Work is hectic. Schedules are hectic. The kids are hectic… almost all of life can be hectic. Your home shouldn’t be.
Your home should be the antidote to stress. It ought to be a place of rest, respite, and relaxation. So you can spend the rest of your life inside it? No, of course not.
Home is a place of rest and peace and acceptance so we can live our best lives out in the world making the biggest difference that we possibly can. That is why having a calm and rejuvenating home is so important.
With that, here are:
10 Simple Ways to Bring More Calm into Your Home
1. Remove 33% of your clothing.
If you want to change your life immediately, clean out a closet. After decluttering clothes, not only will your mornings be less stressful, you’ll find more calm by not having to peer into a cluttered closet first thing when you wake up.
2. Be intentional with the purpose of each room in your home.
Not only do our homes serve an important role in our lives and families, but individual rooms also serve specific purposes. Take a moment to identify what role each room in your home should perform. And then remove everything from each space that doesn’t serve that purpose.
3. Reset your living room every evening.
Before you go to bed each night, find 5-10 minutes to reset the most lived-in areas of your home. Otherwise, you constantly bring yesterday’s mess into today. Of course, this ten-minute reset is certainly easier when you own less stuff, so make that a priority as well.
4. Own fewer toys.
Toys are a constant point of stress for young parents. We buy them because we think they will improve playtime with our children, but many times they just add frustration to it. You can own less. In fact, there are developmental benefits when you do.
5. Clear your countertops.
Don’t fall into the convenience fallacy by leaving items on your counter just because you think it is convenient to do so. Every item left out in our home is a form of visual clutter and noise. You don’t need to remove every item from your kitchen countertop, you’ll just love it if you do.
6. Identify homes for everything you own.
Toys live in the bin. Clothes live in the closet or hamper. Bathroom toiletries on the shelf, in the drawer, or the medicine chest. Coats and shoes go in the closet. The remote-control lives near the tv stand. When everything has a home, cleaning up becomes easier and your home becomes calmer.
7. Tackle 1-minute projects immediately.
As I learned from Gretchen Rubin, “If a task can be completed in less than one minute, do it right away.” Embrace that concept around your home to create a more calming atmosphere everywhere you go.
8. Choose meaningful decorations.
Decorations are a common place in the home where it is easy to go overboard. Decorations make a house feel comfortable, calm, and relaxing. But too many can make it feel cluttered and busy. To add calm into your home, choose meaningful decorations that tell your story and communicate your values.
9. Keep your garage tidy.
Your garage is the first thing you see every time you return home. If it is a cluttered mess, filled to the brim with boxes or tools, “a cluttered mess” will always be your first impression of your home when you arrive. Change your mood and attitude by keeping it as tidy and organized as possible.
10. Complete (or discard) unfinished projects.
There are few things more stress-producing than an unfinished project. Make a commitment today to either finish your projects or discard them entirely. I admit this final point may not be simple. Although, the more often you declare project bankruptcy and just discard those unfinished projects, the easier it becomes.
If you are just starting on the road to owning less, some of these steps may sound difficult to complete. But you’ll be surprised how simple many of them become when you first take the step to minimize the possessions you don’t need.
Juliet Wood says
33% of clothes sounds good to me, I had 50% in my mind and was wondering how but 33 sounds doable! Books in English are hard to get rid of in France but I am working on it. I subscribed again as I seem to have missed the last newsletters, looked for them tonight and nothing there since April. Wondering if I unsubscribed by mistake when decluttering my email. In Venezuela I used Unroll.me which was wonderful, you keep the subscriptions you are interested in but they are rolled up in one daily email. So if you are not looking for cheap tickets with Air France you won’t read that one until you are but it’s there. Worth looking into and maybe recommending as it makes for a “cleaner” inbox with less clutter.
This spoke to me. Thanks, Joshua. I have been wanting to reconfigure my rooms and hire someone to repaint them in light color to make them look bigger. In fact now I know it is more about putting more intention in them. Give them a special purpose and prepare them for the next day which I can’t do after my long working office hours to go home. All I want to do then is have some rest and TV watching .
David @ Filled With Money says
It’s amazing just how much our lives are if we actually own less than we think we do and own just what we need in the house.
Having 33% less clothing means that there’s less options to think and wonder about, leaving time for the more important decisions throughout our day.
I am a minimalist hopeful. We have lived in our home for 40 years. The more I try to get rind of, the more we have.
How do you not lose hope in this battle?
