Loving the Space Where You Live

“Lisa, Clean up your room.” I remember my mom saying this to me when I was a kid. I remember thinking it would be so much easier if there were like a custom space where each toy went. But there wasn't. So I piled things away and shoved them in drawers until my room was seemingly neat. Ah, much like my daughter does now. Keeping tidy has always been a chore for me but I love it so much when it’s neat and tidy.

If you visit my house, you might be surprised to know that tidying doesn’t come naturally to me. My home is quite neat; most of the time. And that’s because I have learned the importance of loving where you live. I have realized that you don’t need a fancy house to love your space. And that’s what we are going to talk about on today’s episode of Motivating Mom.

First off, everyone loves a neat home. I’m not saying that everyone is neat, but everyone loves when things are tidy. But the funny thing is that none of us are ever taught the right way to tidy. We might have learned to cook or even to sew, but no one really teaches how to tidy. I’m always looking for the secret to staying organized. I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to Organization Inspiration. I tidy. I get organized. And then everything is messy again. So that’s why I was so intrigued to read the “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up; The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organization”. Marie Kondo is the master of teaching people how to de-clutter. And she says that with her system, you will only have to do it once. Once? That would be amazing. Because that drawer in my kitchen seems to become a mess like a day later.

Marie’s philosophy can be summed up in to statements:

  1. Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that will be discarded for their service;

  2. And do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.

I admit that I wanted to start tidying right when I started the book. But I forced myself to finish to make sure that I got the full concept. Marie believes that tidying is an event. Make sure you have time to tackle it. Like most organizing wizards, she suggests that you

  • Bring all items of the same type into one place. You know how you have clothes in multiple closets? Well I do. Bring them all in to one place. You can’t just look at them in the closet. You have to take everything out.

  • Then you have to hold them. Touch them. If the item sparks joy, keep it. If you remember that it itches or is out of style or never lays just right, get rid of it. Do not keep clothes that you hope to one day fit in. That brings you negative energy and that item is telling you that you aren’t enough right now. Let me just tell you that you will be getting rid of a lot. I got rid of 5 bags of clothes. Many of which were perfectly beautiful. But they were no longer bringing me joy so I hope that they will bring joy to someone else.

  • Finally, Marie is adamant about how to fold. I have not yet mastered this so I will spare you the lesson. I will however put a link to a video with her folding technique in the show notes as its pretty cool.

Marie recommends that clients de-clutter in the following order:

  • Clothing

  • Books

  • Papers

  • Miscellaneous

  • Mementos (including photos)

I’ll post some pics of the rooms I have tackled. It feels so good! I have one trick that I use for the misc papers that seem to get strewn throughout the house. Get one big (hopefully pretty) basket. It is your inbox. All papers go in there. I’m talking mail, bills, kids homework, everything. The trick is to go through it in ten minutes once a day. Deal with anything that can be dealt with in 2 minutes or less, toss what you can or keep it in there until you next sort through it. You will never be looking for a paper again as you will know it’s in there or filed appropriately. This is a trick I learned from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.

Why should you care about this? Because when your space is neat, you can find yourself at peace. I remember in college when I was about to study; but then I realized that I first needed to clean my desk. It’s because your mind can’t be settled when there is clutter around you. A neat space can help you find peace. Here’s a quote that grabbed me from the book… "Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or its unclear where things belong.”

Marie says that we have so much clutter because we hold on to too much. We hold on to things that no longer bring us joy. Look around. How many items do you not even notice? You hold on to because you may one day need it? Or because you have a memory attached to it? Think about your closet. Your garage. Your junk drawer. Come on, we all have at least one. Cabinets. Book shelves. How many of those things do you really need?

Jason teased me and said I didn’t need to read the book because he could have told me that I just needed to get rid of all my extra stuff. I guess the truth is that we all have too much stuff. And we don’t like to get rid of it because it seems wasteful. We all probably need to be far more protective of allowing more stuff in to our house. Think about your kids rooms. They get so messy because they have so much darned stuff. We keep allowing them to add more without making them give anything away. At least not at a one to one ratio.

Teasing aside, my husband is one of those naturally neat people. You should see his side of the closet. And our garage is something to be seen. His side never gets messy like mine. It just stays neat. It’s because he takes care of something right when he sees it; whereas I put it away until it seems like more of a priority. Put it away every time, right away. Pretty basic concept I guess. But I think that loving your space is more than just being neat.

Your space should bring you joy. Peace. Don’t wait for another house or new furniture or more things. You can have it right now. One of my very good friends, Annie Fonte is the creator or a very special life program called Meet Me At The Barn. I’ll put a link in the show notes. I have had the blessing of going through her program Lines In The Sand which teaches you how to live an authentic life. Annie lives on my dream ranch. But it’s not the horses or the gorgeous home that makes it magical. What makes the space special is that Annie surrounds herself with things that she loves. You can hang a picture, post a quote, light a candle or leave out a memento that will bring you a happy memory.

If you look at a space in your house and it makes your brow furrow because it is cluttered and messy, then you need to deal with it. That is bringing you negative energy every time you pass by.

