Improving Your Space to Improve Yourself
Spring cleaning gets a lot of hype, but improving your living space shouldn’t only be a seasonal endeavor. The best time to focus on cleaning and decluttering your space often aligns more with your mental state than any particular season. No matter if the outdoor temperature or time of year, improving your personal surroundings is always in style.
And the benefits of cleaning and decluttering span far beyond your physical space. The increased ability to focus, reduced anxiety, and improved confidence are just a few of the intangible results of improving and decluttering your physical surroundings. Further, you may be better able to cultivate inspiration and useful insight when your organization project involves a physical component, like rearranging furniture.
But you can still reap numerous mental health benefits even if you opt-out of heavy lifting. Improving your space can be as simple as minimizing possessions, bringing order to cluttered areas, and generally tidying up your home and vehicles.
Feng Shui and Items that “Spark Joy”
In 2019, Japanese consultant Marie Kondo became an overnight sensation with the release of Netflix’s reality series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” On a particularly monumental episode of the popular program, Kondo recommended reducing one’s possessions by only keeping those which “spark joy.” In the blink of an eye, Americans from all walks of life were embracing the minimalist lifestyle endorsed by Kondo and tossing out everything from books and clothing to various household items.
Ultimately, however, the short-lived Marie Kondo craze didn’t really provide any sort of lasting happiness. Perhaps that’s because “sparks joy” is an overwhelmingly subjective phrase that is open to interpretation. And while there’s no denying that most Americans could use to drastically reduce our possessions, the decluttering should be done with purpose and practicality.
Interestingly, decluttering is the first step in the practice of feng shui, also known as Chinese geomancy. The ancient Chinese methodology gained popularity in America during the 1970s, but it has become slightly altered to better flow with modern decor schemes as well as contemporary philosophical ideologies.
Loosely translated to refer to life force and material energy, “qi” is at the crux of feng shui. According to real estate professionals, who often stage homes using the principles of feng shui, a healthy flow of qi requires plenty of light and air. Following the decluttering process, identify natural light sources and harness that light as effectively as possible. To further promote qi balance, place plants or meaningful personal objects in the areas of your home that receive the most light.
Decluttering Your Home and Your Mind
Feng shui and decluttering go hand-in-hand, and it’s important to note that making your space your own may require sacrifices. For many, the decluttering process can be mentally painful, but the benefits far outweigh the emotions that may accompany the act of throwing out your possessions. Where your mind is concerned, clutter is a major culprit for a variety of mental health symptoms, including stress, anxiety, and depression.
Thus, decluttering almost becomes an essential tool for self-improvement. And no matter the size of your space, you’re bound to find ways to effectively organize, declutter, and clean. But the process is highly individualized, and creativity will likely come into play.
In a larger family home, you likely have plenty of places to stash excess clutter, such as the garage and/or the cupboard under the stairs. There’s no reason for the storage spaces themselves to be cluttered, however. Sort your items in a way that makes sense to you, such as by season, color, or family member, and clearly label all boxes and bins.
If your space is smaller, such as a studio apartment, you may find the notion of storage to be laughable. That’s fair, but what you lack in storage you can make up for in ingenuity and intentional decor. Open up your studio space by investing in plenty of seating, and make sure it’s not too busy or covered by throw pillows. What’s more, feng shui is an ideal choice for small studios, so get that qi flowing by inviting plenty of light in.
Creating Your Space Wherever Life Takes You
As you delve further into the self-improvement process, you’ll likely discover that your home isn’t the only space that needs attention. Consider the places where you spend a large chunk of your day, and try to think outside the box. Along with your home and workplace, you likely spend more time in your car than anywhere else, yet our vehicles are often overlooked when we’re cleaning and decluttering personal spaces.
Sitting behind the wheel is effectively an American pastime, as most of us spend an average of just under 1 hour driving every day, according to AAA. And that doesn’t factor in the time we spend stuck in traffic. As such, we can further improve ourselves by treating our vehicles the same way that we treat our home and keeping clutter at bay.
The cleaning and decluttering tactics you used on your home can be reimagined for our vehicles, from sedans and motorcycles to RVs. Conversely, hacks intended to help reduce clutter in your RV are also effective tricks for improving your living space. For instance, you can find extra, hidden storage space via clips, hooks, and shelves hung on the insides of cabinet doors.
By simply setting an intention to reduce clutter and then following through, you may just discover a sacred space. Even if you’re not quite there yet, decluttering and cleaning your home, as well as other personal spaces, can have a calming effect while also fueling your creativity and problem-solving skills. While it sounds like a simplistic notion on the surface, improving your space can also help you improve yourself.