The answer doesn’t always have to be long and complicated. Sometimes (not always but more often than we think) the answer is simple and sometimes its easy. In fact they’re my favourite kind. See I’m a great one for overcomplicating and overthinking things – things like my faith, my writing, raising these two beautiful children or even cleaning the bathroom sometimes – – – and it gets me stuck. Deer in the headlights stuck. So what I’ve discovered is that simple does the job really well somedays and for me, seeing progress in even a small way can be all the boost I need to get me back on track and moving forward.
So enough with the overcomplicating and lets go with a quick and easy post today. Quick because you will be able to read it in 15 minutes or less and easy for me because I’m writing about one of my very favourite things. So before this birthday month of mine expires entirely I’m sharing five simple refreshes (or we could call them tiny changes) that I use all the time when my house is feeling a bit flat and lifeless – or I am.
1. Clean something. A surface, a floor, a corner, a shelf, just one small area. Pick the thing that’s bugging you the most or is the most visible. For me its quite often my kitchen bench – it seems to attract the most amazing amount of items in the span of a day so cleaning that down fresh always gives everything a lift including me but it might be the bathroom vanity, the coffee table, the sink, a work area, the front entrance, or just giving the floor a sweep – give something 20 minutes of your love and care and you’ll be amazed how much better it looks and feels.
2. Bring in some green. In my opinion green makes everything feel better and somehow puts instant life and freshness into a space. A few indoor plants (or even just one will do) or a bunch of leafy branches from the garden arranged works wonders especially if its on your freshly cleaned down counter, coffee table or vanity. It won’t cost you anything and the stroll around the garden will do you good too.
3. Have a rearrange. Maybe not the whole room in one go but a shelf, a mantle, the top of a dresser, a bookcase, a side table, a few chairs, anything really. A change – well it really can be as good as a holiday and who says everything has to stay in the same spot anyway. There’s a lot we don’t control, there’s a lot that is out of our power to directly change but a shelf or where I put a lamp shouldn’t be one of them.
“Nothing is sacred around here. Just because I bought something with the bedroom in mind doesn’t mean it has to live there FOREVER. This is not a prison for my things. I want my things to bring me joy and sometimes if they sit in the same place for too long, I don’t even see them anymore”. Edie Wadsworth.
My favourite quick rearranges are my kitchen shelves, the cushions on the lounge, the laundry shelves, my work area and the verandah out front. So go ahead and give yourself permission to change things around as much as you like – you’ll be surprised what a difference a change of scenery, even a small one can make. Remember there’s no punishment if you put something somewhere and you don’t like it. Just try it somewhere else. Isn’t all creativity just a process of trial and error anyway.
4. Set a surface free – this is a good one if your feeling a little or a lot overwhelmed by the amount of things you have sitting around and are just not sure where to start. It cuts out all the decision making and umming and ahhing about what to do with each thing. Just clear off one space – again a mantle, the top of a bookshelf, a buffet or a TV unit, a side table, a corner or a coffee table – anywhere thats annoying you because it simply has too much stuff on or in it – be it books or photo frames or vases or any number of cute things. Pack the items away and leave the space empty for a day or two. Just let it breath all on its own for a while and enjoy the uncluttered feel of it. The photos below show the top of my TV unit that’s in our back sitting area all naked and my bedside table all cleared off because I can’t be trusted not to cram seventeen items on there at once.
It takes no time at all and when your ready – only put back items that you really love and enjoy looking at. I can almost guarantee you wont want to overfill that space again and you won’t be tempted to drop just any old thing on there. We enjoy and appreciate the things we have so much more when they are not vying for attention in amongst a whole lot of other things. The other thing with leaving a surface empty for a bit is that it gives you a chance to rethink how you have been using it. So with the TV unit above I worked out when I cleared it off that I really don’t need another surface to put pretty things on. Given that its a bit more of a utilitarian area what I could use up there are some baskets up there for storage.
As for the items that don’t make it back on the shelf, here’s a couple of thoughts: keep a donation box handy If it’s no longer inspiring or seen better days or your keeping it simply because it was a gift – it might be time to let it go. Less stuff to contend with on a daily basis – now thats a refresh in itself. Or for the keeps, just leave some things put away – all our nice things don’t all have to be out at the same time. They can be rotated just like the sheets and towels. In fact I try and have more put away than I have out these days so that when I do get something out that I haven’t seen in a while, I enjoy it more, it makes a nice change and is way less expensive than a trip to the shops.
5. Take a break. Now this ones about you. Sometimes when everything’s feeling a bit blah, it’s us not the house that need’s a freshen up. When getting anything done feels like wading through mud its a sure sign we are just plan old tired and running low. Same goes if you find yourself going all day without sitting down or taking a break. I know it’s easier said than done but doing something to refresh yourself either body, soul or spirit for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day will pay off on so very many levels.
What refreshes each of us is entirely personal but heres a few thoughts: get outside in the fresh air, take a walk, read a good book with your feet up, watch a movie, spend some time in quiet and prayer, take a nap, get out with a friend, take time by the water, in the garden or enjoying a view, do something creative – not work creative but refuelling, just for pleasure creative. While your at it – drink some water and take a few deep breaths. It doesn’t have to be luxurious or idyllic to work. It doesn’t have to be Friday afternoon and it doesnt have to involve a glass of wine. This recent instagram post I read sums the idea up exactly:
So much of life — pulls and minuses and divides us. But these evening moments of solitary walking around our little city lake – walking with seniors and students, Syrian refugees and soldiering on mamas – add to me. I don’t walk fast, I pray sometimes but mostly I just pay attention and I keep going. I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Sarah Bessey.
Author and blogger Emily P Freeman describes it as pressing your ear against the heartbeat of your own life (I love how she says things). Some describe it as margin or white space, I just call it room to breath. I’ve not always been so good at that and no doubt I’m not alone but taking regular pauses where I’m not doing or making or planning or thinking so darn hard puts me in the direction of it. I know I feel better when I rest and do something I like to do and better when I take time to breath deep and stare for a bit into the distance. Yes that so called unproductive “wasted” time, has a way of building and blessing and keeping us sane.
“White space is anything but nothing” Bonnie Gray
So take a moment – take 20 or 30 or an hour regular like and do something that adds and refuels and refreshes you on the inside.
So there it is – a few simple ideas for refreshing your home and yourself. I have tried to keep this one short, sweet and of course simple but if you would like a little more, here’s a few places where I am constantly inspired in pursuit of home and heart refreshment or if you’ve any simple refreshes that work for you please share away in the comments below.
Chatting at the Sky, Emily P Freeman
Finding Spiritual White Space, Bonnie Gay
Now I know the posts of late have been few and far between but I have still been writing my weekly Women Connect posts. If you have a moment you can read them by clicking on the titles below or just browse the Women Connect page here.
On Making a Difference
Stay Awake To Love
On Being Kind (To Ourselves)
Much love from my home to yours
Linking up today with Works For Me Wednesday