6 ways your home can make you happier

Small, incremental changes to your home can add up to big changes in your happiness. Do you want to be happier? Here’s how your home can help you: 

1.     Make friends

Having people over sends a pretty clear message: I like you, please enter my inner sanctum. But it’s easy to feel like your home isn’t ready for prime time and that makes it hard to open the door. So, how do you get over this?

  •  Pick three things that grab your attention when you walk in the door that are easy to change. A wall in need of art, a pile of shoes in the corner, a coat closet too full to close the doors. Pick a day in the next two weeks, put it on your calendar, and fix them. (Key: Look for things that will make a big impact in how it feels to enter your home.) 

Now, it feels good each time you come home and you’ve got momentum. Do this again in your kitchen and your living room. These are the two places guests go. Your sock drawer can wait. Bite the bullet and invite people over.

2.     Lose weight

There are two easy ways your home can help you shed lbs.

  •  Your grocery store puts food at eye level or in attention-grabbing displays so you’ll buy it. Try this at home. Put a pretty bowl of fruit on the counter, beef jerky or yogurt at eye level in the fridge, and healthy chips in easy reach inside the cabinet. Then, move special treats to places that are hard to reach and out of sight.

  • Next, find a place in your home where you can turn a complete circle with your arms outstretched without hitting anything. Welcome to your new home gym. All you need is a yoga mat, these adjustable weights, and some at-home routines. YouTube, Men’s or Women’s Health websites, and exercise DVDs, will tell you exactly what to do. You may not have time to hit the gym, but you can always squeeze ten minutes out of your day to do something good for yourself. And the feeling of accomplishment (and fitting into those jeans again) is so worth it. 

3.     Stay calm

Being organized at home does wonders for your state of mind.  Who wants to walk into chaos everyday? Here’s how to get a handle on it.

  •  Tackle something small but noticeable. Don’t worry about the closet that’s so full the doors have their own fault line. Look around for a project you see every day and can finish in less than two hours. This weekend, get in there, stay focused, and do it!

Notice how good you feel when you see it and use it as inspiration for the next thing on your list. (Not the closet. Build up to that.) Pick something else you can achieve in a few hours and get it off the list. Tackling all the small stuff first helps you rack up a series of wins that builds confidence and staying power for the big stuff.

4.     Look great

There’s an outfit in your closet that makes you feel awesome every time you put it on. But, I’ll bet it’s surrounded by things you never wear. Or, even worse, things you wear that don’t make you feel good. It’s time for The Purge! (Not that weird movie about sanctioned anarchy, I’m talking about your closet.)

  • Take everything out of your closet that you don’t love to wear. And seriously, I mean LOVE. (Don’t judge me, but 2-3 times a year I go through my closet and ask myself, do I feel fabulous in this? If I don’t, I pass it on to a friend or donate it to Goodwill.) It’s important to have a high bar. I’m not looking for things that make me feel pretty good; I want great. It makes it easier to decide what’s in and what’s out.

Do this on a day when you’ve got plenty of time. Turn on music and invite a friend if you need a second opinion. But look at everything and don’t talk yourself into liking it. Go by instinct. Love it? Keep it. Don’t love it? Give it away. Don’t worry if you’re left with only a few things. They’re the pieces that make you feel great. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of clothes, it matters that what you’ve got makes you happy.

5.     Be on time

We all have a runway in the morning that leads from the bed to the front door. How does yours look? Are you searching endlessly for the same items, doubling back for things you’ve forgotten? No worries, you just need a few staging areas.

  • Start in the bathroom. Fill a small basket or rearrange a top drawer so what you need every day is easily at hand.
  •  Decide on a home for your phone-keys-bag/wallet and be religious about putting them there. (Preferably in a spot towards the end of your runway so you aren’t going back to get them)
  •  Go back to grade school and lay out your clothes the night before. No, seriously. I do this. It helps.
  •  Going to hit the gym tomorrow? Leave a packed bag by the door each night.

Houston, you’re cleared for take off.

6.     Let go

Your home should be full of memories. It’s part of what makes it “homey.” (I’m sure that’s a word.) But holding on to things that remind you, even subtly, of times or people you’d like to let go of can make it hard to move on.

  •  Set aside time on a quiet weekend or calm evening and walk through your home. Collect the things that make you feel sad or angry. Maybe it’s time for them to go or maybe you need to put them in the back of a closet for now. Go slowly, acknowledge that this is hard, and be patient with yourself.

Over time, start building new memories. Bring things home that remind you of where you are now or where you’re headed. You’ve taken a big step towards letting go and moving forward.

Tell me, how has your home helped make you happier?

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