Words & Photography by Elise Boreham
I recently had some extended time away from work. It was time that I waited for, planned on and dreamt about, practically all year. Finally, it arrived. My time was mine. At least for a little while. While I love what I do in the world and the time I spend out in it, I realised on this extended break from my usual routine, that time is what I crave most. Time to create, time to rest, and perhaps most of all, time at home.
Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like life is rolling away at an impossible speed. A speed I’m not sure I can, or want to move at. Whilst I would love to work entirely for myself one day, for now I’m stuck with the metaphorical ‘man’. This means early wake-ups, late finishes, and a weekly routine that can at times feel a little monotonous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. These are choices and actions, and we can change them. But we do still have to live it (and pay bills) every-day, and sometimes that can feel like a lot. In all of this busyness, there has to be quiet and refuge. A place where we can just be, and in our own time. So as my break began and time slowed to a pace I could keep up with, my focus shifted toward home.
Maybe it’s the introvert in me, but I believe home is at the core of everything. I know without question that after a busy day, an anxious week, or a stressful month, that the place I need to go is home. Home is the place where I unwind and recharge, where my day starts and where it ends. That ever-quickening pace the world seems to move at slows, and my world is just that, mine. My family recount to me often, that ever since I was small I have had a penchant for home-making. Rearranging furniture here, moving ornaments there; nothing has changed. My surroundings have always been one of my greatest forms of self expression, and perhaps one of the most enduring influences in my life.
Home is a small piece of the world that is ours to shape, and mould, and nurture. We get to choose what it means, and what that looks like. I believe home and self to be intrinsically linked, a part of the soul. So to make a home your own is a very deliberate act of self-care. Your very own kingdom made by collecting, organising and living, that is true to you.
For me, home is a sanctuary, and so I choose to fill it with things that speak to me. I have a love of ceramics that borders on obsession, a seriously longstanding weakness for linen, and a collection of photo frames large enough to open a small gallery. While they might seem inane to others, these objects hold profound meaning to me. Sometimes it’s hard to explain why we love something, but the key is in the feeling. Fill your home with things that speak to your soul, that reflect you, and these things will fill you up in return. It’s not about having the most things, or the best things, it’s about what these things mean to you, how they speak to you. Build your home with feeling and it will nurture you infinitely in return.
While I love to be surrounded by beautiful things, I also love an organised and clutter-free space. Space to think and breath without the contents of the linen closet crushing you, or the sheer size of your wardrobe overwhelming you. It is all too easy to become stifled by stuff, inhibited by choice. For me at least, this doesn’t feel good. Organising my home has really been about two things; storage and consumption. No matter the size of your space, storage is always an issue. Make furniture decisions that cater to your storage needs, and your home will be a far calmer one. This also means having what you need and love, and ditching (or donating) the rest. Resist the modern-day urge to fill every known cavity with stuff. Organisation has also meant honing my consumption more broadly, considering the purchase of every item carefully before bringing it in to our home. Is it an item of quality? Do I need or love it? Will it add value to my life? Living in a one-bedroom apartment, on a tight budget, I can now say this is a practice I am well versed in.
Home is also in paying attention to the little things. All of the comforts, rituals and routines that make up my world, begin and end at home. Creating this sense of sanctuary is a very deliberate act, and only exists when we take the time to appreciate it. It is warm summer nights grazing over dinner in the courtyard. Sunday afternoons cooking up the morning market finds. The morning light hitting that sweet spot in the living room. Watching our herb garden grow and thrive as each day passes. Home is a place where time should be measured in cups of tea rather than hours passed. A place where you can laze in bed until midday, and not get dressed at all. Home is in all of these things, but you must pay attention, as it is in these seemingly insignificant details that the real beauty exists. Slow down, be present and make time for the things that actually matter, and your home will repay you daily.
Home is what we make it. The more you build it and nurture it, the more it will care for you. Give home your time, your focus, your care and it will give you the world; your very own world. There is so much that we cannot control. My early wake-ups and weekly routine roll on, much of my time dictated by someone else. But home is of our own making. Surround yourself with things that speak to your soul, keep all that ‘stuff’ to a minimum, and pay attention to all of the tiny, beautiful things happening around you. Home is a sanctuary, a place that is infinitely yours. If it isn’t, do everything you can to make it so, for there is no greater place to be.