Making Space: Home

Arches National Park in Moab, Utah

Hello, and welcome to the latest installment in my “making space” series. Two weeks ago I did an overview post of places in which you can make space in your life. Last week, we took a deep dive into the self. This week we’re going to take a look at making space in the home. Also, one programing note: I’ll be putting this series on hold for the next two holiday weeks and will bring some more seasonally appropriate content at that time. This series will pick back up with the January 9th posting date.

Now let’s get to it! Making space in the home is critical for feeling like you have space in your life. Can you imagine being inspired and ready to seize the day when you’re surrounded by clutter, disorderliness, and excessive stuff? If you can, then you’re a better survivor than I am. For me, in order for me to feel comfortable, relaxed and focused in my home, it must be free of clutter.

Honestly, I find that to be true of any environment for me. When I used to have an office, my desk was always orderly. For me, it had to be that way. I wasn’t able to focus and work with huge piles of paper and clutter on my desk. I would always get distracted by papers on my desk and worry that I might be “missing something important.” I knew myself, and I knew how I operated best. This is why I kept an orderly desk.

That same line of thinking extends into the home for me. Sure, my house probably always needs to be swept or dusted, but that’s because I spend my time keeping the house free of clutter and stacks and piles of stuff. Most of us don’t have the time we wish we did for housekeeping. In today’s modern and busy world, often we have to triage the cleaning tasks in our homes.

I believe that keeping my house free of clutter is a worthy goal because it’s an environment over which I have control and over which I can exercise authority. In a world where so much is out of our hands, it’s comforting to know that you can still rule your own roost. Granted, this is a bit easier for those of us without children in the home, but even with children present, you can achieve this goal.

Let’s look at some strategies for the home that’ll help clear the mind and introduce increased space and margin in life:

Start by tidying up your surroundings and the space in your home for which you are responsible (if you live with multiple people). If you don’t know where to start with making space in your home, start with clearing off surfaces and filing away things that you know you have a home for. Taking only 15 minutes per day to make these rounds in your home can work wonders. Depending on how cluttered your home is already, it may take some time to get the system started, but once you do find a groove, you will likely find it much easier to stay in it.

Once you’ve put all the things you want in a their rightful places, the next best thing you can work on is getting rid of junk or clutter that doesn’t serve you. Most people have things in their homes that just take up space. But if an object doesn’t make you happy or serve a purpose in your life, why is it in your home? Do yourself a big favor and get serious with yourself about what it is that you need to be comfortable, functional, and happy in your home. Once you figure that out, you can donate, sell, recycle, or trash the things not serving you. If something is just taking up space and not providing value in your life, you don’t need it. In fact, those items are devaluing your quality of life and are the precise things that must be eradicated to make space in your life.

For those of you with kids, I’m going to put a special little note here. Actually, this can also apply to those with significant others who have lots of stuff. Whether it’s kids with toys or husbands and their power tools or hobby items, be insistent that those items have homes and only stay in those homes. Children’s toys should stay in their bedrooms or in their playrooms. Tolerating more toys than kids can fit in their rooms is decreasing your quality of life. That may be hard to see at first, but I believe this whole-heartedly. Same thing goes for the husband (or wife!) with all the “toys” or gadgets or power tools: make a home for these things and be insistent about it.

Admittedly, this isn’t always easy (never said it would be), but sticking to your guns and forming clear guidelines about how the space in your home will be utilized is an effective step toward making the space in your life that you want and need. If you’re having trouble getting your family on board with your new program, sit them down and explain to them why it’s important. Share your dreams and desires with them and get them excited about creating space in their own lives as well. It’s difficult for people to rally around an idea if they don’t understand why it’s important. Communicating with and involving your family in your plans is critical for your (and their) success.

Finally, once you can clear up some of the clutter and make space in your home, the next and final step is to carve out a small space in your home for yourself to think and relax. Impossible, you might be thinking. Perhaps it seems that way on the surface, but even the smallest homes have some corner or cranny that can be repurposed or multi-purposed. Even if it’s putting a comfy chair in a corner of your bedroom or claiming a living room corner for yourself as your haven, space can be created. Sometimes it involves getting creative and often times it involves being highly resourceful, but it is doable. Heck, even if you have to go out on your back porch for some quiet time, do it.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what you do in the new space you’ve created in your life. What matters is that you’re using the space and time to increase your quality of life and focus on things that you want and that matter to you. Too often we get caught up in the fast pace of daily life. Stepping back and slowing down and creating some space in life will help us to be able to live better lives overall. Try it out and see!

What about you? Have you tried any of these strategies for making more space in your home? How they work for you? Or, do some of these sound good but you’re still having trouble getting started? Let me know! I’m happy to discuss any and all of this and provide any help I can.