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Does Your Home Serve You or Do You Serve Your Home?

*A note from the author: This podcast episode (as well as all future episodes) will be transcribed automatically. The author is currently aware of, and getting hives at the thought of, all of the grammatical errors she's finding as she proof reads her transcript. She recognizes that her former English teachers are likely rolling over in their graves, if that is where they currently reside, but also knows that some things just have to give. Please feel free to listen instead and be sure to read non-podcast posts so you can rest assured that she does, in fact, know how to compose written words into proper story telling.*

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Today we're diving deep into an issue that could be triggering for some of you. I know it has been for me in the past, and it still can be. We're going to shed a little light and perspective into this issue so that maybe once we know better, we can do better, but I think it's important to address it. Now, before we start moving forward into designing the pretty happy spaces that really feed us and tell our stories and tell them, well, I think this is an issue too, that is not really talked about in the decorating community. I think you might hear about it in the minimalist movement, in the tiny home movement, definitely for Marie Kondo. Do you know what it is? Yup. If you guessed stuff, you're right. It is the idea of stuff. And the question I'm going to be asking is, do we serve our homes or do our homes serve us?

That is the question we're ultimately going to be answering today. But before we get there, I want to give you a little bit of background. So in the 1960s, storage units started popping up in the United States, probably about 20 years later or so they became a little bit more of a household common idea where maybe you owned one. They weren't just for businesses. I wasn't able to find anything between the eighties and the two thousands, but I was able to find this. And this is staggering. In 2019, there was hard to find a hard and fast number on how many storage facilities there were in the U S. It ranged - the range was actually really, really big and kind of humorous, but not. If you think about our culture in the United States, it ranged between 45,547 storage facilities and 60,024 just facilities. So imagine how many units each of those facilities have. That's a lot.

So if we go with that median it's like 52,000, we'll say there are 52,000 storage facilities in the United States, about 10% of households in the United States own a storage unit or rent one, I should say, I'm raising my hand girls. I rent one. I rent one for my business. Would it be nice to be able to have my things, my business things in the garage? It would, but I have too much stuff. It's something that I am dealing with too. So I want you to know, and I will repeat this message over and over - that you are not alone, and this is not a judgment on you. This is something I deal with too. So if we take that number of 52,786 as a median, I didn't double check that by the way. So if you're a math gal, you might double check it and say, oops, you're wrong.

52,000 storage facilities in the US. That is more than all the combined Starbucks, McDonald's Dunkin Donuts, Pizza Huts, and Wendy's in the United States. Can you believe that? That feels absurd to me. In 2013, the storage facility industry averaged $50 million per month to build these facilities in 2020 - 7 years later, that average monthly expenditure was 425 million. Yikes. So that tells me that people need places to put their stuff is basically what that tells me. Can you picture new places in your area, in your drive to work in your town, that where new storage facilities are coming up. They're popping up fast, and raise your hand if you own one or rent one. I don't know why I keep saying owning it. You might. And again, that's not a judgment. I own one too.

Our culture in the U S values stuff. Our culture values keeping up with the Joneses, the bigger, better, newer, faster, our culture values consumeristic behavior. And you can see that every time the Halloween or the Christmas merchandise pops out earlier and earlier in stores like Hobby Lobby or boutiques or wherever. You can see that every time we open up earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving afternoon for shopping, or every time we host a cyber Monday, buy it now sale. And what I want you to know is that this episode is not about judging you for having too much stuff or even participating in the Thanksgiving day, shopping. That's, that's not what I'm intending to do. What I'm intending to do is to draw attention to the idea that sometimes stuff gets in the way of creating a home environment that we love. And that's what we're talking about today. The question that I'm ultimately going to be asking is does your home serve you or are you serving your home? Basically Is this stuff getting in the way of your home and the home environment you want for your family?

I came to this realization a couple of years ago, and it was a hard truth to face. And it's something that is still today. Something that I need to work on. It is a fluid practice. It is not a hard and fast. You edit your home and then you're done. But I want to share with you really where it compounded and became so incredibly eye-opening to me. So in my home office, which is right outside of the garage door and right outside of the living room. So it's downstairs. The, my home office is the home to so many things. It is the storage place for all home office needs our printer, our stapler, our pencil sharpener, extra supplies, filing cabinets, extra storage, things like pictures and all of that. It is also where I do my creative thinking. I do my writing. I'm now doing my podcast.

