I love my home. When I first moved in, I would often go outside just to stare at its brick exterior and marvel at it. Here is a home that has been standing for over 100 years, and now I own it. I sometimes even wished I could give it a hug. Even though my building is my boo, that doesn’t mean I still don’t longingly peruse Pinterest, looking at all the perfect homes, and wonder what it must be like to live there.
In the years that I’ve lived in this building, I’ve used Pinterest a lot. It’s often been a tool to guide my remodels, paint colors, and design choices. Pinterest has also been a great way to store all my dream designs and picture-perfect life, kind of a virtual bucket list for the home. I wonder what it would be like to live in one of those immaculately designed homes, even for just a week.
Since a temporary move is out of the question, I decided to see what it would take to turn my current house into a Pinterest-perfect dream home. In the course of a week, I tackled as many organizing, cleaning, decorating, and styling tips as I could find, and this is what I learned.
I wish I had started doing the cleaning hacks sooner.
At the beginning of my week, I made a list of every DIY project, cleaning hack, and organizing tip I’ve ever saved and decided to tackle as many as I could. Some of these tasks, mainly the easy cleaning ones, I should have done a long time ago. For instance, did you know you could easily clean a coffee carafe with just baking soda and hot water? It worked so well that I can’t believe I spent a year embarrassed by the staining instead of just pinning my way to a solution. For the record, my mom knew that baking soda works as a solvent, so maybe I should make a Pinterest board called “things my mom already knew.”
Some projects are best left to the crafty people.
Despite the success in a lot of my cleaning and organizing tasks, I found almost no success or joy in the crafting projects. Turn a used Amazon box into a DIY rope basket: took forever and cost more in supplies than if I had just recycled the box and bought a basket from Amazon. Painting a mason jar is harder than it looks and I don’t think paint dribbles are the look I should be going for.
A clean and tidy home isn’t always worth the effort.
One of my goals for the week was to keep my home “visitor” clean. I wouldn’t describe myself as a messy person, at least not since college, but I’m the epitome of the “good enough” cleaner. I clean, dust, vacuum, and mop once a week, with straightening up a little every day. I also may or may not literally sweep the occasional stray fabric or dust bunny under a rug. This week, however, I tried to keep the house at the level of clean usually reserved for guests. At the end of the week, we were ordering takeout and eating off of paper plates because I didn’t want to spend any more time cleaning. I love having the house that clean and organized, but at a certain point, you have to sit down and enjoy your home.
There’s a reason plants are a hot home trend.
Plants and I have not always been friends; I accidentally killed a few pots of them when I first moved in with my husband, and ever since then I’ve been too scared to try again. However, one of the hottest trends is bringing greenery into your home, so I decided for the sake of journalism to give it another go. I’m glad I did, because for a relatively tiny amount of money, I now have succulents in almost every room in my home, and it brings me so much joy to see them. It remains to be seen whether or not they will survive my evil ways, but hopefully with the help of Pinterest, I’ll manage to keep them alive.
Trust your gut over everything.
Since we’ve been using Pinterest as our guiding light, we’ve already made some inspired choices in our home. During our kitchen remodel a couple of years ago, we decided to go with navy cabinets, which is now one of the big trends for 2017. While our kitchen is au courant, a couple of years ago, we got a lot of strange looks from family and friends when we described our vision. I ignored their side eye and went on with our plan, and I’m glad I did, not because it’s trendy now, but because it was the right kitchen for us. When striving for a Pinterest-perfect life, you still have to like what you’re doing and it has to feel right for you.
Any home can be perfect if you don’t actually live in it.
A friend of mine has one of those homes that’s always ready to be photographed. While I’m constantly flipping over my couch cushions because they keep getting flattened and crumby, her sofa continues to look like it just came from the store. The secret, she told me after a couple glasses of wine as we sat at her soapstone kitchen island, is that they never sit on their couch. Only when family and friends are over does she allow anyone to sit there, and that’s why her pillows still look fluffy and the fabric clean.
This became all the more real to me during my week of trying to live perfectly. After spending far too long organizing and cleaning my son’s play space, it was picture-ready for all of two minutes. In less time than it took me to put away just the Legos, my wonderful toddler had already rifled through his toy chest and made the same mess all over again. I was momentarily frustrated by my son’s unwillingness to play in an organized way. After all, did he not respect what I was trying to achieve?
It was then I realized that of course these homes on Pinterest look the way they do; they only need to be that put together and perfect for a photo. When Joanna Gaines decorates people’s dream homes, it’s done with their tastes and lifestyle in mind, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t going to get messy. Instead of getting upset at my son’s lack of vision, I decided his approach was much more in line with the way our family works. We clean up our messes and keep an organized house, but at the end of the day, we are couch-sitting, Lego-building family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.