Create Your Soul-Loving Space

GretchenSelf-care

Create your soul loving space

Look around your home. Do you love where you live? Scan your office or workspace. Do you feel energized and clearheaded?

Creating a soul-loving space is about more than clearing clutter and getting organized. Your home and office, anywhere you spend most of your time, have an impact on your emotional and physical health, your energy levels, your self-esteem, your relationship with yourself and others, and your spiritual well-being. Crammed spaces, devoid of beauty drain your energy and can leave you feeling depressed, exhausted, and unmotivated. It’s time to create spaces that are both functional and feed your soul with joy, energy, inspiration, peace, and calm.

I share my home office with my husband who is not as bothered by clutter as I am. He also has a work office he escapes to five days a week to do his deep thinking and creative work leaving me at home with the clutter. I have my eyes on my son’s room for a future office of my very own, but he is only 12. I’ve got a few years to wait. I decided to make the best of a cluttered situation and take Cheryl Richardson’s challenge to create my soul-loving space.

Note: Space could be an entire room or a space within the room. I focused on my side of the office. My darling husband is on his own.

Here are Cheryl’s steps for creating a soul-loving space.

Step 1: Examine

Determine the primary purpose of the space. Is this where you will work, relax, or gather with family or friends?

Step 2: Evaluate

Day 0

Day 0 of creating my soul-loving office.

On a scale of one (loathe) to ten (love), how do you feel overall about your space? Settle in, contemplate the space, and with pencil and paper make a list of:

  • Features you absolutely love – lighting, views, architecture.
  • Items that serve the purpose of the space that you’d like to keep.
  • Items that do not serve the purpose of the space and should be removed.
  • Items that need to be added to better serve the purpose of the room.
    Before

    I mean, who has a leaf blower in their office?!?!?!

Step 3: Eliminate

To create a soul-loving space you must eliminate two things: the things you don’t absolutely love or need and the habits and behaviors that got them there in the first place. (Habits, it always comes back to habits.)

First, a brief word about habits. It’s important to look at the source of your space problem before you start cleaning, otherwise, you’ll wind up back in the clutter you started with. Consider the actions you take or don’t take, that contribute to making this a less-than-desirable space. Plan now to develop better habits that will help you maintain your soul-loving space. You can read my post on the science behind the habit loop and browse my blog for habit building strategies. There are more coming.

Now to eliminate the stuff. I found it most helpful to remove as much from my office as I possibly could. I made piles in the hallway. I didn’t eliminate much in this process. I cleaned all the surfaces. Then I began returning items. I started with the things that served my office’s purpose and I wanted to keep – the easy stuff. As the piles got harder to sort, I started making new piles – keep but put in a better location, give away or return to family or friends, give away to a stranger (Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc.), recycle, and trash. I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I’m told this is her process – take it all out and evaluate each item as you pick it back up. Remember, sometimes the easiest way to create a soul-loving space is to remove 50% of what’s there.

“When you are brave enough to let go of anything you don’t absolutely love or need, what you have left is the space for stillness and possibility.”
Cheryl Richardson

Step 4: Enhance

Enhance does not mean bring in more clutter. If you are happy with your space after the first 3 steps, then stop. However, beauty feeds the soul. You might consider adding more sunlight with a change of window treatments, artwork you truly love, framed photos, a fresh coat of paint, or a few plants. You can take your time with this. Browse magazines, catalogs, decorating books, or online decorating apps. You can find inspiration in museums, movies, and old or fancy hotels. And you don’t have to break the bank either. You can find many treasures at second-hand shops and flea markets. Just be sure you aren’t buying to just be buying. From now on, anything you add to your space must serve the space’s purpose and you must love it.

After

My soul needed a clean workspace and more of my family and their creativity on display. And no more leaf blower.

Beyond beauty, consider adding tools that will help you stay organized and do your best work. In the office, this might be a new desk or a larger
monitor. In a living room, it might be a new TV stand or bookshelves. I’m not too proud to admit, the real impetus behind my office cleaning was the purchase of a new laptop. Once I had the right tools, I needed the right environment.

I also added an essential oil diffuser, a pretty tea container to hold my pens of choice, and I’m shopping for a partition to separate my half of the office from my husband’s half. I love him, but I don’t love his stuff.

And so…

You deserve a soul-loving space that gives you joy, energy, inspiration, peace, and calm while you rest and while you work. Commit to creating one for yourself but don’t just declutter. Follow each of the steps:

  1. Examine – Define the purpose of the room
  2. Evaluate – What items in the room serve the purpose of the room and what do you most love?
  3. Eliminate – Remove what doesn’t serve the purpose of the space and/or anything you don’t absolutely love.
  4. Enhance – Add things that feed your soul.

And finally, commit to building healthier and happier habits that will help keep this a soul-loving space for days to come.

Recommended Reading:
The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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