Friday, April 30, 2010
Project Me - My Home... A template for my intentions
Looking around my home, one thing has become abundantly clear. I'm overwhelmed. Obviously, I cannot dive into this decluttering process without having a plan. Oh... did I mention that having a plan, some type of schedule, and a little accountability is something that has been hitting me over the head like a ton of bricks lately? Cue roll of the eyes. Rather than approach this in willy-nilly fashion, I felt I should consider what new energy I'm looking to call into my life. I want to lay out the welcome mat by having my home serve as a template that invites in new beginnings, opportunities, and fresh experiences.
I have considered the purpose of each room in my home and how it can better serve me in manifesting my desires for newness. Some of the questions I asked myself to determine the intention of each room were...
What need in my life will this room fulfill?
How can this space support me in bettering my self-care?
What activities do I want to enjoy in this room?
What kind of vibe am I looking to create in this space?
How do I want to feel when I spend time here?
What life statement am I making with this room?
How can this space better support me in pursuing my dreams and in manifesting the new vision I am creating for my life?
I know... sounds a little deep for some house tidying, but this is no surface cleaning. I'm getting down to the nitty-gritty with this project. Here's what I've conjured up...
This is a multi-functional room. It's where I put my feet up, relax, and unwind at the end of a long day. It's also where I have my home office. When you live in an apartment, you don't often have the luxury of creating a separate office space. You have to maximize the room you have available.
In one word, I want my living room to be 'cozy'. I like the idea of throws and lush pillows to nestle in. I also envision lots of candles. I love the softness of candlelight. The warm glow of a flame has a way of soothing my frazzled nerves. This is the first room you enter upon walking through my front door, so the vibe is very important. I want the space to be welcoming and inviting. It needs to be comfy. This space is all about chillin', maxin' and relaxin'. I see myself reading, lounging, napping, socializing, and creatively playing in this room.
Since the living room is the entryway into my home, I would like to establish an altar near the doorway to serve as a place of spiritual reflection. I think it would be wonderful to have this altar as a communal space to focus intentions, helping household members call abundance and blessings into their lives. It will also serve as a reminder of the people and things that are truly meaningful to us, fostering gratitude for the many ways we have already been blessed. This creates an expansive consciousness which frees up more room for the good in life to enter. It will set the tone for the entire home.
I plan on keeping the center of the living room open and clear. I would like a place to be able to roll out my mat and do some yoga, or turn on some tunes and dance. I also enjoy crafting. I've been wanting to explore jewelery-making for awhile. I even have an idea for a line of necklaces, but I've never created a space to explore this interest. If I store my craft supplies in the living room, this desire will stay in the forefront of my mind. I have a fold-out table that I currently keep in the garage that could be set up as a crafting/art station. I would love to be able to create a permanent space for this in the living room rather than dragging out the table and going through a set-up process every time I get the urge to be creative. I can see how very easily that could set me up for procrastination. The challenge is that I have limited space to work with. I don't want to overwhelm the space with too much stuff. I want maintain an openness about the room. However, there may be a way to re-work the space by moving around furniture, or donating pieces that no longer serve the intention of the room, to make a permanent crafting/art space a reality. I get excited when I think of this so I believe I should try my darnedest to make that happen.
As far as my corner office is concerned, (I mean that quite literally... my office space is in the corner of the living room) I need more organization and efficiency. I have organizational tools such as filing systems, dry erase boards, and such that are not being put to good use. I would like to change that to help my work flow a little smoother. At this time, if I need a number I have to search frantically through a drawer crammed full of miscellaneous papers. It's a real headache! I can feel my stress levels go up just thinking about it. Since I don't take advantage of my organizational tools, I have to keep track of all my business appointments, deadlines, and important calls in this little ol' noggin of mine. As you can imagine, my mental space is pretty cluttered. Every inch of my brain is occupied by a running to-do list. No wonder I have trouble getting to sleep at night! I'm also working toward a major career goal at this time. I would like my office space to include motivational symbols that will continue to inspire me to reach for the sky.
