My house and I are ready for a simpler time.
Starting in the fall I find myself slowly adding in layers of coziness–a few extra pillows, magnolia leaves, an extra candle here and there and there, and by the time January rolls around, my surfaces are overflowing, and I kind of forget what my room truly looks like naked.
January is my favorite time to quiet the house. But I find myself doing a version of this at the beginning of every season.
A hushed, simple space is the best way to give your house a fresh start. Last year I KonMari-ed my way through a few rooms and loved it, but this year, I needed a quick fix.
This is a simple, painless, lazy/smart woman’s way to jump-start the decluttering process–I trick myself into decluttering every year using this fun method!
Everything in your room has a voice. Some voices are louder than others–if you have a bright red mirror its voice is louder than the white candle that sits on your dresser, but both have a voice and take up visual, physical and even emotional space in your room.
Kept unchecked, over time, most of us add things in but never take the time to purposely remove stuff from our house. Quieting your space removes all those voices in a room and the cute decorative stuff that you’ve become house-blind to will need to prove its worth its voice before it comes back in.
How to quiet your space (or hush the house) in five simple steps:
1. Pick one room to quiet.
2. Find a temporary holding place to put the stuff that you’ll remove from your room.
3.Remove all the knickknacks/geegaw/little junk/tchotchkes/decorative smalls–if you need a bigger change, remove everything from your walls too–even the drapes!
4. Let your space breathe for at least a few days so you can reconnect with it
5. Only bring back things that you really love, miss and need, don’t fill a space just because it’s empty.
If you’ve never done this before, read on for a little more explanation for each step. Be sure you do this during a time you’ll actually be spending time at home…
1.Pick one room to quiet. Even if you think you’re in a super ambitious mood, I don’t recommend starting with your entire house–start with the room that is annoying you the most, or the room that confuses or overwhelms you. If you get it quieted and want to do another room, then start the next room. I usually quiet our family room and then have enough energy to include the dining room.
2. Choose a holding area–in order for quieting to have any kind of effect other than your kids asking if you are moving, you’ll want to have a place to temporarily store stuff for at least a few days–think of it as a holding area. You’ll want a minimum of two days for a little purge like this to work its magic on you. I’ve stored my stuff under my bed, in a corner in another room, in the basement, on the porch, in boxes stacked in a corner of kitchen–it’s okay if another room is temporarily weird, this is a process that will ultimately kick-start you being able to see your space with fresh eyes–it is SO worth the trouble! As long as you store stuff in a room other than the one you are quieting you are doing it right!
3. Remove your decorative stuff and put it in the holding area--the goal is to have your furniture, lamps you use daily, TV, rug, and drapes in the room and nothing else. No magazines, books, plants, clocks, photos, pillows, throws (but feel free to bring one in if you are cold and need it!) candles, flower arrangements, baskets, or any decorative stuff. I usually remove my wall art too, depending on how much of a fresh start I’m looking for, you can take it as far as you need–remove the drapes if you need to!
4. Let your space breathe. This is my favorite part. The room is quiet, and those voices are hushed, you created room for the voice of the room to be heard. What? I know, I’m talking crazy. But really, sometimes we put so much cute stuff in a room, that we lose sight of how a room works best for our family. This process really does help you see your space with a fresh perspective & will trick you into considering any changes you need to make! Commit to leaving your space quieted for at least 24 hours–48 hours is ideal.
5. Bringing things back in. Now you can slowly start to bring things back in. For most of us, during this period we’ve realized that we need to make some changes in the room–move the furniture around, paint the walls, repair the ceiling, invest in a new sofa–whatever it is you’ve learned–that is progress!
You did it right!
You created an opportunity where you could truly see your space for what it is. You paid attention and now you see some changes you want to make that will help your space work better for your family–that is the entire point of this practice! You did it! Maybe you’ll bring everything back in, maybe you’ll get rid of everything–the important thing is that you made space for evaluation, purpose and change.
Patience and empty surfaces are better than a room filled with stuff that makes you feel sad, stuff you keep out of guilt or stuff you don’t love but feel you are “supposed” to decorate with. Don’t put sad stuff, or stuff you don’t want back into your space.
Usually we declutter because we think we need less stuff, and that’s probably true. But sometimes our stuff is getting in the way of how we use our home and distracts us from the bigger picture. Often, once we address the bigger issues, we find we don’t need as much stuff as we thought–it’s magical and amazing and works every time!
Over the years this practice has led me to make all sorts of great changes in my home. Without all the distractions of cute little things, I can truly “see” my home again and address the real changes I need to make, and it almost always ends up with me painlessly and happily decluttering.
Here’s to a pretty and purposeful home!