(my sister’s gorgeous home)
A couple of weeks ago I went to Ontario to visit my family. My sister just moved into a big beautiful house last year and always loves for me to help her organize when I come to visit. Unfortunately we didn’t get much organizing accomplished because my sister wasn’t feeling well. She was just diagnosed with the same autoimmune disease I have, Rheumatoid Arthritis. She is six years younger than me and yet we were diagnosed only months apart. So crazy I know! I was happy that I could spend some time helping her though as she adjusted to her medications.
So even though we didn’t we do any organizing projects, oh wait that’s not entirely true, I did organize her snack cupboard and I didn’t even ask first. Oops…I just couldn’t help myself! Thankfully my sister is used to my shenanigans and doesn’t seem to mind 🙂 I worked so fast (I needed a fix what can I say!) that I didn’t take pictures.
This was the first time I have been to my sister’s new home and it’s huge! Three floors of pure awesomeness, it really is stunning. I loved all the space and I loved that no one was tripping over one another. My sister and her husband and two kids live on the top two floors and my parents live in the beautifully finished basement. They really did need the bigger space because two families share it but I’ll admit it was really hard not to compare their big lovely home with my much smaller home waiting for me back in Alberta. I started dreaming of new furniture and new colorful throw cushions to brighten my place up. Maybe some new curtains would do the trick to allow more light in and make my home feel more airy. Or even some brand new wood shutters like the beautiful ones my sister has throughout her home.
It’s in our nature I think to start making comparisons this way. I caught myself doing it though and it bothered me. I wanted to get to the root of the problem. I’ve lived in a much bigger home and didn’t love it. More space requires more cleaning after all so I honestly didn’t think that was it. I really don’t mind the size of my current home (although the layout makes me a bit crazy sometimes) but I was still itching to make some changes once I got home from visiting my sister’s house.
That’s when it dawned on me that what I loved most about my sister’s new house wasn’t necessarily all the space they had but rather that they hadn’t filled every nook and cranny with stuff. Their home had space to breathe and that’s what I was missing in my own home.
Now my sister hasn’t lived in her new home long and I’ve lived in mine for 5 years. Each year that you live in your home is another year of accumulation of stuff. We bring more in than we tend to send out and we try to make it work with all the stuff and then it happens, often without realizing it, our homes begin to suck the life right out of us. That’s when we often get the urge to move, to buy a bigger home and begin the cycle all over again. And while I don’t think there is anything wrong with buying a bigger home, I do think it’s important to first look at your current home with fresh eyes. To see the impact all your stuff is having on your spaces and why it’s even all there in the first place. To look at every piece of furniture and every piece of decor and purposely ask ourselves, is this bringing me joy, do I love it, does anyone use it and most importantly, could I live without it to allow for more breathing room?
Regardless of the size of your home, if your home doesn’t have room to breathe you are going to feel suffocated.
I looked around my living room when I got home and it felt like too much to me. I was having trouble relaxing and I felt closed in. I didn’t feel like I could just breathe. Those thoughts sounded familiar to me and that’s when I remembered a post I’d written last year (it’s a good read!) for the Peaceful Organized Home series. Would you believe it was about having these exact same feelings…the urge to purge and simplify in order to allow my home to breathe.
Otherwise known as my spring itch to pitch!!.
To help us with this I wanted to share an awesome 105 page ebook called Your Simple Home Handbook by Elsie Callender that I just finished reading.
Elsie’s handbook aims to help you be systematic and ruthless in your quest to simplify. She has divided up the home into 30 areas, 30 projects, so you can simplify piece by piece and not be overwhelmed. I love this excerpt from her introduction:
“If you want to see real change in your home, you’ve got to get a little more ruthless. You’ll see the best results with a full-on, section-by-section purge. Your mindset going in has to be more radical than it’s ever been before. If you look in a closet or dig through a box and ask “what can I get rid of?” you’re only scratching the surface. A few things might jump out at you. You’ll cart them off to Goodwill and feel like you’ve accomplished something. But what about the other 90% of that closet or box? There’s probably a lot more in there that you don’t need! Take the conversation deeper and reevaluate every item in your home – every book, game, sweater, serving platter, blanket and lipstick you own.”
Are you feeling suffocated in your home? Before you think about buying a bigger space, try first simplifying the home you have now. Perhaps it’s not a new home you need but simply just less stuff.
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