When the seasons change, it’s not unusual for us to crave change as well.
But how? When? It’s all too easy to feel caught in a hamster wheel of busy and feel that there simply isn’t time left in our days for decorating, or approaching our spaces intentionally. How can we create change, when we’re caught between zoom calls/school, meal prep, work, and soccer practice, bouncing back and forth like a ball on the tennis court?
If you’re feeling a little stuck in this season, you’re not alone. This is when we find it's helpful to remember that atmosphere has a tremendous impact on how we live, and how we feel. Taking a few minutes to assess your space is an investment in your productivity, your mood, and the sense of well-being you and the people you share your home with carry through each day.
It is not wasted time!
Let’s walk through some ideas for how to shift our mindset and approach our homes mindfully without the overwhelm. I'm taking notes, too. Make a cup of tea or fill a glass of water, and walk around your home. Take a few deep breaths, and give yourself a moment to dream about what you want your home to feel like right now in this season.
atmosphere has tremendous impact on how we live, and how we feel
Step 1. Pick your room or corner
Do not start with your whole house, even if your whole house is driving you crazy. Pick the area that you need to change the most. It’s the area that isn’t working for you, or the area that you spend most of your time in, or the area that is meant for relationships, but simply isn’t serving as a place to connect. Chances are, you already know in your gut which space you’re going to focus on first.
Step 2. Simple Math: Subtract!
When we want a change, it’s our instinct to figure out what we can add in order to fill a need, make something feel cozy, or simply be at peace. But in truth, we often need to subtract something first. Subtraction helps us better identify what we need, and also see what abundance we already have at our fingertips. This could look like going through your house with a box, culling to donate, or you could take the less intense approach and simply take the box you fill and put it in storage. I’ve noticed that I have to be in the right mindset for decluttering. If you’re feeling that getting rid of things is too much to wrap your mind around, don’t. You can still subtract busyness and clutter from your space without the final commitment to never use the items again. It’s okay to save that decision for another day. Regardless, I recommend getting a box and filling it. It’s fast and simple and fool-proof.
it's okay to subtract busyness and clutter from your space without the final commitment to never use the items again
Step 3. Get comfortable with empty space
I promise, this isn’t a post on the virtues of minimalism. This step is simply an invitation to let your space breathe for a day or two or three. Wipe down your surfaces now that they aren’t so crowded, and look at your space with fresh eyes. Maybe you’re noticing the paint color in a different way, maybe you’re noticing the way the crown molding adds interest to the room. Maybe you immediately realized what that space needed. The reason this step is important is because it’s hard to think creatively about what we want our space to look like and how it can reflect the season when it is already full and fully decorated.
Step 4. More simple math: Add (or not!)
Depending on how ruthlessly you emptied your space, you are probably wanting to add a little something back in. But maybe not. Either way is okay!
If adding something back in is what you’re wanting, it’s time to think deliberately about your goals for your space. Think of the senses beyond sight. We so often think only about what we want our spaces to look like, and neglect the other senses. What do you or those in your home need the space to feel like, or even smell like? Think about the mood and the atmosphere.
Remember your goals, not just your decor preferences. Look beyond "shabby chic" or "minimalist farmhouse" and sit with how you want your space to feel.
Once you’ve identified what the space needs, first look around your house and in your closets. It’s likely that you already have what you need. Rearranging your home and shifting things from one room to another is a highly underrated decorating hack. But if you find that you don’t have what you need, you can take that shopping trip knowing you’ve thought intentionally about what you need to purchase, and can be confident that you are not buying something you already own.
Good luck! We are rooting for you and excited for the way your newly refreshed space will positively impact your well-being.