Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat

One of the most wonderful things about the web is the enormous amount of free entertainment and information that it provides. One of my happy discoveries this year was Apartment Therapy, a blog that concerns itself only with the living arrangements of real people. It is a never ending source of inspiration and information and I feel truly happy just knowing that it is out there.

For the past few weeks they have been doing a year end roundup of their most popular posts of 2008. One of them struck a particular chord with me as it devoted itself to listing what someone - and I really don't know who - considered to be the top ten things that one needs in one's home. This really got me thinking because my home is my passion. What do I believe are the things most necessary to have a truly comfortable home? Well my friends, here it is, The Bee Charmer's guide to comfort at home. I couldn't do ten but I got it down to fifteen.

1. A large, comfortable chair.
2. A sturdy couch, long enough for napping, covered in soft and durable fabric and of classic design. Don't be cheap or trendy with the couch, ya'll. Nothing is more prominently placed or gets wallered more than a couch. And stay away from the loose cushions. You MUST trust me about this.
3. A decent set of white dishes with minimum service for 8 but 12 is better.
4. A decent set of stainless steel flatware.
5. 100% white cotton sheets, with a minimum thread count of 350.
6. Cotton bath towels, properly laundered (quit it with the fabric softener!)
7. Appropriate light bulbs. GE Reveal Bulbs in EVERY SINGLE SOCKET. Anything else is hooey.
8. A decent coffee maker and large, thin, porcelain mugs.
9. Books
10. Flowers
11. Art
12. A comfortable quilt.
13. The best mattress you can possibly afford.
14. A large, round dining table.
15. A clean bathtub.

The other thing I like about Apartment Therapy is it's constant discussion of quality at every price. Living well does not mean spending a lot of money. My white dishes came from Sam's Club almost ten years ago. I bought them when I was poor and their cost (I think about $125 for the set, which serves 8) was a big splurge for me. But they are classic and they are beautiful and they are still in the cabinet. My towels are from Target. One large, fluffy, all cotton bath towel is usually on sale for $8.50. They are fabulous, they wash up well, and you just can't beat the price. The point is that living well is not only for the rich, it is for everyone and there are a whole lot of people who do it, and don't do it, every single day.

The next thing I have to say on this subject is tied into the last item on my list, which is a clean bathtub. Clean is a big deal to me. Not operating room clean. Not "I can't go have fun with you dear friends because I am cleaning my house" clean. Whatever you are blessed enough to have can and should be well taken care of. Taking care of your things reminds you of their value and everything looks better when its clean. To me, a comfortable home is one that is clean and well organized.

One last thought and that is this. Leave some empty spaces. Don't rush out to fill in gaps with things that you don't really like and that don't really serve you. Be discerning and wait for the "right" thing for your home. Buy only what you love. It will always, always work.

Photo by Peter Canclini.

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