I do my sewing. I have a brick and mortar business, and I also have a presence online where I ship things out. So if you can imagine all of the supplies needed for the, for those, they all live in my office. The location of my office was super convenient for it becoming a room-sized junk drawer. It's a pre pandemic. If people came over and we needed to tidy up really quick, be through things in my office, just throw it in mom's office. It'll be fine. Throw it in mom's office. So if you can imagine me wanting to go in and create or write a blog or be creative, I would have to climb over, filter through move things in order to just get started. But one time, this might've been, I don't know, five years ago or so, one of my girlfriends came over and she was, she was staying for not even very long, but she needed to take a private phone call.

And she went into my office. I was so embarrassed at her being in there. She's a very dear friend and I'm sure she noticed, I'm sure she did not care, but I cared. I was sweating so badly while she was in there. That the minute she left, I got to town. I got to work, creating and recreating and getting rid of and reorganizing and all of that. And one thing I learned in that process was that a couple of things, if you have too much stuff, you can't really organize because there ultimately is not enough space for your things. If you can't organize you, can't ultimately tidy up. So if you think about managing your stuff in the biggest way possible first by editing, then you're able to find space for all of the things in, and we call that organizing, right? And then from there you can tidy up.

So that's just a quick side tip. We'll get into that much later. But from that experience, I was so embarrassed and it really got me thinking about feelings, attached to homes and feelings attached in that case stuff and the overabundance of it and the untidiness of it and the unkempt newness of it. And the just too much, okay, fast forward a year or two, and my mom passed away. And when my mom passed away, I became the, I don't want to say the organizer of her stuff, but the editor of her stuff, I guess, is the right word. I edited my dad's home in order to create space for him. That was a little bit more functional for what he needed and what that meant was bringing some of her stuff home to my space. Okay. So I've already gotten this face really wonderful after that embarrassing moment with my girlfriend.

Got it. Wonderful. Got it. Nice and organized and neat. And yes, sometimes it's still the dumping ground, but it was great. And then I bring in my mom's stuff and my mom was the master crafter. She was the master seamstress. She was well, pretty much. She would just call herself the Jack of all trades, but the master of none, I totally do not agree with that. She was so good at everything, but I ended up taking some of that stuff until I could emotionally make space to go through it and edit what I didn't want and keep what I did and go through and give my siblings, you know, things, that kind of thing. It's still a work in progress, but I often times go back and ask myself when I'm trying to take a litmus test of where I'm at in the way that room feels to me.

I asked myself, what if my friend came back and saw today, would I be happy? Would I be happy about that? It doesn't often it doesn't always have to come back to this idea of what happens when my friends sees it. Sometimes it can be how you feel. And when you, you know, I've mentioned it before in previous episodes, but this is so important that if you feel a certain way in your space, you need to pay attention. Whether that feeling is joy or overwhelm or happy or exhausted or cozy or whatever that feeling word is, pay attention to that. In a few episodes, we are going to be talking about creating your own feeling word so that you can design your space into that. But I never want to create a space of overwhelm. I don't think anyone wants to create a space of overwhelm, but when you have too much stuff, it can easily get there.

So what questions do we ask ourselves when we don't have our friend coming over? All right. I want to encourage you. If you're in a space to pause, grab a paper, grab a pencil. And I want you to write this down. I want you to be thinking about a room in your home, a room that you have a feeling towards already. I'm going to use my office as an example. Okay. So ultimately does your home or your room serve you or are you serving your home? Okay, let me repeat that. Does your home serve you or are you serving your home? These are the questions I want you to consider. And I do want you to take a minute to pause and answer. How do you feel when you walk into a room, that room that you pictured, how is it that you're feeling? So when I think about my office in the state, it was a few years ago when my girlfriend came over, I can picture these words and I'm writing them down.

