Now, more than ever, people are turning inwards and taking measures to be mindful, to better connect the mind, body and soul. We practice yoga, moving our body with our breath. We jog, observing the outdoors. We cook a meal, breathing in the fragrant spices. (The list goes on.) But what about when we turn outward, and consider our environment—namely, our home—and its impact on our efforts to be mindful, to live consciously? How can we create a place that gives us the space we need to focus on our journeys, that brings us joy, that feels like a breath of fresh air every time we walk in the door? How can we (essentially) spring clean mindfully?
1. Declutter. Dedicate a weekend to focus on ridding your life of things that do not serve you. Start by walking around your house, observe all of the rooms and mentally note your possessions. Begin asking yourself these questions, “How long have I had this? How often do I use it? Does it have sentimental value? Will I be fine, if not better, without it? Do I NEED this in my life?”
Once finished, go through a second time with pen and paper. Prioritize categories of clutter that have accumulated throughout the house: Clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, books, photographs, etc. Marie Kondo, author of New York Times bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, offers the advice to tidy by category, as opposed to by rooms. If you purge from room to room, you will likely find that you just shift items throughout the house instead of actually removing them. Stay focused on one category until you’ve finished, and then move on to the next. Try not to go down a rabbit hole; for example, when your category is “clothing” and you come across the first love letter your significant other ever wrote you… you pick it up, read it, cry, and the next thing you know (and three hours later), you are on the sofa watching your wedding video with tissues and popcorn in hand.
2. Next, organize! Once you’ve taken a weekend (or two, or three) to honestly contemplate and have purged the things in your life that have taken up emotional and physical space for years, take time to organize your keepsakes. Having a place for the items you’ve decided belong in your home lends serious power. It was Benjamin Franklin who once said, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Having order in the home has a positive mental effect. If you have a cluttered, messy home, your brain is likely to be chaotic and unfocused. Having a clean, tidy home allows you to feel relaxed and comfortable while you are there. If you are not the best at organizing, call a friend, have Mom over, or assign chores to the kids. There are also organization companies you can hire: Suddenly Simple Organizing believes in the power of a tidy home, and what it can do for your mind, body and soul!
3. Stay true to you. So, we’ve decluttered, got rid of items that don’t belong, and we’ve assigned a place for the valuable materials that do. The purpose of this blog post is to help you become more aware of what you have, how you can honor your possessions, and to show you what you can bring to your home (guilt-free!) going forward.
Continuously personalize your home: Add art that moves you. Find beautiful and unique antique picture frames to hang family photos. Change kitchen cabinet doors into open shelving to display your organized dish sets. Transform the never-used office into a sacred space for meditation, exercise, or simply a technology-free room for sitting and breathing. I myself have recently added two leafy, green plants (that I’ve given names to, Winifred and Babette) to our home to add color against our white walls and grey floors. Indoor plants add oxygen and act as a natural air purifier for the home.
Be mindful, be open to newness and minimalism, ask yourself questions, try not to act impulsively. And, as you add to your home (and life), don’t be afraid to take away.
“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.” -The Dalai Lama
A few more ways to bring mindfulness into your home:
- Bedtime stories may be a natural cure for insomnia
- How to take your daily meditation to the next level
- How to turn brushing your teeth into a mindful moment
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