Monday, September 17, 2012

Simplify: Your Home

How Clutter Happens

A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.
                                                                                                                - George Carlin     

Unfortunately, that seems to be true more and more these days.  People just keep buying stuff until it fills up every corner of the house. Then they start moving it out into the garage until they've filled the garage so full that they can't fit the car inside. Then they rent a storage space where they put all the stuff they hardly ever, or even never, use but can't stand to get rid of because they might want to use it sometime in the future.

This turns into an endless cycle. They might eventually break down and have a yard sale and get rid of some of the stuff so they finally have some breathing space. But then more toys or clothes or appliances come on the market and they are just so cool that they have to have them, and the cycle has started all over again.

Taking Control of Your Home

Don't have anything in your house that is not useful or beautiful.
                                                                                                                 - William Morris

Your home should be your sanctuary, your haven from the hectic world outside. It should be a place that your soul can come home to rest.

Who is in a hurry to go home to a disorganized house with clutter and messes demanding your attention? Clean me! Put me away! Take care of me! How can you relax if you have to move a pile of clutter off the table before you can eat or off the couch before you can sit? 

This would feel to me like a house full of negative energy. I could never really relax in my home if everywhere I looked I saw stacks of things that needed my attention. 

What can you do if your house is out of control? You've got to bite the bullet and get rid of some of that stuff! Give it to your kids - or their kids. Give it to charity. Have a big yard sale. Throw it away. It doesn't really matter; just get it out of your way!

Vastu and You

 Before the Chinese came up with Feng Shui, the Indians had Vastu - the ancient Hindu science of creating living spaces that nurture the soul. The idea is to restore balance and well-being to your life by harmonizing your environment to create a healthy home.  An uncomfortable home feels negative and depressing, but a healthy, soothing home brings harmony to your life.

According to a recent article in Yoga Journal, "when the design of a space honors the needs and preferences of the people who live there...harmony prevails." The goal of Vastu is to:
  • Respect our interconnection with nature and welcome it into our home, where it can give us an emotional, spiritual, and physical lift.
  • Honor who we are and what we love so that we create supportive environments to relax and feel at home.
  • Align our biorhythms with that of the universe - the rotation of the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun - by observing the movement of sunshine and shadows.

 A Reflection of Your Personality

No matter what your style - sleek and modern, antiques, or even something ethnic - your home should reflect your own personality. Otherwise, you won't be comfortable or want to spend time there.

You need to consider how you want to use your home. Think about a place to sleep, a place to prepare food and eat it, a place to bath, and place to gather together with your family and friends, a place for hobbies or work.

Here's a tiny peek into my home.
I live in Mexico and chose to decorate my house in a simple but traditional Mexican style. The main thing that made me fall in love with this house is the fact that every room has wonderful arched doors and windows that bring the outdoors inside. No matter where I am in the house, I can see outside: the garden, the sunshine, the rain, the wind.  Because I'm lucky enough to live in this wonderful climate, my doors and windows are all open almost every day. There is very little separation between the inside and outside. I see the rising sun through my glass front door and watch the setting sun cast slanted shadows in my backyard.

I love my kitchen. It was a big empty room so I got to design it from scratch - the arch, the shelves, the tiles, the cabinets - everything in traditional Mexican style. 

I feel so comfortable working in this kitchen; it inspires me to cook lots of healthy, delicious meals. 

My mother bought the cobalt blue glasses in Mexico many years ago and took them to her home in Oregon. I brought them back down here with me and then designed my kitchen around them. Now I have a bit of my mother in my kitchen.

I invite my garden into my bedroom, too, and I can sleep with that big window open almost year around.

My bedroom has subtle reminders of the time I lived in Japan, but it still feels like Mexico, too. I made the duvet cover and the shams and quilted the coordinating wall hanging hanging above the bed. 

Like the designs painted above the doors and windows, it is all representative of my personality.

Your home can  be a place to display your collections. Although I am not a Christian, I enjoy collecting crosses. I look for them wherever I travel. Most of these are from all over Mexico, but I also have crosses from Spain, Italy, Ecuador, and Guatemala.

I guess this is the spiritual corner of my house. Below the crosses is my yoga mat and the big pillow I quilted to sit on while I meditate. I also have a framed photo of the giant Buddha in Kamakura, Japan, but you can't see it here.

The important thing is to make your home a reflection of YOU. When you've done it right, you will have a place for everything and will want to keep everything in its place. It will be easy to keep it clean because you won't have a bunch of clutter to clean around. You will enjoy being a home and, like me, you may not want to leave. 

Thank you so much for reading my blog.
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  1. You have a beautiful Home Kathy! I love all your personal touches and creativity. The warmth comes through in your photos.

  2. Kathy,
    My home always says "welcome home" and makes me smile from the minute I enter. I enjoy beautiful things and try to display them without creating clutter. Your space is so warm and inviting. I especially love your floors.
    Excellent post!