Monday, 4 June 2012

Calm Space, Calm Mind

My work requires me to do a fair amount of reading at home, and the distractions in my apartment seem to multiply when I sit down to focus. For this reason, I try to keep my space reasonably tidy. Also, I enjoy impromptu gatherings. I hate the idea of missing out on socializing with friends because I am too embarrassed for them to see my living space.

My quest for a tidy, zen-like space on a budget is a work in progress. These are the tips I have found most helpful thus far:

1.       Owning less stuff.
o   After purging things that were neither beautiful nor useful, I needed to look at the quantity of the beautiful and/or useful things I had kept. I could only wear so many shirts. My socks overflowed their dedicated drawer. I did not need separate sets of dishes and cutlery for company versus everyday use.

2.       If you’re going to keep it when maybe you shouldn’t, at least put it away.
o   I own a surplus of both cookbooks and spices. It’s almost embarrassing. Almost. My cookbooks live stacked two layers deep in a bookcase. The spices are in little labeled containers inside one of the cupboards. Having these things neatly stored allows me indulge in a little surplus without compromising valuable living space.

3.       Never underestimate the power of baskets, boxes, and labels.
o   Gathering little items into a box or basket can really tidy up an area. I use baskets to gather up things that are otherwise a pain to store (e.g belts, scarves, hats/mitts). Matching boxes/baskets can make you look organized even when a peek inside the baskets will show you’re really not. This is why a number of my baskets are stored above eye level.

4.       Painting the walls is an easy way to change the mood of a space.
o   I really like neutral tones. The people who rented my apartment before me preferred bright pink and yellow on the walls. To each their own. Figure out what works for you.

5.       Plants bring a lot of life to a room.
o   Bonus: they help purify the air, especially certain varieties like spider plants.
o   Double bonus: you can choose edible varieties. Fresh basil in January is wonderful.

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