|Photo by Pablo Merchan Montes on Unsplash|
Does the home you've created support the life you want to live?
You don't need to remodel the bathroom, install granite countertops, or buy new furniture. Instead, figure out which details have the most impact on your daily life, and approach them like a minimalist.
What do you use as soon as you awake every morning?
These items need to be accessible, whether this means having a place for your eyeglasses or your medications, your favorite spiritual book, or your journal and a pen. If you don't have a drawer to store these in your bedside table, place them in a shallow basket that can slide under the bed (now that you don't have a bunch of clutter under it).
What do you use to get ready for the day?
The bathroom needs to be clean and ready to go. You need enough hooks on the wall so towels can be hung to dry rather than dropped on the floor.
Keep counter tops and tub ledges clear so the space is usable and easy to clean. If you don't have enough drawers or cupboard space to put away everyone's grooming items, give each family member a storage tote (like the one you may have used when you lived in your college dorm). That way each person's products are convenient for use, but easily removed from the bathroom when someone else is using it.
Adopt a streamlined grooming regimen and the right haircut and style so you can get ready quickly and easily on busy mornings. Consider a more natural look so you can pare your makeup down to a handful of products.
Your closet should only hold clothes that fit and flatter, that you love to wear, and that go with one another to create outfits. Your shoes and accessories need to be stored in an accessible way. All of this should make getting dressed a pleasure rather than a hassle.
How do you feed yourself and your family?
Each morning, you enter a kitchen that's ready to meet your needs, because you've cultivated the habit of cleaning it after dinner. Your uncluttered cabinets aren't crammed and disorganized, and clean dishes are available when you need them. The refrigerator and pantry hold nutritious foods, and you've simplified your menu so it's easy to decide on and prepare meals.
What do you need to do your job?
Your laptop bag is packed and ready to leave the house with you; so are the kids' backpacks. Your purse holds the items you need, with no extraneous clutter or garbage to dig through. Your keys and sunglasses are right where you expect them to be. On a rainy morning, your umbrella hangs ready on a hook in the closet, and isn't jostling for space with three tattered, broken umbrellas.
How do you relax?
You have several comfortable spots in your home to sit and read or embroider or do sudoku or whatever you enjoy. There's a table for your cup of tea, and a lamp to turn on as it gets dark. If you like to put your feet up, or if you tend to get chilly, there's an ottoman and a cozy throw handy for use. And if you never use those items, they aren't in the room cluttering it up.
Who are the people you want to interact with every day?
You have time to call your sister, because you haven't fallen down the rabbit hole of cat videos and click bait. Phones don't show up at the dinner table, so you actually talk to and listen to your children. And they have a wind-down ritual and a regular bedtime, so there's usually time afterwards to spend with your partner.
Your bedroom isn't cluttered with baskets of clean clothes that need to be folded or miscellaneous junk that migrated there because it doesn't have a home anywhere else. You've banished the computer and the TV, so the two of you can relax with a glass of wine, listen to some Ludovico Einaudi, and talk about plans for your upcoming weekend in Napa Valley.
Almost everything about your day has gone smoothly, with no upsets while you looked for something important that was lost in piles of junk, no dithering and dissatisfaction about what to wear, no stresses about leaving the house late and putting your entire schedule out of whack, no arguments about the kids' bath time or why your husband is still watching the news on the bedroom TV while you're trying to go to sleep.
Maybe it sounds impossible, but the space, the time, the energy, the patience, the clarity, and the freedom are all byproducts of a decluttered home, and the changes in habits and mindset that brought it about.
It's not a perfect paradise, but it's so much less stressful and so much more supportive that you feel like you're at a getaway. You're much more content in your same old house because it's no longer like your same old house.
It's more like your dream house.