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Your Home Is A Living Space

by John Dodge 2 months ago in house

Organization tips for creatives

Photo by Jeff Sheldon/from Unsplash

I try not to think of myself as someone who believes in or perpetuates any stereotypes. At the same time, I am a creative, and I am by nature a messy and unorganized person. That being said, a cluttered environment is rarely analogous to a productive one, and when you add on top of that the challenges of running a business and having a child, the desire to change becomes a need. After living most of my life in a general state of disarray before being forced to fix that for the wellbeing of more than just myself, I can confidently say that changing the way I look at and perceive my home has been the most helpful thing anyone could have suggested.

Your Living Space

Home might not be where you would normally spend the majority of your time, but it should still be a place in which you can relax and be at peace. With the current state of the world, more and more people are spending more and more time at home, especially those who can work remotely. Working from home creates an even greater need for cleanliness and organization, though it doesn't make your living space stop being just that. It also doesn't keep your living space from itself being alive.

A Living Space

Your life directly impacts the life of your home, and thinking of your home as a literal living space can greatly change the way you think of how it is kept. A daily routine, even one spent primarily away from home, creates a routine for where you live as well. It might not seem like something that anyone needs to be reminded of, but it's something most of us don't keep in mind beyond remembering when to take out the trash every week. Take a day or two to really hone in on how your home changes throughout the day. Where does clutter accumulate first? What is it that gets cleaned last? What remains undone when your day has ended? Most importantly, how does your living space live?

Photo by Patrick Perkins/from Unsplash

Where Things Live

One of the most obvious issues with most disorganized people and cluttered living spaces is one of space itself. Not having enough room for everything that we accumulate is all too common an issue. There are plenty of closet organizers and ergonomically designed furniture that can be purchased to alleviate this problem, but oftentimes those are just a band-aid on a gaping wound if they don't outright exacerbate the situation. It's easy to run out of places for things to go when we think about them as things. It becomes easier to maintain them in every sense when we think about them as things that need their own home. When I consider my work tools or the items I interact with daily, I know where to find them, because I know where they live. My keys live on the hook by the front door. My kitchen tool live in their appropriate drawers. My daughter's books live in the hallway, eternally scattering themselves across the floor for me to put back on the shelf every night in my own personal Sisyphean nightmare. Not every single object in my home needs a dedicated place where it exists constantly, but most objects in my home have a home of their own, and as a good neighbor it is my job to get them back to it safely at the end of the day when they have wandered off into the wilderness.

Photo by Romina BM/from Unsplash

A Fly On the Wall

The way you see your home is never the way it actually exists. Much like looking at your reflection in the mirror, what you see is being ever so slightly skewed by the way information is presented to you and the way you perceive it. If you really want to know how bad your bedroom is, don't go look at it, take a picture of it and look at that instead. Give yourself a fly-on-the-wall view of the spaces that you inhabit daily to give yourself the truest idea of what those spaces look like. At the same time, don't feel bad when a previously nonexistent mass materializes in the frame. Of course you didn't realize it was there, because it has become camouflaged by everything else. The first time I took a picture of my workspace was a brutal revelation of just how out of control it had gotten. That photo was also exactly the perspective I needed. When I was done cleaning, I took another photo to make sure that everything was in order the way I wanted it to be. Sometimes it takes more than one snapshot, but no other cleaning tip is more effective for how little effort it takes to implement. You were going to clean already, take the damn picture.

Photo by Khara Woods/from Unsplash

The Motion of the Commotion

Getting organized can be fun. The endorphin rush of doing something both productive and beneficial is one of the best feelings there is. Maintaining it after the initial purging and splurging of old clutter and new binder clips does not come easy, however. Falling back into old habits is a concern that everyone who tries to better themselves has, and when it applies to how you live it can an overwhelming fear. Most of us can't afford to provide constant upkeep to our living spaces, and small messes can go unnoticed and snowball into another bottomless pile of unfolded laundry. Once you have taken the time to clean and organize any given space, use the observations you made earlier regarding its rhythm to keep up with it. It's okay if your kitchen is halfway trashed at the end of every night as long as you expect and prepare for it. My daily routine did not initially lend itself to keeping up with every mess that is created by two adults, a toddler, and the two gremlins in cat suits we keep for whatever reason, so I adjusted that routine. Doing dishes during the day wasn't enough to keep up once my daughter transitioned to eating solid food. Now the dishes get done at night. My workload takes a dip on Mondays. Now Mondays are when my office gets cleaned. You don't have to drown yourself in chores to maintain a clean, organized living space. You just have to pay attention to how that space lives.

John Dodge
John Dodge
Read next: 10 Remarkable Facts Of The 18th Century That Will Surprise You
John Dodge

Staff writer for CBR by day, also a dad by day, still both of those things but other stuff too, by night. Bad at self bios, good at other things. On Twitter here and occasionally here, and on Facebook here, with more coming soon.

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