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I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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Last night after the last plate was cleared from the table, I sat in my chair and took in my surroundings. I thought to myself, “The true comforts of home cannot be purchased.” Sounds like a contradictory statement considering the fact that I make my living as an interior designer. But it’s true.

“Where we love is home—home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts” – Oliver Wendell Homes, Sr.

I’m a self-professed homebody and I can see the same characteristics developing in my children. This doesn’t make us hermits or anti-social, it just means that I’ve managed to accomplish the kind of home my grandparents created for our entire family. We’ve created a house of refuge.

What does this mean exactly? Well I hope to answer this question in today’s post by sharing with you the 7 life lessons my (grand)parents taught me about home. Perhaps a few of these lessons will inspire you on your quest to create a safe haven for your family and friends.

LESSON #1 – Respect your home.

Did you see the episode of Oprah when she surprised Iyanla Vanzant with a home makeover?

“This is what I know for sure,” Oprah tells Iyanla. “Your home should be your sanctuary, and I’m telling you, your home should be the thing that rises up to meet you.”

I got chills when I heard that. Seriously.

After Oprah’s call, Nate Berkus swooped in a gave Iyanla’s home a total overhaul. Now Iyanla’s home respectfully greets her each time she walks in. Seems legit.

So it is fair to say that when you respect your home, your home will respect you? I would agree. Show your home some love and it will love you back.

LESSON #2 – Meals taste better here.

Kids love the dining experience, don’t they? Ok, let’s be honest. I love the dining experience. Growing up, we dined out once a week compared to two or three times my family eats out—and it was usually on Sundays after church. What I learned about eating a home is that you obviously save money, but it is the best way to teach your kids how to cook. In our microwave society we want our meals quick, fast, and in a hurry. In turn we sacrifice taste and nutritional value. Instead create your own dining experience at home by adding candlelight to your dinner table or try out new dinnerware.

LESSON #3 – The kitchen table is a great meeting place.

Growing up in a house of entrepreneurs, lots of business meetings took place at our kitchen table. Those six chairs serves as a conference table of sorts and allowed an exchange of ideas to flow right there in the heart of the home. The kitchen table was also a place to get and receive loving counsel. Anyone who sat at that table knew they would get nourishment for the body and the soul.

LESSON #4 – Clean out your closets.

If you are looking to help someone, then look no further than your closet. The women in our family were all pretty much the same size so we’d each go through our closets and give the others items we no longer wore. I’ve given and received some really great pieces from friends and family. What’s really funny is when you see how great the person looks wearing the items you gave them. Ha!! You kinda want your stuff back. Kidding, not kidding.

Let it go and consider it a blessing to the other person. In turn, you’ve receive the blessing of a cleaner, more organized space. I love this quote from Benjamin Franklin about organizing, “For every minute you spend organizing you gain an hour.” Now there’s a real treat!

LESSON #5 – Always be a good neighbor.

I grew up watching the classic sitcoms my mother watched as a child—Leave it to Beaver, Dennis the Menace, and The Andy Griffith Show to name a few. What I saw on television were a community of people who became extended family. We lived like that then and even now in my current community. Children really help to start the conversation between neighbors, but so does a simple wave when passing by. On our immediate block is our insurance agent, our daycare provider, and a couple who are like surrogate parents to us.

LESSON #6 – The floor is prime real estate.

After dinner my grandfather would leave the table and instead of heading for the sofa, he’d spread out on the floor. It didn’t seem odd to me at the time, it was just his thing. Sometimes I would join here there just to talk to him about my day. I knew I’d have to get there quickly before he dozed off. As an adult I find myself choosing to sit on the floor to be closer to my babies. You tend to move around a lot more on the floor than sitting in one place on the sofa. And getting up from the floor? He never had a problem with doing that. Floor living (which is a thing) may truly be an important factor that helps us to preserve our mobility and retain flexibility.

LESSON #7 – Live within your means.

Living within your means doesn’t not mean you sacrifice your desired lifestyle. In fact, living within your means gives you freedom. Let me explain. Being about to pay your monthly bills without worry allows you the time and headspace to enjoy making improvements to your current home. Even if you are renting, consider making improvements like purchasing a better mattress or buying quality rugs. These are two purchases that can go along with you whenever you decide to move. Living within your means allows you to spend your days doing the things you love like entertaining your friends on the weekend instead of stressing about picking up extra hours at work.

Question: What life lessons did your parents teach you about home? Share your answer below in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.

Image Credits: Oprah Magazine | Erika Ward Interiors | source unknown | Erika Ward Interiors | Personal Family photo captured by Katlyne Hill Photography | Houzz

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Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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