Annie introduced me to this wonderful website called The Quiet Place Project. Yep, link will be in the show notes. Take a few minutes after this podcast and check it out. Annie gave us all the homework to create a quiet place in our home. One little nook or cranny that gave us peace. We should all have a place in our home to feel comfortable. To feel safe. I set up a spot in my home office. I brought in a statue that has three women meditating. I have some books that make me happy. A plant to give me oxygen and a candle. This is my special spot to meditate each morning. What has happened is that my peaceful places have grown throughout my house.

Why shouldn’t I have things that make me happy everywhere? I have an aromatherapy diffuser in my bedroom. I have pictures that make me happy everywhere. I even have one in my closet. I have a quote that inspires me on the back of my bathroom door. Create a shrine on a book shelf of mementos that bring you joy. Your home should make you happy.

I've said it before and I’ll say it again. Advertisers spend billions of dollars to get their message in front of you. Why not advertise to yourself and put messages that inspire you throughout your home?

What else can you do?

Light a candle at any time of day, even when you are getting ready in the morning.

Play music that soothes your soul or gives you energy.

Turn off the tv. That noise is probably sapping your energy.

Use some aromatherapy.

Create a peaceful ambiance in an ordinary day.

Now, if you are a mom to a baby, especially a toddler, all bets are off. I have never had so much trouble keeping a neat house as when I had little ones running through the house. They seem to leave a trail of mess. I do believe wholeheartedly that it is far more important to enjoy them then to have a neat house. The time with them is fleeting. See if you can get some big baskets to throw the toys in. And still see if you can find one nook of the house that is your special place.

So, I hope I have inspired you to de-clutter or at least to find some ways to love your space.

It’s time to connect with you and answer your questions….

  • Erin asked what was more important - exercise or nutrition? Good question. The truth is that you can’t out exercise a bad diet. As much as I love fitness, your nutrition is even more important. Every bite you take is either bringing you health or sickness. Your body is quite amazing at keeping going when you make poor eating choices. But the better you eat, the more you will thrive. Many people don’t even know how good they could feel. It’s sad really. Many people will go their entire lives without feeling their best. Good eating with give you energy and health. It will make your skin glow and your mood lighten. It will decrease your belly fat and will probably eliminate your need for many medications. Exercise is amazing. And it too will help you feel your best. And you are more likely to make good food choices when you are exercising. But the reality is that there is no substitute for good eating.

My next question is from Meredith in Chicago. She writes: Lisa, how do I stay motivated to workout when we have been snowed in and it’s just so cold out. It’s just so much easier to stay in and eat yummy comfort foods. I just want to stay bundled in my comfy sweats and deal with working out when it’s Spring again.

  • Ok, Meredith. I get it. And I probably have no business giving you advice since I live in sunny San Diego. Connect with my amazing franchisees in the Chicago area as they are right there with you. I know that many of them have been doing virtual workouts; literally doing workout challenges with each other on facebook. I think the accountability and the village helps even when you are not together. Meredith, while it may be hard to get in your traditional workout, something is better than nothing. My suggestion? Make it the first thing you do in the morning. Don’t let yourself have the day to come up with an excuse. There are so many exercises you can do with no space. We love Spri exercise tubes. You literally can workout every body part with a tube. Go to our YouTube or Instagram page and you can see tons of ideas. Or use your furniture. You can do triceps dips or step ups on a sturdy chair. Push ups and squats on the floor. I will put a link to our snowed in workout to give you some more ideas. So don’t throw in the towel and do not wait until Spring. You will feel so much better if you get in even a little each day.

And my final question of the day asked to be kept anonymous. She wrote.. I know you can't give me all the help I need, but wondering if you have any tips for dealing with body image during pregnancy. I have not been eating well, and in my seventh month I've already gained 40 pounds. I am so unhappy and it's triggering some eating disorder issues that I have had mostly under control for a long time.

  • Thank you so much for asking this question. This is such an important topic that I am going to do a blog post about it at FIT4MOM so I can focus on it further. First off, realize that I am not a psychologist. Even though gaining weight is a normal part of pregnancy, many women are very conflicted with their expanding waistline. Please don’t be ashamed to seek help. Your growing baby needs you to take care of yourself. Know that these changes in your body are essential to your growing baby. It’s a gift you are giving.To help you feel good during your pregnancy, make sure to exercise. Obviously not to lose weight but to feel strong and healthy. Find ways to pamper yourself. Go for a prenatal massage or get a pedicure. Feeling good will help you feel good about yourself. And finally, get a support network. Join a prenatal group so you realize you are not alone. Consider getting a pregnancy photo shoot so you can see how beautiful your pregnant body is.

Do you have a question for me? I want to hear it! Please either send me an email or leave a message on our website or Facebook page. I’m telling you... it’s so easy! You can do it from your phone or computer. Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for listening and for sharing this podcast with your friends. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me. That’s all for now. Go to fit4mom.com/podcast as we have tons of links in there for today’s show!

I’ll leave you with a quote from William Morris.. “Have nothing in your life that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Bye bye!