Domestic bliss brings to mind images of joyful household harmony. Of living happily with one’s lover. Being best friends. Enjoying each other’s company. Going on dates and holidays. Sharing the washing, cooking, cleaning.  Images of aprons (his and hers) behind the kitchen door. Domestic bliss provides an image of happily shared activity.

Domestic bliss
Domestic bliss

In our household we share a good amount of domestic bliss. We (mostly) desire the same things and work towards them. Caitlin Moran would approve, I feel sure. (Caitlin Moran is a feminist, author, columnist, and comedian. I’ve only recently discovered her.)

But this afternoon I’m thinking about something  different. Today my idea of domestic bliss has been triggered by something more mundane than any idyllic relationship.

Here’s a back-track. Our house has not been properly peaceful or harmonious for almost a year. In that time, it has been painted outside. We’ve lived in chaos. We have new stone benches and splash-backs over the stove and sink in the kitchen. The bathrooms have been gutted and rebuilt. We’ve moved furniture and books and computers in and out of the garage. As well, we’ve had new carpets laid. Now the renovators’ dust has been subdued. Everything looks amazing and we’re very pleased with the result.

In all of this, we’ve tried to please the Commonwealth Department of Aged Care.They want  people to ‘age in place’. They want everyone to live safely where they choose, for as long as possible. That way we won’t take up beds in aged care facilities unnecessarily. Who’d want to upset a plan like that?

We need to be able to get under the shower without stepping up or down. Or over. We need to have safe smooth surfaces. But not slippery ones. Without loose rugs or mats. We need everything at the right height, so we don’t over-stretch.

In the middle of the renovation turmoil, I hurt my calf muscle. Badly. Then I contracted shingles. Also badly. And then I hurt my neck. The  planned, but not  extensive, kitchen renovations were put on hold .

A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to us that the kitchen works just fine. And it fits unobtrusively into its corner of the living room. Thinking we would renovate, I’d ‘postponed’ the thorough cleaning it required. I put it off. Again and again. Until I was thinking about what would make me really happy.

A thoroughly clean kitchen would have that effect!

We went to the chain stores for pantry storage bins and boxes. And to IKEA, for good measure. Picture the two of us. We’d found a short cut. And then spent an hour pushing a trolley against the flow of traffic on a weekend-sale day.

Another image of domestic bliss
Another image of domestic bliss

And now, days later, the kitchen and pantry gleam. It has been a slow, meditative process.  Every utensil has been removed and evaluated. Even the door of the oven has been removed and reassembled, shiny-bright. Domestic bliss has taken the form of different from our usual conversations.

‘I will make bread again. This week. The bread-maker stays. And the tin I bake the loaves in. Oh, and of course I’ll make ice-cream. The machine needs to be where I can see it.”


‘I don’t think we’ll use muffin pans to make three dozen  muffins at one time. If we ever need to make that many, we can borrow tins from the rellies.’


‘Chuck out those old jars, but keep the picnic plastic plates. The babies can play with them when they visit.’

All the articles and books I’ve read, and the pins on Pinterest, are right. De-cluttering and cleaning a home are creative acts. They do wonders for one’s soul. Objects thrown out make space for new ideas, hopes and creativity. For growth. For sharing.

Don’t tell me domestic bliss is about relationships! I’ve discovered the kitchen is at the centre of my domestic bliss.

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7 replies on “Domestic bliss”

  1. Lovely story Maureen. I’m not a home owner, so don’t do the renovation thing. But in little ways, I’ve done it this year, with a stunning piece of material to cover my old day bed in the living area, new curtains, and the last few days, clean oven, clean/tidied kitchen shelves, and oh — the piece de resistance, a lovely drop leaf table to replace the other clumsy gate leg table I’ve had for years. This one is old (1930s) elegant, compact, and now when I have friends to dinner in my small space, I don’t have to rearrange all my furniture to open the table out!

    1. Thanks, Christina. I have always thought of you as a home-maker, since I first visited you in Boya all those years ago. I love the spaces you create wherever you live. I’m sure your friends always feel welcome and happy to be in your space, and the table will be icing on the cake. I hope one day to visit you.

      1. I think we’re both domestic goddesses. Move over Nigella. Of course you have a partner in bliss, which I’m very happy about. I hope you can visit too! There’s lots to see here; it’s a rich and fertile place in every way.

        1. Come to think of it, we are both domestic goddesses. I like that image, Christina.

  2. The kitchen is where all the best – and worst- things happen, Maureen. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Our kitchen is really a small space in the corner of a large room with dining and sitting, so it is right in the heart of the house. Glad you felt inspired. I’m hoping my fresh space opens up all sorts of new vistas. I want to get back to writing. I’ve put that off for almost a year, as well, apart from my blog and morning pages. Which only count a bit as writing, not what I aspire to.

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