5 ways to make your home a haven

My apartment last week, after the movers arrived with my stuff from NYC.

ha·ven [hey-vuhn] noun 1. a harbor or port. 2. any place of shelter and safety; refuge; asylum.

Scenario One: You walk into your home after a long day at work. You feel like you’ve walked into a hug. Warmth, comfort, and safety envelope you. You sigh with relief at the sight of your sofa and sink down into it with gratitude.

Scenario Two: You avoid going home because you know it means having to pick up the clothes you left on the floor, dig through layers of junk to find the book you’ve meant to finish, and wash enough dishes so you can serve dinner on clean plates.

Whether we realize it or not, our environment – particularly our home environment – affects our state of mind, and thus, our health. My recent move drove home this point in a way that was difficult to ignore. I spent most of this weekend unpacking and organizing my life…there were boxes EVERYWHERE! Every time I thought “Oh my god, I should be working!,” I reminded myself that making my home a home was the most important thing right now. Everything else would have to wait.

Whether you’ve recently moved or not, my guess is that you might feel better if you did one of these five things to make your home more of a haven. (I did.)

  1. Make space. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the healing power of clearing out the clutter. How great would it be to get rid of stuff you’ve held onto for no other reason than you can’t let go? A client recently tossed some shoes and clothes she’d been hanging onto for sentimental reasons. “I never wear any of it,” she told me. A week later, it was gone…and she felt surprisingly light. Another client had put off organizing her jewelry out of the tangled mess it had become. Less than an hour later, she checked that nagging little task off her list.
  2. glassybaby all aglow. I took this pic in their Seattle workshop in September.

    Shine the light. If you’ve not yet discovered glassybaby– the Seattle-based maker of hand blown glass candle holders – get thee to their website (or to one of their stores in Seattle and NYC)! Adding just a little flickering firelight makes a house a home almost instantly, especially in the winter. And no one does it better than glassybaby.  (No, I’m not a paid glassybaby spokesperson, but I sure sound like one lately.)

  3. Create cozy. A messy room – or, in my case, a room filled with boxes – isn’t so cozy. Create “sacred space” in your home, a spot that stays clutter free, allowing you to relax and think clearly when you settle in there.
  4. Take a deep breath. If you’re like me, scents – or the lack there of – are a super-important part of your home. I use Fresh Wave room spray for a neutral smell. It’s made with non-toxic, all natural ingredients and works way better than that chemical-laden stuff. House plants are another great way to keep your air clean – I’ve already made a date with a friend to go “garden shopping” at Molbak’s.
  5. Clean as you go. I have a really bad habit of parking my shoes at the front door when I enter my home…and leaving them there. By the end of the week, I’m tripping over five pairs of shoes just to get out again. Now, I put them all away at the end of the day. The extra effort it takes to clean up as I go is so worth the angst reduction created by a clear path to the front door.

What about you? How do you make your home a source of comfort instead of stress?

P.S. The apartment still isn’t 100% home yet – as evidenced by my lack of “after” photo – but the view from the roof deck sure does help. :)

Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier from my roof deck. (Yes, the sun does shine in Seattle on occasion!)