Overwhelmed, frustrated, dark, not creative, stifling, claustrophobic, defeatist, unhappy, dull. When I, when I say those words out loud, I'm shocked at a couple of things. One is that that is a creative studio, but those are all negative words that come into that space. And I could have kept going. Those were the words I was feeling at the time that she came over and I've mentioned it before in previous episodes. And it's something that we're going to be chatting about further, and I'm continuing this conversation, but paying attention to how you feel in a space is incredibly important. If you're a part of my Instagram community or my Facebook group community, or find me on YouTube or wherever you find me, if you, if you watch the announcement of this podcast and you watched my husband and I had the conversation where we were kind of joking about things, I say that might cause him to pause.

And he said, the home feels claustrophobic and I laughed about it. And I did say, yes, we're going to be talking about that. That's super important claustrophobia in your home is not a good thing, especially in your home, if you're feeling claustrophobic in your space, something needs to change. Right? Okay. So that's what I was talking about. Okay. So how do you feel in that room? What are those feelings? Now, if you came up with a list of negative words like I did, they conjured up images of, you know, darkness and not an imagination and uncreative and all those negative things. That is a good indication that I am serving that room. That space, maybe yours were more positive. Maybe yours were, I feel light and airy and free. And I feel like I can breathe and I feel so creative and I feel like I can relax anytime I want to.

And I, and they're all great positive responses. That's awesome. That is a really good indication that your home is serving you. That when you walk into that space, you don't have a whole lot of work to do to enjoy the purpose of that room. Another question to ask was inspired by my friend who showed up and needed to use my office. And that question is if someone were to come over on announced, what is your first reaction? Now, I want you to picture them coming over into that room that you're working on that room that you've got in mind in the first step. If they were to come over on announced, what is your first reaction, not the reaction you want it to be, but what really is your first reaction is your first reaction and excuse for why it looks messy is your first reaction and embarrassment because that project you were going to do, or the paint that's halfway done, or the furniture that's outdated is your first reaction, a negative response to a physical item.

And if the answer is yes, then that is a really good indication that you are serving your home. If you are able to not think about the physical, but think about the person at the door, whether it's good or bad, whether it's a, oh, wow, wow. You're here. Okay, awesome. How are you come on in to my office or whether it's a, oh, you're here that of reaction to them coming over or a negative reaction to them coming over. Think about that because of your thinking about the person, not about the physical space. And if you're thinking about the person positive or negative, chances are, this is a good indication that your home is serving you, that you're in that space, that either you just don't care and that's great, or it is a space that you have created this environment that you just don't have to care.

All right. The next question, how often are you organizing and reorganizing your things? Are you a staff manager? So in the case of my office, let me paint this picture so that you know what I'm talking about, I would need to open the door, walk in, step over a box, maybe two, maybe three to move the pile of stuff so that I could get to the desk to put away the things that my boys had left out or clear the tabletop so that I could then pull out my computer and get to work. Sometimes when I would reorganize my things, I would think, okay, this is the weekend. I'm going to go into that office. I'm going to make that space more efficient. I might edit a few things, but really I'm just going to move things around to make it appear like I'm making it organized, but ultimately I'm just moving piles.

I'm just shuffling one spot making space on the shelf, in the closet for one thing, pulling out another thing, because I think it might serve me better out, but actually it's more in the way. So I want you to think about this. You know, that phrase, everything has a place and every place for its thing or whatever, there is something true in that statement. And if you think about creating spaces for the things that you have. So let's say in my office, I need a space for my sewing things. And my sewing things are quite a bit because I have a couple of sewing machines. I have all of my sewing notions. I have my fabric, I have some patterns or whatever. I need a considerable amount of space for my sewing things. I've created my space. Anything in excess of that space doesn't belong.

I don't need it. So over time, I've gotten more fabric. I've taken some fabric out. I've used some fabric, but over time, if I bring more things into that sewing space and it doesn't fit, it doesn't mean that I create a new compartment for it. It doesn't mean that I pushed something out of a way and create a new space. It means I need to get rid of something else because it doesn't fit in the designated sewing space. And the same can be true for like in your kitchen with your pots and pans, if your pots and pans, if you have a designated space for your pots and pans, but they start spilling out and over into other spaces, that's a good indication that you have too much stuff. You have too many pots and pans, same thing for your clothes, same thing for your, whatever.