One thing is for certain. I no longer want to eat in the living room. I've gotten in the habit of plopping down in front of the TV to nosh mindlessly. I'm using this behavior to cope with stress. This certainly is not doing my health any favors. It's also robbing me of experiencing the true pleasure of my meals. Half the time, I barely taste what I am eating. This is the one activity I want to eliminate from this space. I have given up eating in front of the tube before and it made a world of difference. I then started to question if it was necessary to avoid eating in front of the TV when others began to share their personal opinions on the topic. It seems that many feel they can be mindful while eating in front of the television or surfing the web. I decided to experiment with this and see if it would be possible for me to eat in these situations while continuing to be aware. The result has been dismal. This simply doesn't work for me. Plus, it is interesting to note that scientific studies have established that people who dine in front of the television absorb considerably less nutrients from their meals than those who eat without distraction. There's a little food for thought to chew on. I found this rather fascinating myself. The living room is going to become a no-food zone.
This is simple. I only want one thing in this room and that is the dining table. When in this space, I want to be reminded of the importance of deeply nourishing myself. I wish to create a soothing ambiance that promotes mindfulness. I like the idea of having a candle on the table that I light before every meal as a signal to take time to slow down, invite consciousness in, and receive nurturing. I also want to adorn the table with fresh flowers regularly to enhance the beauty of the space. It would be great to have a table that is free and clear of all the papers, junk mail and such that are currently burying its surface so I can sit down, enjoy my meals, and have a place to gather with loved ones to share the events of the day.
Considering the challenge I have put before myself... to cook all my meals at home for the next 30 days... I need this space to be organized, efficient, and well-stocked with the basic staples needed for recipes. I also need to have all of my cooking tools easily accessible. The counters need to be kept clear for food prep. I want to cover a large portion of the counter space with cutting board surfaces to make chopping veggies a cinch. Then, all I have to do is wipe down the surface for quick and easy clean-up. This will encourage me to eat more produce. I also want to make full use of my storage containers. I plan to recycle old glass jars by labeling them and using them to store bulk items like rice, dry beans, and pasta. It makes sense to devote a cupboard to storage supplies. This way, I can cook up large batches of recipes and create my own whole foods grab and go meals. Tupperware containers are great for storing meals in the freezer and this will help me make a health-supporting choice on busy nights when I feel I don't have time to cook a proper meal. I can just reheat one I have already made ahead of time.
It is important to me that the foods I stock in my refrigerator and pantry reflect my intention to honor my health. It is my desire to make nutritious eating the convenient option. I realize that I have the power to do this. It is all about how I choose to set up my kitchen space. As I clean and organize this room of my home I will ask myself the following questions...
Does this space encourage me to feed my body in a health-supporting way?
Is it easy to cook in this kitchen?
Do I have a storage system in place that allows me to see the food I have available at a quick glance?
Do I have easy access to storage containers and cooking tools that will allow me to do batch cooking in order to prepare healthful, convenient meals ahead of time to fall back on when life gets busy?
Additionally, I want to have some kind of posting board in the kitchen to plan menus, create grocery lists, and also to establish a cleaning schedule so once the house is in order, it can be maintained by all members of the household.
This is a multi-functional room in the home. At least, that was the original intention. It has since become a cluttered storage space. Although, I will say that the neighbors got a look in our garage and were rather impressed. We were even asked if we might want to help them organize their garage. I'll take that as a sign that this space hasn't gotten too out of control... yet. What really matters is how I feel in this part of the home. Right now, I don't enjoy venturing into this space.
