It’s January and we’re busy crafting resolutions, breaking open our new journals, and making plans for living better, healthier, and yes, simpler lives. You may be looking around your home and wondering how you can create a space that functions more simply, with your needs in mind. I am, which is why I like to use this month to jump-start an annual, mini-makeover that moves me clearly in that direction.
We all know about the power of decluttering, but don’t go crazy by giving your things the heave ho just yet. Instead, start with a few key questions:
How do I want my home to feel? You might consider adjectives such as: pulled together, cozy, organized, tranquil, artistic, or inviting.
Home in on that feeling and ask: “What can I change, subtract or add to achieve that? Some timeless criteria might include:
Is an item useful, beautiful, or does it make your heart sing? If so, it may be a keeper. But if that item is obsolete, too used up to be useful, or “no longer you,” it may be time to let it go. The great news is that you can consign, donate, or even save things up for a spring tag sale in your yard or at your church. So, get yourself some large contractor bags or boxes and start sorting. And, if you absolutely can’t make a decision about an item, put that aside for now and give yourself a decision deadline. Once you’ve gone through this step, your home will already feel lighter.
Where should this live? Most of us have several things that inexplicably float around the house; their homelessness is a steady source of frustration. I have been known to ask, “Why are my gardening pots on the veranda, in the garage, and in the sunroom? No wonder I can’t find that blue and gold one.” Sound familiar? So, be the boss of your stuff and the queen of your home by giving everything a home. This simple act can unload a ton of daily, unnecessary stress.
How can I simplify on a daily basis? Some people “deal with the house” on their day off, or on the weekend. I get that; it’s one less thing to fuss over in the midst of other life and work responsibilities. But bydoing just a few small things on a daily basis, you can lighten the load on that designated day and enjoy your home a bit more in the meanwhile. I heard a woman say that the incentive behind cleaning up her kitchen each evening was the contentment she felt in getting her coffee each morning. I know that’s what gets me to restore order in my own kitchen! Some other daily habits might include:
- Making the bed every morning
- Doing a load of laundry
- Wiping down the bathroom counters and mirror
- Picking up the magazines, shoes, and doggie paraphernalia now that everything has a home
- Standing in front of the trash can and throwing away the junk mail
- Updating the grocery list the minute you realize you are running low on something
I hate it when the throw pillows are askew, so fluffing them up is one of my 15-second daily habits. Take a look around and consider how you live and what bugs you. Then create your own personalized list of daily habits that will eliminate those stressors.
When spring rolls back around, celebrate your progress and do another pass. It will be so much easier the second time around!