What Makes A Home?

hometurfWhat makes a home a real home? And why do we tend to talk about home when we talk about the place we originally come from although we might have not been back for ages?

Home: The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.Β 

Does it happen to you too? You’re away on vacation and you do something for a day and when you are ready to go back to the place you are staying at you say “let’s go home”? Well, it happens to me all the time. It’s definitely not home. We don’t live there permanently and it’s also not our household.

So how much is actually in this definition of home? Do you really have to live there permanently to call it home? Do you need to live somewhere permanently with a family or in a so called household to call it home? Household is defined as a house and its occupants being regarded as a unit. With this definition I wonder what actually is the most important part of it. Is it the occupants? Is it the house?

I know that we need an official definition for things in order to be able to explain things to others. As it’s not really possible to use a feeling as a definition because it varies so much for each and everyone we need to use subjects to explain something like “home”. I understand that. Totally. But in that sense something important is missing for me.

Home is not a thing. Home is not a subject. It’s not a house, not a place, not a room. It’s a feeling. It’s a feeling of belonging. A feeling of safety. A feeling of wanting to be there. It’s feeling free to breathe in your own rhythm. It doesn’t matter if you are on your own or with a family. If you feel all of this then I believe you feel home.

yellow2My five most important things that make a place home for me? Three of them are really easy to define. It’s my husband, my son and my daughter. As long as they are with me, I feel home. No matter where we are. That’s maybe why I talk about “going home” even when we are some place else than the place we live. The fourth point would probably be to have the knowledge that we all feel happy and safe. And the fifth… Well I guess that would be being able to sleep comfortably.

I’ve lived in the same place and the same house (more or less) for the first 27 years of my life. In the last 15 years I’ve moved. I’ve moved around in Switzerland and then over to Australia. The longest we’ve stayed in one house or apartment was 3 years. It was a massive change for me. Before this experience, especially before the move to Australia, I would have described home as being able to live in the same place, maybe the same house and having your family and your things around you.

I find that the last 10 years have changed that massively. Feeling home for me is no longer attached to a house, an apartment or things. It’s more about the people I love. They make me feel home. They make me happy. They make me feel safe and as long as they are around I can sleep comfortably.

Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t like our home and that the house we are in at the moment doesn’t make me feel comfortably and safe. It for sure does and I’m looking forward to return to this place every time we leave to go somewhere. If I have to chose five things that make my home my home it would be the following:

  • My bed. Nothing beats sleeping in my bed…
  • My kitchen utensils…
  • Our pets
  • My photo books
  • The way it smells

Yep, you’re right. I’ve just said “the way it smells”. I seem to be a person who reacts on smells or better scents. It happens out in nature but also when I’m visiting different places. Every place smells slightly different. When you go on a vacation somewhere the room you will stay in, the house you might rent, the tent, you name it, will always have a different scent to it than your home does. When you visit friends it will smell differently there than in your house. Maybe it’s just me. But that kind of scent gives me the “feeling at home” feeling.

It’s yours and yours only. Nothing that you can achieve by scented candles or flowers or perfumes or room sprays. And no matter how the house might smell like when you first move in, it will kind of adjust to you. At least i believe that. It’s the mix of how you and your family smell like (not talking about the gross smell but the clean scent we all have), what you cook, your furniture, your flowers, the candles, your books, whatever you have in your house. And it’s unique. Unique to you as this mix will never be exactly the same with different “ingredients”.

By now you might think that Momma is a bit coo-coo… Oh I might as well. But that’s okay too πŸ˜‰

Now I wonder: Besides the items that are important to you in your home, what makes your home your home?

Inspired by the Daily Post Daily Prompt – Home Turf

24 thoughts on “What Makes A Home?

  1. So funny how personal our kitchen utensils truly are. πŸ™‚ When I divorced my first husband he wanted half of my orange pots and pans. I was not giving in. While I was at work one day he came to the house and took them to his apartment. The next day was my day off and my boss called me, “Are you busy? Can you talk?” “I’m fine, just breaking into the exes apartment to scavenge my orange pots and pans!” πŸ˜‰ Oh what fun we had even through such a difficult time.

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  2. You are right: The way it smells! That reminds me of the old apartment of my parents in Vienna. When we went there once a year it was like the most beautiful coming home, because it had that special smell. All the wonderful memories were linked to that smell. Unfortunately my mom gave the apartment away after my dad died (which was reasonable). But I will never smell it again. It was the apartment where I lived for the first months in my life. Lovely post as always, Sandra πŸ™‚

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  3. I have lived in over twenty places. I find that I need to have all the contents of the moving boxes sorted within two days. Once I have everything sorted and the tablecloths etc out, it feels like home. I can make a home out of anywhere I live.

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  4. I needed this today, Sandra. Having one of those expected expat moments where I am missing a familiar space and familiar things (as sea freight is lost). All superficial, of course. But enough to make me weepy.

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    • I’m so sorry to hear. It will arrive and you will be even happier when it does. And look who you’ve got there with you! You had a very rough start. It’s coming together, you’ll see. 😘😘😘😘


  5. I’ve moved around so much, I haven’t really stayed in any one place for more than a couple of years since I was a kid so to me home is who is sharing it with me. If my fiancΓ© and cats are there then it’s home. Oh and my books. Everything else I can take or leave and frequently do πŸ™‚

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  6. Wonderful! And I’m definitely with you on the smell factor, too. Even though I think of myself as a very visual person, usually my strongest indicator of a memory or nostalgia, is indeed linked with a scent. I am one to tell others, than the weather/seaon is about to change, I can smell it. I’ve even been known to say that something smells like a sight. Yes, most look at me like I’ve completely lost my mind.But, there are the insightful few..who get it!

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