If an alien came to earth and watched how we use our homes what would they discover from watching us?

Because I’m pretty sure if an alien watched House Hunters on HGTV for a few hours they would deduct that everyone on earth must entertain often, it seems it’s all people on that show can talk about.  They go on and on about how they are going to entertain in their next house and how they love having people over and this next house is gonna help them do that.

I’ve realized something about myself and maybe you do it, too.  I seem to always put the burden on my next house.  Because the current house never seems to be ready.  It never seems to be quite good enough. It doesn’t seem to have the potential that I’m sure my next house will have.

My next house….? That’s where the real living is gonna happen.

Compared to your last house, this is your next house.

This post is part of a 31 Day Series called Home. On Purpose.  See all the posts here.

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  1. 1

    I hate watching those shows because it’s all about the natural light (hello, am I the only one with blinds and curtains?) or the entertaining. I always think Really? Do you really entertain? Or is this you, using the house, to fulfill all your expectation/fantasy. I’ve been hosting bunco at my house. The first house we lived in was tiny. We were all slam up together in my living/kitchen/dining room. At first I was embarrassed, but I really have fond memories of that. We were loud and close. It was wonderful.

    • 2

      TOTALLY agree, and the first thing they do is go in and put drapes up all over that natural light anyway!

      Also your comment reminds me of the country song Love Grows Best in Little Houses…

      • 3

        It reminded me of the saying “Small homes grow tight families.”

        And I always imagined I would throw parties when I had the right house. Then, I admitted I’m an introvert. But my oldest is an extrovert, so for him I am hosting an impromptu Halloween party where I refuse to stress about food, decor, or what anyone thinks.

  2. 4

    We bought this house, decorated it, finished the basement – ALL with the intention of being able to have THE best parties. Problem is, we then had two kids, and we don’t really entertain much except to 4 and 5 year olds now. I really try not to thing about the next house because I just want to grow old in this one and never have to pack boxes again, because that is just so NOT fun.

    Kiran

  3. 5

    I’m learning to let go of that house. We moved to a farm recently and our city friends think our home is the destination location. They call and ask if they can come and we say, “Yes!” While I wish the living room furniture could be replaced and the dining room chairs revamped, etc. I realize that it’s more about enjoying the company. They won’t judge your house if they’re having a great time, plus, who wants to hang out with people who would judge your house. Really.

  4. 6

    So true! We live in a really small house 810 square feet. I can imagine an outdoor space with twinkling lights in the trees , family and friends face’s glow with candle light as we eat off of a rustic farm house table. I see it, feel it and want it. The other day we had a couple over and i shared this with her. She said let’s do it. We hauled the table outside, lit the candles and feasted. My hart was so warmed and thankful. My fearless friend caused my dream to come true.

  5. 11

    You are so right.
    And, related is, “When the kids get older.”
    Then it’s, “Where did the time go?”

    This is your life.
    Live it…today.

    ~ Dana

  6. 13

    sometimes I feel like I’m running a race I neither trained nor signed up for …
    I want to live – really live – right now, right here in this breath.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  7. 14

    I totally understand what you are talking about here in this post. But thanks be unto God that HE put the desire of hospitality in my heart and for my whole family. We have broken tiles on my kitchen floor, the paneling on the kitchen island won’t stay put… I have mixed match bar stools at my breakfast bar….. I the drawers aren’t finished on the work island table in the center of my kitchen…..I have a cabinet door missing from one cabinet and you can see my “stuff” right there in plain site….. But I love what I have, I am thankful for what I have and I am thankful that the Lord allows me to show hospitality to all that enters my humble home. And that we have food and drink to fix for them when they come.

    Yes, it is easy to get over there about “dreaming about the next home”. I can get there myself when I am not watching myself…… But I am content with what God has given me and I will wait quietly till He moves us somewhere else or provides for us to fix what we have…

    Thank you for the post this morning. To remind me to be thankful that I have a place to show hospitality….

    Pat

    • 15

      I will also add to this, that I am blessed when the young families from my church comes over and tell me that they feel so right at home as soon as they walk through my front door. These young families live away from their families and they call my home, their “home to come home to”…… Yes, I am blessed….

  8. 16

    I love my small house and I don’t like entertaining, not that I don’t love people, but problem solved. I do, however, ♥ HGTV.

  9. 17

    I feel like the alien who is watching all these people with houses, talking about their “next house” -and newlyweds talking about their “starter home” – because I have never owned a house, and have always rented – it seems to me that part of the reason we have never purchased a home, besides lacking the funds, is that all those we know who own a home have invested so much of their life and their emotional energy in that home – and, like my sister, is always spending time fantasizing about her “next home” and how it will change her life – it’s good to read some posts here about people whose main goal for their home is hospitality -

  10. 18

    OUCH!

  11. 19

    I remember when we bought our home everyone said “that’s a great starter home” and I was thinking no way, this is my finisher home. I don’t want my kids to have memories of a ton of homes on different streets, like I did. I want them to think of home, our little home in our little neighborhood, with our too many dogs and stray cats. The floors need work, the cabinets need stained, it is always cluttered (I’m trying to work on that on), but the kids friends know they can come over whenever stay as long as they want, eat what they want and be with us. My sons friend has come over every afternoon this week and had dinner with us last night, he yelled from the other room as we were saying some I love you’s ” I love you too my other family”, that’s home for me!

    • 20

      I am with you on the staying put. We moved in this home over 24 years ago. This is all that my girls know.

      As for me, I grew up in the Navy. I went to 4 different schools in my first 6 years….

      If we move in the future , if it will be God’s plan for us…not our own.

      I love my old, rustic, country, worn-out home !!

    • 21

      I always hated the term ‘starter home’. Really think it’s a put down to the love, money, work that goes into a first home. We lived in our ‘starter’ home happily for 40+ years. I always said it was my ‘finisher’ home! However, when my husband passed away, I met and married a wonderful man and we moved to FL. It was very sad leaving my home. All my life I had been in the same State, and uprooting to another was quite a challenge. I remember seeing my ‘home’ a couple years after moving…the people who bought it from me had it for sale. I felt SO bad to see how I could hardly recognize the inside because of the changes they made. Yet, for them it was good….it was no longer ‘my’ house to decorate! I have my loving memories of all those years…the struggles, victories, love, sacrifice that were a part of our life there. Now I’ve begun again. It’s different, but also good. Life is a mixture of that. And, in each place, God has placed me where I can seek out working for Him in my community…then return at the end of the day to: my ‘now’ home. God bless you and your loving family.

  12. 22

    I LOVE this post! It is so true-I am totally guilty of the ‘next house’ syndrome. I have to remind myself often that THIS-here and now, is my life-so that I will quit waiting for life to happen in the future! Thanks you Nester :)
    Blessings to you,
    Sherri

  13. 23
    Sonja Grogan-Albaugh says:

    I had to chuckle when I read the part about entertaining! Where is all of this entertaining going on? Clearly not in any of the neighborhoods we have ever lived in.
    My DH’s work requires that we move every 3 years (sometimes more and sometimes less)!

    We used to select homes based on: if our furniture would fit. Now the only requirement for the next house is – garage, 2 baths and a kitchen big enough for me to cook in and no where near a Military Jet flight line!

    • 24

      “Where is all of this entertaining going on? Clearly not in any of the neighborhoods we have ever lived in.”

      I know, right?!

  14. 25

    My next, house, if I don’t need other care in my latter years, is going to me a Mansion with streets of gold !!!! And don’t forget, no matter the size and beauty of our home, we could very well be entertaining angels. Blessings.

  15. 27

    I have had to start learning to live NOW right where I am today. I am 56 and have always been single. I spent way too much time thinking I would be married, but I know I would have gotten married for all the wrong reasons. Since I didn’t see any real prosepct of it ever coming to pass, I started living on my own – if I wanted to do something like eat out or go to a movie I would find friend(s) to go with or go on my own. Why wait? The same with having people over – I had to choose to let people see my mess. My friends don’t make comments in my hearing and I figure that, if theyu are my friends, they come to see me and not to check my housekeeping. I am who God is making me into and they love me on our journey.

  16. 28

    I am reminded of the end of the book Dakota Dugout by Ann Turner: “Sometimes the things we start with are the best.” I would love more space but I also can see that I may look back on these days as the best.

  17. 29

    I actually entertain 2 to 3 times a month in our home. We are in the process of renovating and moving to a different house. Our current home is a huge, brick French Country style home made for entertaining in a great neighborhood. Our next home will be a much smaller and older ranch style house in the country. I learned long ago that you can waste your life by waiting “until”! We will continue to have people in our home on a regular basis in our next house although it’s not as entertainment friendly.

  18. 30

    So, so true. “I’ll be even happier when I have…” or “life will be grand when x, y and z happens.”

  19. 31

    This is such a great post. I was always waiting for our next house too. We finally moved into “our dream house” and then ended up loosing it due to a financial crisis. Right now we are in a tiny little rental and I’ve finally learned that any house can be made into the perfect home as long as has those we love living here! We are living in a different part of the state now, and even though this is the smallest house we have ever been in, we have had visitors all summer. More than we have ever had! We love it here.

  20. 33

    Convicting! I quit my job in June after my husband and i decided to changed our focus in life from getting out of our current townhome into a “real” home to investing this time in our family.

    Thank you for this – it took me 4 hours to work up the courage to read this post, as I knew it was just want I needed to hear.

  21. 34

    You are so right. This house isn’t big enough or kid proof or clean (because it looks like Toys R Us exploded in the living room). When we first moved in, we regularly had guests for dinner or bible study,but no longer. I guess it’s time to clean and rearrange and make this my next house because we’re not moving anytime soon. Time to make this house back into the great home I loved when we moved in. Thanks for sharing.

  22. 35
    Beth Williams says:

    When I was younger I had expectations about my house. I knew what I wanted/didn’t want. Years later I married and moved into “his” now our house. I don’t ever think about the next house. This one is fine and it fits us perfectly.
    We don’t want to move from this nice location.

    If we ever do have a next house–it will be to downsize to a smaller home with manageable yard–possibly for retirement!

  23. 36

    I don’t know if I’m an alien or what, but I always think of my current house as my last house, even if life may one day decide otherwise and I’ll have to move. Also, I remember when I decided to turn the downstairs toilets in a much needed cupboard, everybody asked me how I would do with only one bathroom when I have guests over (I live in a tiny seaside cottage)… Well, the few weeks a year this happen, we manage and all the other weeks I’m so happy to have a cupboard!

  24. 38

    I always think about the next house when I realized that The Lord blessed me with everything I need here. if that next house ever comes, that will be another blessing too.

  25. 39

    Even though I’m lucky enough to be in my forever house I sure would like that dining alcove in my ‘next house’.

  26. 40

    I was talking about this with my hubby and young adult son the other day. The people on those shows never say, “I can see myself sitting here in my comfy pants and scratching.” I used to have a vision in my head of what my dream house would be, but it never looked like me! (You’d think I could imagine it looking like our taste!) We have been in our home for 19 years and 4 babies, and we either change it to look like what we want or realize that we really wouldn’t have wanted “our dream”. I’m so glad we couldn’t redo everything the day we moved in, because it wouldn’t have worked with the family we ended up having!

  27. 42

    I am about to turn 30 and I am currently moving into my 22nd home. I have moved regularly my whole life for many different reasons. I have learned so much over the years in all of the moves I have done. With this move we know it is temporary and that we will be leaving again in less than 2 years. I am thankful that we have been able to move into our home, get settled and start living our life. We have had my husband’s coworkers over for a dinner and a houseguest for a week, all in our first month here. Our 3 small children are living a very similar life to mine with lots of moving and lots of changes. I hope that I am able to be a good model for them of appreciating what we have. I know we will have a “next house” but I have learned that it is never what I thought it would be. This move took me from a big house in the Houston suburbs to a Norwegian cottage with a lot less space, and we love it.

    • 43

      yeah, there are lessons in moving often, I haven’t always been open to learning them, but it looks like you have a great attitude and embrace it!!

  28. 44

    It drives me nuts when the realtors show people houses that are above the buyers price range and even more nuts when the people actually buy those houses! What happened to STICKING TO THE BUDGET!

