A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about decluttering and organizing. I shared with her that as a naturally unstructured person, who is a mom of four boys, organization and cleanliness are difficult at my house. I then went on to explain a small hack that I’ve discovered helps my sanity level.
After listening, she replied, “You should write a blog about that. Seriously.”
So, with her recommendation, here is a tip I’ve learned for maintaining safe spaces in my home.
I’ve been aware for some time that environment affects mental health. This is certainly true of our relational environment, but it is also true of our physical environment. If we live in chaos and clutter, our mental state often reflects the same sense of disarray.
One way to combat this phenomenon, besides hiring a cleaning service and professional organizer, is to find safe spaces in our lives where we can feel relaxed and at peace. You might even call it an oasis in the desert of our chaotic lives.
The oasis spots in my house happen to be my living room and bedroom. They are spaces in my home where I find myself going when I want to rest, to recalibrate, to have fun, or to relax. They are rooms that I genuinely like being in. They feel comfortable and safe.
I have couches in the living room that are comfy, soft blankets that are cozy, pictures on the wall that I enjoy, and plants in the corner that bring me joy. Best of all, from the living room recliner, I can look out the window and enjoy watching the birds cheerfully visit the feeder I have hanging outside.
I also feel a sense of calm in my bedroom. This room was intentionally arranged in a way that reflects me: my vibe, my interests, and my personality. Many spaces in my home reflect others, but this room I have intentionally arranged to be a reflection of me. It is a quiet space where I can shut the door and be alone – at least for a few minutes at a time.
In order to preserve these rooms as “safe spaces,” however, I have to maintain some boundaries and be able to keep these rooms relatively clear. At this point in my life, I cannot maintain keeping up high standards for every room of my house, so I have chosen these two specific areas. The kitchen is a lost cause. There are always crumbs, new dirty dishes, and work to be done there. The bathrooms are in a constant state of disarray. (Again, I have FOUR boys. Need I say more?) So, because they are important to me, the living room and bedroom are the rooms I try to be most intentional about.
Although it is an uphill battle to keep the living room clean, and the coffee tables and bookshelf do collect clutter, I know that with a quick 5 minute clean-up I can clear the floor and pick up the couches enough to feel comfortable in the room.
A lot of clutter also tends to collect in my bedroom, but I try to keep much of the space clear. I specifically try to make sure the floor, bed, and couch stay picked up. In this way, the room feels open and inviting, so that when I look at the room I feel peace and not anxiety.
These two rooms are also generally where I do Bible study, reading, or journaling. So, not only are they safe spaces, but they are also sacred spaces.
Your safe space may be different. Your goals for cleanliness and standards for “sacred” may be different. I also think that our safe spaces can change in different seasons of our lives. The main idea is that we have rooms or spaces in our lives where we can go and be still, calm, and present. Places where we can keep the chaos to a minimum. Places where we feel we have some control of our environment, and where we can find peace.
Pause, Renew, Next: For further reflection on this topic, I invite you to listen to a recent podcast episode where I also explored the topic of Safe Space: PRN: Episode 121.