Happier Home, Happier You (Part 1)
SPECIAL OFFER: The Amazon Kindle version of my book Uncluttered is available in the US and the UK for a reduced price beginning today and going until next Friday, May 8.
Houses are like mirrors, and over time they come to reflect the people who live in them. So a house can tell you quite a bit.
Some houses say that the people who live there are bright, optimistic, and fulfilled. Others send the message that the inhabitants are stagnant, overwhelmed, or that they no longer care. What does your house say about you?
5 Things You Can Do to Create a Happier, Healthier House
1. Create a working entry.
Ditch the morning ritual of a frenzied search for your keys when you're already running late. Instead, put your entry to work. Consider a hook for your keys, a tray for sunglasses or mail, a small bulletin board for a calendar or reminders, and a mirror for a last-minute appearance check before heading out.
Go deeper: Place all of these things on a table with concealed shelves for storing your shoes. You'll keep them handy but out of sight, remove a tripping hazard, and stop tracking in dirt and debris.
2. Improve the scenery.
You don't need to redecorate your entire house, but a few modifications can make your home more restful and enjoyable. For example, consider your refrigerator. Is it buried under magnets holding appointment cards, invitations, or sports team practice lists? Add the dates to a family calendar hung inside a pantry or closet door, out of sight but easily accessible, and remove the multiple reminders. A clean, uncluttered refrigerator door immediately calms the kitchen.
Go deeper: Your walls can be a source of inspiration and happiness. Whether it's a framed drawing by your child, a family portrait, a positive affirmation, a beloved piece of art, or a simple shelf with your favorite collection, aim for one thing in each room that makes you smile.
3. Go green.
You may be fortunate enough to have a tree right outside your window, but any chance to bring nature inside is one you should take. Many studies show that indoor plants reduce stress and make people more at ease, and they also reduce CO2 levels, increase humidity, reduce airborne dust, and lower background noise (a real plus if you live near a busy street).
Go deeper: Indoor plants for even the blackest thumb include sansevieria (snake plant), aloe, pothos, dieffenbachia, peace lily, and English ivy.
4. Add scent.
Scent is a powerful memory trigger. Remember the scent of a fresh Christmas tree, or Grandma's cookies? Immediate happiness! Other scents can actually enhance your mood and your health. Inhaling essential oils activates the hypothalamus -- the area of the brain which sends messages to other parts of the body -- and can activate the immune system, lower blood pressure, or stimulate digestion. Use a diffuser, candles, or incense, or create a mister by adding a few drops of a favorite essential oil to a small spray bottle filled with distilled water.
Go deeper: Try various essential oils like lavender, lemon, rosemary, bergamot, peppermint, vanilla, and jasmine to find your favorite.
5. Reduce clutter.
It's impossible to have serenity in your life when you're surrounded by disorder. And what are you hanging onto, anyway? The pretty greeting card you feel guilty about recycling, the free mug from that seminar you attended, the tattered bath towels, prom and bridesmaid dresses? They can all probably go. As a rule of thumb, if I "discover" something I forgot I had, I know I can donate or toss it. If I was able to live without it before, it's safe to say I don't need it.
Go deeper: Getting rid of clutter is, surprisingly, the easy part. Maintaining the clutter-free life is a bit harder.
- Create a home for everything you keep, and remember "Don't just put it down, put it away."
- Don't buy something new without discarding something old (aka "One in, one out").
- Take 15 minutes every week for every family member to do a quick purge.
Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash