The New Year is a wonderful time to celebrate what we've achieved, experienced and enjoyed the year that just passed. But its also a wonderful time to re-asses what is working and maybe what's not, or what you'd like to change. Personally I love to have a goal or resolution for many different areas of my life, but here are some ideas for the home.
1. Bring in more plants. I LOVE plants. They do so much good for us, they clean the air, they help you relax, they provide color and natural beauty. Plus sun light is something that is very healthy for all of us, so if you're plant is doing good then you probably are too. Sean Stevenson in his book, Sleep Smarter even notes that having a plant in your bedroom can help you sleep better. Make sure to pick a plant you love, and if you are not very good with plants, pick a succulent or bamboo, they are very hearty and easy to take care of.
2. Create a routine. So many self help experts state that having a routine is critical for their success especially for the morning and night. It doesn't have to be very long, it just needs to work for you. What I do each morning is drink a full glass of water, visit the bathroom, then go for a walk. Depending on my day ahead I may go for a shorter or longer walk. But I love my morning walk. Then I make breakfast when I get back, and start the day. At night, I take 5 minutes to prepare myself for the next day, 10 minutes to tidy up, then I do a little yoga, write in my journal (will be the next point) and then read a page in my spiritual book, The Sophia Code.
3. The four questions I write every night in my journal:
What did I love about today?
What am I proud of today?
What did I learn today?
What am I thankful for today?
I think I got this from Catherine Northrup, since I started this, I have been sleeping so much better, who doesn't want a great night sleep?!?
4. Bring in some sents. Add something that smells nice in your home, it could be fresh flowers, a diffuser with essential oils, or essential oils diluted in a spray bottle. Whenever I spray my jasmine blend I have in the spray bottle right now, I always smile. and think "I love this smell." Its amazing.
5. Commit to not letting anything in your house that you do not LOVE. I got this practice from a book that talked about how french women live life a little more fully than american women (I forgot the title). While I don't know if that's actually true, I took on this practice with regards to clothes, and later it evolved to be applied to everything. I don't bring it home unless I LOVE it; this has really helped my wallet and keeping my own home more organized. (While I love organizing, I love collecting things too, hehe. I love establishing systems, and great with maximizing space, it does take some restraint to limit what comes home with me).
6. Piggy backing on the fact that I love collecting things... decide on what you do love and resolve to integrate that into your home, if you have enough money to replace all of a certain item right away, great! If not decide to replace it as you go. This way your collections can become useful. I collect pint glasses, photos, and I love making plant arrangements, so I collect interesting jars. I'm pretty nostalgic, and always want to get a souvenir to remember that fun trip or to symbolize my accomplishment...A long time ago I decided my solution to this constant desire would be to only buy pint glasses from a place that would bring back a memory, and not to purchase any other kind of glass or knickknack (At the moment I have a tiny place, so one type of glass works fine for me). I love having a lot of pictures up, so I print them from shutterfly in the wallet size. I love having the tiny pictures because I can fit more in one area, plus they come in a set of 4; its really fun to share my photos with my friends & family. And the jars.... I do have to hold back sometimes. but I have a specific area that I save the jars until I am ready to plant an arrangement. If they don't fit on that shelf, I don't buy it, or it gets tossed. In the book Spark Joy by Mari Kondo, she has a wonderful example of her client that loves mushrooms, and has hundreds of photos and figurines of mushrooms. Her client ended up covering the inside of her closet with all the mushroom stuff. Then when she would go in her closet she felt so much love and re-charged.
Could you possibly have a lot of something with the intention of a project? Commit time to doing that project. Ten minutes a day, one hour a week, two hours a month... If you love something that much that you have accumulated a lot of it, you are worth it to spend time doing what you love. Commit to it, or have a party! I have a friend that is very crafty, and literally everything she sees she wants to save because it would be cool for an art project. She has enough stuff for 20 of us to come over and do all kinds of art projects. So that's what we are doing. We girls are going to have a craft party.
7. Leading to... Designate a certain area in your house that makes you feel incredible, like a queen or king! Where one look at this area and you are re-charged. This could be your closet, your bathroom, a shrine dedicated to how amazing you are... whatever. This is amazingly powerful. Pick an area that is only for you, and deck it out. Personally I have a shrine dedicated to celebrating me! If its your bathroom, splurge, get really nice towels, a plush bathroom rug, a really gorgeous mirror... (check out my article Spa Sanctuary at Home). If its your closet, get all matching hangars you really love, line the walls with some gorgeous wallpaper, art or photos you love. If you have enough space get a seat you love so that you can sit down while getting ready, put up an affirmation that makes you feel amazing, if you love your jewelry or have a hat collection, create a way to display it. If you love mushrooms, cover your closet in mushrooms! Or create a shrine to worship yourself. I got this from Regena Thomas Hauer, she's an author and speaker, and created the School of Womanly Arts aka Mama Gena. Designate this area only to celebrate you, how ever that may be. I have a modeling picture, a few pictures of when I was very little, a goddess card that looks like me, a box that has all of my dreams and desires, crystals hanging from the top, and some heart stones. I felt self centered making it, but its really powerful, and I love that its only for me to look at. Your shrine may be completely different, but it must make you feel loved and incredible every-time you look at it.