Part of the garage is going to be a dance studio/gym. I want to mount a large mirror on the wall so I can check my form when working out or dancing. Currently, there is too much equipment in this room gathering dust. I've started to chip away at clearing out some of the excess by selling the treadmill and exercise bike. The elliptical trainer was also recently broken down. There is still more that needs to head out the door. I have lots of exercise equipment that I have absolutely no use for. I don't need much now that I've gotten in touch with the types of movement I really enjoy. Most of the activities I feel drawn to don't require any equipment. As a result, what I currently have is just taking up space. Again, I am looking to create openness in this area of the garage so I have room to move about freely.
Another area of the garage is devoted to a workshop. This is where all the tools and woodworking supplies are stored. For the most part, it is fairly organized. Where I see the clutter is in too many 'planned' projects. The area is littered with items that need repair, or parts that are supposed to be used for some future purpose. Really, all this stuff is just taking up room. Some items have been lingering for years untouched. It's time to clear out the excess and design this area for efficiency and accessibility. Since there is so much stuff being squirreled away in this space, I don't even have access to the large filing cabinets where various tools and holiday decorations are stored. Before I can pull out something I need, I have to remove a wall of stuff that is blocking the way. It is a hassle. I want to change that.
The final area of the garage is reserved for laundry and recycling. This space is pretty well organized. I would like to move the clothes hamper out of the bedroom and into the laundry area. I have an issue with tossing clothes on the floor. It's a bad habit I've had since I was a teenager. Once the hamper becomes full in the bedroom, I often start to pile clothes on top of it, which then spill over onto the floor and end up eventually taking over the whole room. Embarrassing, but true. If I move the hamper out to the garage, I can develop a new habit of taking dirty clothes immediately out to the laundry area, keeping the bedroom nice and neat. This is my hope.
The Storage Closet:
This is the area of the home where we store cleaning supplies and linens. It works very well for that purpose. This room is also organized, for the most part. There is a little excess that needs to be cleaned out, but not much. This will be the easiest room to deal with.
Hands-down this is the most daunting room in the house. Whenever company comes over, I make sure that the bedroom door is shut... tight. I don't want anyone to see the disarrayed state this room is in . It is a hot mess! Picture your average teenager's bedroom and you will have a good idea what this space looks like. There's just a bunch of crap everywhere. Clothes are strewn about the floor. The bookcases and bedside tables are covered in a mountain of stuff. I have bags from shopping trips filled with newly purchased items that haven't been touched since I brought them home. Heck, I don't even know what's in half of those bags anymore. I'm not quite sure what I will find once I start wading through them. This is embarrassing because it's such wasteful behavior. The bed is usually unmade. I'm very unhappy with the current state of my bedroom. I dread spending time there and something strikes me as terribly wrong with that. I'm sure I will stir up some emotional shit when I clear this space. It's definitely the monster in my closet. This is the room I have chosen to begin my decluttering, cleaning, and organizing efforts. There is a reason for selecting this room as the starting point.
I always tend to focus on the rooms others will see first when I set out to clean the house. Often, excess will get cleared from the front areas of the home only to find its way back into the bedroom where it can be hid like a dirty little secret in the closet. I habitually do things to please others and thought I'd switch that up a bit. What if I decided to put my needs first? I'm trying to change my whole approach to life. I view making my bedroom first priority as a symbolic act of establishing my self-care as non-negotiable.
This is a room I will spend a large portion of my life in. It is where I am supposed to be able to let down my guard, rest, and renew. It is my private space to sleep and have sex. It is where I set my intention at the beginning of each day and put down my cares and concerns at the end of the night. At least, it should be. Sadly, my bedroom is not currently living up to this vision. I figured I would start with this room because if I can get some of these basic needs met, it will have nothing but a beneficial effect on the rest of my life. I'm working with the trickle down theory.
I want the vibe of this room to be relaxing, grounding, and sensual. I have a bedside table that I would like to set up with a small stereo and headphones so I can take a time out during the day and listen to one of Jennifer Polle's hypnosis CD's. "Clearing Emotional Blocks" is a great one. If you haven't experienced Jennifer's work, you may want to check out this hypnosis session. It effectively clears out the emotional clutter...
