Minimalism – it’s about so much more than just decluttering. We’ve gotten the topic of the physical clutter out of our way, and yet we aren’t done in the house. The senses – you have…how many? How do these apply to minimalism, and creating that safe haven in your home?
Feng Shui and Beyond
This week we dive into this on the Mama Says Namaste Podcast – and if you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen – a Barred Owl takes over the sound waves! It may not be perfect audio quality, but I thought it was pretty cool. As we dive in to the senses below, you'll see how this was pretty epic to have on this particular episode!
This is such an important topic on awareness that I wanted to reiterate it in a blog post. We address Feng Shui – and this is a great place to learn more about it – and then…we go deeper.
You will start to notice a great release by clearing out the clutter – to allow for your soul to breathe. So let’s assume you have cleaned and cleared (if not, refer back to my decluttering post), and now, you want to know how to create the vibe you want in your home. Check out this great infographic on ten tips to Feng Shui your home.
I love Feng Shui and have enjoyed incorporating it in my house, and I’ve put my own twist on it all by bringing in the senses as well.
Engage The Senses
Welcome to…employing all the senses!! You want to know how to make a big difference in your home? Look at every sense:
We covered this with clutter. Clear the messes! I hate having things piled up. It feels claustrophobic to me. Don’t stack for later – put it away now or find a new home for it.
Allow for a blank area. Seriously, a completely clean counter, dresser-top, wall even! We tend to fill every area to the brim – but those blank areas allow for imagination, a rest for the eyes, etc. Think about reading – one long paragraph is a lot – you allow for a lot of white space to give your eyes a break. Where is the “white space” in your home?
Go broad with your definition of “white space.” It doesn’t actually have to be white! Color can make your space come alive. Think about in nature – there can be an absolute chaos of color that’s beautiful. Think of a sunset, a field of wildflowers, or even the many shades of a single color, like green, in a forest.
On that note, add in nature. I absolutely love bringing some of the outdoors inside. I asked Nathan, instead of getting me typical roses on Valentine’s day, to get me flowers every month for the house. Flowers plucked from our garden or wild on the side of the road are just as fabulous (if not even better) than getting them from the store! (side note, Trader Joe’s is the best for beautiful, cheap bouquets!) I love plants and am also quite a pro at killing them, so I stick with some super hearty plants in the house to add the greenery. Real plants do more than just give you a little greenery in the house, they are literally a breath of fresh air as well.
And if you don’t have a green thumb? Buy the herb plants at the store to keep on your countertop – pluck from those for your food, and when they die, it’s okay. It’s the same price as the bags and boxes of the fresh cut herbs, and you get a plant for a short bit!
Think visual and really look around your home – what words come to mind by what you see? Rest? Peace? Homeyness?
Ah, the sound of a home with small children. I will be the first to confess that it is NOT quiet serenity all the time. My goodness, I walk into my mother’s home with the peaceful music and quiet and it is fabulous. My father recently shared with me this TED Radio Hour on “Quiet”…which moved Nathan and me to tears:
However, having “quiet” is not always the answer. My girls (and, I must confess, we parents) tend to be LOUD. And sometimes, the best vibe is to get wild and crazy! I remember rockin to the Queen albums when I was a kid doing spring cleaning with my mama – to this day Queen brings back memories of singing at the top of my lungs while cleaning (which I actually enjoy doing)! The girls have their crazy Pandora stations where we dance to all kinds of American Indian chanting, techno, “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and Rising Appalachia.
That being said, crazy music really creates crazy energy. There is a time and place for that. Other times, the soothing yoga or meditation channel is the way to go. I’m very conscious of the music in our home, our tones of voice, and our volume level.
If you feel rising chaos and competition over who is being heard, close your eyes and listen. Is the TV blaring in the background? Crazy music? Everyone talking at once? Close your eyes and be a selective listener and see what sounds stand out.
Of course you aren’t always going to be eating, but we all know food seems to be the center of community! Think about the foods you have around – do you have snacks available that will energize and make you feel good, or do you have the candy jar sitting out to constantly feed your sugar highs and lows? How valuable would it be, the next time you want to shove a candy bar in your face, you sat back and sipped a hot cup of peppermint tea? Think about the cozy feeling that embraces your mood when you are simply sitting and sipping tea vs. food being something you just shovel down in your rush to do everything else. Where there is taste, be present with it.
And on that note, don’t underestimate the power of a pure palate. I was shocked to learn that my middle daughter would eat all kinds of leafy greens…with no seasoning. She hated salads – yet when I told her to go eat anything in the garden, she would immediately go and grab kale and basil and eat it with no issue. Sometimes we tend to over-season and over-sauce foods in an attempt to get kids to eat them, and raw/plain veggies may be just enough to satisfy, and allow them to actually taste the food!
What feels good? Think about the power of touch and what is in your home. Does your home invite you to snuggle up on the couch, or scream valuable heirlooms everywhere – look but don’t you dare touch! Little things can really warm up a home, and I love having stuff setting out Montessori style that invites little ones to touch, stack, and play with items from nature. I get blankets and pillows that feel good, and make sure it’s not just for me, but a perfect place for snuggling and adding some loving touch to the people that live in the home as well.
Years ago, Nathan and I went through Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map and today a question was “what does joy smell like?” For me, it invokes invigorating essential oils like peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus and some of the energy blends. I can’t handle synthetic smells and can go off on a rant about natural products – but for the sake of this post, let’s just stick with some fresh air smells. Adding plants in your home, using salt lamps and essential oil diffusers are all ways to clean the air.
Fresh air from open windows, freshly baked cookies, dinner cooking….what smells do you smell in your home, and what memories do they bring forth? Smells are powerful memory triggers, so think back to your own childhood and what smells really resonate with you.
And the sixth sense:
Yes, without getting completely woo-woo here, I so strongly believe in there being more than what is on the surface. Your sixth sense – your premonition, intuition, energy sensing, etc. This is where you take a moment and check in with your gut. What feeling comes across you when you enter your home?
An example of this – for Nathan and me, when we were discussing negative topics at our house in Nashville – our own frustrations, toxic relationships, etc – these conversations took place on our beautiful back porch. Now, even more so in our tiny home, we can have those talks outside. And honestly, the need for those talks have gotten less and less as we’ve simplified our life and cleared our focus.
Take that negative energy and release it out in the open. Our home is a sacred place – we clear the air by lighting sage when we sense the vibe in our house is getting too thick and heavy. If you step back and listen to your gut, you may feel heaviness or an uneasy feeling – or maybe when you step foot in your home you feel light and happy – what things help to contribute to that?
So your challenge, carried over from the podcast, is to engage the senses in your home! Grab this free printable below and put it up as the wallpaper on your computer, save to your phone, or print it off and put it up.
Share with me what you’ve done to bring in the senses in your home – you can even post a picture over at the Mama Says Namaste Facebook Group!