Renovation & Design

How to get out of your 'rump-rut'

Sometimes a little change can make a big difference

Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

Sometimes the unexpected — in this case, buying a random painting — is just what you need.

It’s that time of year. The SADS lights are burning brightly, so many people have cabin fever, there seems to be more than your average amount of depression flitting about and home — for a lot of people — isn’t the happy refuge we’d like it to be.

Assuming that perhaps a good percentage of the above is true, what can we do about it?

More specifically, what can we do in our home to help switch the focus that will get rid of our "rump-rut" (meaning our mental behind is stuck in a rut we can’t seem to extract it from), and put us in a more positive state of mind in which we can actually feel a return to some of that joy that seems to have gone missing?

I’ll tell you what I did (and believe me — I surprised the heck out of myself doing it!)

I bought a painting.

Yes, I admit that I, too — as of late — have been feeling the blues a little more than I like.

But the moment I walked through the front door of a local store and saw three very colourful dogs wearing glasses welcoming me, it lifted my mood immediately.

I was not shopping for anything. The only reason I went in the store was to browse a bit, stalling for time, as I was early for an appointment with a friend who lived nearby.

I had been wondering what to put on the wall above an apartment piano I’ve just recently added to the living room, and this painting screamed, "I’m it!"

Talk about unconventional for your regular living room (wow!) and crazy colours — but now, every morning, I walk down the hall and am greeted by these characters, whom I faithfully say, "G’morning!" to before I start the day with a smile on my face.

Perhaps the biggest shock: I actually paid full price — retail — for the painting, and it still feels right. I didn’t know that was possible!

So if you’re in rut mode, what might you do in your home to make a positive, cheerful difference?

This doesn’t have to be expensive, but hey, if you want to add a second floor to your home, and you can afford it, go for it!

Might simply re-arranging things be enough? Sometimes, that can make a world of difference.

It can feel like you’ve moved!

Maybe there’s a token worn-out piece of furniture that can be replaced, perhaps even with something used, but in excellent shape.

That’s definitely worth considering and "the hunt" can be a lot of fun. Suddenly, you have a mission.

Look around your home. Is there a room in it that, when you really take a close look, is dull, worn and tired and in need of a facelift, but you’re so used to it, you just haven’t noticed the need for that upgrade?

A new coat of paint, a different carpet or curtains, or perhaps a new bedspread that makes you feel good when you look at it, can make a huge difference in the cheering-up department.

And once you start, you’ll do more. You just have to start.

Sometimes we’re stuck and just don’t know it. Included with that is not realizing how much joy a small change can bring.

Allow me to use a non-home example to make the point (and trust me, I’m making a long story short.)

Decades ago, I worked with a guy who on one Friday mentioned he was at a bit of a loss with what to do for the weekend.

He was young and single, 20-ish years old. I suggested driving to a beach to ogle the women. His reply stunned me.

"I’ve never been outside the Perimeter Highway."


I said, "Here’s what you’re doing this weekend. You’re gassing up your car, driving to Falcon Lake, where you’ll buy a bag of chips and a Coke, and go sit on the beach and ogle the bikini-clad women. Stay a while, get in your car and drive back home."

The following Monday, beaming his face off, he reported to me he’d done just that, stayed 20 minutes, loved it, and used about six quarts of oil in his very rusty old ’60s Acadian convertible to make the trip.

But he was thrilled. Every weekend after that, he drove to a different beach.

At the end of the summer, he wrote me a letter thanking me for changing his life.

The point being, Binky, if life’s getting you down a little at the moment, change something — and there’s no better place to start than with your home.

A great place to begin? Pull out your fridge and stove and clean behind them.

You may be amazed by what you find. I have already done mine — and it was nasty!

My three sight-challenged painted dogs, two real ones and four cats wish you well. Cheers!

Comments or feedback, love to hear from you!


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