It’s not me it’s you: Five reasons we fall out of love with our homes
Think about the future when planning projects but don’t neglect the small stuff
Before you tackle any kind of home improvement try to take the long view. Image: iStock/Getty Images
Here are five reasons people fall out of love with their homes and some tips for getting back on track.
1. The grass is always greener
I meet a lot of people who consider moving rather than trying to fix the issues they are facing. In most cases, the best solution is to reinvest in your home rather than move.
When the house isn’t working its easy to lose sight of all the positives that will be hard to replicate elsewhere. Maybe the area and location where you live are great, maybe you have wonderful neighbours or perhaps its choice of great amenities in your neighbourhood that you love.
There are a lot of costs associated with moving house, the finances being only one of them. If at all possible try to find a way to make the most of what you have.
2. The original job only solved a short-term need
Another reason for falling out of love with your home is that it hasn’t evolved with your circumstances and needs. It’s easy to rush into a home improvement project without a plan. Going for a quick-fix solution is a short-sighted approach and probably the number one reason that people become frustrated with their homes over time.
Before you tackle any kind of home improvement try to take the long view. I’ve met people who at great expense went completely open-plan with their homes when their kids were young and then totally regretted it when they found themselves sharing their “nowhere to hide” house with teenagers.
The best way to combat this kind of mistake is to seek some impartial advice before you do anything. Try to think about future requirements and not just what you need right now. You might even find that this kind of forward planning will stop you from doing certain things and it will definitely save you money.
If you have made mistakes in the past, learn from them and be willing to undo some of the work.
3. Compromising to avoid planning permission
I visited a home recently where the owners had done an extensive job when they moved in, but opted for a layout that didn’t require planning. Now 10 years on they need more space and to gain it means undoing much of the original work. Don’t be deterred by planning. Yes you are opening yourself up to opinions from neighbours and there is a risk involved but compromising to avoid it is not wise.
4. Putting off the small stuff in lieu of a bigger ‘some day’ plan
If you are committed to a more significant project, this makes sense. If, however, your future project is more notional then try to tackle small things as they arise.
Broken fixtures and furnishings and unfinished work is going to have a negative impact on your daily life. Even small things such as lights that don’t work will have a negative effect. The best thing is to tackle these snags as they arise so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task.
If things are already out of hand, prioritise your projects. Make a list and come up with a plan for getting through it.
5. Too much stuff
Experts often advise on creating ways to hide stuff by way of storage and organisational tips. This is the worst possible advice.
Creating places to stash things is a recipe for disaster. It will either be a nightmare to find things or you won’t remember where you put them in the first place. You’ll end up buying more of the same things and before you know it your home will be overloaded with stuff.
In a study carried out by University of California, Los Angeles where they surveyed 60 middle class families in the city, three out of four of the families’ garages could not fit cars because of excessive stockpiling. The survey also found that managing possessions had led to increased stress hormones in mothers.
Embrace the Marie Kondo way and get rid of anything you no longer need, want or like. Then look at ways to create designated storage, it should be as easy to put something away as it is to find it. A place for everything and everything in its place is the mantra for harmonious living.