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Simple Tips to Create a Relaxing Home   

By Guest Blogger Susan Shehata

I believe that one of the reasons that vacations are so relaxing is that you are surrounded by a peaceful environment.

Not just that beautiful beach or that lovely mountain view, but the indoor surroundings as well. You are often staying in a place that is free of clutter, and visually appealing.

You can bring that same serenity to your own home as well, by following these five simple tips:

Assign a home for clutter

Start by collecting any objects that are randomly hanging out in the space.  Assign a home to any of those items that do not already have a designated spot to live. If you don’t have enough space for that to happen, then it means that you have too much stuff for your current living situation. Begin the de-cluttering process by eliminating doubles of items, things you don’t use, and things that you “just don’t get around to” repairing.

Surround yourself with what you love

From paint color to furniture to décor, be intentional about what you choose to surround yourself with. Often these choices were made on the fly, or out of convenience. Do not underestimate the importance of consciously selecting things that make you feel good in the space. When you have objects that you are indifferent to, or actually dislike, it subconsciously affects your feelings about the space.

Have clear systems

Clutter happens when we don’t have a system in place that works for you. Whether it’s the incoming mail, the sporting equipment or the laundry, if you don’t have a clear process for how objects move from point A to point B, things get backlogged. Address your most problematic areas by implementing a system that works for you. If you have a system in place, and things are still chaotic, that is a sign that the system is not in alignment. Proper systems take experimentation. Keep trying until you find something that works for you!

Designate a Maintenance area

Often stuff that requires our attention hangs out in our active living areas demanding our focus, and yet these objects get ignored. After a bit, they start blending in with everything else and become part of a cluttered landscape, stealing our peace of mind. Designate an area where these objects will be stored until they are handled. And so they are not forgotten, create an actual time in your schedule, such as when you are doing other household chores, to address one or two objects from this area.

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Add vacation spot elements

Whether you are drawn to the beach in Bali or the museums of Rome, surround yourself with items that evoke your favorite vacation destination. This might mean seashells, sheer curtains and lanterns or ornately framed artwork. You decide! What physical elements do you think of when you think of relaxing? Add these items into your living spaces.

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Ready to relax? Don’t miss the Fabulous Paper Purge this April! Release your paper clutter & clear your mind with the free 7 day online guided event. Connect with Susan on Facebook for her weekly tips.

Susan Shehata, also known as The Space Guru™, is an Educator, Holistic Guide and Performing Artist, who specializes in helping you identify and release hidden obstacles that hold you back from an Inspired Home & Life. Though her offerings are varied, the goal of her work is the same: to clear the deep patterns of resistance in people’s lives. www.SusanShehata.com

 

 

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You don’t have to be a minimalist and live with hardly anything to achieve simple living. Simple living is more of a mindset than a protocol. Surrounding yourself with things that make you happy and don’t weigh you down will help to create the inner peace that fuels simple living.  Part of simple living is about decluttering your life whether it be physical items or mental clutter.

As you may know from previous posts, I am a recovering sentimental pack rat.  I have a hard time letting go of anything that reminds me of something from the past.  What I have discovered though is that I was holding onto a lot of things that weren’t making me happy. Many of them did the opposite and reminded me of things that I really didn’t want to remember.  They also kept me trapped in the past.

Once I started asking myself “does it make you happy” when looking at an object, I found it was much easier to let go when the answer was “no”. Don’t get me wrong, it was still very hard for a gal who is very sentimental.  I hemmed and hawed over some of the items.  One of the hardest to let go was roses from my grandparents’ funerals.  I had wanted something to remind me of them, but I realized that the roses reminded me of an awful time and didn’t really honor their memory the way I wanted to remember them.  Instead, I wanted to remember them by the cookie jar on the counter that was always filled with cookies when I went to my grandparents’ house as a kid. That cookie jar is now on my kitchen counter.  The roses are gone.  I’d rather remember my grandparents by the way things were when times were happy than by the last hard days at their funerals. Plus, I feel like I am honoring their memory the way that they would want to be remembered.

This is just one example, but I discovered that there were many other examples in my basement packed away in boxes or out on display that didn’t make me happier or bring me joy. Why would I keep them?

What do you have in your home that doesn’t bring you joy or make you happy?  What is weighing you down so that you can’t achieve inner peace?  These are some very important questions to ask yourself.  There could be guilt associated with letting some of these things go but if it is robbing you of being able to achieve simple living, then it’s not worth the price of your inner peace.

 

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In my first installment of Letting Go of the Sentimental Clutter, I got rid of the things in my house that were causing bad memories.   The next items to go were some of my sweeter memories like baby clothes from my kids. This is still a process. I’ve held onto them not because I plan on having more kids but because there is a “just in case” factor built in. Getting rid of them feels so final and it is a realization that I will never have another baby in the house.  Of course, I could buy new clothes if I ever had a change of heart but there are a lot of memories attached to those teeny clothes.  I realized that the memories are better kept in the pictures that I have of my kids in them rather than stuffed in a bin in the darkest corners of my basement. The first bin of clothes to go was the hardest. I started with clothes that my children just outgrew rather than with the teeny baby clothes.  The liberating feeling that followed when I got rid of several bins of clothes from my house and the empty space it created in my basement gave me motivation to keep going.  I have also started to move into the baby gear such as jumperoos, baby baths, bottles, pack n plays, etc.  As time has gone on, it has become much easier to let go of the tangible items that represent my memories and honor their priceless memories through pictures instead.   The feeling of being less overwhelmed with the clutter is priceless too!

For more tips on decluttering, check out this slideshow featured on Oprah.com.

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I have one major barrier to simplifying my environment. I’m a sentimental pack rat. I’m not sure if that’s a known condition or if I just made it up, but there is plenty of evidence in my house to support that it’s real. I have boxes and boxes of keepsakes that overwhelm me everytime I go into my basement. Plus, my parents are still sending over boxes of my keepsakes as they work to downsize.  There are old high school corsages, books and toys from when I was young, letters from old boyfriends, artwork I did, old pictures in frames that I never intend to display again, notes from friends, every card I ever got, you name it. And don’t even get me started on the kids clutter. That’s a whole post on its own.

I started to realize that the things I was holding onto weren’t making me happier.   Instead, they were overwhelming me and in some cases bringing up bad memories.  It was time for a change. The first to go were the things that brought up memories that were negative or bittersweet. Why on earth I kept them for so long is beyond me, but out they went.  Goodbye old high school corsages. Goodbye notebooks full of notes from friends discussing the drama of our teenage years.  Goodbye letters from old boyfriends.  Good bye pictures from events that I really don’t want to remember. Good bye to the box from my old job. It was hard to get to the point of letting these things go but once I did, it felt great!  Keeping them was like keeping me caught in part of my past that wasn’t especially fun.  Now I can focus on surrounding myself with good memories and not feeling overwhelmed by the clutter.  It is a liberating feeling to get rid of it!

Next up…. the not so easy stuff…. baby clothes. Eek!  Stay tuned as I continue to work through this journey of sentimental packrat recovery!    If you are undergoing your own sentimental clutter detox, this article from Real Simple has some great tips for helping get through the process.

 

 

 

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My name is Wendy and after leaving a stressful career, I am on a journey to a simpler life. I have started a business called The Simple Life Decor (thesimplelifedecor.com) specializing in mid to high end cottage style furniture and decor for cottages and primary homes. My blog is focused on living a simpler life whether it be through creating a serene environment in your home or simple living tips! Subscribe to my list and shop TheSimpleLifeDecor.com!

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