One of the great pleasures of home ownership is the ability to set your house up just the way you like it. Want to hang pictures on the wall? It’s not like the landlord is going to complain. Want a hundred garden gnomes and plastic flamingoes all over the backyard? Go ahead, nobody is the boss of your garden but you. Want a Hello Kitty themed bathroom? Hey, it’s your money.
If, like me, you decide that your laundry would be much more interesting with some ridiculous home-made floral space invaders, or your gardening shed would be better off painted purple, decorated with bunting, and set up like a tiki bar, nobody has any right to stop you.
This totally applies to renting, as well, just without the painting bits or the redoing-the-bathroom part or the bit about hanging pictures on the wall, depending on your lease, but what I’m getting at is that it’s a free country.
Which is why I have become increasingly cross in recent weeks, when Domain has ran a series of articles trying to shame people for furniture and décor choices that the author just didn’t like while pretending to educate readers on the things they should and should “never” have in their own damned houses.
They’ve covered everything from dictating where you’re allowed to shop, what books you can and cannot display on your shelves and how much cutlery you’re supposed to have, to insisting that your house should always be spotless and your bed should always be made.
What are you, my mother?
A man’s home is his castle. The only things you should “never” have in it are judgemental killjoys who are going to think less of you for not having plantation blinds or matching plates.
And the only things you “should” have in it are the things that make it your home.
It is yours.
Do what you want.
I don’t know when having your own place became about buying stuff to impress other people but I find that concept really unhealthy and joyless. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just like those articles that tell you what bathers to wear to “hide your figure flaws”. Bugger off. People should be able to wear what they like.
I wasn’t going to link to any of the articles but fuck it, here are the two that annoyed me the most —Things you should never have in your home after 30 and the follow-up piece Things you should have in your home after the age of 30. I don’t advise reading them, though, unless you want to be baffled and annoyed.
They especially annoyed me because as a home-owning renovation-survivor with plenty of matching cutlery, I was presumbly supposed to feel smug about winning at adulting or whatever, or at least relieved to have the approval of some total stranger. I felt neither. The way that I choose to store my music collection says nothing about how functional I am as a human being and I resent the implication that it is supposed to.
It brought to mind this excellent cartoon from xkcd:
And it also reminded me of this quote, which I am signing off with. Good night. I’m off to swap out all my wine glasses with jam jars and replace my dining table with some milk crates.
“To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
C.S. Lewis, Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories