Some lessons just take a long (also hard and occasionally miserable) time to learn. That applies to lessons in life, work, love and yes, even home. No matter what age you are in your home-making life, peruse this list of the things we wish would have learned sooner. Our hard lessons might save you trouble (or, you could share your own ideas to save others!).
Arlyn: You do not need it all right away
When I moved into my first solo apartment seven years ago, I wanted it all right away. As an incredibly impatient decorator, I learned the hard way that buying furniture and decor just to fill a room, instead of waiting for the right pieces to come along (and the money to buy them), is absolutely never the right thing to do. It may take years — heck, even decades — but what you'll end up with is a home full of items you treasure rather than a bunch of "stuff" you only half like.
Amelia: Make a house feel like a home
Whenever I moved into new rental, I used to only unpack the essentials and hold off on painting/hanging things the way I wanted. My mentality was always "I'll just deal…Do I really want to go through all that trouble when I'll just be packing it up again in a year or two?" In retrospect, my answer should have been yes. I've learned that taking the extra time — and sometimes spending a little extra money — to make a house feel like home is of utmost importance, because how you feel at home usually translates into how you feel away from home. If your home lacks permanence, organization, comfort, and inspiration, you better believe the rest of your life will, too. So unpack that extra box, hang up that gallery wall, and cover up that scuffed-up cream paint you hate so much – and do it sooner rather than later!
Tara: Let go of the "just in case" things
I come from strong packrat traditions, where you would never throw something out—no matter if it's a twist tie or a dresser—on the off-chance you could use it later. I guess it makes more sense when you live in the suburbs and have basements and attics and sheds, but I live in 500 square feet. I've always been more likely than family to donate things I don't need, but it was the queen of organizing Marie Kondo who really made it okay to let go. I already paid for that thing and holding on to it doesn't put the cash back in my wallet. Plus, it feels good to get rid of stuff (after you properly thank it, of course).
Adrienne: Get into a cleaning routine habit
The only regular cleaning my family did growing up was the few times a year when we had guests come over! This always led to really stressful, overwhelming, "mega" cleaning sessions that took days. I'm sorry to say that stuck with me through my early adulthood longer than I should have let it. Figuring out a regular cleaning schedule that involves small amounts of cleaning more often means I never have to devote an entire week to scrubbing caked on dirt.
Taryn: Spend money on your bed
I'm still learning this lesson, actually, as just this morning I resolved to buy a better pillow. Good sleep is so important to living a happy, healthy, neck-pain-free life, and yet many people are content to buy the cheapest mattress, prettiest sheets or whatever pillow is on sale. Investing in a good bed is investing in a good life.