While doing some Declutter learning, I read that our house should support our lives, not clash with it. If we are spending hours cleaning, (which often means just trying to find a place to put things), our house is taking away time from our family, our hobby, or even our job.
The benchmark, suggested by one pro, is, ‘What would happen to your house if you got sick and couldn’t clean’ for five days? Would it be a disaster or would it be in the same condition as when you went down?’ That was so profound to me that it prompted me to rethink how I lived in my own home.
I got rid of things that were nice but didn’t serve me. Beautiful pottery bowls lined up across the top of my cabinets. Never used. Dust and grime catchers.
A little chair by the door in my bedroom that was really pretty but useless. Too tiny and too low to actually use except to hold clothes that hadn’t made it to the hamper.
About 15 feet of books that I’d been carting around for over 20 years. Moved them several times and always had good intentions to re-read them.
Three huge totes full of magazines that I couldn’t even move myself.
Things looked OK on the surface, but every closet, every drawer, and every place had stuff. And most of it I didn’t need, want, or use. But, by golly, it was MY stuff and I had to keep it.
“My house should support me”. What a concept. It should make my life easier, not more difficult.
I should be able to come home and relax, not come home and stress. Or avoid coming home at all.
It was two years ago that I started trying to live this way and it’s still a work in progress. I recently moved, again, and I am sadly aware, in spades, that I have too much stuff. I’m back to gleaning possessions. I hate this.
But the upside is that with every possession that goes out the door, my shoulders get straighter, and my breath comes easier. With every space I create in the closet, I think how much nicer it will be to get something out of that closet that isn’t wrinkled from being crammed into other clothes.
It’s great to be able to get into the baking utensil drawer and not have to jimmy it to get it open.
Little things like this make my life easier, and make my house support me, not take my time away from me.
It’s things like having room in the hall closet for visitor’s coats. It’s having room in the linen closet for all the clean linen and realizing that eight sets of sheets for one bed is overkill. Got a lot of room back when I took care of that.
It’s being able to sit or stand in any place in any room and feel like the space is quiet, it’s clear of extraneous stuff, it doesn’t make me jittery or click that,’ Well, that’s something you should take care of,’ switch in my brain.
When my house is calm, I tend to be calmer. I can actually enjoy sitting with a cup of tea while looking out the window. I don’t feel like I’m cheating if I take time for myself.
I realized that, in this era of self-care overload, the best self-care I can do is to have a home that supports me and nurtures me. I like my home now. Still have stuff to get rid of, but it’s coming, and I am able to just be calm here. Because my house is calm too.