POSTED ON JANUARY 18, 2012:
A buzzword for 2012, a concept for a lifetime
Our lives are cluttered. We are inundated throughout the day with text messages and social media comments and at replies and DMs and TV and radio and then satellite radio and billboards and newspapers and Ezines and corporate newsletters and digital books and instant chats and Skype convos and emails and voice messages. And this might just all occur during the 20 minute commute to work.
In a world where nothing is simple anymore, why not create a haven that serves as a reprieve from it all? Is that what a home should be? Shouldn't your home be sanctuary from the chaos of the outside world? And what is a sanctuary for you? It is different for everyone.
According to Brian Hughes of SR Hughes interiors and showroom on Brookside, "There is beauty in simplicity (as there also is in complication). I kind of really appreciate complicated things made to look effortless. I think we tend to try to accomplish the goal of how people want to live with more of a simple eye. It really depends who lives in a space. It has to reflect them. Pare away the extras and try to accomplish that well and then the feeling is clear and authentic."
To live well with less in your life doesn't require additional consumerism. It isn't necessary to go out and purchase peace and tranquility. It's quite the opposite. The process actually starts with getting rid of some things. The process of paring down is not possible without some dematerialization. The practice of editing is by definition, counter consumerism.
The very act of it requires awareness, discipline and a feeling of security. It doesn't hurt to have some professional guidance.
Bici and Olivia Lee, owners of the local design and lifestyle store "edit", encountered their own issue of excess when they decided to combine their lives (not to mention, their stuff) and set up household.
"Getting married, both for the second time, we were combining two separate homes full of things! We had amassed clothes, furniture, paperwork, toys (we have five kids between us), electronics, appliances and lots and lots of other 'stuff'. Therefore we had to begin 'editing' our own personal lives. Not to sound too cliché but less is more...Combining two lives into one forced us to make hard decisions about what remained and what would exit. Decisions like that are not easy and they are based on considerations of quality, design, and in some cases sentimentality... Living a more simple life, one with more order and more peace requires deliberate decisions."
If you are considering ways that you can improve your own home environment, there are simple ways to get started and important questions to ask:
1. Take stock of your environment as a whole. How does it feel to you? Is your space chaotic or serene? Do your domestic surroundings lend themselves to your relaxation? Is your home a true reflection of who you are and how you'd like to live? From a functional perspective, do you have systems in place that adequately support your day to day life? Does your home work for you?
2. Take inventory of your belongings within your space. Do your belongings serve a specific purpose or are they just filling emptiness? Do the items in your home bring you pleasure? Are the items in your home functional and in working order?
3. If you look around your home and see clutter, it's important to consider why you're holding on to excess objects. There's a psychological component to why we purchase and accumulate. Do the things you own have sentimental value? Do they give you a sense of abundance and fulfillment?
If you find yourself answering "no" to more than one of the questions above, you might be a viable candidate for the reality show "Hoarders". But fret not, help is on the way. If you've been very honest with yourself in answering these questions, you should at this point have a more clear vision of what is necessary in your life and what can be deemed superfluous.
Julie Morgenstern, organizational expert and H&L Guru, offers a 5-step S.P.A.C.E. plan of attack in her book, Organizing from the Inside Out: Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize, Equalize
Sort: Identify what's most important to you and prioritize your belongings. You'll then want to begin grouping similar items.
Purge: Simply put, get rid of some things. If you don't love it or use it often, you probably don't need it.
Assign a home: Whichever belongings you choose to keep, find a specific place where they are housed. A place for everything and everything in its place.
Containerize: Create some storage solutions for anything that doesn't have a home.
Equalize: Do regular checkups on how your organizational system is working for you.
If you find that once you've cleared the old and obsolete, there are items that you actually need, buy the absolute best quality that you can afford. When you consider lifecycle costs of items in our homes, it's actually much more cost effective to buy one item that will last as opposed to buying something that you'll soon need to replace.
"One of our vendors, Iittala, states that they're 'against throwaway-ism'. We agree. Like them we believe that one should have fewer things but better things. And those things should be of a great design that makes you feel good about that object and where it lives," Olivia said.
Quality over quantity will not only bring more beauty into your home, it will also bring more value and functionality. So before making that decision to acquire something new and to create a space for it in your life, ask yourself this, "Does it serve a distinct purpose or contribute to the beauty or pleasure of my environment?" And if not, do you really need it?
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