The other night as I sat in my favorite chair in the living room, I stared at the spot our Christmas tree occupied last month and saw a gaping hole. I tried to fill the area with a side table and armchair, but it did not do the trick.
My eyes continued to move around the room and see one thing: lack.
The curtain rods leaning against the wall still needing to be hung.
The front entry where I envision a runner – I bought a runner before we moved in that turned out to be a flop for the space.
Projects that take up space in my mind but have not yet been completed. Furniture to be painted. Closets to be organized. Artwork to be found and hung. Plants to be repotted.
The list piles up and all of a sudden, I’m left feeling like I, myself – not just my home – am inadequate. I am lacking because I cannot achieve my vision or accomplish the projects to make my home all I want it to be.
Can you relate? Have you been in this spot before? Or are you currently in the same place?
Please say you know what I mean.
So what’s a girl to do? How do we transform the way we see our houses?
The beginning of a new year is a popular time to tidy and declutter the home, but the process of simplifying can be balm for the cluttered soul. Sometimes putting the Christmas decor away can leave holes in a room that for a month felt full and warm. But with the open spaces the house gets a breath of fresh air as it exhales from the holiday bustle into a January reset.
Hush the House
I borrowed this phrase from The Nester, but I love it – hush the house! Quiet. Declutter. Tidy. Simplify. Whatever word you choose, quieting my house has helped me see what we really have. To take my eyes off of the lack to see the abundance. It removes the kinda-sorta stuff and leaves behind only the this-absolutely-belongs-here stuff that brings joy to look at and live with.
I’ve hushed a few rooms in the house, some all at once and others slowly as time allows. Once the space is quieted, then I can actually hear it speak. I realize while there may be limitations, they can serve as a means to creativity and gratitude.
In the past when we’ve simplified our stuff, I’ve asked, “Do I like this?” while sifting through rooms of boxes of decor, clothes, you name it. Though this question has helped me get rid of a good bit of unneeded decor, it was time for a new question. Something more pointed and less dependent on my mood.
Have you ever heard this quote by William Morris?
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
We have a print of this quote that we plan to frame and hang in the hallway, because it is our mantra. The mantra of our house: useful and beautiful!
So, I now use a different question that helps me truly listen as I declutter: Do I know this to be useful? Do I believe this to be beautiful?
The item doesn’t necessarily have to be both, but it should definitely be one of them! As I do this, no matter the lack there might be, when I simplify, I then am able to look at my house and see what I know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.
Trust the Process
So how does this help the wanting more problem I started with?
I have not added anything to my house. I still do not have a runner for the front entry. The curtain rods still lean against the wall waiting to be hung. And the projects are still undone.
But, I am changing. I am seeing my house with new eyes. As I change, our home evolves. Currently, the living room is the spot I feel the most frustration; however, we have made great improvements in our bedroom and the dining room. No space is complete yet but the process of making a home continues to unfold.
Less of the un-useful and un-beautiful. More value and enjoyment because everything in our house has a purpose.
Whatever the state of your home may be, I hope you too find ways to add value and enjoyment through the process of making your home the place you experience belonging and you welcome others freely. I’m right here along on the same journey.