With all the changes in our daily living over the last few months, having a functional space where we can be happy at home is more important now than ever. So, what does it mean to be happy at home and what would it take to get there?
Besides their normal load, you may have added schooling, work, much more cooking, and significantly more time there. Those things that used to work may not be working any more and what wasn’t working is likely amplified.
First, let’s think about all the things we look for from home.
The Space Itself
How the rooms are working, where things go, and how they look all impact how we feel at home. With the recent shifts in everyday life, it may be necessary to reevaluate our spaces now.
What rooms are working and which aren’t? Do the spaces function well for what you’re asking of them? Are there any rooms that need to change functions or just need a redo, whether it’s decluttering, adding storage, new paint, or lighting to make sure you can see what you’re doing? You may already have a home projects list going that you could pull out now, or want to consider what you’d put on such a list.
Who We Share The Space With (Or Don’t)
How we’re communicating or getting along the people in our households, whether everyone helps at home, and what each person is asking from the space all impact happiness. If one thing isn’t working, it can affect the dynamic for everyone.
Maybe you live alone. For some people, that’s awesome. And for others, not so much. If you live alone, the question is how that works for you. Is it a a place where you have autonomy and all the space and time you need? Or is it lonely and all there for you to maintain without help?
Sharing our space can both who we live with and who invite in. Which spaces do you socialize or entertain in? How about the people you live next to or share the neighborhood with? Do you want to entertain more or have people in or out of the space so you could be happier?
The Activities We Do At Home (Or Wish We Could)
We all have some basic things we need from our spaces: getting sleep, getting clean, eat, storing our possessions, and having a place to be. Beyond that, our preferences and needs come in. How much you cook, whether you’re working or schooling from home, what you like to do for fun all fit into the activities list and some are certainly more fun than others. Whether you’re considering necessities like dealing with laundry, or you’re trying to find a space to be creative or do a jigsaw puzzle, what you need or want to do at home should go on this list.
Scan for Gratitude: Where are you happy at home?
In both my organizing and happiness work with clients, I believe in starting with what’s good. It’s easy to get caught in what’s not working, what’s stressing us out, and what we want to change. Don’t worry. We’ll get to that. But let’s start with gratitude.
Whether mentally or physically, stroll through your home and note the things you’re thankful for. Perhaps it’s the people you live with, your belongings both practical and sentimental, or the simple reality of having a roof over your head. It could be that you’ve created a peaceful and uncluttered place to sleep, or you have a nice table in your back yard where you can sit with a cup of coffee.
What do you do at home that you love? Which space in your home is your favorite? Notice colors, the feel of the space, the quality of light, the things you own and are grateful to have surrounding you.
Maybe a little lower on the gratitude scale, but still important is to note what’s simply working at home.What is just fine and doesn’t currently need attention or work?
Scan for Stress
After gratitude, we want to look at the next big feeling: stress.
- What’s currently stressing you out about your home?
- Is there a particular area that’s cluttered or not functioning?
- How about a room that you feel overwhelmed or tense in everywhere time you enter?
- Do you have a repair that needs to be done or project to be completed that nags at you but doesn’t get done?
- Is there a missing system, someone not carrying their weight or someone who is really having a hard time right now?
Looking for what’s causing stress shows us what needs our attention, where we want to focus some time or money, what we want to make a priority.
Scan for Change
You might have rooms that are mostly unused and other areas that are trying to do too much. Maybe you have guests two weeks out of the year and a room dedicated to that, but you’re working from home or kids are schooling from home and you have no space for those activities. That could be something that ended up in your stress list, but it might have been off your radar. Maybe you have a closet full of stuff you don’t use anymore and the need to store some things for a new hobby or phase of life. It could be there is something you would like to be doing at home but can’t? Exercise, socializing, a particular interest you’d like to pursue that you’d need some space for?
Make a To Do List
Noticing what’s good, bad, or neutral is a great place to start. Your next step is to make a to do list. Grab a piece of paper or sit down at your computer and start with your stress list. What are the tasks necessary to change some of the things stressing you out? It might be one step or a multi-phase project. Write it all down.
Where to Begin
You can start spending more time in the spaces or doing the things that make you happy. Or, prioritize doing something about the things that cause you stress, whether you’re booking an appointment with yourself to make sure you’ve blocked out time to do it, you’re hiring someone, or you’re enlisting help from other people in the household or friends. After you’ve dealt with what’s stressful, you can look at things you want to change so that you’ll be even happier at home.
So, pick one thing that would make you happier at home. Start with it. Just one. Then, answer the following to turn that list into action so you can be happier at home.
- What I want to do or have happen is:
- The current obstacle(s) to that include:
- Possible solutions include:
- Steps to do that are:
It’s easy to underestimate how much one change can make an impact to our state of mind and happiness level. You might even have different household members work on their own lists so you can come together and choose a project for each of you or which stressor is on the most people’s lists so you know which one to prioritize.
Do you need some help with the home projects or with increasing your happiness? I am currently offering virtual organizing services for decluttering, organizing and space planning. I also lead small happiness and support groups for women. The next one is launching in October. You can contact me by email or call to learn more and give me details about what you need.