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Your home probably looks a lot like your life


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POSTED: Monday, September 14, 2009

I love the “;Aha!”; moments in life when I come across a new revelation.

Recently, while sorting through old magazine articles, I came across the article “;What Your House Says About You,”; by life coach Martha Beck, from “;O”; Magazine, fall 2004.

For me it was both an “;Aha!”; and an “;Oh my goodness!”; revelation.

In my profession as an organizer, I help clients sort, purge and create living and working spaces that truly reflect who they are and how they want to live and work. But, it seems that our spaces already reflect who we are, whether we like it or not!

According to Beck, “;Living space is such a powerful metaphor (for self) because everything in it—every pot, plant, and pillow—reflects choices we make from among countless options, for countless reasons”; and that the portrait that emerges, which was created unconsciously, is accurate.

Beck's simple test: Write down a brief description of your living space. Then scratch out the word house or apartment and substitute the word “;life.”;

When I did Beck's simple test, my home description was “;a formerly beautiful space but now dull, neglected and a hodgepodge of things.”; It described my life, too!

In all her years as a life coach, Beck said she has yet to see a space description that isn't a metaphor for the self.

My home was designed with the help of a top interior designer, but that was 20 years ago. Guests think my home looks just fine, but since I know the age of the furniture, I can see how drab some pieces have become. And with time, odds and ends of things had accumulated. So now the house (and my life) were far from what they once were.

What I want my home to be is light and bright, simple and streamlined, fun and functional, and roomy and refreshing. That's the way I want to be, too!

Beck's favorite technique to remedy the situation is something she calls “;Decorating Leapfrog.”; There are four steps:

1. Identify one change that would improve your home.

2. Make the change.

3. Watch the corresponding change occur in your inner life.

4. Repeat.

Eagerly wanting to change the reflection of myself, I attacked the living room, freshening it up by rearranging the furniture and removing things that were old and just plain clutter. Then, I brought in whimsical accessories that were stored in cabinets. Without spending a cent, I had made a refreshing change, and I now had around me some of my favorite things that make me smile.

The change freshened my spirit, too! And made me more determined to refresh my space and make my life simpler, with less busyness and more room for fun.

If after doing Beck's simple test, you have the same “;Oh my goodness!”; realization, I encourage you to take steps to transform your space with “;micro makeovers,”; as Beck calls them.

I see a lot of cluttered homes where owners admit they can't stand clutter but feel they don't have time to deal with it. But when one realizes the difference it can make not just in physical appearance, but also in one's life, clearing and beautifying takes on a higher priority.

The same applies for one's workspace, too. What three adjectives describe your workspace? If your description is “;cluttered, overwhelming and stressful,”; that probably describes you, too.

Try the Decorating Leapfrog game in your office, and see how even ministeps can effect a transformation in your space and in your work life!

I invite you to e-mail me the description of your space that also reflects your life. The good news is that we can all paint new portraits of our spaces and lives!

See you in two weeks!