I also like the idea of taking full advantage of my extensive library of relaxation CD's as I drift off in sweet slumber. I have a bookcase in the bedroom that I want to use as my personal altar. Throughout my life, I have always had an altar in my bedroom, that is, until the past few years. This is a focal point for my intention, connection with spirit, and my soul's purpose. I have experienced an inner void since deleting my altar from my personal space. I'm currently working on a vision board to help hone-in my vision on the life I wish to create for myself. I plan on incorporating this vision board into my altar. I want to have a place where I can focus my life-energy at the start of the day through meditation, affirmation, and connection with my spiritual source.
The time has also come to go through my bedroom closet and sort through all of my clothes. With the change in seasons, I need to store away all of my cold weather apparel and pull out clothing from the garage for the warmer months ahead. Additionally, it's important that everything hanging in my closet fits my current body, flatters me, and makes me feel my best. If my closet is full of clothing that doesn't fit, it makes me feel crappy. It also eats up a lot of time. A great deal of energy is wasted trying on outfit after outfit, attempting to find a way to pull myself together. Wouldn't it be great to open the closet and know that every single item hanging fits like a glove and showcases my best features? I think so! I want to create that kind of wardrobe for myself. It will support me in the healing work I am doing around body-image.
I don't want to over-complicate this space. My intention is to lighten up the energy in this room by clearing out the busy, stress-producing elements. Next week, I will be posting before and after shots of my bedroom to show off everything I've accomplished.
This is the final room in my home. It is also the second space I will be focusing my attention. I envision the bathroom as a place of self-care which is why I want to make it the next priority in line after the bedroom is addressed. This is the other room that embarrasses me. It needs some serious work. There is so much clutter in this room, mainly occupying every available inch of the sink counter. There are all kinds of toiletries that I haven't used in years crammed into the cabinets. The whole room is sorely in need of a deep scrubbing.
I want my bathroom to have an ocean theme and heavily feature mermaids. The ocean is very special to me. It is my sanctuary. When I need to realign myself, I visit the sea. It would be nice to create a reflection of that in my home. I see the bathroom as my space to indulge in some serious pampering. I want to create a vanity at the sink where I can get myself ready each day and have all my perfumes, body potions, and pampering treats readily available for use. I would also like to create an ideal ambiance for soaking by adding some candles to the decor, along with a place to store yummy bath salts and oils.
I always feel so much better when I make my pampering a priority. I have no shame. I'm a girly-girl. I relish a self-massage with a deliciously-scented aromatherapy oil. I love to lavish myself with beauty treatments. It's a way for me to honor the goddess within... to remind myself that my body and being are sacred. To me, daily pampering is like performing a body blessing. I look forward to having my bathroom reflect this intention.
As you can see, I've really thought about my space and how it can help me address the areas where I feel unfulfilled in my life. I'm excited to get this project underway and also a little nervous. There is a small voice inside telling me that there is more than meets the eye with this process. I anticipate that I am going to get a whole lot more than I bargained for out of this experience. I have a feeling that all the stuff I have been clinging to has been serving a purpose. I believe it has acted as a distraction, preventing me from honestly acknowledging what's been emotionally missing in my life. Inevitably, as I recognize the ways I feel unfulfilled, I'm going to have to make some important changes. That feels a little intimidating. I think I have become rather comfortable and complacent with the status quo. I also know that I am not living up to my full potential, or living the life I deserve. I'm no longer content to settle. Naturally, this will create a fair amount of upheaval, as well as personal revelation. Although I can sense some nervousness around this, I am ready to leap because I cannot put my happiness on hold a moment longer. It's either stay safe and stay stuck, or take a risk to venture on a different path with all of the uncertainty that entails and see what opens up in my life. My choice has been made. Here's to new beginnings!