Home - Haven - Heaven!

Your home should be the ultimate place of restoration.  Creating a stress-free home is not about spending money or living with someone else’s idea of design.  A home that is a haven makes you feel good about yourself and comfortable in your space.  It is important to listen to your feelings and consider what soothes you - whether that is retreating to a sunroom for tea, keeping your kitchen counter clutter-free or surrounding yourself with favorite colors, textures or artwork.  Once you can identify what makes you feel good, surround yourself with it.

There are simple ways to boost good vibrations in yourself and your home in less time than you think.

Create a personal happy zone.

Where are you happiest?  It can be a reading nook, or a backyard retreat;  perhaps a really comfortable, well appointed bathroom is what makes you feel pampered.  Not everyone has a room or space of ones own, but it is possible to identify and personalize a space where you can go to unwind, think and relax.

Start the day off right.

Make your bed when you get up.  Take the few minutes to smooth the covers and plump the pillows before greeting the day.  If you consciously start your day with a sense of order, you have already accomplished something and can set the tone for the rest of the day.  If possible, wake up to natural light.  Natural light is gentler to wake up to than the jolting sound of an alarm clock.  Even if you must wake up to an alarm clock or before the day is fully light, you can wake up to a composed and tranquil bedroom.  Though you may use your bedroom for many things out of necessity, be sure to clear the clutter each night before bed.  It is an extra step that pays off with less stress and a a clean slate at the beginning of the next day.  Keep only those things close to your bed that please you.  Books, pictures, flowers…whatever makes you feel good, but in moderation.  Too much of even your favorite things can feel overwhelming and chaotic.

Declutter your home using emotion as your guide. 

Consider how each possession or item in a room makes you feel.  Don’t keep things around you that give off negative energy: gifts from people whom you no longer care for; photos and mementos from an unhappy time; books or magazines that no longer interest you.  Like ditching clothes that no longer fit your body or your lifestyle, and tossing expired medicines, purging ANYTHING from your environment that doesn’t bring you happiness is key.  If something you have around doesn’t make you feel good then it really should not stay in your “haven."  It seems counterintuitive, but living without a given chair, table, vase or lamp is BETTER for your peace of mind than living with any one of those items that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable. 

Decluttering can be a very generous gesture.

Ridding yourself of items that no longer fit you, your lifestyle or your state of mind does not necessarily mean adding to the worlds refuse problem.  Almost anything you no longer want can be happily used by someone else, so feel GOOD about decluttering!  Lots of people are just starting out or starting over and appreciate used furniture and household items.  Resale charities such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill resell items to fund positive community programs. Habitat for Humanity often takes lighting and household fixtures to use in projects or to resell at their non-profit stores.  Second hand and consignment shops also take items of all description for resale.  Just because your taste or regard for an item has changed does not diminish the items intrinsic value.  I have a friend who lived with a hated 1970’s hand-me-down chandelier for years until I took it off her grateful hands and refurbished it with a bit of elbow grease and paint.  Now it is a fabulous modernist statement piece!

Establish one habit at a time.

Start with one easy and satisfying change to get you started.  You might try the ritual of keeping a clean and shiny kitchen sink.  Not waking up to mystery water and dirty dishes gives you positive feelings and motivates you. Wiping down the bathroom sink and vanity, and putting everything away as soon as you are finished in the morning means you come back into a clean and orderly bathroom every night.  Or dedicate 15 minutes a day to straightening and decluttering one room.  I find that keeping baskets or covered hampers in rooms where clutter gathers is ideal for hiding, storing and carrying stuff away.  Such small changes to improve your environment become a domino effect.  When you are happy with the “feel” and mood of your home, the rest of the house will begin to fall into line.

Enjoy plants. 

You do not have to have to be a gardener to keep some nature around the house.  Green plants of every kind improve the air quality and the aura of a room.  Even the smallest living plant: a dish garden on a windowsill, a practically fool-proof snake plant , or my own personal favorite that even I haven’t killed: a cactus planted in a deep, clear glass vessel, does the trick. 

Display things that make you happy.

Sea shells?  Tea pots? Blue and white ceramics?  Books? Photos?  Kids drawings?  Anything that makes you happy is a good thing to display.  Grouping similar items together makes them seem important.  Framing postcards or kids drawings gives each image gravity.  Does a particular color make you happy?  A group of disparate items in the same or similar colors grouped together is a tremendous statement.

Use a timer to tackle tasks.

You will make a dent in your chore list and you will be surprised at what can be done in 15, 10 or even 5 minutes.  If you have a time limit, you are going to work as fast as you can because the timer keeps you focused.  The idea is not to crash and burn.  Don't try to work for too long or tackle a too-big project.  Small steps and steady progress will ensure your ongoing motivation and a healthy new habit.

Unplug electronics when they are not in use.

All the little lights on the many electronic devices we all use transform your home into a hub of wired stimulation. The heat and static electricity generated can have adverse effects as well.  And, many plugged in items also consume energy even when not in use. So, Do yourself a favor - unplug.

Surround yourself with calming colors.

Light blues and earthy greens are typically soothing, calming colors.  Some people long to be surrounded in soothing, rich creams.  Even if you prefer bright hues, if these are your "happy colors",  they will likely keep you feeling Zen.  Most importantly, be aware of how the colors surrounding you make you feel, and use that as your guide.  Painting a room is usually the least expensive and highest-return DIY project you can invest in.

Your home is your haven.  Makes sure it is an environment that helps you to feel comfortable, good about yourself and ready to take on whatever the world sends your way!