Home is where the harmony is – well it’s a great place to start

Home is where the harmony is – well it’s a great place to start

Harmony starts with good habits, says guest editor Carol Vorderman. Ditch the ego, try to be kind – and think about the impact you have on everyone else.

Harmony starts with good habits, says guest editor Carol Vorderman. Ditch the ego, try to be kind – and think about the impact you have on everyone else.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think I know all of my best and worst habits, and I’ve managed to persuade my kids that even my bad ones are actually good (ahem)! At this age though (yes, I’ll be 57 in December; not sure where those years scuttled off to), I’m pretty confident I know the biggies, the game-changers and the keeper habits.

I sometimes feel like I’ve had all the experience I’ll ever need, all the life lessons that can be learned. Between them they’ve opened my eyes to all the good and bad ‘cohabitation habits’ there are – especially after living with the kids, husband, my beloved mum, various members of my family who’ve lodged for periods of time, all my childhood years growing up in Wales with my family and step family… and not forgetting nearly a month as a jungle camp mate (which I LOVED)!

There is a point in life, however, when I think we can just relax. We are who we are, and mostly that’s pretty alright (not including actual bad behaviour of course).

Yet maintaining a harmonious home can still sometimes be a challenge, especially if you have a troublemaker or a judgmental person in your midst… and EVERY family has one of those. I groan when someone tries to judge other people. It’s just being a low-grade troll as far as I’m concerned – yes, I’m judging the judgers; now there’s a paradox.

My motto has always been ‘live and let live’. You might not want to emulate certain types of living, and want certain others as a key part of your life, but if it isn’t harming anyone then let other people do what they want to do. It’s their life. It’s also a way to get rid of even more stress – peace and love, man!

Here are a few of my must-dos to create a harmonious home environment for all the family, young and old.

Ego: get rid

Need I say more? Well maybe. The ego I am talking about is the ugly, stubborn, unrelenting one; the one that can form a red mist and turn a disagreement into an argument. It’s almost always a barrier to happy, healthy relationships, or indeed to your own personal happiness. All in all, I don’t really see the point in it, so let’s move on! Leave an ego wicker basket at your front door. All those who wish to enter, leave it outside.

Kindness: I’ll have some of that please

I’ve always wondered why people look on kindness as a bit ‘blah’: an unnecessary add-on – or, worse still, a nuisance. “Oh he’s just so… kind!” I’ve never understood it. Kindness is wonderful, it’s generous, it’s inclusive and it’s easy. I take the same approach to kindness as I do to exercise ‘little and often’.

How nice is it when you go back into the kitchen and someone else has done your washing-up, just because, or when you’re offered a little lunch, without you asking? The input is so disproportionate to the output, it baffles me why people aren’t more kind to one another especially to those who are under the same roof as us. I’m lucky both my children are immensely kind – I guess it’s the habits we’re taught.

Foresight: it’s invaluable

You can’t absolutely predict the future, especially when it comes to others’ behaviour – we all have unexpected bad-mood days. But taking into consideration what impact your actions might have on another person and how that might make them feel could save you a whole host of trouble. If you’re not in the best frame of mind, banish yourself somewhere else or go for a walk… Fresh air even in the rain solves a hundred problems.

Cleanliness: it’s next to goodliness

Nope, that’s not a spelling mistake, but because none of us are perfect and we are all allowed the occasional slip up and mishap, cleanliness is always a good idea. Instilling the importance in your kids (and grandkids) from a young age can save a lot of grief down the line and hopefully helps them become more appealing roomies. With friends, partners or when you are flying solo, I think a clean house helps us with a clear mind. I know I have to have a bit of law and order to breathe easy and relax. Mess messes with my head.

Time: it stops for no one

So take, make, create time to spend with whoever you live with, and spend it not talking about bills, renovation and decluttering, but doing something that brings you both joy and reminds you why you are both there together in the first place.

If you live alone, you still might not actually give yourself special ‘me-time’, or you might have neglected some of your nearest and dearest and are overdue sending out an invite! Have a party – if you haven’t time to go and see everyone, bring them all to you. It needs only be a lunch or an afternoon tea but it gets them together.

There are loads of products on offer this month that will help you make the most of your home, and don’t forget to read up on some of our best articles in the ‘Home and Garden’ section. One of my faves is ‘How to give your spare room a five-star makeover’.

Carol x

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Carol Vorderman

Presenter, author, superwoman