“Our house in the middle of our street” ~ Madness

Or, as defined by my dictionary

House (n): a building used as a home; dwelling


An Englishman’s home is his castle. I’m not sure what this was initially supposed to mean – presumably that a person is in charge of their own domain. But I always liked the idea that it means going home and shutting your front door being like drawing up your own drawbridge so the world is shut out and only those you wish to enter can.

Our houses, our homes, are very indicative of who we are as people. Not so much location as that can be governed by factors beyond our immediate control, but how they look on the inside. And an impression is gained as soon as you step through a front door. Some people are obsessive about things being clean and tidy, some people live in veritable tips. and most people live in a state that’s somewhere between two.

When I was younger my mother would tell me, in getting me to tidy my bedroom, that “A tidy room is the sign of a tidy mind”. I would shrug this off as so much rubbish back then. But as I’ve got older I’ve realised it has a great deal of truth, for me at least. I know when I’m out of sorts because things pile up at home; I don’t put things away, I leave letters in a pile (opened but not dealt with), and I don’t do the cleaning. This is always because I have stuff in my head that I’m not dealing with or don’t want to deal with, and my environment then reflects this. I also lose things. As I rarely ever lose anything, this is the biggest sign for me that I’m not right and need to sort my head out.

Another great mother saying was “The floor is not a shelf”. I love that one. Again, this was when I had stuff all over my bedroom floor. Thing was, I always knew where everything was. It might look a big messy pile (ok, it was a big messy pile!) but I knew where everything was. These days, the floor generally is not a shelf. Except when I haven’t worked out where something needs to go. Then it gets special pile-on-floor-in-the-corner status until I work it out.

The last, I know, would drive some people mad. But what’s the harm in a bit of untidy? I’m not advocating the putting stuff in a corner and ignoring approach as that is mentally unhealthy. But sometimes not every cushion needs to be primped, every skirting board dusted, and every single item put away, for a house to be a home.

So what about you guys? Obsessive tidiers? Happy to live in a mess? And do you think your environment reflects your state of mind or governs it? Thoughts appreciated, as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard.



3 thoughts on “Houses

  1. I can’t bear messes. Having this work done in the house is making a right mess & I will be glad when its done. Its going to look fabulous though! My daughters room used to be the stuff of Kim & Aggies nightmares & it drove me bonkers – we had so many rows about it when she was a teenager. She is tidyish now. I think tidiness comes with maturity (for most people) Karen is really untidy & messy & I think that’s got alot to do her always being really disorganised & late – can never find stuff in the mess. It really is a state of mind!

  2. Where do I begin?! I’m compulsively untidy. It’s as if it’s I’m my DNA. In fact I’ve so much to say I may need to reply I’m blog form!! Another fabulous post. Thank you. Love. Lx

  3. I moved to Brazil a year ago, carrying two suitcases. I was given an empty flat. What to buy to make it home? I found myself mourning the loss of mundane things, i couldn’t believe I no longer owned those dishes or cups from my old flat. Eventually I could see that the items around me didn’t make my home, it was me inhabiting the space that did. In one year I have already aquired more possessions and the cheerful clutter is helping make it feel like home.

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