“To improve the golden moment of opportunity and catch the good that is within our reach is the great art of life. “
Organizer Marie Kondo, and designer Alexandra Stoddard, have brilliant philosophies that help you love your home and feel more grateful for your life. Homes that contain only joyful items allow you to be mindful, reflective and forward-looking. And paying attention to the details of your life will help you celebrate all of the ordinary days.
If you love the life you live
You will live a life of love
When we are true to ourselves, we can get above stress and conflict. Home is a place where we can control our lives and escape from the world outside. If we feel happier and confident at home, we are on the right path toward a peaceful, happier life.
Marie Kondo is number one in the art of decluttering and tidying. Her new Netflix series has millions of people bulldozing their closets. It’s a cliché to say the she changed my life but clichés are true, after all. The Life Changing magic of Tidying Up taught me how to surround myself with things that bring me joy not only at home but in my life.
Alexandra Stoddard wrote, Living a Beautiful Life where she masters the idea of having daily rituals to celebrate ordinary days. Most of us spend 5% of our time celebrating yearly rituals, yet we are missing opportunities at home the other 95%.
The little things make a big difference
Paying attention to the little things you do every day can make your life more meaningful.
Kondo and Stoddard Together
Marie Kondo shows us how to have simple, joyful homes, and Alexandra Stoddard shows how to enjoy everyday rituals so we can feel grateful for – and look forward to – ordinary days.
The only place you can change the world by what you see, touch, smell, hear and taste is where you live. You can control your life at home by giving your attention to the details and rituals to make life more special.
Stoddard writes, Life is all about paying attention to the details of it.
Interior designer Eleanor Brown writes, Be rich by making your wants few. Living requires time. By not overextending ourselves we avoid clutter and nonsense. Life is too short for you to be the caretaker of the wrong details.
Ways to be happier at home:
Have your eating area near a window if possible.
If you have room, bring in a couch.
Have over sized, comfy chairs around the table – why not? Your house.
Make a ledge under your window for plants and herbs.
Keep your things well organized, handy and nice to look at.
Get the catch of the day and a few seasonal fruits or vegetables for dinner
Have fresh vegetables in a basket on the table so you can look at them now and eat them later.
Replace your potholders twice a year. I don’t know why I waited so long when colorful clean ones cost less than $10.
Serve food on simple white plates which shows all of the colors.
Don’t eat standing up, or in the car. This will help with the urge to grab snacks, raiding the fridge and eating between meals.
Since you start your morning and end your day here, have things that make you smile. Hang a pretty painting on the wall so you can look at it while soaking in the tub. Keep some expensive, special soaps that make you smell fresh and clean.
Have your favorite treasures near you to remind you of your favorite times
Sea glass in a small dish
Mother of pearls in a jar
A few framed photos of vacation memories
A wooden inspirational quote
Paint your ceiling a light blue color to remind you of the sky, while laying on the grass on a summer day.
Keep your lamps on at night. It is welcoming and more cheerful, especially in the winter
If your closet is big enough, a big colorful rug will brighten your mood and feel nice under your feet when you are getting dressed.
Hang some favorite pictures on the wall and show some of your treasures on the shelf to remind you of vacations with your family.
Hang your clothes from darkest to lightest, and longest to shortest. Dark colors on the left and lightest colors on the right. You will feel uplifted when your eyes notice the light at the end.
Cheer up breakfast with big yellow, lime, raspberry, or cantaloupe colored napkins. Drink cold orange juice poured in crystal cut glasses.
Eat out on the porch, spread a tablecloth and drink coffee from huge porcelain cups and saucers. Put a café table in the yard and drink your coffee and juice close to nature.
Have a vase of fresh cut flowers on the table and eat scrambled eggs, crispy bacon with croissants and expensive jams and jellies.
Don’t forget hot toast with butter, sugar and cinnamon
I’m working on this one since we eat in front of the TV – and blaming my husband here, for nudging his way over to the comfy couch. My youngest son – who lives at home – has happily followed. We’re shoveling in the food while watching our favorite shows.
A simple dinner like roasted chicken on a plate of lettuce – with chunks of oranges, apples and cantaloupe would look nice on a candlelit table. I’ll try this on weekends when there are too many of us to fit around the coffee table.
Cut and eat smaller portions, eat slower, and remember to taste everything . This might help us to stop eating when we’re comfortably full, instead of full.
Serve fruit after dinner
My sister in-law’s Italian parents always serve fruit like watermelon, cherries, grapes or strawberries after the meal. This healthy tradition also keeps everybody at the table longer.
They live in the north end of Boston and walk to the farmer’s market on Saturdays to buy meat and produce. Everything they need is in walking distance, which is helpful since they don’t drive. I love the idea of buying groceries, pastries, and dinner and carrying it home in your arms.
If you’re lucky enough to live close to a market, you can buy the freshest food daily instead of once a week.
A relaxed dinner
A fun casual dinner is to make 2-3 different kinds of soup a week in advance and freeze it. The following week invite your neighbors, family, or friends for soup, salad, bread and a cheese tray. All the work is done in advance, and you can focus on having a good time.
Garnishing meals with fresh fruit makes food more appealing and increases the chances that you’ll eat more of it.
Isn’t reading like taking a vacation? Even if you take 20 to 30 minutes a day – you will have made time for new adventures.
