As I’ve considered lately what I want to create in our home, I’ve been imagining a home with a feeling of space in it, even in a 1500 sq. ft. home filled with 6 active people full-time, and a 7th who visits between semesters.
For me, a feeling of space comes from …
Few things in any particular area
The first four were no-brainers, but I was a little surprised by Movement. Living things move. I looked up the six characteristics of living things, and the first one said that living things are highly organized, from the smallest part to the largest. Well, my doorbell isn’t alive, but there is a sense of life in a living, warm, comfortable home, at least in my imaginings!
Movement shows up in all sorts of areas in a home. For instance, food. Ideally, food is carried into the house by my strapping strong sons, put away in the refrigerator and cabinets, and then cooked (or not) and eaten. The remains of the packaging are trashed or recycled, possibly composted, and the food disappears one way or another — like it’s supposed to! That’s what food it for. There is movement in that process. Contrast that to bottles of salad dressing in the refrigerator door with expiration dates from two years ago, or taco shells that have been in the cabinet for, like, a year (true-life example, that one).
Thinking of movement brought up the contrasting condition, where an item comes into the house and then stays . . . and stays . . . and stays. One jar of verde sauce in the cabinet? No biggie. Multiply it by 200 or 500 things throughout the house (and garage), and there’s a super-duper recipe for clutter.
I suppose we’ve all read those decluttering tips: (read in Martha Stewart’s voice) 1. Box up items you’re not sure about. If you don’t need to get into the box in 6 months, you can donate it without ever looking iin it again! (Peter Walsh now) When you switch out your seasonal clothes, hang them all with the hangers backwards. At the end of the season, anything that hasn’t been moved goes out the door. All kinds of clever ways to tell yourself whether or not you need something. I would say that the most current decluttering advice is more like to address the more philosophical and spiritual issues, but there’s quite a boatload of information out there to plow through.
So I’m on the lookout for things that have gotten “stuck” in our home.
While I’m finding the stuckies and moving them along, I am also thinking about the things that will inevitably come in the front door. For food? I want to buy products that are destined to be used because I have a plan for them. I haven’t been doing any meal planning lately. Just couldn’t muster up the energy for it. But I’m connecting planning meals with having the food on hand we need AND leaving the food we DON’T need at the store (or on the internet, my most favoritest shopping place in the world).
Past attempts have focused on the “thou shalt not’s” and efforts to find some list of 10 fool-proof ways to keep your house decluttered. What a breath of fresh air to be looking at the “yes do’s!!”
Not everything is going to come in and then go out. Some things are going to come in and stay in one place, but be used every day (furniture, appliances); some things will come in and just look lovely and that will be their entire job. But if it’s going to be here, I want it to either be something I believe is beautiful or something I know to be useful. (said by one William Morris waaaay back in the 1800’s).
Happy New Year! Let’s Get Moving!