Never before has home had to serve so many diverse facets of our lives. The #stayhome pandemic lifestyle has transformed homes, from places of respite, into virtual towns comprised of makeshift classrooms, remote conference rooms, gyms, and even video recording studios. Many of us are left feeling isolated, confined, and a tad bit grumpy. The good news is we can access some bonus space without a renovation or addition. We just need to redefine how we use and perceive our space. Finding an artful way of designating and sharing the spaces in our homes is essential for thriving at home.
7 tips to optimize space throughout your day:
- Set an intention for each space in your home
- Create tiny daily rituals to define spaces
- Communicate when and how spaces will be shared
- Upcycle or repurpose spaces for daily tasks
- Prioritize self-care and mindfulness
- Utilize every space in your home
- Make space for gratitude and compassion
Move With Intention
When planning spaces for home design clients, intention-setting is always my first step in creating meaningful spaces. An intention provides perspective and purpose for each space. Look at spaces in your home with fresh eyes, not just as rooms, but as sources of desired moods and emotions. Choose what you wish to cultivate or amplify in each space. Is it solace, human connection, productivity? Whatever it is, be specific and clear. Let your intention serve as a reference for whatever fills that space, embellishing it with items that align with your intention. The intention for my own writing nook is unbridled creativity. In it, I keep a copy of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, a salvaged yoga book from my late grandmother, and an old calligraphy pen.
Create Little Rituals
One space may serve multiple tasks and people. Create a simple ritual to define the changing uses and users of adaptive spaces. A tiny ritual can define space, with minimal effort required. To set my breakfast table, I toss a roll of paper towels on our kitchen island, and scatter a few cereal spoons. Ritual is performed, and routine is underway. Later, the kids clear breakfast plates, and I place my laptop on the counter. I now redefine the table as my morning work space, gently nudging my kids to start their own routines. Tiny rituals help communicate habits to household members, and define intentions.
Be Generous With Space
If you have to share space, so does someone else. Communicate time frames for spaces with everyone in your home. Create a schedule for shared areas, and post it in one designated spot. Request quiet time or private spaces in advance, so all parties know when to turn the volume down for online classes or work sessions.
Repurpose Your Rooms
Home is all you have, so get crafty with it. If a daily activity in the usual space isn’t resonating with you, pick a new spot for it. Practice everyday tasks in different rooms just to jazz things up. When my daughters wanted some distraction from the physical exertion of their Chloe Ting exercise routines, they relocated from our quiet basement gym to the exposed front foyer. The UPS deliveries and dog walkers provided ample distraction for their two week challenge. Rotate rooms on command!
Designate time and space for wellness practices. This means every day, without exception. Whether that’s a time to exercise, meditate, cry under the covers, or all of the above. Respect your mind and body, not by seeking perfection, but by finding self-compassion and down time. Keep your sleep cycle as regular as possible. If you have no required schedule, create one!
Celebrate Every Space
If you’re fortunate enough to have a yard, enjoy every inch of it! Make a point of moving through all spaces in your home each day. Even if you live in a teeny studio apartment or rent a shared room within a home, walk corner to corner through all your space. Feel the abundance. No matter how big or small home is, honor it. Find gratitude for it. There are so many people out there who don’t have the luxury of a home. Please remember that!
Expand Your Heart
Acknowledge the space that’s more important than anything in one’s home, the space in our hearts. We can always expand it. I designate a little pocket in my heart for gratitude each and every day. In times of fear and uncertainty, depression and loneliness, there is nothing that can soothe us more than gratitude and compassion. Find gratitude for the unseen and unsung heroes getting us through this pandemic. Those stocking supermarket shelves or working the cash registers, courageous healthcare workers, delivery drivers, mail sorters and carriers, restaurant workers. Find compassion for anyone at higher risk, the homeless, and those currently fighting Coronavirus and other ailments. Gratitude and compassion combined create resilience. We are truly all in this together. Stay kind, thoughtful, and generous. For now and for everyone, stay home when possible. Home is where your heart is. Focus on that space.