Tea in the afternoon
I found PG Tips, England’s #1 black tea in a coffee/tea shop on the cape years ago. Now you can buy it at pretty much anywhere. Having tea makes anything you are working on a treat.
A ceramic or porcelain teapot is nice so you can have two big cups ready to drink with your favorite snack to hold you over until supper. I love how the English make time for tea every day.
I still shudder at the idea of hiding the TV in the hutch when the boys were young so I could limit their time watching it. My husband let me do that?
What was I thinking?! I love TV! Now We have a 75-inch screen on the living room wall – and more scattered around the house. It’s like going to the movies. Go big – or go home! Oh wait, we are home.
Show your favorite books on a table or next to your bed to remind you why you love them.
Try painting the downstairs one color so you can throw out the other 25 paints cans in the cellar. I love Sherwin Williams’ Into the Gloaming because it reminds me of dusk which is a relaxing time of the day. It is also a sandy color – like the beach.
Benjamin Moore’s White dove for trim or walls is a subtle, beautiful white. White walls look different in every room because of the accessories you use.
On the other hand, my 91-year-old aunt’s bright orange kitchen is so warm and welcoming. It’s your one and only house -why not do what YOU love?
Get your favorite pictures out of your albums and make a whole wall collage of family vacations.
In another room, make a Christmas wall too so you can remember how each picture took 20 tries to get most of you looking presentable.
A water diffuser with pure essential oils will make your house smell amazing. I bought the Innogear for $13.99 on Amazon with 6 different oils from Natrogix for $16. In addition, the fresh aromatherapy can motivate you, help you sleep, or relax you.
Nothing is cozier to wake up to in the morning or cover up with at night
Turn the volume way up on your playlist when cleaning the house. Save time and vacuum before you turn on the music, otherwise you’ll keep stopping it to hear your favorite songs.
Buy a pretty journal or diary and write about what your subconscious wants to tell you. You can be honest with your feelings and learn more about yourself than you would guess. Something happens when you put your pen to the paper.
Choose the days and times to walk, run, bike etc., and stick to it. Buy some new workout clothes if it will help motivate you and keep them by the door with your sneakers. This will help with the excuse of not going because it took too long to find them.
When you get back, take 5 to 10 minutes for a cold water with lemon or orange to treat yourself. Walking (exercising) alone without music will help you be creative and think of new ideas.
Don’t forget – strawberries on Father’s Day, blueberries on 4th of July, and apples on Labor Day. Take baskets and whatever kids will go with you – and their girlfriend’s too.
Keep a pitcher if ice tea in the fridge, ready for a cool drink on the deck or porch.
Put lemons, limes and oranges in a glass bowl in the fridge. They are colorful to look at and refreshing with water.
Keep a list of what is fresh for the season
Watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, corn on the cob, and tomatoes, apples, cantaloupe, cucumbers, green beans, peaches, plums, raspberries
Apples, cranberries, grapes, pears, pumpkins, beets, broccoli
Light fires in your yard
Put a blow up mattress in front of the fireplace and fall asleep there
Make football food
Feed the birds on all the seasons. Look out your window while waking up to coffee and see what comes
Try pinon incense for the fireplace. Eat in front of the fire.
Make chocolate chip cookies and leave them out on the racks
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on popcorn
Surrender to winter instead of fighting it. Read books, light candles, build fires, drink tea, walk in the snow, Relax.
Asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, cherries, garlic, spinach, Radishes
Make a colorful cone paper basket on May Day and fill it with fresh cut flowers. Attach a ribbon so you can hang it on your door. I love May Day because I remember hanging a basket on my neighbor’s door when I was in kindergarten. April showers bring May flowers.
Put up a bluebird house and see if they come. My son built me a few, but I’ve yet to see a bluebird because they usually go to open spaces like the beach. We have trees, but I still look for them 😊
Pick lilacs and put them on the table. They only bloom for a couple of weeks, so get them while you can.
Take time to be by yourself everyday so you can daydream. Your ritual of being calm and quiet gives you a chance to enjoy your own good company.
Author, Virginia Woolf wrote, In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.
Find a different place
Make a pact with yourself, or an appointment with yourself (write it on the calendar) to be alone. It can be in the same place or somewhere different so you can imagine things – find your creative side – be adventurous.
Try going to a library, a book store cafe, a garden, a comfy room in your house, or a walk in the woods.
You are busy
Learn how to say no, and be unavailable because the truth is – you are busy with yourself.
Artist’s discoveries are made in solitude. You are an artist, creating your own art every day.
Get out of the rut
The last rut that I fell into to where I felt bored with work, cooking and the everyday routine was before I decluttered my house. Honestly, if you take the time to do this ( with the KonMari method), your life will change.
I learned a lot about myself and found out that I kept things that prevented me from seeing what I wanted in life. It’s hard to fully explain the transformation you’ll go through but you will change too.
Look forward to ordinary days
Your outlook on life will be more positive and there is a good chance you will discover what you are truly passionate about. And Once you get your house to a place where you love being, you will look forward to the ordinary days.
Creating rituals, paying attention to the little things and making time for yourself will not only keep you out of a rut – but will help you to be truly happier at home.
You spend most of your days at home – eating – sitting – sleeping. Have only things around you that bring you joy. Simplify. Pay attention to the details of your life so everyday can be more special. The little things can make your life more meaningful, especially on an ordinary day. And don’t forget to make time for yourself.
What are your favorite rituals?