Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What does your house say about you?

Image from here
I stayed at a good friend's home last week while visiting my family. It was so kind of her to offer her space and we gladly accepted (it is always hard to squeeze my tribe into anyone's home when visiting others as you can imagine).

Her home wasn't as I expected. I have known her for a very long time. We grew up together. Defined the world together. Got into lots of mischief together. Through life's ups and downs, thick and thin bits, we get each other. She's a top shelf friend.

But I learnt things about her by the way her house was arranged and organised. 

It got me thinking. Why is it that we have our stuff sorted around us the way we do? What does it say about us? And why is our outward appearance sometimes so different from what is going on inside us?

Are we minimalist because we can't make a decision? We don't know what we need or want so just get nothing? Or is it because it makes us feel Zen. Clutter-free space, clutter-free mind?

Do we hoard because we can't let go? Or do we just like 'things'? Or do we just not have the space to house all of our belongings?

The fact that my house is mostly tidy with pockets of clutter and disorganisation. What does that say about me? That I am lazy? Laid back? Disorganised? Need more storage? or Just busy? 

And the total neat freak? With their perfect benchtops and clutter-free spaces? What does it really say about them? They are proud? Uptight? Organised? Storage endowed? or Just sorted?

I am not judging. I am just asking. Why did I expect my friend's home to be different?

21 comments:

ClaireyH said...

I would like our place to be more lived in looking, not with mess, we have plenty of that, but more furniture and lamps and nice stuff.

I am know wondering what people think about our place...empty, worn out, spacious, minimalist?

therhythmmethod said...

I am always relieved to see what other people's houses are like. I always envisage perfection, but to find clutter or dust, I find it relaxes me and makes me feel OK about my own clutter and dust.
My house is clean, but often messy and cluttered. But I see it as a workplace - a place where kids come to work at growing up. And I work at trying to contain the flood of toys and Lego bricks threatening to drown us all.

Diminishing Lucy said...

If we can analyse personality from trappings and stuff, I shudder to think what they'd make of our house!

"My" spaces are clutter free and zen.

The lovely husband works clutter free and paperless, but the garage and garden are full to spilling and he is a hoarder.

I have a son who is totally and mindfully minimalist and wants no stuff. And two girls who collect biys of paper and stash them.

Our home is a mass of contradictions...

You certainly have me thinking now...

I'm So Fancy said...

my house says: can't stand clutter but have zero design sense. At least my designer said that in a slightly nicer way...:-)

Julia said...

This is funny. I just had to think about my style recently. You know something---I have no idea what I am. I like cool and funky, yet I also love the quilts from my mom and husband's grandma. I love my garden, flowers, and antiques (no lace, I stop at lace :)) but I also love cool edgy photography.

I think if people walked into our house they would say that this chick can't make up her mind, and has no idea who she is....

I think, too, the fact that we have the twins certainly informs our style. Minimalist, uncluttered, solid pieces of furniture. Someday we'll have things just as we want them. Someday I won't have to worry about a child pulling a house plant down on their heads :)

Charis said...

Well you already know about my house(s) situation but I'm definitely a hoarder. Because y'know, someday I might actually use it...

Mum on the Run said...

The home itself says we're nothing fancy!
The way I keep our home says a lot about my OCD tendencies, but also reflects the budget I have to work within.
The photos all over and around our place speak volumes about what is important to us.
People often describe our place as 'welcoming' and 'comfortable'. That makes our house a home - and me a happy girl!
The well worn welcome mat is an unsightly source of pride.
:-)

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

Very interesting post, MM – sometimes a person’s sense of style or purpose for a space is so different to their personality that it can’t help but take us by surprise 

We lost a lot of furniture due to the Brisbane floods at the beginning of the year - not because our house was in the flood zone, but because of mould. It was everywhere! For about 3 weeks, all we did was clean walls and surfaces, pots and pans and plates, scrub carpet, wash linen, and make multiple trips to the dump to unload things that were unsavable. I've never seen anything like it - and it was the same for hundreds around the city in varying degrees.

As a result, our home is sparse. We have a big lounge/dining room, with not a lot of furniture in it - which means the kids run wild in the lovely open space. I was a bit sad to see our sofas go, but I don't mind so much now. Our lovely carved wooden dining chairs are safe in the garage, minus fabric and innards – we’re using plastic at the moment, which doesn’t quite have the same loveliness, but it’ll do. I guess it makes our home look a bit random.
We have a lot of clutter in pockets, I have a tendency to stack things in random places, I don't always pick up toys at the end of the day, and my laundry is always, always, always, full. I didn’t ever expect a family home would be neat; but I try hard to make it comfortable.

x

wendy hill said...

I dont have any answers for you but youve got me intrigued. I wouldnt want to be analised this week thats for sure. Make that last week too. We have been thinking about moving and now that we are well and truly inbetween abodes things have gone to pot. I tried to do a needed tidy up late last night and stopped halfway and put myself to bed!
Someone should wrtie a book on this subject...

