Sometimes it can be tricky to live harmoniously with the people and things you love. Before you send your stuff—or your loved ones—packing, try these ideas.
Put People First and Stuff Second
Financial guru Suze Orman says, “People first; then money.” Your organizing buddy Aby Garvey says, “People first; stuff second.” To explain what I mean, let me ask you a question. Does the amount of stuff you have and the way it’s organized enhance or inhibit the lives of the people who live in your home? If the clutter in your home prevents you from having friends over, or from really relaxing with your family at the end of the day, your stuff is getting in the way of your living your best life. When you put people first, you take the lead in creating an environment that shows your family you love them. You also show respect for your home and the belongings in it.
Start with Yourself
Okay, you say, I’m ready to put people first. But what about my family? How can I get them on board? This is a great question and one I hear quite frequently in my online workshops. The answer is this: start with yourself, and then ask everyone else to follow your lead. Whether you recognize it or not, if you are the household manager, you’re laying the ground rules for what is acceptable in your home. If you don’t make your bed every day, then you’ve essentially signaled to everyone else that it’s okay to leave their beds unmade. If you don’t put your things away when you’re done using them, well, you’ve made this the status quo for your home. So first take a look at your own habits. Which of your habits are sending the wrong message to your family members? Identify one habit at a time, and then, work on changing that habit. Once you’re sending the right message through your new habit, ask your family members to jump on the bandwagon, too.
By starting with yourself, you not only lay the ground rules as to what is acceptable, you also begin the process of putting the people in your life ahead of the stuff. When you create an environment that is free of your clutter, you shower your home and the people in it with love and respect.
Honor the People + Things You Love
Organizing and decluttering isn’t about getting rid of everything you love; actually, it’s just the opposite. Decluttering is about letting go of items you don’t use or love anymore. This, in turn, creates space for you to showcase the items in your home that have real meaning to you—those things you love. The same holds true for your family members and their cherished possessions. When I was a child I collected stuffed animals. My parents hung a shelf spanning the perimeter of my bedroom so I could display my beloved stuffed friends. My stuffed animals weren’t tucked away in a box or closet somewhere, but instead were out for me to enjoy every single day.
Look for simple ways to help your family members celebrate the things they love. If your husband collects baseball hats, guitars, antique tools, fishing lures, or anything else for that matter, you could create a display wall for his precious items. What about adding some shelves in your child’s room to showcase his Lego creations, or hang a corkboard for his artwork masterpieces? These simple projects will go a long way in showing your family members that you love them, and that you want them to be comfortable in their home.
By following these three simple ideas, you will find it is easier than ever to live with the people and things you love.
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