finish, but since this item is on my 30 by 30 list, I will need to hit some sort of milestone by my birthday. Maybe half of the items I hope to accomplish finished? Or one category of what needs to get done? I'll have to revisit that when I figure out exactly what my goals are!

Next...What exactly do I want?

Some of the key words I find myself saying over and over again are: bright, colorful, cozy, happy, crafty, and nostalgic. I want the finished product to be all of those things.

Since we renovated our kitchen a year ago (probably the biggest task that needed to happen in this house), the transformation has already started - and given me a jumping off point. That used to be the biggest thing I want fixed. Now my goals are to: declutter, simplify, organize, lighten and brighten, personalize, and celebrate.  

I want to have less stuff, I want more efficient homes for the stuff that remains, I want lighter and brighter colors through my house, I want more of our personal family pictures and memories to adorn the walls, I want it to look like every day is a celebration of all we've done in life, and when all of that is done - I want to live in a well-run machine. One that functions on a feasible cleaning schedule and a reasonable organizational system. Those are my goals.

I need to spend some time thinking about the steps to take to accomplish those goals, and to insure that the result is bright, colorful, cozy, happy, crafty, and nostalgic. I need to not only decide what those steps are, but figure out a reasonable plan to fit them into my daily life with three kids, one of them not quite being ready to stay out of my arms for very long. And additionally, I need to discover some milestones in the process to track my progress and keep working towards my goal.

Accountability is key, so I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you. Next time, I'll share my list of tasks and projects. Do you have any tips or suggestions for me? I'd love to hear them!


  1. As the mom to 5 little kids, I prioritize and work on one goal at a time until completion. This worked even when I had 5 in diapers. Even at the busiest time in my life I was able to complete one goal, although no one said it was easy.

  2. I need to jump on board. My home is the last place I give attention to. I have major plans and ideas that I want to do, but other things always come first. I hate that. I want my home to be pretty - or at least how I envision it.

  3. This is an awesome goal. Home is where the heart is, so it makes sense to take the time to focus on making your home exactly what you want it to be. Looking back on your progress each month definitely helps to keep you in check. Also, having a checklist that you can cross off when things are done is very rewarding! Dropping by from SITS, and by the way, I'm a native Buffalonian!