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Creating a Mindful Environment: Tips for Making Space for What You Value.

I bet you have heard of decluttering, organizing types/methods, and minimalism...

For me, like how I changed my diet, I tried some methods until I felt I was eating what was best for me. This is how I created space in my life and home that focused on what is of value and meaning to me.

I have to tell you my back story, so you can fully understand where I am today. My mother and I could never have a conversation that allowed me to understand why she held on to so many things in our home growing up. I can share my thoughts as to why she said yes to everything offered by other people and would meltdown when I would try to organize or get rid of/give away what we no longer needed or had in excess. My assumptions are her upbringing: living poor, living during the depression, having an emotional attachment to things, the possibility of the future use of items, and the list goes on. I know I felt the stress or weight around me of the lack of space in our small home. It wasn't a home like you see on the hoarding shows because my mom had everything stacked in any space she could find. What I have found or seen is that poor or rich, many people live like this.

I'm amazed at how much I see packed in any garage that is open when I walk or run through any neighborhood. I have an understanding of my own experience and hearing other people's reasons for this. Some people are left with the belongings of children who have moved away or the belongings of parents who have passed or simply full of things people are not yet willing to part with

I've always said that my process of decluttering, organizing and minimalism is that it's like a counseling session. Some things are easier to part with and some things take time. Some people may require working with a counselor to work through this process. What I can say from my experience is that it will take time; maybe months depending upon each individual's experience.

But oh, how it is worth it! I feel like I have space in my home to relax or find quiet or places of energy (my garage gym). My office is now an environment of creativity and thinking whereas it used to be a space of stress due to all that was stacked in the closet.

Here are my tips to find what you value and make your environment a healthy one:

  1. Spend time in thought and write down what is meaningful to you in your home. For example, we changed our guest room to a meditation room that could be set up for guests as needed. I go in there to stretch, meditate, pray, journal, or find quiet time (with the indoor plants I have managed to keep alive;) I also made this a space for our daughter during the pandemic. A place she could go to be alone and have space without distractions.

  2. Find time to spend time in nature but also bring nature into your home. There are numerous articles and books about how being out in nature improves one's mental and physical health. Even for those unlike me who are not into going into the woods, a park with trees will do. Research has shown those who live in cities benefit from time in the local park. From there, bring nature inside. There is such a variety of house plants from the hardy to those only a green thumb can keep alive. It is known that plants improve the air quality and also help your mental health.

  3. Give away what you no longer use or value. Giving to others also helps mental health knowing someone else can benefit from what you give. Less stuff takes the mental weight of seeing the items you do not use or value. I have had pictures of things I valued 20 years ago but removed because they didn't have value to me now. Having a blank wall or space in a room is more relaxing in the end. Carefully check in with yourself why you feel that you need to fill spaces.

  4. Sell things you no longer need that have value. When I removed the racking and replaced it with used shelves I bought from others, I no longer needed the large dresser with a mirror in our bedroom. I have sold things like this and it feels good to make money to put toward bills and other necessities. Then I get to feel the ease and relief of having fewer things.

  5. Less things, less cleaning. Time is something I value. In the past, I had several picture frames and candles on the bedroom dresser. I had to dust and clean this often. Now that it is gone, I have less to clean. My bathroom has fewer items and I get cleaning done much quicker.

Now with less in your home and more energy, you can value your health and wellbeing. This opens up space to exercise, stretch, and meditate. You can start by working with me in my garage gym and I can get you started in this process and help you through. Let's get started.

#live Inspired

Karen Baltz Gibbs, PT, DPT, CSCS, LMT, CMP


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