Kim H said...

This is something I think about a lot and it seems to be something that friends and I debate from time to time. I'm one of those uptight, neat freaks. But it's because it helps me feel calm and together. Mess causes me too much anxiety and an anxious person needs no extra need for anxiety;) But I'm not one of those judges who compare people's houses. Each to their own. Sometimes I wish I could handle more mess as i think my neatness can make messier/more relaxed people uncomfortable. So I find myself having to justify my neatness a lot of the time which can become a drag to me. 2 out of the 3 of my house dwellers are extremely allergic to dust and lint and animal hair so I have to be really anal about dust otherwise 2 out of the 3 of us are miserable. The number 3 dweller has no allergy and is the messiest person I've ever met. And he's a cleaner. Go figure.
xx

Tricia said...

I'm intrigued - knowing who you visited on the weekend i'm wondering what was unexpected? Was it sparse and mainstream ;-)

I love seeing friends homes for the first time -because i belive homes reveal a little extra about that person. Or at the very least it reveals how much value they place on their home.

My home alsways mirrors my moods - tidy and under control vs cluttered and chaotic. it swings between the two.

Megan Blandford said...

I think my house is pretty much what people would think it to be - very neat, everything with its place, no clutter... but still lived in and comfortable and very far from perfection.

You've got me thinking about friends whose houses I haven't been to yet, though...

Naturally Carol said...

Hi MM..I think human beings are complex, therefore we can probably guage the most obvious things about a person from their house but not the nuances...or can we? There are so many reasons and circumstances why a house may be the way it looks. My house is lived in by four adults and each of us has an influence in the way it looks..some good some not so good! I like parts of it and not others...like bits of my own life..complex! By the way, I don't know anybody who can follow through on a design fad and live indefinitely without breaking it's rules...minimalists often have full cupboards..for example.

Jodie Ansted said...

Yes - I think houses can say something about people. For sure.

Mine is often messy which says I not only have three young boys, but I'm also very disorganised at times. And lazy too. I can have days (like today actually) where I just can't bring myself to do much and I have a TON of stuff to do. Avoiding the inevitable, if you like.

When I clean properly I REALLY clean. I get down on my hands and knees and scrub the tile grouting with a toothbrush. Seriously. However, I don't do that often. ;)

I think I like my home to be tidy when people come because I want them to THINK I'm more organised than I am. And I think there are many people who do that. However, I also find I'm far more relaxed when everything is organised and tidy and clean. I really try to get the house in order before the weekend, because I think we're all a bit calmer in a tidy house!

I'm also trying to get more organised lately - and stuff is getting put away more promptly and I can locate stuff I need much more quickly. I'm more on top of the washing too. I need lists. Lists are good.

Altho, the school holidays have put a bit of a dampener on that. ;)

Sam-O said...

I am organised and feel really negative when my space is not ordery. Unfortunately I live with three males who resist my order.

Since the Munchkin came along it has had me tipped over the edge and my stress levels have gone through the roof! I've been trying to be more comfortable with less order.

In my experience, the friends who look like they would have immaculate living spaces are the hoarders who live in squallor and almost everyone else has a level of order and chaos somewhere between.

DancingInTheRain said...

I came home and looked at my house through the eyes of guest and immediately started clearing away the little piles of junk that slowly accumulate in unassuming corners! I know it could look lived in but I know it is a result of being lazy and tired!

Hi I'm Rhonda. said...

Our house says that we have not enough space and we need to de-clutter, I say this as this is what we are in the process of doing. Re-arranging, re-decorating...

Jen said...

Our house spells - little people live here! In every room we have kids stuff so not much else to show a personality or style. One day I hope that will change!

Miss Pink said...

Hmm I'm not sure.
I think it's the little things about a house. The details.
I read a lot more into the smaller things, objects out of place, something that just doesn't quite fit etc.


You asked how Karaoke was on my blog? Well I finally have a post up about it! http://www.goodgollyholly.com/2011/07/socially-anxious-guest-post-by-miss.html

Being Me said...

The fact that my house is mostly tidy with pockets of clutter and disorganisation. What does that say about me? That I am lazy? Laid back? Disorganised? Need more storage? or Just busy?
You'll find no "everything always in its place" in my house. I don't have time or inclination to stress myself out ensuring that. My place is lived-in, for sure, and just as your blog's namesake: piles of washing. Usually piles and piles of the stuff. Strategically whipped out of sight, though, so visitors would never know it's there. We're combination hoarders, minimalists, tasteful decorators (in most rooms - well... so I think!). I love what our home is turning into, we're renovating and extending. Four years so far. She's a fine barn.... there's a post somewhere in my future about it ;-)

Shelley @ My Shoebox Life said...

Such an interesting thing, comparing what you expect people are like in their homes and what they actually are. I adore my Shoebox, but I know there are some friends who don't like it, nor even feel that comfortable in it simply because of its size. I'm okay with that. I love it, I love the way we live in it, and I can't imagine it any other way. xx

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