awhile back, i wrote a post about clutter. and how we have so much of it. my dearest t-bag recommended that konmari method book to help me with my decluttering mission. it’s a quick, very useful read. and while i didn’t really agree with everything she says (for example, her biggest method of determining whether or not to get rid of something is to ask yourself if it sparks joy. and then she advises to basically get rid of all your books. well, piles of books spark all kinds of joy for me so i’ll be bending this rule), i did like her overall message.
the part that got me thinking the most was not the part about tidying in general. it was the advice about how to begin. here are some excerpts from the section “before you start, visualize your destination” (p. 36-38):
- think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be lie to live in a clutter-free space.
- your next step is to identify why you want to live like that…ask yourself “why?” again for each answer. repeat this process three to five times for every item. as you continue to explore the reasons behind your ideal lifestyle, you will come to a simple realization…before you start tidying, look at the lifestyle you aspire to and ask yourself, “why do I want to tidy?” when you find the answer, you are ready to move on to the next step: examining what you own.
i loved this exercise. this exercise of asking “why?” over and over again until you get to the root of your visual desires. and the exercise of thinking in concrete terms what you want your home to look like. she points out that our homes are really the only places that we have almost complete control over. and that point, along with this “why” exercise, really hit me. i’m pretty sure i spent a little more time than normal thinking about this.
i scoured my pinterest boards (all pictures are from my “home” board) and picked out the pictures that spoke to me the most. none of the images above are 100% what i would want in our home. but they all have elements that really appeal to me. (luckily, matt and i are on pretty much the same exact page in terms of aesthetic preferences.)
what are those elements? well…i think there’s something about simplicity but not in that scandinavian, all-white way. more in that things serve a purpose while still being visually appealing way. i like a little bit of mess but not too much. i like dramatic, high contrast but not in an overwhelming way. i like a little bit of moodiness. i like the slight sense of humor that mid-century modern furniture has. i like a mix of modern sensibility with vintage-esque touches. i like jewel tones and wood. i like things that don’t quite belong. i like single dramatic pieces that don’t saturate the picture. i like for things to have a place and to serve a purpose (even if that purpose is just to sit there and look pretty). i love plants. i like things to be polished and aesthetically sharp while still being inviting and warm.
and then i asked myself “why?” a bunch of times to question why i want my home to have these elements. and i basically came down to: i don’t like to be bored but i also don’t like to have to process so much in my visual environment that it takes up too much brain space. i think this plays out in my affinity for slight tensions - between colors, eras, etc. i want people to feel welcome and visually pleased. which plays out in wanting things to be aesthetically pleasing without feeling too precious. i also think that’s why i like plants so much. and why i don’t like things to feel overly modern or minimal.
basically, i feel like in my everyday life, my brain is always moving in a million directions at a million miles per hour. when i enter my home, i want my brain to feel calm but still engaged. i want to be reminded of sweet moments in our lives, past and present. so emmett’s books and toys strewn around the living room don’t stress me out. our bookcase stuff with books i’ve saved from all eras of my life makes me really happy. our window shelf crowded with family pictures is fine by me. our open kitchen shelf with the precariously stacked spices is kind of scary but also necessary (i tried to clean out spices we don’t use and got rid of two things).
the book author asserts that knowing what makes us happy and having these concrete images of what we want extend to our lives. how we make our home and prioritize what stays and does not has repercussions for how we prioritize elements in the rest of our life. i like that idea a lot. we are in the slow process of getting rid of things and adding little elements to our home as we go along (having a rapidly growing toddler definitely helps with that “adding things” component). i’m trying to be more and more mindful of what we have exit and enter our home. and, more generally, the ways these choices reflect the kind of life we are creating for ourselves.