Home Refresh (and renewing contentment)

Yesterday morning, my study could only be described with one word: cluttered.

Yes, you heard me right. Filled with things that surely had other places to belong! It reminded me of the different moves I’ve had this year; surfaces heaped with random bits you need, furniture cramped into the space, special items that no longer look good because they aren’t displayed as they should be.

This was due to my new queen bed being delivered yesterday. I moved everything out of the bedroom to make the delivery as easy as possible. Since living here I have been sleeping in the study/spare room, and now finally have the luxury of… a bedroom that acts only as a bedroom! I have always wanted a dedicated writing space, and I think having the distinction between where I work and where I rest will serve me well.

However, the clutter and the change have made me motivated to deep clean, organise, and start the new year on a fresh note.

Tomorrow I plan on airing out my queen bedding (which has been stuffed in the linen cupboard for months) while I let the mattress breathe. Naturally this means I’m excited and ready to reorganise the linen cupboard as the quilt, sheets, and extra pillows have taken up half the shelves.

There are also Christmas decorations to pack away, as well as those odd jobs like tackling tea stains on mugs and tidying the insides of cupboards (in the study and the bedroom). While these odd jobs are not a weekly necessity, it is good to get them done every now and then. It refreshes the home. Clean mugs make tea time a bit more special. Organised cupboards encourage you to use that stationery or to wear that outfit that’s been tucked away. These jobs renew the contentment we can find in our own space, with our own items. We become blind to the beauty of our homes, to the joy in what we have.

I believe when we work hard to make our home clean, restful, and an expression of who we are – when we care for what we have – we are telling ourselves that what we have is enough. It is worth cleaning. It is worth presenting well. Regardless of wealth or aesthetic. Regardless of whether you have guests staying over, it is worth keeping neat and tidy. It is just me living here but going to the effort of setting up the dining table in a pretty way, tells myself I am worth doing this for. I do not have a big table to fill with an arrangement. I do not own expensive cutlery. I use homemade place mats. But in using what I have to make things beautiful, I find myself being more grateful. I am not envious of those who have expensive and extravagant plates and décor, because my own dinner time is lovely as it is. It is a mindful, restful time.

I would have loved my bedroom to be complete three months ago. But by looking after the study where I slept, I still felt content where I was living. I was still proud to show people the rooms of the house. It wasn’t a door I kept closed and a room I shoved things into without caring. It was kept neat even though it wasn’t ideal. I made the bed every day, tidied the desk and displayed plants and pictures.

It is natural to want more, want what we do not have. But taking pride in what we do have helps me feel grateful. Takes away the bitterness when we look to others who are doing “better” than us, who have “more” than us.

I say this as someone who has struggled greatly with contentment and jealousy in the past. This is something I have been learning, especially in the last two years as I have lived in different places and had long periods of waiting for things to change, waiting for new things. When I was living in Sydney and facing a lot of difficulties, God really opened my eyes and changed my prayer life. I became less selfish and began to praise God more for what I already had and what He had already done in my life. Now I look around and I have a beautiful place to live (though strange too!) and I see how I experienced the spiritual shift, that change in my attitude, before the physical change came, before I actually moved and felt un-stuck.

On that note, I hope you finish the year well and enjoy greeting what is to come!

Sarah xx

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