Home Training

So, if you ever buy a house, I strongly recommend just getting one built to suit your needs.

We didn’t do that, so our front door is nearly in the middle of the front wall of the living room. For an AV nerd, it is pure torture. We have a couch basically hanging out in the middle of the room.

In the kitchen, we have a fridge that don’t fit where the fridge is supposed to fit. Well, it fits under the cabinet, but there’s not enough space to open our back door, because, um, that door is toward the middle third of that wall.

To be fair, I shouldn’t be complaining, because we bought a house. No one from the several parts of my family that I’ve lived with has ever bought a house, and without a ton of work and a goodly among of luck, I wouldn’t have, either. Further, I love every corner of this place, even the challenges that it’s, um, interesting shape occasionally provide.

The best part about buying a house(beyond the security that it provides that I’ve never had before) is that it provides for an almost infinite amount of learning. The first thing I would encourage everyone to learn is a phrase that I over-use: "Nothing is important until it is an emergency." That single idea dominated the first 17-ish years of my adult life.

That’s truly the most bedeviling part of being a putative adult- there is no one else to force you address things as they arise. You can get away with far too much and still ‘get by’. If you’re ready to do more than ‘get by’, I’ll share some things I’ve learned as a first-time home-owner.

  • Don’t buy furniture for an empty house. The place is going to look huge before you have ‘stuff’ in it. It will not when you’re done moving in.
  • Start with function, and slowly bring on style. It’s much easier to live in a functional home than a pretty one.
  • Don’t let outsiders determine how your house should be styled.
  • Do have very in-depth conversations with your significant other about your combined ‘style’.
  • In the spirit of the previous item, I strongly suggest a strong neutral color on the walls, then you can add your splashes of color with what goes on them.
  • Don’t feel the need to fill up every little nook. You’ll have plenty of time to do that over the years.
  • Design your home to be easy to clean, rather than easy to use. You almost always have the energy to do a thing- where we waver is most often the cleanup.

One last suggestion: Whether you’ve bought a house, or your renting one, or you’re in an apartment- any situation in which you’re responsible for your shelter- develop a ‘home bible’. Get a binder, or a OneNote notebook, or a tool of your choice. Keep every bit of information about your home there. Utilities accounts, the date you last changed the filter for the furnace, any important dates like property tax due dates, renters’ / homeowners’ insurance info… Literally anything of marginal importance or more. Keep lists of proposed projects and future purchases. At the same time, create a home savings account. Even if you’re only putting $2 a week in there, it will add up.

Remember that phrase earlier? "Nothing is important until it’s an emergency"? Well, when you’re ready to move past that phase, you do it by flipping that script: "Nothing becomes an emergency if you deal with it as if it’s important."(Of course, emergencies will crop up from time to time, but they will be actual emergencies, not ones that we create through inattention.

Your home should be your sanctuary- the place where you always feel welcome- where you’re always happy to get there. It can take a lot of work, but it’s damn sure worth it.

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