    • 45

      I solved that problem by telling my realtor that my price range was $30,000 to $50,000 below what it really was! So she ended up showing me houses that were actually in my price range.

  29. 46

    So so true…always the next house….how About right now we start living right now…

  30. 47

    I quit watching hgtv the day I watched a young couple look at a multitude of homes and turn them all down because they HAD to have a three car garage for their car and motorcycle.

  31. 48
    Cultivator says:

    I used to have the “next house” mentality – and then we literally bought our old house back (as in, our first house and third house are the same house). So my “new” house was also my “old” house. We have the wonderful opportunity to do it right this time and hang the curtains we want and host Bible study because we can. The first time I was always too scared to do it – I’ve learned my lesson :)

  32. 49

    I am guilty of thinking about my next house. I also think, “When I’m married again” although I have no prospects in sight. I have to focus and live today and spend more time with people and having experiences and less time focused on my house and stuff. My adult son told me today that I spend so much time and energy think and decorating my house but I never have anyone over to enjoy it with. The truth hurts!

    • 50

      I think it is fine to do it just because you love to decorate and create the space for you to love being in, even if it is only you that sees it.

  33. 51

    With each of the three houses we have owned someone always commented they were great first homes, I guess we buy small, Lol! I’m content every time I pull in the driveway, thanks for the reminder of that!!

  34. 52

    I find myself searching mls.ca for new houses…just for fun. Is that weird? I look at the layout of the house in the real estate pictures and imagine where I would place my furniture. I wonder for 2.5 minutes if it would be wise. And then I step away from my computer screen and look all around me and I fall right back in love with our “starter home” and hope we won’t have to move anytime soon. God’s timing was so perfect for this house…I’ll trust that He’ll let us know if and when we ever need to move out of it.
    Thanks for this post Nester!

  35. 53

    This reminds me of our first Sunday school teacher – he used to say aliens would think we worshiped televisions since there’s one in almost every room and everything is positioned towards it. I hate tv and would do much rather listen to music or read. His comment has further shaped that in me, and 11 years later we live in a 3600 sq ft house with 1 tv and speakers that pipe music throughout.

  36. 54

    This is so true…we have to start being grateful for what we have now and not worry about what is not what we think it should be before we can enjoy it or share it with others!! Thank you for a timely reminder. Why do we so often forget?

  37. 55

    I too fall into that “Trap” sometimes but then I remember what the bible tells me to be content in every situation,and I should bloom where Im planted. Im so thankful to have a home these days and even though it may not be fancy Ive tried hard to make it a loving beautiful reflection of who we are in this house. I think entertaining should be about the people and shared times,food laughs memories not the house……..

  38. 56

    Sadly, this is true. Have noticed some do this with husbands too…;-)
    Women need to learn to enjoy the now for we do not know what tomorrow will bring

    • 57

      Ahhhh, yes, sadly I think we could apply that to many, many things in life, some much more important than our home.

  39. 58

    My family and I have been tossed around a bit by unemployment, moving for employment etc. We’ve lived in all sorts of “houses”.
    Recently God slowed us down and we bought a home that was well within our means and it’s beautiful for us and guests. I can fit many tables & chairs for Bunco nights etc.
    Our problem now is no furniture. Will I host a Christmas party anyway? Yes! I learned long ago that the right people don’t care how big and beautiful my home is, they just love being around other happy people.
    My daughter and I love people and hospitality. We’ll find some way to help them have a seat. ;)

  40. 60
    Eleanor Erickson says:

    As a farmwife, who has always and will always live in the same farm house dreaming ant the next house has never been an option. Continual projects that might never get done ( not having a deadline) can be a curse, but happy where I am is a place I like to visit often.

  41. 61

    First of all, if anyone goes to my website, let me apologize! I am overdue for an upgrade. :) I am very happily into residential organizing through my business, Tranquiliving. I love “HOME” and I’m a born “homebody”. I just wanted to comment to sweet Nester that I am so impressed by the wisdom you have acquired at such a young age. It has taken me years to come to some of the same conclusions concerning home and it’s purpose and mission. I learned many years ago that I was blessed by the hospitality of others because of their love, warmth and inclusion, a whole lot more than what their home looked like. After having many people in our home over 27 years of marriage, I believe more than ever that it is all about love and relationships and NOT about how clean and organized your home feels at the time. I have intentionally hosted our church small group many times when our home was in disarray just to show that it can be done without perfection. I want to encourage the others that they can enjoy hospitality in their homes, also! Thanks for your wonderful blog….you’re such a great example to other young “home lovers”. :)

    • 62

      *blushes*

      ” I have intentionally hosted our church small group many times when our home was in disarray just to show that it can be done without perfection.”

      That? is a gift.

  42. 63

    We also lost our house because of many unexpected reasons. The house I live in now has old dark brown cabinets and line green countertops and backsplash. I see the “kids” on House Hunters and they think the light oak cabinets are dated in the house. I would so love to have most of those kitchens! Eventually, we will re-do, but right now it isn’t hurting anyone and we are living happily in a house we can afford. That’s what is really important.

  43. 64

    I spent the summer dreaming about the pool house I would love to build. I set up Pinterest boards and staked it out in the yard. We had a summer with a houseful of guests (5 weeks total) and I just felt like we could do this better if we had more space. I have lost interest as summer passed and my husband and I are here without company and no need for a pool house. I don’t really think that anyone would have had a better visit if there was more room or that any of them wouldn’t come back because of it so I think I will not spend the money and just have had the fun of planning what I would like to dream about.

  44. 65

    I love this! So true. We always have false ideas about the next reality even when we sign up for too much stuff and over commit.

  45. 66

    “Compared to your last house, this is your next house.” That is simply BRILLIANT. Coincidentally (or not?) my boyfriend and I had a conversation about it this morning. A year ago we had to downsize our living space significantly. We have been hanging on to a basement FULL of stuff for “next place” ever since. Just lately it has begun to feel like a bunch of clutter and a burden. Almost holding us back rather than encouraging growth and change, and preventing us from LIVING where we live. A change is a’comin’! Thanks Nester!

  46. 68

    I honestly hate moving and I hate debt more. We’ve been in this house for 7 years and we do need one more bedroom (my 3-year-old boy/ girl twins share a room) … eventually but I’m sticking it out here as long as I can – I do love my imperfect home because it feels just like me – parts are great and there are a few bits and pieces that need some work ;)

  47. 69

    My two favorite sayings in regards to this topic are:
    “If there is room in the heart, there is room in the home.”, and “If you want to see me, come over. If you want to see my house, make an appointment.” I’m sorry I don’t know the sources for these quotes, but they come to mind every time we have impromptu gatherings at our house (which, happily, is often).

  48. 70

    Can you read my mind?
    My family has been in a transition time where we may or may not be moving across the country. I keep thinking that I will get to “living in my house” whenever I find out if I will be moving or not….and it has kept the home we live in now feeling like a temporary building instead of our warm, cherished home.
    This post is convicting and I hate/love it.

  49. 72
    cmarmar says:

    I know what you mean! The next house, the next job, the next friend, the next life……when will we learn to just be satisfied with THIS house, THIS job, THIS friend, THIS life? We can’t move onto the NEXT until we find satisfaction with THIS!

  50. 73

    “Entertaining.” I really dislike that word. It makes it sound like having people over is all about US and OUR home. In using it, I put pressure on myself and my home to be something close to perfect and admirable. But it really isn’t about whether people admire me. I prefer the word “hospitality”, because it places emphasis on the guests. It’s scriptural (entertaining isn’t a spiritual gift)! It’s about welcoming others as Christ has welcomed us. I open my home every Tuesday to a small group of Korean women for Bible study. Sometimes we have food, sometimes we don’t. But we always have great coffee and tea and wonderful fellowship around the Word.

  51. 74
    Virginia Mom says:

    My husband and I are here in the house we’ve been remodeling (redecorating, renovating, repainting, re-landscaping) for 27 years, preparing for Hurricane Sandy by making more coffee. Our youngest is away at university and our oldest is a grown-up with a life of his own far away. It went by so fast. Thanks to God, we never missed a soccer, basketball or football game, never missed a dance competition or performance, yet celebrated many birthdays and July Fourths and Halloweens and Easters at home. We hosted Thanksgiving for our huge extended family (still do, every year). And we often were told our house looked great. How did we do it? Whenever we suspected visitors were coming, all the power tools, paint cans and scraps of lumber in the Living Room got tossed under beds, into closets, stuffed into a bulging one-car garage or hidden under the back deck (weather permitting). Dust bunnies, cracker crumbs, junk mail and toys were camoflaged by whatever means necessary (long tablecloths help). Use your imagination, buy some candles and dimmer switches. Cut a few branches off the holly tree, some ivy off the neighbor’s hill, throw them on the table and You. Are Martha. Let your guests see you laugh about it all. Your house will be more beautiful for all its flaws (and yours.)

  52. 75

    My husband and I live in a 700 sq ft apartment, and though it’s definitely not my dream home, its ENOUGH. Its enough that we can have people from church over several times a week and manage to have dinner, coffee, and great conversation. And we can have a Tuesday night bible study with 15 people packed into my little living/dining room (albeit, we push the table against the wall, and move all the chairs in the house into the living room, but its ENOUGH. Thats my focus and blessing in my home– it’s just ENOUGH.

  53. 76

    I just got married in August and as my new husband and I plan for the future, it’s easy to look so much to the future that we lose sight of what we have today. I just wrote a blog post this weekend about being realistic about where we are – http://mrsbomb.com/206/being-realistic/

  54. 77

    I live in a tiny (like 350 square ft with a loft that makes it more like 750) house. I’m constantly looking for space saving solutions for the first floor since my dining room, living room, and kitchen share the same small space. I’d put off having people over because I didn’t feel what I had was good enough. People have to sit on the couch to eat, and the kids, where will I put there kids? We happened to have a friend and her hubby over. They have six kids. The beauty of this was that their kids were so well behaved….we were cozy, but we TRULY had a good time. What I learned from her was that no space was too small to be hospitable. We limit ourselves when we think what we have isn’t good enough because it doesn’t compare with what someone else has. These days we try to have one or two different families over a week. This is what we have NOW. It is best to live and enjoy it. Thanks for this post!

  55. 78

    LOVED this. <3 just what i needed to hear.

  56. 79
    Michelle says:

    A wise woman told me that if you’re not hospitable with a little, you’ll never be hospitable with a lot. My furniture doesn’t have to match and my plates can be chipped but if I wait until everything is perfect, I’ll never have anyone over.

  57. 80

    Good points. Hospitality is not about how great our house looks, but how inviting our hearts are. People want relationships-not to visit nice houses! When I want my house to look perfect, I need to look in my heart because, often, those desires come not out of a heart of hospitality, but a heart of pride.

  58. 81

    This post was really convicting for me! We’ve moved three times in the last seven years, from Michigan to St. Louis, from St. Louis to Indianapolis. And consequently, I’ve been careful not to plant my roots too deeply in case I’ll be uprooted once again. I don’t fully live in my house because I often think of what the next owners will want. Paint colors, fixtures, every choice is made with resale in mind. I really don’t like stainless steel appliances, but I have them because HGTV tells me that’s what the next owners will want. I’ve decided to start living a little more in this “now” house, and part of that means opening our home to others. Thanks for exposing the myth of the next house!

  59. 82

    I so agree with this! I’m always saying that – ‘My next house…’ – while this is true in some respects (we do need more space to expand our home based business), the fact is, the home we’re in at the moment, is a lovely home. We’ve made it lovely (we’ve painted, stripped, installed, removed, landscaped, decorated…) , we’ve made it our home – at least until the next one. (:

  60. 83

    Between your article on decorating trends of 2013 and this article you have hit the nail on the head for me. I have been praying for some time now about current home matters….
    Thanks for your great articles.

  61. 84

    I have lived in this house for seven years. I bought it because it had an attached two bedroom guest area. I was sure that when we moved in, my daughters and their families would come visit and enjoy the privacy of a special place of their own….but alas….seven years have come and gone and they have been here one time and stayed in a hotel…at our expense. We still have to do the traveling for visits. So this house is on the market and we will be buying a smaller home that fits the two of us. Lesson learned….don’t buy a home for someone else…buy it for yourselves.

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