Have you ever seen one of those slow-motion films of a flower blooming or a tree growing? They stretch and move and look freakishly human-like. Kind of like a child waking up from a nap. Things move when they grow.
Or is it that things grow when they move? I think it is the later . . . movement is essential to growth and vibrancy.
I bet this isn’t news to you. We all intuitively know movement of our bodies and our minds is good for us. We push our kids out the door play outside on pretty days. We join gyms or walk at lunch to keep our bodies healthy. We play sudoku or do crossword puzzles to keep our minds sharp. Movement and activity are good for us.
We also know that those who don’t move and live a more sedentary lifestyle simply don’t enjoy the level of vibrancy and fitness as those who move. The same is true for our living and work spaces.
You know my premise of Life by Design . . . that the spaces we inhabit (home and offices) are extensions of who we are and how we are feeling on the inside. It is also my premise that one of the quickest ways to change our mood and our motivation level is to shift those environments . . . to be intentional in how we set up our spaces.
Yes, I’m sad to say this means that pile of dirty clothes you’re ignoring could be a sign there’s something in your life you’re avoiding and letting stink up your life. Our stuff is an extension of us on the inside!
Like our bodies and our minds, we’ve got to keep things moving in our environment. ANYTHING that doesn’t move atrophies and eventually dies. This goes for your home environment too.
Move so I can See!
“We see in order to move; we move in order to see.” ~ William Gibson
Below are a few tips I’ve come up with to help get or keep the energy moving in your space. Some you can do today, and others will take a bit of planning. But trust me, it’s worth the effort because movement is essential to keep your space alive!!!!
1. Clean Up the Space: Let’s begin with the easiest thing you can do to liven up a space; clean it up. I know this may not be the most fun but it’s the BEST way to awaken a stale, lifeless living or work space. Nothing clogs up a space, and your precious heart, more than dirt and dust and clutter.
I’m not a neat freak at all. My house is most definitely not one of those ultra-clean places. I always have dog prints on the kitchen floor and a small layer of dust. (sheesh!) But if I let it get too out of control, it begins to pull me down the crapper. I may do all the other things on this list, but cleaning is the NUMBER ONE way to move the energy.
Besides, I’ve never met anyone who feels BAD after cleaning their space. No one. Ever! Cleaning anything INSTANTLY get the atoms churning around, both in your body and in your space. The result? ENERGY!!!!
Just 15 minutes devoted to an area of your home or office and I guarantee you will feel more alive.
2. Fresh Flowers: You know I always have fresh flowers in my home. I mention it often. But those flowers are not the same arrangement over and over. I’m always changing it up. I buy different varieties and all different colors. I place them in different rooms of my home. Sometimes I add greenery from my yard. Sometimes I put just a single flower in on a window sill. Sometimes I make a huge arrangement in my dining room. Variety is the key.
I want my home to stay vibrant and fresh flowers is one of the best, the cheapest (besides cleaning) and the easiest way to liven up a room.
3. Choose neutral furniture. If your large pieces of furniture are somewhat neutral, you can change up your accessories as often as you like. You can add different colors to elicit different moods or decorate for the seasons.
For example, I have cream sofas. I originally had cream sofas that were fabric. Big mistake cuz I have dog that I allow on the furniture. I recently replaced them with cream leather and I’m so happy.
Because they are a a solid color, I have a lot of flexibility in my pillow choices and I can change them to match the season or my mood. A trip to TJ Maxx or World Market and just a few dollars and I can make a room feel brand new! It’s fun but more importantly, it keeps the energy moving!
4. Change the tchotchkes that sit around the house. I believe what makes a house a home are the things that sit around on shelves, and walls and counter tops. These need to be things that make you feel good, beautify the space, and elicit good thoughts or memories.
People often ask me how I pick out the things that sit around my house. Truth is, I rarely go out and buy something specifically for a certain place. Instead, I buy thing I like when I find them (usually on clearance or from thrift stores or yard sales.) Most of the time, I have no idea what I’m going to do with it! I just know I like it.
Three different seasonal vignettes on the same dining room buffet.
Doing my work, I’ve come to appreciate this is hard for many people. They see these decorative objects, or shitzels (as one of my friend calls them) in other people’s homes but can’t pull it off for themselves. They get stuck because they aren’t sure how to use it in their home. I say buy first and figure out how to use it later!
Here’s the deal . . . if you love it, it will match your home. Bring it home and then trust it will find the perfect place. Or perhaps there are several perfect places. You can move it around depending on your mood. Purchase things you like when you see them and then discover how to display them later.
5. Store your stuff so it’s easily accessible. To change your home on a whim or to induce a mood or for the seasons, you need to have an easy way to get to your “stuff”. Perhaps a storage shelf or closet where you have your decorative items.
I’m pretty lucky. I have a spare closet and a shelved wall in my garage for storing home décor. The beauty of this is I can walk downstairs and see all my tchotchkes when I want to move things around. I can easily find a vase or a pillow or a tray when I need to. Being able to see my stuff insures I don’t forget the cool stuff I’ve acquired.
So, you don’t have that kind of storage/display space? Here’s my suggestion. Store things in stackable rubber bins. But before you pack things away, take a photo with your phone. You can number the bins and file your photos all on your phone. This way you can easily see what you have and know right where to go retrieve it! Cool, huh?
6. Copy what others are doing: If interior placement of things is not your thing, look at what other people are doing and copy them. Pinterest, Instagram, a shopping day to look at seasonal decor can all be inspiration for what you can do in your home. Remember, the goal here is not to have the perfect home . . . it’s to keep things alive and moving. I believe the reason people’s environments become stale is that they picked out something at one time and then never thought about it again.
But interiors get tired! So mix it up and the best way to do this if you don’t inherently know how is to find something you like that someone has done and copy it!
7. Lastly, let your mood be your guide. This winter, I have been recovering from 2 hip surgeries. Pain plus isolation plus A LOT OF RAIN meant I was fighting the blahs and the blues.
To pull myself out of this funk, I incorporated a lot of what I’ve mentioned above. But it began by first thinking about what my current mood was and what I wanted it shift it to. I took a look around to try to see what was in my space, or missing from my space, which was contributing to this blueness. Then I made a plan.
Here is what I did:
1. I began with a major deep clean of the living room where I was spending most of my time recuperating. My husband called the ugly recliner with my book baskets and trays and Kleenexes™ strung about "Cheri's Hobo Camp". It was a bit disgusting. So, I cleaned it up. Got rid of the recliner and put everything back where it belonged.
2. Then I bought a vibrant lime green philodendron for the coffee table that sits in the center of the room. I trimmed all the dead stuff off the other plants in the room and began using the lamps on those dark rainy days. Dark room = Dark mood. Light and Life made such a difference.
3. I Febrezed™ the pillows (thank you Jake the Dog), added some fresh flowers and rearranged a few table top vignettes and the energy went from “Winter Blues” to "Bring It Spring!"
Voila! Almost instantly I felt better! I had way more energy! I began writing more, got more engaged with other aspects of my life, I moved on to deep clean other space in my home that had gotten a case of the mid-winter blues, I had lunches with friends and even started cooking more. All because I moved things around in my space.