If you have small children and read this blog, you know the mantra I have regarding the need to entrench your small children firmly in the home and the need for us as parents to be careful about establishing rhythm at home and being happy in the home before we start adding many outside errands or activities. Part of Waldorf in our homes is learning and practicing many practical life skills for the small child to see and emulate – and how can we do this if we are not home?
One thing to consider with being home is our physical environment. We probably all have areas of our homes we would like to improve, but being home does not mean we need to have an expensive house or furnishings to be happy.
One of the first things one can do to improve the physical beauty of the home is to seriously look at the amount of stuff and clutter in the home and pare it all down. Many folks are first attracted to Waldorf because of all those beautiful wooden toys – interesting that Steiner often discussed how the best toys were extremely simple and homemade, and yet we have this cottage industry of many, many toys. Pare down your toys, the amount of clothes your kids have and how many things you have. Your small home will seem spacious!
The second thing may be to consider unusual uses of space. I currently have a lovely school room in my dining room area and my dining room in a sunroom area. The dining room is more contained for homeschooling (ie, can’t see it from the front door when you walk in) and the sunroom area is larger and visible directly from the front door. Our breakfast nook area off the kitchen is a also now a playroom to keep the children close whilst I cook or clean.
Paint is something to consider as well. The right shade of paint can really warm a room and make it inviting. Evaluate your furniture as well – if you painted this piece of furniture or changed the drawer pulls, would it look totally different? Many times this is just as good as getting new furniture! Can you reupholster anything?
Rugs, curtains and pillows are last. If you can sew, that is so helpful but even if you cannot, perhaps you can find wonderful thrift store bargains. Can you take down the blinds and clean them all before you put up new curtains?
Then look at the outside of your house. Does it need painting? Pressure washing? Mulch? Is the front entry inviting? If you enter through the garage can you walk through the garage? Does the garage need painting?
This is a lot about the physical environment because I think when we are home all day the physical clutter, cleanliness and appearance of our homes can really affect how we feel!
Of course, the most important aspect of the home is the aspect of ensoulement. Is your home a happy place to be? A place where your children feel most calm and peaceful? Is it a warm and friendly place? Is is a place where if a relative fell asleep on the sofa that would be okay and even welcomed? Does your home attract people to want to come and be in it?