With the chaos in our world presently, I feel frustrated that, alone, I can’t make much of a positive difference. I’ll pray continually for our country and be one of the first in line at the polls in November, but I wish I could do more.
When it comes to my own little world, however, I do have the power to make it better. I’m the primary changer of my home environment.
Recently, my house was getting on my nerves. I felt cramped and irritable. It’s easy to maintain with just the two of us here. But, it became messy, and I have a low tolerance for disorder.
When I looked around I instantly knew that I’d brought on my own irritation. I’d ambitiously started three projects at once. Why? I don’t know.
The kitchen counter was dirty and cluttered. I’d left a bunch of stuff there: groceries, mail, empty jars, a vase, a new book, etc. I didn’t really notice them at first.
I jumped into action; I was done with disarray. After the counter was cleared and wiped down I already felt better. I walked around the house and piled up the “displaced” things, and directed them to their homes. I completed one of the three projects–I reorganized and stored giftwrapping supplies in a new hanging container. The other two projects were the hardest to organize—papers; which I often pile up instead of dealing with them. I placed them into folders quickly and used hanging files in a new file box I’d ordered.
The last big pile contained cards and letters from people I love. I feel a little sheepish when I tell you I’ve saved many personal letters. But after reading encouraging notes and LOVE letters from my husband, I confess unabashedly that they will stay in my possession.
Crucial insights from years ago popped into my head:
1. Clutter attracts more clutter. Disorder invites all its friends along for the ride.
2. When things are messy, your usual standard is obscured and you allow more messiness.
3. It’s preferable to schedule and accomplish one project at a time. Don’t fall into the habit of leaving the piles out for weeks, due to procrastination.
4. Find an out of the way area for sorting papers and small things so your daily life isn’t interrupted. Just don’t forget about it when it’s out of sight!
5. Aggressively scrutinize everything that comes into your home. Don’t succumb to sales and free items if you don’t have a plan or a place for them.
6. Deal with mail each day and schedule a longer “appointment” with yourself to read through, take action and cull paper.
7. Everything needs a home, even papers.
I haven’t worked in my field as frequently as I did before my move three years ago, but my passion for home hasn’t diminished at all. In the seventeen years since I launched my organizing/ staging business I’ve met distraught and depressed people who were stuck; even imprisoned, in a home full of disarray. They called me when they were at their wit’s end.
A few examples of challenging scenarios:
- The living room that stored bags of the deceased mother’s clothing, years after she passed away.
- Tables that never saw people dining, because of the piles of paper and stuff.
- Beds piled high with clothing because there was no space in the closet. The client “carved out” a place to sleep.
- Unusable kitchens because of assorted piles of things covering the counters and stove top.
- Beds that could barely be accessed by a tiny trail through huge piles of clothing on the floor.
Houses don’t become uninhabitable overnight. These lifestyles occurred over years, and involved many small decisions.
People don’t realize, when they make little choices day after day, how they shape their future. What things to buy, what to keep, whether or not systems are set, what projects to tackle or not; all of these and more are things that determine how a home looks and functions. An ordered peaceful space or a chaotic prison; it’s a choice.
How does your home make you feel? What small step will you take that’ll start the ball rolling in the right direction?
Our homes are our largest investments and greatest gifts. They, alone, provide us with the opportunity to create an inspiring, orderly and comfort-filled culture. We infuse our creativity and loving touches to form our own little worlds.
Where we love is home—home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.