Lately I’ve been reading a lot of articles and books about organizing and Feng Shui, and also obsessively watched the new Marie Kondo show on Netflix called Tidying up with Marie Kondo. Marie also wrote two bestselling books, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Spark Joy. Where I am today is a combination of years of experience as a Realtor, Feng Shui principles which I follow, recent lessons from Marie’s teachings, and other books and articles about life, home and organizing that I’ve enjoyed.
Below are principles I’ve not only learned, but fully agree with and have employed in my own home.
Appreciate the home you’re in, regardless of whether it’s your dream home or not. In her show, Marie asks owners to not only thank their belongings such as clothes, but she also thanks the home for inviting her in. While this may feel foolish to some, it helps focus you on what you have, and not what you don’t have.
Bring physical joy to each room. Have you ever had a power outage, when your house just felt cold and dead? You don’t have to have a power outage to have your home feel lifeless. Try waking up your home each day by finding and adding joy to every room. Play music, turn on lights, dance around (yes, like no one is watching), and thank the room for welcoming you.
Purchase individual pieces for each room with care. Many of my clients feel they need to rush to fill and decorate their new homes. I think you have to live in a house for a few months to fully feel its energy. The rooms you’ll most enjoy in your house will be ones where each piece in that room was acquired over time and chosen with love and care – not in one frantic HomeGoods run.
Use every room in your house to keep it feeling alive – even if that means simply reading a book in there. There is nothing sadder in a home than an abandoned room that no one enjoys, and that includes that fancy living room that many of us have. Consider making that room more user-friendly instead of passing by it and saying, “What a pretty room. Too bad we don’t use it more.”
Rearrange the furniture in some rooms. Look on Pinterest and learn the basic rules of design, furniture placement, lighting and rug sizing and see how much different your room will feel to you when done properly.
Discard or donate unwanted items. I’ve had many clients who say their home never looked better than when they’re selling. Do you know why that is? Because by going through their unwanted items and donating or discarding them, they’ve created order where there once was chaos, and they’re presenting their home to the world in a way they’re now proud of. You don’t have to be selling your home to do this.
Repurpose and highlight items that have become stale or hidden. Go through your home and think about what could be repurposed in another room – you’d be surprised at how different a piece can look when it’s given a place of honor. Even beautiful and valuable things that are bunched up with other beautiful and valuable things can look junky. When you highlight a special piece, it brings respect to that piece.
Treat your furniture with love. Clean, polish or wax it – whatever each piece needs. The sun dries up furniture and makes it lifeless. I just lightly sanded and used a paste wax to give my 1880s kitchen farm table new life and it felt great to do and looks even better.
Declutter and reorganize everywhere. Even hidden areas like storage bins under your bed can cause you poor sleep and a cluttered mind, according to Feng Shui. To truly declutter both your home and mind, every space needs to be decluttered, even your storage areas.
If you work from home, consider revamping your work space. Make your desk orderly. Bring things into your office that bring you joy such as a photo of your spouse, kids, dog or favorite vacation spot. Make sure your space is well lit with a pleasing light tone. There are different colored bulbs that can evoke different moods and looks. Add music to your space with a soft background playlist.
Use live plants throughout your house. Fake plants do not offer you any joy and are merely dust collectors. Real plants represent life and can literally clean your air, look beautiful, and can spark the creative side of you in their placement and even in how they’re potted. The only place I don’t recommend them is in the bedroom. Remember to wipe the leaves clean monthly, to remind them how much you love them!
Freshen the air in your home. I recommend opening the windows and providing cross-ventilation, using air purifiers, burning a great smelling candle for short periods of time, using essential oils, and using natural odor reducing sprays. Nothing says clean like fresh air.
Use art to help your rooms come alive. There is no set standard as to what type of art – just use something that creates joy for you.
Add coziness to your home. Use soft materials in soft colors to provide a sense of coziness to your home. This can come in the form of pillows, throws, bedding and rugs.
Use paint to create warmth. Sometimes I walk into a home and can feel cold simply by the paint choice. Even painting one critical wall in a warm tone can help change the feeling of a room. Almost every color has a warm version. A paint specialist can help you choose. Other ways to warm up walls is to use temporary wall decals. These are not the decals of the past. These are especially effective if you’re in a rental and you don’t want to repaint when you vacate. This can be a viable and inexpensive option to add some life.
Correct and regulate the humidity in your home. A home that is too dry will make your body dry and a home that’s too humid can aid mold growth and can cause many nasty odors.
Frame some of your favorite photos to bring you joy each day. Spread them sparingly around your house, using care to not create a cluttered look. I know many Realtors ask homeowners to remove all personal items, but some photos that don’t create a focal point to a buyer are fine. What Realtors don’t want is a buyer getting distracted by anything in your home that will detract them from looking at the home itself.
Clean areas that are often missed. Some of the things that I notice that people miss cleaning are the ceiling vents, ceiling light fixtures, light bulbs, lamps and lamp shades, walls (use a Magic Eraser), light switches and outlet covers, windows in and out, glass shower doors, built-up mold in the shower or on the shower curtain, floor vents, books and bookshelves, files, small kitchen appliances, the laundry room, the unfinished basement and even the attic.
Add fresh flowers. My favorite resource for fresh flowers is Trader Joe’s. You can make an artful arrangement with simple and inexpensive flowers. Check out Pinterest for some inspiration.
Remove electronics from your bedroom. Keep only your means of getting up in the morning. Your brain will thank you!
Enjoying your home can come in many forms. Simply employ the above suggestions that will bring YOU joy. If I can be of any help to you, your friends or family now or in the future, please contact me.
R A C H E L W A L S H
firstname.lastname@example.org . 203.912.5908 . RachelWalshHomes.com