“Create beauty not to excite the senses but to give sustenance to the soul.” -Gabriela Mistral
While moving’s not the most relaxing experience one could hope for it does offer the perfect opportunity to purge and redesign our environment of excess stuff. Even without a move in one’s foreseen future, by simplifying your immediate surroundings you set a beautiful tone for the beginning of any new season. But for me, being part nerd, the fall is a particularly poignant time of year to celebrate new beginnings with an environmental simplifying process.
Currently experiencing a real life move, I can appreciate why they call this one of life’s greatest stressors. But I’m also noticing how a part of my soul has been awakened by the opportunity to recreate our living slate from scratch. With a clean palette I invite in only the objects and organization systems that echo our family’s values, sing to our souls and support our personal passions, pursuits and dreams.
While moving can offer a family a kick in the simplicity-seeking pants, inviting change and inspiring serenity into your immediate surroundings need not be so drastic. In fact, it’s better in terms of doability if the process is kept small, simple and bite-sized. Repeat as needed.
Upon awakening close your eyes again and imagine stepping out of your room to walk through a version of your home with a little less stuff in it. And the stuff you do see happens to be serenely organized. Notice the feelings and take note of them in three words.
Sometimes eyeball-style visualization works and this is when I love to recommend some Pinterest time. You can check out my Dream House board if you’d like to catch a glimpse of what I daydream upon awakening sometimes. But heads up! If you haven’t been on Pinterest before it’s a bit of a computer time sucker!
Areas of Dissatisfaction
The power of our belongings to invite and repel energy and circumstances isn’t a proven science but if you’re at all intuitive (and if you’re reading this magazine, chances are likely you’re leaning toward the intuitive mama camp) this one might be a fun area to experiment in. Consider what your belongings represent and if you’re ready to move past this life chapter. Photos of people who make you feel icky ~ put out of sight. Toys your kids have outgrown or you find garish ~ slip into the donation box (or at least a box kept in purgatory land, like an outdoor shed, where it’s out of sight but still rescue-able if a super stink is made). The best time to do a five minute purge is whenever you find yourself home alone (right after your happy dance). I personally love weeding so I look at it that way. Weeding a well loved garden to accommodate prime growing conditions and offering maximum visibility to what’s truly cherished and nourishing.
Design a Small Change
Perhaps it’s a shelf in the kids’ playroom you’ve wanted to edit down to the most quality and loved items. Pick one area that’s been particularly crazy making and then challenge yourself to get creative and make the change even that much smaller. Using the above example you can start with the top shelf and the following day (or week even) work your way down shelf by shelf.
This step is best executed with the help of your partner. Keep communication channels open to occasionally check in with what elements you wish to welcome into your home (toy quality, organization, cleanliness, ‘honey-to-do’ lists). Consider what small step might be implemented so that a harmonious home that reflects your vision of a relaxed, nurturing atmosphere to grow into is enjoyed and cherished by all who live there and who come to share your company. Check in with any new areas of dissatisfaction but first toast the changes that are working.
Some great resources if you want to dive deeper into simplify your home include Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, SoulSpace by Xorin Balbes and You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy (for age appropriate toys and ideas on how to organize them). And if you’re super stumped in the dissatisfaction step I have a bonus tip to share: hire a professional organizer. I had one help me move past a particularly sticky area of resistance called my creative space. Worth every penny and them some (and surprisingly it wasn’t even that many pennies).
Happy visualizing and living in the dream world you have the power to create and thrive in. The effects are ongoing. A pruned and weeded environment offers us both solace and inspiration to continue to invite and cultivate beauty within our lives on all levels of simplifying.
We find ourselves with the psychic and physical space to draw in stronger pulses of rhythm into our days. With the resulting flow and peace in our days we are instinctively motivated to protect our sweetly singing rhythms with careful and conscious scheduling of our lives (mostly by not overdoing it). And finally we embrace our roles as gatekeepers to our homes by filtering the influences and information that seeps in via media, marketing and constantly advancing technological channels.
In short, simplifying our surroundings simplifies our lives. And as bell hooks observed — “living simply makes loving simple”. And what could be simpler and more loving than that?
Kathy Stowell lives on a hobby farm even closer to Nelson, British Columbia and loves things that are simple, real, and organic. She offers Simplicity Parenting and sewing ecourses, on top of Mama Bliss coaching, over at Bliss Beyond Naptime.