Today my dear beloved Andrew and I celebrate 5 years of marriage. 5 years! We basically know everything there is to know about marriage now… Kidding! We don’t know everything, but in 5 years we have learned so much. We’ve learned how to live together, build a home together and enjoy even the frustrating moments!
We’ve also welcomed our fair share of chickens into our home and hearts : )
In our 5 years of marriage we’ve turned 2 different houses into our home, and gone through one really long (patience testing) renovation! Our homemaking journey hasn’t been without its mistakes, but it’s been fun. There are some things, however, that I so wish I would have known or at least thought about when we were starting out. A few things which could have saved us a few headaches, and for sure a few dollars!
This list includes those lessons. 5 things I’ve learned in 5 years of homemaking that would have saved me a lot of time had I known them earlier!
1. Don’t Rush a Purchase
Picture this: You are standing at the door of your new apartment, your groom carries you over the threshold, you unpack boxes of wedding gifts only to realize you have no stuff. I remember standing in our first home and realizing “Shoot! We need more furniture!” This is reality for most newlyweds and if you aren’t careful, this is where mistakes are made. Rushing to purchase stuff is NEVER a good idea. One of my dear friends got married the same year as Andrew and I. They were college grads with no money and an empty apartment. They went to a furniture store, found a living room set they liked and said “We’ll take all of it!” 5 years and $75 monthly payments later, they FINALLY finished paying off that furniture. And the worst part? She doesn’t even like it! Don’t rush!! You really don’t have to have brand new stuff. You will live, trust me! Save until you can pay cash or buy something second hand, but don’t rush any purchase!
2. Know When to Compromise
Now that you know not to rush any purchases, you will need to know where to compromise. Maybe that means shopping second hand for some of the items in your home. For this past house, I was able to shop almost completely second hand and got some really great pieces! (Read about that here!) There are some things, however, that are best bought new. I think back to a little blue dresser in our first house that we found used for $150. It was really cute, but not sturdy and when I moved our clothes in, the bottoms of the drawers sagged making them impossible to open! It was so frustrating to have to go to war on that thing just to get a pair of socks! Looking back, the dresser was not where we should have compromised. When deciding where to compromise, I think of what’s going to see daily use and needs to be sturdy, and what will fare well even if it’s cheap.
3. Think Quality over Quantity
There are moments of compromise when it comes to furniture, as I mentioned above, and there are moments to go for quality over quantity. Your $1,000 could get you a room full of stuff from Ikea that will last a few years, or it could get you one really nice piece that will last forever and have great resale value. I wish when we were starting out that we would have invested in a few nicer pieces instead of buying lots of little things. We bought a Pier 1 couch for our first apartment, and while it was cute it was not quality! And it wasn’t cheap either! Sometimes quality isn’t always measured by the price tag. Read reviews, look at how it’s made and make sure you are getting what you paid for!
4. Find Your Style
Your style is going to change BIG TIME after 5 years of marriage. It just does! There are things I would have loved to have in my house 5 years ago that I would hate to have now. It took a few years to learn what my style was, and it’s also changed depending on where we have lived. Define you style and take time to discover what you really like. One of the best ways to do this is to think of someone whose home you really love. What do you love about it? What is the look you constantly come back to on Pinterest? Make some mood boards and find the common themes. Know what you like and don’t be afraid to buck the trends!
5. Enjoy the Journey
It can be hard to homemake in patience when you see so many things you need to do or buy, but can I just encourage you to enjoy it! This is one thing Andrew and I love doing together — hunting for exactly the right piece of furniture for our space. There are some rooms that sit empty until we get to them, but I’ve learned to take a deep breath and just relax. Our first apartment wasn’t my dream home, but I have so many fond memories of making it cozy! Our funds were limited, but I used what I had to make it the best it could be. Treat what you have now as though it were the home you plan to live in forever. That attitude shift will make the waiting so much more enjoyable and even fun! Don’t be so focused on the future that you miss out on the enjoyment of today!
I hope some of these points have proven to be helpful to you. In 5 more years I’ll probably have to write another post about how much more I’ve learned! Until then, have fun and enjoy the journey!
*Photos in this post were contributed by Jessica Lynn Tucker Photography