Home should be your safe place, your respite from the world where you can slow down, breathe and simply BE. Of course, different factors influence your ability to experience peace—who you live with, your physical location, the folks in your neighborhood, the house itself. So, Today, let’s talk about your physical environment and a dozen changes that can help you say, “I love being at home!”
- Create a space that reflects who you are NOW. Change the things you feel “stuck with.” At one point in your life, you might have had a big family, but now live alone. Conversely, you may have created a “dream home” for yourself but now have a partner. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably accumulated possessions over the years that made sense for who you were then. Rethink about how you “feel” in your home.
- Make the “little things” meaningful. If you enjoy crafting, working out, or cooking, add what would make that more enjoyable; thread organizer, great workout shoes, new wooden spoons. If great sheets make you feel special, invest in them instead of spending money on one more throw pillow! Use your resources to honor what makes your home special for YOU.
- Develop rituals such as morning tea (one of the first things I do when I get up), Friday movie night, or stacking wood in the fireplace to light as soon as you get home. But, to do this, you have to recognize what makes you smile and adds to your reality. Rituals help us feel “grounded.”
- Put your “personal stamp” on a few things like a signature drink, great background music, or your perfect Caesar salad. Like rituals, have some “go-to’s” that reflect your unique personality.
- Make your space uniquely yours. As a designer, I know how much “pressure” some of you feel to have a home that looks like an HGTV show. But, your home should be comfortable, practical, and a space that speaks YOUR story. Don’t worry about the “in” color or the latest “must-have” item. If you’re crazy about plaid, pastels, or folk art, go for it! If that designer chair isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t belong in your home.
- Surround yourself with items that bring you joy. That’s different for all of us, of course. If you get pleasure out of your collection of Hummels, then display them. If, however, they’re sitting on a shelf because they were left to you and you feel like you “have to” keep them, let’s talk! Examine everything you live with and ask, “How does this make me feel?” A beautiful piece of sea glass, a child’s “masterpiece,” or a single daisy in a simple vase can bring a smile to our faces and joy into our hearts.
- Find a space where you can read, meditate, pray or simply think. Some people are afraid to be alone because they don’t want to listen to their inner voices. I’m not always as dedicated to doing this as I want to be, but my desire is to start my day with quiet awareness, sitting in the spot that’s perfect for me: on my white loveseat, in front of the window, in the library, with my tea. Do you have a favorite spot in your home? Have you ever thought, “I wish I could feel at peace”? Create a place where that’s possible.
- Clean and Organize.Even if “neat” isn’t on your life priority list, keeping your home clean (or hiring someone) helps you breathe easier—literally and figuratively. One of my favorite things is organization! Really! (I can talk about it for hours when I’m teaching that class). But many have real struggles with letting go of stuff. Life challenges and insecurity often make things seem more valuable. Sometimes, it’s simply not having any idea of where to begin. But hanging onto things you don’t need, want, or that bring you down leads to a world full of stuff! It’s much better to live with less than live in the past or in clutter. My mantra: “Love it or Use it.”
- Take care of things you know you’ll have to eventually deal with. Procrastinating just makes something more laborious. Get through your stuff so you can move on. That means creating a way to tackle # 8 and taking action—like processing bills as you receive them, scheduling appointments right away, having outfits planned for work, rotating what’s in your refrigerator before it spoils, or making a simple repair before it becomes significant. Unless you have live-in help, a personal assistant, and a crew of folks orchestrating your life, you probably have things YOU have to deal with, so do them before they become overwhelming.
- Try to move out of a “throwaway world.” We live in a time and place where so much is disposable that we don’t think twice about what we’re adding to the enormous piles in landfills. The USA generates millions of tons of waste every year, and statistically, over 1/5th of our waste is food! Recycle, donate, and buy responsibly. (One way I throw less and enjoy more is with cloth napkins.)
- Create beauty in each room. Every room should include something that brings it to life and makes you smile. (A pretty bathroom hand towel, a photo near your bed, a bowl of lemons in the kitchen, or a collection of candles—that you actually light —in the dining room work.)
- Designate at least one space where you sit down to eat—not in front of the television, your desktop, laptop, or phone. Don’t throw something on a paper plate and consume it mindlessly. We, who always have plenty to eat (often right at our fingertips), sometimes take for granted what a luxury that would be for much of our world. Be mindful and appreciative and realize how blessed you are.
Poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: “He is happiest be he king or peasant who finds peace in his home.” My desire is for you to have that peace because you’re worth it.