3 Free Ways to Make A Home In A Small Apartment

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My mother displayed a predictable country-blue cross stitch in our home for years. The small magnet proclaimed the eternal phrase, “Home is where the heart is.” I always rolled my eyes at the robin’s egg hue and overused saying. Now, at nearly 30 and as curator of my own home’s atmosphere, I appreciate the words. (Country blue, I fear, will forever be dead to me thanks to lethal overdose in formative years.) I’ve found “Home is where the heart is” to be key in helping me make a home out of a small apartment for four years. Click through to discover how the phrase can transform a mere living space.

 

I called the phrase Home is where the heart is “eternal” intentionally, for a parallel notion was penned in the Bible some 2,000 years ago. That’s old wisdom. Generally I feel that old wisdom can be trusted. In Matthew 6:20-21 Jesus said:

“…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NKJV)

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The concepts are startlingly similar: both phrases allude to where a heart settles.

If home is where the heart is, and the heart is where your treasure is, then we can find home by redefining treasure.

If home is where the heart is, and the heart is where your treasure is, then we can find home by redefining treasure.

Jesus himself said that the treasure of which he spoke was not material— “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal”. So we know this treasure that will anchor our hearts is not the assumed jewelry box or even chevron rugs or perfectly accented lamps.

I believe the most precious treasure is actually salvation which is found in Jesus Christ alone, which absolutely does tie your heart to one forever home: Heaven. But I also think that our more temporal idea of “home” is helped by advice to treasure more than stuff.

Home to me is a treasure chest of three jewels:  family, values, and daily rhythms.

1) FAMILY

 Home is family together. A few years ago my nuclear family celebrated Christmas in Hawaii. Although we were completely displaced and surrounded by wet, fragrant air and palms instead of dry wind, snow and pines, we felt at home in a rented house because we were together. The gentle tease of a brother can make any place feel familiar. Now, I don’t feel truly at home unless Caveman and my children are nearby. They are my heart outside my body and even when attitudes are on the grumpy side, we build home.

If you have lost family or don’t live nearby yours, remember that family can also be compiled by close friends. We have experienced that phenomenon too and the result is equally precious. Either way, home is where your people are. Make people your priorities. Treasure them, and fill your home with souls to serve and love. You might find the place feels a bit more homey.

2) VALUES

 Home is where your values grow. In the Shoebox, we do our best to live a certain way. We speak truth. We pray for others. We work hard. We share. We serve. We love. We cultivate an environment where our values learn to shine. Your family values might look different from ours, but this fact is irrefutable: a family’s moral code is echoed in the tone of the home.

The best news is that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control don’t take up any room on a shelf. Foster integrity and Biblical truths wherever you are living, and home will transform. In fact, the here-and-now definition of it might even fade in importance.

The best news is that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control don’t take up any room on a shelf.

3) DAILY RHYTHMS

 Home is where your afternoon tea happens. Well, not entirely… but here’s what I’m thinking. Much of “home” is what you do while you’re there. You might eat wholesome, home-cooked meals. You might enjoy your morning coffee with a favorite blog or book. You might keep your kids on a fairly standard schedule to order the day (I’m raising my hand!). You might love to blast your favorite tunes while exercising in the living room. Me? I delight in a hot cup of tea in a quiet, dark corner of the Shoebox during nap time. But really, those things can be done anywhere. It’s the rhythm of boiling the kettle and unzipping the Word at 1:30 p.m. that makes me feel at home.

Hey friend. Are you in limbo or unsure of where home is right now? I get that. It’s hard to be in an unsettled place. I felt so uneasy for a long time in the Shoebox until I decided to burrow into life, right here, right now. So let me encourage you to look past perfect placement of those end tables. You can make a home right where you’re at by redefining what you truly treasure. May a renewed perspective bring chest-fulls of blessings right to your door.

What about you? What ideas or “treasures” anchor home for your heart? Comment below and or share with your friends!

 A note about the photo: the cross-stitch was lovingly handmade by a dear friend for my mother after our house fire in the late 80’s. Linda, your sweet friendship continues to bless our family in beautiful ways. Thank you for being you!

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4 Comments
  • Sarah T.
    July 8, 2014

    Well said. We will be moving next week away from our families, state we grew up in, well-paying job, proximity to amenities, and home of our own- renting for the first time since college. Yet in spite of all we will be “giving up,” we have a sense of peace because we know Who has directed us all along. We are excited for a slower pace, small town in the middle of nowhere, and lots of family time. And it’s because of what you are saying we make him. Through interactions with others and the daily rhythms of life. And there is true joy in that. Thanks for the timely post!

    • Evelyn
      July 8, 2014

      Hey Sarah,
      Thanks for piping up. 🙂 Moving away from everything you know is hardhardhard, but I can tell you feel called and have a peace about where you’re headed. That can make all the difference. I hope your new home feels as much home as anywhere!

  • Charissa
    July 8, 2014

    Thanks, Evie. I really appreciate your encouragement to focus on treasuring these things. They don’t take up room on a shelf, and they can go with you wherever the Lord takes you! (But there will always be something about the mountains of Colorado that feels like home. Not to mention friends like you:) XOXO

    • Evelyn
      July 8, 2014

      HI! Yes, I’ll have to figure out a way to tackle the truth of HOME as returning to a loved place or house or group of pretty amazing people. Or the way your heart leaps a little when it sees the cross on the hill in the 285 canyon…… 🙂 Some things just don’t fit on a shelf and are equally as important to the concept of home. Miss you!

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