If all is going well, our home environments should be more or less the opposite of “stressful” or “disruptive” places to spend time.
On the contrary, a home is meant to be a sanctuary away from the troubles and concerns of the world and of everyday life and should be a place where you are able to feel comfortable, at ease, and to enjoy your time either by yourself or with your loved ones.
In recent years, a lot of interest has been generated in things like decluttering, minimalism, and various different approaches and techniques for organizing our homes and help us to feel properly comfortable within them.
Here are a few broad tips for organizing your home environment and making it less stressful at the same time.
Consider following the Konmari Method
Marie Kondo, the famous Japanese cleaning guru who enjoyed a renewed personal popularity within the last few years thanks to her Netflix show, has by now been on the home organizing and decluttering scene for some time indeed.
Her Konmari Method for decluttering and organizing a home is based heavily around her approach to the traditional Japanese religion of Shinto, which includes a belief that various seemingly inanimate objects are inhabited by spirits.
Marie Kondo, herself, describes thanking her home every time she returns from work and includes anecdotes in her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” of thanking old belongings for the good they’ve done, before throwing them out.
The cornerstone of her tidying and decluttering method, though, is dividing all the items in your home into piles according to different categories, and then holding each item in your hands and paying attention to whether or not it causes you to feel a “spark of joy.”
The idea is that you should hold onto items that cause you to feel a spark of joy, while getting rid of the ones that don’t – and in the end, your home will be an environment that is filled with much more positive energy, as a result.
So, for example, you might feel a spark of joy from a cherished pair of women's jeans and know you should hold onto them. But you may not feel that way at all about a certain mantelpiece ornament.
There are certainly some caveats to this approach. For example, you probably shouldn’t throw away important medication just because it doesn’t cause you to feel a spark of joy.
All the same, though, trying out the Konmari Method may really help you to have a better experience of your home and your belongings.
Strive for an end result that feels right and that is sustainable, rather than aiming for absolute perfection
One of the issues that people often experience when going through a committed decluttering process in their homes, is that they end up aiming for a standard of absolute spotless perfection, and then end up falling short, or find it unsustainable.
Ultimately, what makes the biggest overall difference isn’t whether or not you’re able to get your home absolutely spotless once or twice a year, but the baseline state of your home from day-to-day.
When organizing your home environment, strive for an end result that feels right, and that is sustainable. Something that you can realistically keep up with over time, with just a bit of extra focus and a few new habits.
Organize your home so that the sights, sounds and smells within it are uplifting to you
Although we often don’t think about it in these terms, being surrounded by beautiful sights and sounds, and pleasant aromas, influences not only our intellectual perception of things, but also our physiology and emotions in a direct sense.
When we are surrounded by sights, sounds, and smells that we find unpleasant, our body’s stress responses are activated and we naturally find ourselves feeling more tense and ill at ease.
When you’re organizing your home, think about hanging up some art prints that you really love the look of, using an essential oil diffuser to fill the air with pleasant aromas, and playing a bit of uplifting ambient music, or nature sounds, in the background as well.
Deal with obvious mess and clutter first and foremost, and begin establishing habits that prevent this kind of clutter from re-accumulating
While it can be pretty tricky trying to figure out which belongings of yours to hold onto and which to get rid of whenever you are trying to go for a more “minimalist” ethos in the home, it is usually pretty straightforward to identify which things are just pure, run-of-the-mill clutter.
If your home is full of old boxes, used milk cartons, leaflets from fast food restaurants, and other things that you know you should get rid of but that you keep ignoring and overlooking, the negative impact on your sense of well-being can be substantial.
Begin, first and foremost, by getting rid of this clutter in your home. It may need an afternoon, an entire weekend, or even longer to get this process done, including things like visits down to the local recycling center.
Once you’ve got this done, however, you can be sure that your home will be a lot further along on the road to being organized, while also feeling a lot less stressful, in general.
Find ways to enhance the sense of simplicity and clarity within your home, even if you’re not actively pursuing minimalism
The minimalist movement enjoys a good deal of niche-interest and popularity and tends to pop up in just about every discussion where organizing or decluttering a home is mentioned.
All the same, it’s entirely possible that you are not actually interested in actively pursuing minimalism in your own home, but still want a bit of extra simplicity within the space.
Finding ways to enhance the sense of simplicity and clarity within your home can be very powerful, even if you’re not necessarily getting rid of any belongings, much less trying to reduce your worldly possessions down to a dozen items.
Investing in good storage options, such as wardrobes, under-bed storage crates, and so on, can help a lot here.