“And I’m not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all, and…. oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home.” – Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

Of all the words in the dictionary, the word “home” resonates a place in our heart reserved for feelings that are almost indescribable. Like a sigh, it just belongs there, settled in and comfortable, resting assuredly in the folds of our heart.

It’s the familiarity and comfort of something that is woven into the very fabric of who we are. A smell. A sound. The feel of the air. The sight of things we love. The taste of something. A memory so seared into our soul that it is never forgotten. It’s “home.”

That Special Place

Our plane glides down and the view of our surroundings settle us. Home.

You pull into the driveway, after being gone too long. Home.

You place photos that you love in your new house. Home.

You drive by the house that built you. Home

My essay by the title “Home”  speaks to the memories of where I was raised, my childhood “place.” Yes, where I live now is home to me, but home, in my mind, also transports me to where my youth was planted in the soil of my forefathers.

And that life will forever be woven into the fabric of my being, the strong threads that bind me to country air and corn fields. Home.

There’s nothing more special than feeling the arms of home surround you. It’s a sensation like no other. But what is it about your home that does that? What is it that we do to make the place where we live to become a home?

It’s just walls and mortar, right? A box put together with wood and nails, furniture and our “stuff” sitting around adorning it with colors to match our personality.

But the minute that we walk in, it sucks us in, embraces us, and we relax into its waiting arms. We breathe out that sigh we’ve been holding since we left. We’re home.

So many of us in our 60s have downsized and no longer need the extra rooms of a larger home. We’ve dwarfed our brick and mortar and cast aside the “extras’ that we used to think were so important.

Simplicity is the new buzz word that gives us a kick. Minimalist is our goal. And Marie Kondo is our new tidying queen. Every time we want something, we ask ourselves, “Do I really need this?” Our home has become a miniature version of what we had before; a new, condensed, dollhouse version.

How Do We Make Our House a Home?

What are the key pieces of our life that we must have in our space in order for it to feel like “us”? The five senses that we use every day have a lot to do with giving our house the comfort and familiarity we rely on to ignite this emotion.

Sight

Fill your house with photos and mementos of your favorite times. All it takes is one look at a photo to take you back to the moment the shot was taken. Nothing warms us more than a walk down memory lane. Adorn your walls with images that give you joy and heartfelt reminiscing.

Smell

My daughter’s house smells like Tuberose. She’s always loved those candles, and I would bet that her girls will think of “home” every time they smell that scent.

Perhaps it’s your favorite lotion or face cream. Or your laundry soap. Signature your smell. Make it your own. Your walls, your clothes, the structure and threads of your life will embed the scent and own it. It will reflect “you.”

Touch

Nothing is more comfortable than a couch or chair with your favorite afghan or blanket laying on it. Snuggling with your favorite wrap gives your home a Hygge feel, the coziness that Denmark is noted for. Contentment. Warmth. Satisfaction.

Taste

Fix your favorite meals, the ones that add personality and flair to your cooking experience. Invite your friends or family over to enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres. A house becomes a home when your table is stacked and surrounded by your loved ones.

Hearing

Music moves me. Soothing music, jazz, country, or oldies – I love it all. Technology is so advanced now, you can have several different playlists for each of your moods. Fun, flirty, quiet, or festive.

Music fills our space with the sounds of “us.” Create your own personal vibes that make you feel good, ones that make your soul dance.

Size Doesn’t Matter

No matter how big or small your space is, you can make it “home.”

My sister and I moved our aging mother into an assisted living home several years ago. Her safety was the deciding factor. It was time. We watched as the difficulty of acceptance washed across her face in waves of conflicting emotions.

Then finally, the sigh of familiarity settled into her eyes as she became content. She was “home.” Gradually and gratefully, like the comfy feel of soft slippers, she felt this one large room that contained her things had become her home.

The pictures, the quilt, the rocking chair, the familiar memories of her life, came with her and reside beside her, where she now seldom wants to leave. She’s safe, comfortable, and happy. What more could we want for her? And because she is there, it’s “home” to us too.

We dive into that feeling just by her presence, and Mom’s signature brand of “home” washes through us, settles there, and gives us joy.

So, you see, “home” is not concrete. It’s abstract, evolving, and an ever-flowing feeling of comfort and contentment. A never-ending “ahhhh” that you create for yourself and your family. It is nothing about the size, or cost, or adornment of “things.”

Dorothy’s famous line as she clicked her heels together reverberates lasting words that ring true to our ears:

“There’s no place like home.”

What is it that you do to make your house a “home”? What is the favorite signature smell? What can you do to create more comfort in your home? Let’s share ideas on what “home” means to you.

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