I was given a little book about the Kondo approach to clutter-free living. There’s a bit of irony there because in general, I’ve concluded that books are one of the areas where I could really improve my clutter management – so I have been getting rid of many. But it seemed worth reading the thing first, before passing it on.
So at the start of the book, she says that the first step to managing your belongings is to decide how you want to live.
And… wow. That’s a really smart starting point. Decide how I want to live. Then arrange my home and life to support that.
Right now, I have pockets of … stuff … all over my home that I consistently don’t do anything about because they make me feel utterly helpless. I don’t know what they are or why we have them. I don’t have a logical and consistent place to keep them. And they just sit there, and they fill up rooms with visual distraction, and my sense of helplessness about them has some tiny but real impact on my psyche every time they cross my vision.
I want to live in a home where every item that my eye falls upon has a purpose, a story, and a role in my (or my husband’s) life. I want the lines to be simple and clean, where things that are visible out in the open are there because they are pleasing to the eye, or because we use them so constantly that it doesn’t make sense to box them away.
I want to be able to walk comfortably through my small home, with ample space between furniture items so there’s no need to navigate carefully to avoid bumping into things.
On the flip side, I want it to be easy and quick and simple to get to the things I use, without complicated rules and systems for stacking and arranging things.
When I get up in the morning, I want to make my cup of coffee and drink it in a space that is clean, well lit, visually appealing, and open to the world.
I want decorations to be things that are beautiful or thought-provoking or evoke happy memories for me.
Family photos make me happy but when I hung a lot on the wall, I found they overwhelmed me. I felt a need to update them to match the kids current ages. And they got crooked all the time. Maybe family photos need to be screensavers instead?
When I come home at night, I want to have space that is (again) clean and uncluttered – to have a bite to eat, catch up with my husband, and sprawl with a puzzle or a good book.
I want spaces for the cats to play and explore and snooze, integrated in among the people spaces. It pleases me to look up and notice a cat on the bookshelf.
I want to be creative, which means I need spaces for creative tools and supplies. Sewing and craft supplies are not particularly nice to look at, so I want those stored out of sight. I want to spread out a project long enough to get it done, but I want to be able to step away from a project in process and not have to look at it.
I want to be able to entertain, in a simple and casual and spontaneous style. Individuals, couples, or small groups only. I don’t want to do the sort of entertaining that calls for fancy china or special silverware. I want to own everyday things that make me happy, and if I invite you into my home then I like you enough that I want to share the things that make me happy.
So yeah. That’s a start. Already it’s changing my thoughts about what I want to do with my home.