I mean, you can fill in the blank, whatever space allotment you're giving yourself for whatever item it is. If you exceed that, that might be an indicator that you need to start editing. And it's always a fluid thing, right? So are you moving piles to create more space, to just then create more piles to then move again? How often are you doing that? How often are you shuffling piles from here to there in the, with the false idea that you are organizing, that is an example of stuff managing you are a staff manager. If you do that. So how often are you doing that? Are you doing it often or are you not doing a very often? And I think on, on this section, when you answer this question, if you are really specific about what it is, you find yourself organizing and reorganizing and then reorganizing being specific on that will help you get started with where you should edit.

All right, the next question, and really the heart of the issue. Can you identify the purpose of your room and is your room meeting that purpose easily? I'm going to repeat that one and easily, by the way, is the keyword here? Can you identify the purpose of your room and is your room meeting that purpose easily? So in the case of my office, the purpose of my room is an office space to store supplies, office supplies for our family files, printer, office supplies, like stapler, sharpener, paper, extra craft supplies, but then it is multifaceted because of my business. It is a place where I, so it is a place where I write it is a place where I create and dream. It is a place where I do my podcast. Now it is a place where I ship out orders. It is a place that really needs to be a multi-functional business space.

Now I know that all of those things live in cohabitate in that space, that now the question I really need to hone in on, and the one that you really need to hone in on is, is your room meeting that purpose easily, AKA how many piles and boxes and stacks are you moving? Are you getting out of the way in order to be efficient with your time to be efficient with whatever purpose it is you have at hand in that space. If you are working on a dining room, your room is a dining room. And you know that the purpose of the dining room is family dinners, daily family dinners. And you know that you want that space to be fun and joyful and playful and a place where you guys can have great conversations, but every time dinner comes around, you are moving boxes off the dining room table. You are moving things off of the floor and around the floor in order to pull out the chair, that is an example of your room, not meeting that purpose easily. What is it for you? Can you identify the purpose of your room and is your room meeting that purpose easily?

And if you answered no to that, that your room is not meeting its purpose easily. That's a good indication that your room is not serving you, that you're serving your room.

So here's the hard truth. And the reason why I started with this conversation first, before we start really beautifying a room and making a space, a space that is really a wonderful calming, whatever, whatever feeling word it is for your family, just a space that your family enjoys being in before we can do that, we have to understand the purpose we have for the room that we're designing. And if that purpose is not being met, we have to ask why, what is the barrier that is getting in the way of creating that space? Is it one of the limiting beliefs we talked about last week, by the way, if you have not listened to that, maybe you should go back to episode three, where we talk about what limiting beliefs might be holding you back from creating a home. You love stuff was not one of them, actually it wasn't, but maybe it should have been because if that barrier right now is one of the things that is keeping you from designing a room or having a room that is really fulfilling the purpose that you've intended it to be.

If that barrier is stuff, then it will always be a barrier to having a room that you love. No matter how pretty it is, that is a hard truth. Or let me just say this again, before we can design a room, we have to understand the purpose we have for that room. And if that purpose is not being met, we have to ask why, what is the barrier? And if that Y is too much stuff, then it will always be a barrier to having a room that you love no matter how pretty it is. All right. So girls, again, that was not meant to be a judgment on your enjoyment of shopping or your monthly bill at the storage unit. That is not meant to be a judgment at all. It's meant to be a mustard seed, something for you to think about something for you to decide for yourself, if that's an issue or not.

For me, it was an issue and it became blaringly obvious on that day, my friend needed to use the office. And that's just the starting point. So if you want to further that conversation, I do want to invite you into our Facebook group to keep that conversation going. Or if you want to talk to me privately pop into my DMS, I'm always there to can always book a I'm underneath the tab, work with me and we can chat even more privately. So that is always an option where I can help you make that breakthrough. We are in the next few weeks, we are going to be talking about the purpose of your room and creating that purpose and being so understanding of what you want your room to do for you, how you want it to function, how want it to serve you and your family.

And that is all going to be part of the series, but where do I start? So in the meantime, if you are wanting to get started, now, you might need my five quick tips. My five quick secrets that I would tell every client I had and I would use in every home stage that I did. These are my five home secrets that I would put on auto repeat. You can go grab that at bit dot L Y forward slash five, the number five home secrets. So you can get started this weekend until next time. I'll see you soon.

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