What is a home? Is it a place where basically we just eat and occasionally sleep? Is it a place that is a sanctuary? Is it a place that we gather with friends? Is it all of these?
I heard an expression used the other day while watching "Yours, Mine and Ours", the new version. The character of Helen, played by Rene Russo, said that "A home is for free expression, not good impressions." This got me thinking. Back in my bachelor days I did the whole, "Couldn't give a flying %$!@^ what people think of my home, I will drop my cloths wherever they may fall and I will clean whenever I get around to it. This was a far cry from the "you can eat off my kitchen floor" days that were earlier on. It was, shall we say, slovenly. But was it free expression, or just laziness and rebellion? I think it was more the latter than the former. Now that I am more of a minimalist that I ever was, my home is more filled with expression than ever, yet it is also simple in nature. This allows the energy to flow well throughout the space.
Now this is not to say that there are not designated disaster zones. My daughter just cleaned up the family room in the basement after 2 weeks of hardly being able to walk from the steps to the computer without stumbling over playmobile villages and creatively designed castles. Now THAT is free expression. But after awhile, even this gets a bit much. I figure if I have to start digging my way to the computer to do my blogging, then something's gotta give. She was very sweet about it. She waited till I was outside snowblowing for 4 hours today and then had at it, not just cleaning up the playmobile metro center (which by now it had become), but also remaking the spare bed, categorizing the DVD's by rating (PG on the far left, then General, then old comedies etc) and designated an old pair of "granny" cushions that neither she nor her sister like to a chair that is going to their grandpa's place. This space looks FABULOUS! I asked her why she cleaned up the playmobile when she could have left it out to play and just cut a path to the computer and she said, "Oh, I'm done with that for now. I have other things I want to play with now."So the free expression room is now perfectly tidy. Mind you....I haven't yet looked in her bedroom!
Although I enjoy having people come into my home and comment on how lovely it is, this is not the main purpose of keeping it tidy. It is a place where my wife and I are able to kick back and relax. When we have a disaster zone in the middle of our living space, we both get on edge and things start going downhill fast. It is like the disaster zone is a magnet for other "disasters" to pop into our lives. So, having learned that we need peace and flow of energy, we do our best to keep it as tidy as we can without being too anal about it. And we do this regardless of what others may think.