How to Make a House/Apartment/Condo/Cardboard Box Under the Overpass a Home

“Oh that? I just whipped that up as the kettle boiled.”

OK, so you don’t need to handcraft a sampler to make your living space a home. Even if it’s temporary, even if you live alone, even if you only have a bedroom in a boarding house, you deserve to feel like your surroundings are your home. And, to me, home means a comfortable, warm place where I can relax and unwind. Here are a few things that I do make my condo feel like my home:

1. Purge and Organize

When I was living in a tiny studio apartment, I found that I had way too much stuff. When I had too much stuff, I never had enough storage for everything, so it overflowed into my living space. That made the living space feel more utilitarian and just a place to crash after work as opposed to a sanctuary.

OK, so maybe this takes the term “sanctuary” to a whole new level…

Anyway, my point is that when I moved into my condo, I got rid of a lot of stuff that I realized I just didn’t need. Or love. Or want. Or use. Basically, if it didn’t fit into any of those categories, it didn’t stay. If you don’t love it or want it or use it or need it enough to make a dedicated space for it, why is it in the damn house to begin with? Get rid of it. Donate it to the Sally Anne or Goodwill. But get it out of your home.

2. Make Your Space Smell Good

Maybe not for the bedroom.

To make your home smell warm and inviting, you can do a ton of things. You can bake something lovely that will smell up the joint, you can make your own carpet refresher (see my previous post on that subject), light a few candles or just open the damn window for a few minutes. Hell, simply boiling some cinnamon sticks, cloves and apple slices will make you smell like Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines’ lovechild. But, keep this in mind, too: having a nice smelling home is also about the ABSENCE of some odours. All the scented candles in the world won’t help if the garbage is stinking up your abode.

3. Surround Yourself with Things You Love

It’s amazing how a few photos, art work, souvenirs from past trips and items from my childhood make me feel when I look at them. So why not have them out so you can look at them every day?  I’m not talking clutter, but a few photos on a shelf with a turtle from my recent trip to the Dominican and a book from my childhood makes me smile whenever I look at them.

Too much…


4. Flowers

“He’ll never guess that I ordered these for myself from ‘A Secret Admirer’…”

Nothing makes me feel more indulgent or happy than a bouquet of flowers. Even an $8 bouquet from the supermarket makes me smile. I know, I know, I’m spending money on something that will be dead in less than a week, but I don’t care. Is $8 too much to spend so that your eyes can gaze upon beauty for a few days like an empress in a kingdom from another place and time? An empress who has enacted a law prohibiting ugly things from falling under her gaze upon penalty of death by rabid monkeys? Well, maybe. But I’m doing it anyway, dammit!


So these four things are all things that I do to make my condo feel like a home. Most of them are inexpensive (free if you pick dandelions for your flowers), but make a big difference in how I feel when I walk through the door. And how I feel when I walk through the door is what makes my space my home.

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