1. Build a Personal Sanctuary
After a long day at work, you come
home to your castle, your haven of peace and comfort and . . . a pile of
dirty laundry, a mound of dirty dishes, a stack of newspapers to be
sorted through and recycled, footprints in the kitchen, and, oh no,
there are those videos you were supposed to return yesterday. Suddenly,
it doesn’t seem so relaxing to be home.
“If your home is a metaphor for your life, how does your life look?”
But coming home doesn’t
have to be like this. Coming home at the end of the day or staying home
all day long can be a relaxing, peaceful, or even positively
exhilarating experience if that’s what you want it to be. If your home
isn’t the place you want it to be, it may just require a little stress
2. Home Is a Metaphor for Life
According to feng shui, the ancient
Chinese art of placement, our environment is a metaphor for our lives
and the energy that comes and goes in our lives.
Problems in your environment mean problems in your life.
Consider for a moment that
this idea is true. If your home is a metaphor for your life, how does
your life look? Take a good look around you. Is your life cluttered with
stuff you don’t need? How’s the circulation? How long has it been since
you’ve done preventive maintenance on your life?
3. Use the Metaphor to Change
Your office, either at home or at
your work away from home, can also be a metaphor for your life. Is your
life scattered with unpaid bills, things to file, scraps of information
that take up energy but don’t give anything back, malfunctioning
equipment, unstable piles of books, files, binders, and folders?
If what you find in your
home or office space is not exactly what you’d like to have in mind for
your life, then take matters in hand. Let your home and office continue
to be a metaphor for your life, but shape that metaphor in a way that
suits your life. Remove the clutter. Keep it clean. Build a relaxing,
positive atmosphere in which to decompress at the end of each day.
4. Ready, Set, Simplify
To make your home a less stressful,
more tranquil place, one of the easiest things you can do is to
simplify. Spend some time in each room of your home and list all the
things you do in each room. What are the functions of the room?
What would make each room simpler, its functions simpler?
Simplify your cleaning chores by
creating a system for getting everything done a little bit each day.
Simplify your shopping by buying in bulk and by planning your menu a
week in advance. You can simplify the way your home works and
consequently reduce your stress while in your home in many ways.
5. Make More Space
Some people feel comforted
by a room full of stuff, but there is something relaxing and calming
about a clean, clutter-free space. Why not put away or give away some of
that stuff and free up some space? As you make space on your surfaces,
floors, walls, and rooms, you’ll feel like you are making space in your
mind. You’ll feel more relaxed and calmer in that clean, organized,
uncluttered space. If you donate stuff, you’ll also get the feeling of
satisfaction that you’ve helped others. Or, if you give clothing or
other items to sell on consignment, you can make a little pocket money.
6. De-clutter, De-stress
Clutter does more than keep your
home, your desk, or your garage looking messy. It keeps your mind messy,
too. The more stuff you have, especially the disorganized, unmatched,
lost, or high-maintenance stuff, the more you have to worry about it,
find it, maintain it, keep it, deal with it, have it. Getting rid of the
clutter in your home is the most important thing you can do to make
your home a stress-free haven of tranquility.
7. Are You a Pack Rat?
Getting rid of clutter is hard to
do, especially for those who can’t bear to throw anything away. How many
of the following statements would you agree with?
• I keep a lot of clothes that I think I might be able to fit into someday.
• I have at least one junk drawer
filled with spare parts and other small items I might need someday, even
if I’m not sure what most of them are.
• I have at least a year’s worth of magazines that I know I’ll look at sometime.
• All the storage spaces in my house are overflowing with stuff— I’m not sure what it all is.
• I record more movies, television
shows, or music than I can keep up with watching or listening to, but I
save all the tapes because I think I’ll get to them all . . .
• I buy more books than I can read, but I just might read them someday.
• I have at least five different collections.
If you check more than one
item on the list, you’re probably a pack rat. That means de-cluttering
is trickier for you than for someone who doesn’t have a problem letting
go of stuff.