Some things from the late 90’s/early 00’s were firmly of their time and should’ve been left there. Had the Spice Girls, Tamegotchies, happy slapping, Beanie Babies and the Macarena all been consigned to the history bin then I, for one, wouldn’t have been in the slightest bit upset.
Will & Grace, however, does not fall into that category. I used to love that show, so when I saw it was coming back for a new series I was deeply happy. I was even more amused when the second episode highlighted how dating someone significantly younger than you is weird and mostly doomed to failure, but that’s a personal amusement for obvious reasons.
The gang were up to their old tricks, no richer or wiser than they were so many years ago. One thing that struck me like it never had before, however, was Will’s apartment. I’d never before noticed how stylish it was. It was clear and tidy (as befitting his fastidious nature), with well-chosen artwork, colour coordinated furniture, stylish ornaments and a feeling of cool, understated style.
In short, I wanted to have a home like it.
I then looked around my own home and realised that it was less Will and more Won’t. Thanks in no small part to the four smaller versions of myself I’ve created, my home is filled with toys, paper, flags, clothes, DVDs, mismatched crockery (thanks to regular breakages), money boxes, books and pens. I rent, so hadn’t really decorated at all since moving in as the contract says I can’t even use blutac on the walls. In short, it was a crammed mess.
Over the years I never worried about it too much. My home wasn’t a show home or hotel; it was for my family. It was generally clean and sometimes tidy, and the only people I ever invited round were friends and family. They always commented on how warm and welcoming it felt, which I always took as the highest of compliments.
Looking around it, though, I realised that I need it to evolve. My whole life is evolving, and it needs some changes if it is going to continue to meet my needs going forward. After a chat with my landlord where he told me he didn’t care about the contract and that I was welcome to go to town decorating (within reason, of course), I’ve started making some changes.
Gone are the old, faded curtains, replaced with new black versions on brand new curtain poles, with walls painted in neutral tones. The old stone fireplace with pine cladding has been boxed in to hide the stone, with curtain fabric wrapped around the pine to tie it all together. Clutter is slowly being thrown away or stored out of sight. Toys are starting to be thinned out as the kids get older. It’s feeling a little fresher.
I think that freshness is important. I currently live in what was our family home, filled with memories and goods that we collected as a family. If I don’t start to move on from those things, I will find it harder to move on from my old life. My ex has it perfect, with a brand new flat filled with brand new furniture and brand new goods paid for by her parents and with all the money from the many benefits she claims (I see none of them). She’s started over entirely, while I’m left to wade through the past and the memories.
I’m spring cleaning with purpose this year. I’ve had to replace just about every major appliance over the last 18 months due to breakages and age; tv, vacuum cleaner, cooker, washing machine, dishwasher, tumble dryer, iron, kettle, satellite box, surround sound and microwave. I’ve replaced my bed through choice. I’m decorating and clearing.
When I next bring a date home she will know it’s a family home. That can’t ever be hidden, nor would I choose to. However, she will also see more of me than I’ve ever been able to show in my home before. The art on the walls. The coordinated kitchenware. A bit of thought and planning rather than random elements thrown together to make do.
I’m no interior designer, but I need to do this. Put my own stamp on my home. Make it mine rather than ours, making me feel as comfortable and happy in it as my kids do. I’m fairly competent with a paint brush and a drill, I can do this. Next up; seeing if Will’s wardrobe choices match his home decoration choices. Turtlenecks, anyone?