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Make a House a Home?
You just got married, moved to a new house, or want to re-do the house you are currently live in. So how do you create a beautiful sanctuary away from the world? How do you set up your home without breaking the bank or your back? How exactly do you make a house a home? It’s actually a lot easier than you think. I’m going to tell you about some time and money-saving tips I’ve used to turn my own house into the home I’ve always dreamed of.
“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” -Isaiah 32:18
What Makes a Home a Home?
A house is a place you live. It’s where you eat, sleep, and play. It serves a function, to shelter you. A home is very different. It is a reflection of the best parts of the family who lives there. It is where you create a meal to be shared around the table after a long day at work or school. It’s where children grow and are nurtured by their parents. A home is a place a family can recharge and feel safe from the chaos of the world around them. Home is where Christ should dwell.
I grew up in many types of dwellings. I’ve lived in two-story sub-urban split levels, apartments, double-wide mobile homes, and some really beautiful turn of the century houses. But the one thing they all had in common was, they were home. My mother would not say she is an interior decorator by any definition of the word. But she always managed to make wherever we’ve lived feel like home. And that is no small task, considering up until I was a senior in high school we moved on average once a year for every year I was alive. Trust me I counted. In fact, the home they currently live in is the first place they’ve lived for more than five years. It will be coming up on 25 years this year since my parents bought their home.
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” -Proverbs 14:1
Making the Bland Beautiful
Making a house a home shouldn’t be an expensive or exhausting job. It really should come down to a couple of tasks.
- Create meaningful traditions that focus on faith and unity as a family
- Keep worldly influences at a minimum
- Purge the unnecessary
- Only have items in your home that you and your family truly love or need
- Reduce clutter and create functional storage
- Decor should be simple and where applicable, inspirational
- Create spaces that have specific jobs
- Less stuff means less cleaning
- Never pay full price for anything (you really don’t have to)
No, I’m not talking about the movie. Although, this might be a little nightmarish to some. We hold on to things for many reasons, some are justified, some are definitely not. A good method for clearing the clutter is to take one room at a time. Aaron and I did this exact thing at the beginning of the year. We did one room every weekend and it was an amazing feeling when we finished our last room. As you go through every drawer, closet, or shelf you need to ask yourself a few questions if you are having a hard time getting rid of stuff. If you are a newlywed this is also a good time to evaluate the things you are bringing in to a new home as a couple.
Questions to ask yourself
- Is it in good condition?
- Do we have more than one?
- If it’s clothes: Have I worn it in the last year? Does it fit currently?
- If it is sentimental you should have it out on display or put in a long-term storage location.
- Does it serve a purpose?
- With kitchen items: Does it serve more than one function or is it a single purpose item that can be replaced by something with multiple uses? ie: Instant Pot replaces a steamer, crock pot, rice cooker…
- Do you absolutely love it?
After you’ve asked these questions you must either put items in their proper place, trash them, or donate them. If they have value you could also try to sell them. Some people like to have garage sales after a purge. But you must absolutely get rid of the stuff that doesn’t sell! This is also a good opportunity to perform a deep clean of each room as you go through them. When you are done you should have a lot less “things” in your home which will most definitely make it easier to keep your home clean and organized.
Setting Up Your Home and Decorating
My favorite part of homemaking is setting up my new kitchen and decorating the entire house. The first thing I did when we got the keys to our current home was to go over and paint. Trust me, you would have done the same. The previous owner thought that tomato red was an awesome color for a living room, and mustard baby poo was an outstanding color for the rest of the house. So honestly the decor you choose has to be a reflection of the tastes of those who live there. And the way you set it up has to be functional for you and your family.
Now the fun part. Where is the best place to shop to get items for the home without breaking the bank? Well, ultimately you should know what kind of stores are available in your area as well as if you are willing to travel to get to them. I really don’t feel it’s worth driving two hours south of me, through Seattle, just to go to Ikea. But you might feel differently. That is why I am going to provide you with multiple options and maybe a few things you didn’t think of. And when buying items for your home always remember it is better to buy something that is a little higher in price that will last a long time versus something cheaper that will break after a small amount of use.
Where to Buy?
- Clearance sections and sales are your best friend. I can’t tell you how many amazing things that I have bought for my home that came from these two places. The best clearance sales are usually seasonal. Although JoAnn and Michaels tend to have clearance for the current season because they are always one season ahead on their stock. So during spring, you can get spring clearance. Other stores more commonly have clearance when the season is ending. I can honestly say I went a little crazy when Hobby Lobby had their spring clearance. Hey, I spent $25 and got over $130 dollars worth of decor. I absolutely love JoAnn for their seasonal clearance. I can usually walk out with some amazing stuff for under $20.
- Second-hand stores or charity shops as they are called outside the U.S. I’m a little pickier when it comes to second-hand stores. You can usually find a lot of great items in them, but there’s also a lot of junk. And honestly, it seems lately like they are really marking things up way to high. I avoid goodwill like the plague, their stock is extremely overpriced, they’re return policy is horrible, and the company is just not one I support. I would go to the Salvation Army if we still had one in our area and smaller local shops.
- The dollar store. You would be surprised at what you can find for simple decor at the dollar store. I’ve created some really beautiful centerpieces from things I’ve found at the dollar store! And lately, it really seems like they are upping their game when it comes to trendy items. One of my favorite blogs with a YouTube channel is Do It On A Dime, and she has super cute dollar store hauls and tutorials!
- Antique stores. I used to think these places were filled with stuff that was way out of my price range. Boy, was I wrong! I just went into one of our local shops recently and found that not only do they have antiques, but she also sells decor items like the ones found at Hobby Lobby for very reasonable prices. It is definitely worth it to check out a couple antique stores near you. This also follows the rule that you should be buying well-made items that are a little higher in price. They truly made things to last back in our grandparents day.
- Garage sales. Sometimes you can find some real treasures with great prices at garage sales. And a lot of times you can bargain with the seller. Plus it can be a really fun day to take a friend on a Saturday and go garage sale-ing.
- Ebay or Amazon. Both great options for finding specific items. But you have to be really careful and make sure you’re reading reviews and determine if you really are getting a great price.
- Hobby Lobby. You know dang well I had to mention the Christian women’s mother ship. This place is filled to the rafters with amazing stuff! Their furniture is always on sale for 30% off. As mentioned above Hobby Lobby has some really outstanding clearance sales. They also have their 40% off coupon you get online or on their app that you can apply toward one regular priced item. Or you can do like we did and wait till they have their 50% off sale on home decor and signs. We got this beautiful clock for 50% that was originally priced at $70!
Once you’ve found the key items that make your home functional as well as inspiring. And hopefully, you’ve used the same questions from the purge when you picked your decor and housewares. At the very least each item should be functional and/or you should absolutely love it. Don’t fill your home with a bunch of things, simplicity is always best. And like I said the less stuff you have, the less you have to clean so you can be doing more important things like spending time with your family. That brings me to the most important part of creating a home, the family.
The Heart of the Home
A home wouldn’t be what it is without the family that lives there. And truly the traditions you make and the foundations you create for your children are what really make it a home. It is so important as a homemaker to establish traditions that strengthen the bonds of your family. Have dinner around the table together as much as possible. Designate a night specifically for family games. Every day set aside time for Bible study and encourage each other to read the bible on your own as well. Holiday traditions are always a wonderful way to create memories. Chores for kids help establish good habits as well as teach them to care for their belongings and have responsibility. I’m sure you can think of many more ways to foster love and create a place where Christ dwells.
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Making It Home
Creating a home is vital for today’s families. Many of the problems our current culture faces can be directly related to the destruction of the traditional family. If we are to return to the moral values we as a nation valued so greatly from the past, we must teach our kids respect and personal accountability. We must be present in their lives and stop relying on others to raise them. This is why the role of a homemaker is even more important now than it has ever been.
Our blog is called Making It Home for a reason. It has a double meaning. The first is that it is so important to create a place for our families to thrive, feel inspired, seek to improve our health and to become self-sustainable (a form of true freedom). The second reason we chose our name was because of our commitment to returning to a Christ-centered life and to leave our worldly past behind. We want to help you find the same kind of joy we have found by creating our home using biblical principles. We strive to help our readers everyday build their homes on the foundation of the Word.