Real Simple: What Does Home Mean to You?


If you’re like most people, home is that place where you feel safest and most yourself. It’s where you can relax after a long day and just let go of the worries that come with life. It’s where you can laugh and cry without anyone else judging you. And, of course, it’s where your family and friends are.

According to the dictionary, home is simply “one’s place of residence.” But what if there was a different way of thinking about this concept? What if we looked at it as an emotional, spiritual and social experience, rather than a physical structure?

For many, home is that feeling you get inside when you spend time with those who love you most. That’s why so many of us strive to create that sense of belongingness in our homes, in our communities and in the world around us. In fact, it’s what keeps some of us going when the world seems to be spinning out of control.

In this month’s Real Simple, we asked readers to share what home means to them. We were surprised at how different their definitions were from one another, but also how similar they were. Home is that little slice of paradise where you can be totally yourself – the only place where your overbearing boss or stress-filled coworkers seem to disappear. It’s that place where you can curl up with a good book and a glass of wine, or sit down to a bowl of ice cream and just let the days of work, school and errands melt away.

Some of you may have a strong desire to go back home at some point in your lives, whether it’s to the place where you grew up or somewhere that holds special memories. But, for others, going home is a much more emotional and spiritual process. For example, some homeless women have shared how home for them is a sense of protection from abuse and the opportunity to work through mental health issues.

Other people may have a very hard time finding a sense of home at all. This is especially true for children who are raised in foster care or adopted. Luckily, there are some great organizations working to improve the lives of children who don’t have a home and help them to find one.

Those who know how to create and maintain a home for themselves and their families have something very important that the rest of the world should take a cue from. So, the next time you need a reminder of what it really means to have a home, take a look at these wonderful stories and remember, ‘Home is where the heart is.’

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Real Simple. For more, subscribe to the magazine for free today!

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock, Real Simple and Pico Iyer.

This feature is part of a month-long partnership with Schlage, which provided products and services for this story.