It’s really helping me to make a plan for each room. I write down how I want to use the room, how I want to feel in it, and what we need in there to make it happen. Then I send the extras out the door. It is taking me years to get rid of things, and I realized it’s partly because I feel like we have room to store things inside furniture. That furniture is enabling me to keep clutter we don’t need, and getting rid of it is the best way to make space quickly. Then it forces me to look at what was in there and decide if any of it is really worth keeping. So far, a majority of it has been easy to let go over once I started thinking that way.
Have fun! Dream of how you will enjoy the space when it is so much easier to clean and care for and rest without so much to do.
I really enjoyed this, Joshua. This article gave me lots of inspiration. I could do better ;)
I myself have been trying to declutter….at least trying even harder than ever. I had let go of some stuff, like yarn, pens, even some dishes. In fact, I destroyed a few bowls when getting frustrated upon being faced with the inability to donate them. One item that couldn’t be donated was a full size mattress topper. It was still sitting around since September when I’ve downsized to a twin bed. I was going to trim it down to twin size, never happen of course and then I got an idea. Well I cut two pieces out of it, and made one into a nice cat bed and the other one was placed into a pet stroller. Both pieces covered with vinyl and fabric pillow protectors. My cat Queen loves the comfort of laying on them. The rest of the topper is going out into the garbage come daybreak.
Claudia faust says
I absolutely loved this article…. in fact my grandson and i just cleaned my garage and what a difference…. especially since that is how you enter our home!!!! Awesome ❤️ Thank you for validating my feelings!!!
Thank you very much for this article, which was pleasant read.
I personally would not agree on point 10). Living mindfully allows you to embrace and enjoy the creation, and for me the act of embroidery has always been more important than the finished object. of course there is a benefit to downsizing (as with clothes and any other category)… but you would not say finish or discard your books, without allowing those that are reread or just loved.
joshua becker says
Thanks for the comment. I do actually usually suggest to people if they have a bookcase full of books that they “want to read,” that maybe the reality is that they aren’t actually going to read them (unfinished projects) and removing them might free up some guilt and stress every time they look at the piles. If they really wanted to read the books, they would have made the time to do so.
Whether there is a direct parallel to your situation or not, I’m not sure. But I did want to respond because it’s a big issue for a lot of people.
I can take the time to finish reading if it is for leisure, and much more if it is an assignment that is necessary for work. That leaves me very little option. Going through some few pages and
browsing the chapters, or starting from the end can be very motivating. I have many books I only read the last part, or that I have read half way. I keep aside some books. Especially those who leave me with good memories. There aren’t few great books on my shelves, but when the reviews are good and they’re in the library, they’re often good books.
I always finish my reading, whether it is popular novels, reading for my work, etc. I don’t need to finish the whole book and especially in a short time. It’s a pleasure to take your time. Sometimes I look at the first ones, then the last chapters, or the reviews, and I go to the library to ask for suggestions. It helps me to minimize my collection. I only have about ten books that I keep, the others are the ones I give to the main library
I guess that depends on whether or not you are having guilt and stress over the books. I always wanted my own library so now I do. I like to browse my shelves , read parts of books and go back to them another time, just have them when I want to use them. They are resources as well as treasures. A collection as opposed to clutter. Cant imagine a house without books.
Dana H says
Many books are available in digital format. Many libraries also have digital books.
Jessalynn Jones says
I loved this article Joshua. Because it really is simple to make your home a calming and beautiful environment. I think one mistake a lot of us make is thinking that running down to buy home decor will make our homes look like a magazine but actually we just need less stuff to make our homes beautiful functional and calming. It’s the little things like keeping up with the dishes, dealing with the mail, hanging up your coats, and making the bed that make a big difference!
I’ve been “on the path” since fly lady in 2001 and traveled through all the popular decluttering and organizing methods. Our home is very welcoming and beautiful. I have learned to value empty space and to be more intentional about what comes in. This has resulted in us downsizing to a smaller home, moving to live closer to our family, and having a more comfortable retirement. The biggest shocker has been how much less we can live on and how much more money we have as we are becoming minimalist. Recently I had a large health expense and was able to pull money from planned savings and not worry! That was just a huge relief.
Today I am going to let go of three knitting UFO’s and a good deal of my yarn stash. It gives me joy to think that someone else can use it and it’s not just sitting in my cupboard, gathering dust. Thank you for continuing the inspiration! I was inspired by your YouTube video on decluttering arts and crafts. You always give me something new to think about!
MaryAnn Mings says
I read your columns and find much inspiration in my journey of “less”. Thank you.