by Jennifer Sikes, RN, BSN
It’s a new year and many of us have goals of becoming healthier, getting rid of excess things, and being better people in general. But what if I told you that it all begins with your home space? It all begins with the place where you start and end your days. Many of us recharge in our own homes, so why are they always the places that get neglected and cluttered so quickly?
We hang on to things we don’t need and try to organize every space without leaving any area of our house empty just so our eyes can rest without always having to look at stuff. Instead of only keeping things that have a current purpose, we hold on to things because of the dreaded “just-in-case” scenario. Whoever invited Justin Case anyway? (Sorry to the Justin Cases who are actually out there. May you be welcomed always, unless you are the just-in-case sort of thing, in which case you can just go home, but not to my home. Moving on!)
I read an incredible article from a man who lives in a small apartment with his wife and his two children. He has been living minimally out of necessity, but he also loves it. He suggests we get past the “what if I need this someday?” scenarios by doing this:
I also found ways to hack myself. A lot of the things I owned were in my house with the purpose of ‘I might need this someday’. I had to work hard to convince myself that I didn’t. In the end the compromise came down to this – ‘if you get rid of this and need it again, you have permission to buy it from Amazon with same day delivery’ – so far that hasn’t happened.
There’s also this whole concept of living space vs storage space. We need both, but living space should be mostly open and definitely organized. Storage space should be filled to the brim and organized, but should be out of sight. This way, your living space doesn’t feel cluttered!
It’s genius, right? This is Audenae’s play room. All of her things are in this corner, and there is still lot’s of open space in this room. She is much happier, and actually plays for much longer, when I only set out one or two toys for her at a time. If I surround her with too many toys I think she gets overwhelmed and doesn’t want to play with any of them.
When going through her things, I realized she only needs one teddy bear, not 10. She only needs 1 doll, not 5. It’s easy to let things accumulate quickly, especially with kiddos. A lifestyle of simplicity has real lasting value for our children. Rather than quickly becoming discontent, always looking for another item to occupy their interest, they learn to thoroughly enjoy the few items they have. It teaches them creativity and contentment!
With that said, we have been systematically going through our house, room by room and asking ourselves if we need each item right now. This is not an easy question to honestly answer. But for the sake of your peace of mind, do this. I am a firm believer that our homes exist to be a sort of sanctuary for us. It should be a place where rest, family and real fellowship can exist—a place where company can come over at any time because everything has its place, and there isn’t that much “stuff” to put away anyway.
We are talking books you’ll never read again, tools you never use, those ugly mugs and glasses that you never liked but keep holding onto. Just get rid of them! Allie Cassazza has created an amazing doc to help you go through your things efficiently and effectively. Check it out here.
Organizing home space allows you to clear your head space. If everything has its place, and there aren’t excess items, then many of us feel more peace and calm. I polled people on Facebook to see how they were able to rest in their own homes. While this wasn’t the case for everyone, most folks relax best when their home is organized and tidy. And rest is so important for our peace of mind and, let’s face it, our sanity! So let’s help ourselves actually have the rest we ought to have bookending our days by simplifying our homes. Join me on this journey. Whether or not you have felt the need to downsize your things, do it anyway. You’ll feel so much better afterward.
Simplify your life so you can simply live.
Blog post originally posted on mamateatree.com.