When we were younger, or during our early years in writing, we were taught to properly space our letters and our words so what we wrote can easily be read.
When we grew older, we learned the value of keeping a good amount of space between us and other people; this is one of the ways to show our respect.
When we started learning how to drive, we were taught to maintain distance between our vehicle and the one directly in front of us to avoid accidents.
In the process of becoming effective homemakers, we should understand how space is such an important element in our homemaking, that a careful study of our space will lead us to move and act more efficiently everyday.
I receive a lot of inquiries regarding home organization in compact spaces. While it is a challenge to organize a huge space, we homemakers face a different kind of challenge when we only have limited space: how do we fit just about our whole lives in one box?
Living mindfully has been a topic of many books and blogs in the past couple of years. For me, to live mindfully is to be aware of what we have, to be conscious of what enters our homes, and to be responsible in being stewards of whatever we have so we maximize their use and purpose.
If you consider living in a compact space or if you are living in one, here are tips on how to live mindfully in the space you have:
- Know who you are.
It’s very important that you have an understanding of yourself, your personality, and your preferences; when you know who you are and what you need, you wouldn’t buy things you can’t afford just to make your place look nice, or things which won’t add value to you. Living in a small space will encourage you to buy appliances which are multifunctional, or those which can be mounted on ceilings or walls so that they will not eat much space.
Condo living taught me and my husband that before we buy things, even if we need them, we should also consider if there’s a space in our home for it; otherwise, it will either end up as an eyesore or as something hidden in the wrong places. When we moved in to a bigger home, we brought this philosophy with us which greatly helped us in both saving money and maintaining an organized home.
- Assess your relationships with people.
If being economical is your goal and you don’t mind sharing your space with a roommate, then consider having one so you can split your bills and other responsibilities. On the other hand, if you wish to live on your own but you are the type who usually accommodates relatives or friends at home, then consider buying sofa beds or beds with pull outs. Doing so is like hitting two birds in one stone: you maximize your space, and you make your guests feel you thought of them while you were conceptualizing your home.
- Build a good relationship with your home.
Whether your home is big or small, it’s never your goal to fill up every space there is. When there’s a space left in your home, allow it to be a room for breathing, or a room for more beautiful things to come. Don’t be pressured to buy things just to fill a bare space. Make your home a place for you, and for the people and the things you love – not of those which will just accumulate dust as time passes.
When you put so much thought and care into your home, you will feel how it will love you back – it will give you refuge and comfort at the end of a long and tiring day.
How do we build a good relationship with our compact space? Here are some organizing and cleaning tips:
- Keep only three sets of linens and towels on rotation. You don’t really need a lot, most especially when you are living alone. It will also teach you to be mindful about attending to your laundry.
- Avoid buying big, bulky things that you won’t be able to find space for in your home. Always ask, “do I have a space for this?” when purchasing an item.
- When doing grocery, avoid buying in bulk. Your goal is to consume everything you buy, and not let them sit at the back of your cabinets for months to wait for their expiration dates. Buying what you only need in the next week or two will help you closely monitor your food.
- Cleaning your space should be part of your daily routine. Go around your space everyday to clean, wipe, and sweep, so dust would not accumulate. When you go through every part of your home everyday for cleaning, it also becomes your time to check whether you already have something for repair or replacement.
- While cleaning is a daily habit, deep cleaning should be put on schedule too – once every six months. Deep cleaning is shampooing and vacuuming your curtains, sofa, and mattress, so they do not become a breeding ground of bedbugs and dust mites.
As a homemaker who aims to live mindfully, we should have a deep understanding on who we really are and our relationships with people in relation to the space we have. Also, living mindfully is not a one-time big time event. Though it kicks off with a firm decision, just like any other processes, it takes daily commitment to be able to maintain a home reflective of a mindful person.
It is a common misconception that our homes will be more organized if only we had more space, or we had a bigger closet or bookshelf, or we had a bigger home. The space available to us right now is the best space for us to learn how to be organized and how to live mindfully every day.
Have a good rainy day Neatropolis!
Stay Neat Everyone!
Here’s a vlog about how to live mindfully in a compact space. #livebig