8. Commit to a specific amount of time everyday that you will clean/organize. It can be just 10 minutes a day. I build this into my night routine, but it can be any time of day. You would be surprised how much you can get done in 10 minutes. If you have time do more, if you don't do less. Making something a habit will carry over in many different ways.
If you have kids check out "Help! How can I get my kid to clean their room?"
I love using a timer, set the timer and just do it :)
9. Commit to having one type. What does that mean? I left it vague because this could be applied to many different things. I think it mostly relates to the kitchen, but it could relate to many other things like socks or containers. Again if you have the money, replace what you have all at once. If you don't simply decide that you will only buy "that specific thing" and slowly replace as you go. For example the plastic tupperware I love the most is the round Ziploc containers, because they stack, and the lids are all exactly the same size weather you buy the small size or the large size and they are stack-able, yay for space saving! Or the jars I use in my house are all exactly the same, with some different sizes. I made this decision intentionally. I like the diamond pattern, it makes things "sparkly," I like clear containers because it shows what is inside so that I don't need labels yet there is consistency, they are stack-able (maximizing space) and I use them as a smaller glass when I don't feel like pint glass. So look at what you have going on, and establish what you like best or have more of. The easiest example is: do you have more square or round tupperware? Commit to having only one shape, so that you can stack it easier, if you have a ton of jars, and want to save money, or like the style replace all of your glasses so that you only use jars to drink out of, if space is not an issue, this one may not be applicable to you.
10. Look at your habits in the home. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Where does mess tend to accumulate?
What do you have a lot of? And why? If you have a lot of something is it because you really like that thing? Or is it because you get it for free?
If your house is not how you want it to be, what exactly is it that you want to change? How do you want it to feel when you walk in the door, or finish everything, and sit down to relax?
What is the obstacle to having your home the way you want it to be? Are you too busy? Is there some emotional stuff, that maybe makes cleaning a heavy chore? Maybe having a lot of things makes you feel like you are better off financially? A big obstacle for me used to be saving up for my "someday house" I have fantasized about my "someday house" for so long, and have been accumulating, art, tables, and glasses. Eventually I had to bite the bullet, and accept that at this moment I am not in that house yet, one day I will get there, and when I do then I can fill my cabinets with meaningful glasses and and cover my walls with art that I have collected from my travels around the world, but until I am in that place I am not allowed to "save up" for this future home. Creating "rules" is what really works for me.
Once you establish why things are the way they are, and how you would like them to be different, then you can establish a game plan. It is much more achievable that you think.
11. Toss one thing every month, something, anything; just make sure you throw away or donate one thing a month. This is so small and so simple, its very easy keep this habit. I usually toss something during my cycle. My body is is getting rid of something, and so I do too. Or maybe you enjoy pay day and usually end up getting a little something? Be sure to toss one item the day before you get paid. I love this habit, it keeps my life in general up to date in a very easy way. Clients and friends have told me they really like this practice too!
12. Add Art to your life! Add art that moves you or photos that bring a lot of joy to look at and remember. You can do this in so many ways, and its probably the easiest way to add more color to your home. You could create a gallery wall of what you already have, or create a new collection of images. Or maybe just hang one large piece of art. I love art. If you already have art you love, that will be easy, find a spot it will look great, and voila! Save up for when you do find that piece of art that moves your soul, or create your own!
13. Maximize the highs and the lows. Take advantage of the low spots like underneath your bed and couch, and high spots like above closets and cabinets. Very often I see these spaces not being used. This is valuable real estate in our homes, if space is a challenge! For underneath beds and couches you can find shallow containers that slide underneath very easily for things like books, shoes,, sheets or toys. And above closets and cabinets are perfect spots for things you don't use very often, but often enough that you don'[t want to put it in the storage. How much space you have to spare will dictate what you can fit up there. If you can push the containers back far enough then it won't matter too much what they look like, but if the containers will show, it would probably be nice to pick containers that suit your taste, or go cheap and cover boxes with the same paper so it looks uniform. Personally I like this because its much easier to create a unique look. You will want to make sure that if you are putting things above your head that it is in a closed container, not too heavy and secure in some way. Many times cabinets have little lip, maybe you put Velcro on the bottom, or secure it to eye hole hooks...
14. Get some help. :) Trading with a friend, or hiring a professional to give you a boost in getting your home the way you want might be the perfect solution for you. Most of the time once you commit to getting things in order the process goes much faster that you imagined.
None of these ideas are in any particular order, I hope 1 or all of these ideas inspire you to make your home into a sanctuary that you absolutely love and re-charges you, helping you have the best year yet!
Wishing you all an amazing 2019,
Much love Jessica
Hello! I'm excited to share all that I have learned over my 20 years of working with kids, and some interesting perspectives and ideas relating design and organization. May this blog bring more happiness and ease to your home. <3