14 August 2013

zen homes and altars

I'm in the process of downsizing. Releasing objects from my home that I no longer need is a wonderful feeling. Clutter gives me anxiety to look at. I have a craving for the minimal. 

from lisa congdon

I also have a three year old. And live in a small space. So clutter can, and does, happen quickly. The recycling area and dishes in the kitchen, books and photo prints left on the dining table, and the TOYS- look a lot more offensive in small spaces- it's less forgiving.

Slowly, I am getting there though. The thought of having less stuff is a freeing one. Less holding me down, less visual clutter entering my mental sphere.

While I am for sure no pro on the matter (my home is really messy at this writing), here are some tips that currently work for me in getting my space at least somewhat zen.

1. Do it for the zen.
Your entire living space is not going to be immaculate all the time. You do LIVE there, ya know? Perfection is not the goal here. However. It is very, very possible to have an area or two, away from the reaches of children and high traffic areas, that are simple and clean-looking. For me, it's the top shelf of a changing table turned shelving unit. I have six items on the top shelf (the other two hold toys), and that's it. I make a (small) effort to keep it this way. It's easy because it's so minimal. In a sea of chaos, there is a slice of calm. :)

2. The less you have, the better everything looks.
I used to clean houses for a job. One thing I learned from going into various homes was that the houses that looked the best BEFORE cleaning were the ones that had less stuff. Fewer possessions overall. And the possessions that were there seemed tastefully selected. These would be neater in part because they HAD less to clean up, organize, and so on. Instead of attempting to organize too much crap, there was simply less of it. Once I saw this in person it all seemed so clear to me!

3. Make regular trips to goodwill. 
Or have regular clothing/stuff swaps, or consignment trips, or eBay listings. If you can, designate a basket or bag on a door knob to toss the things you'll be donating. This way it's an ongoing process, and is a much smaller step than attempting to sort through huge piles at a time and then getting overwhelmed and going to do something else!

4. Consider creating an altar.
On the same note as point one, having an altar can be a great way to keep an area free of clutter. Basically, an altar consists of a space- I'm limited in that area so I use the top of my dresser  in our bedroom- where you keep meaningful and inspirational objects to look at as often as you please. Another slice of calm in the chaos.

Ideas for altars: Oracle cards with a card for the day. Stones or crystals you connect with. Written intentions. Inspiring/spiritual figurines. A photo or two that elates you. Artwork. Prayer flags/beads. Flowers. Pine cones. A candle or two. A singing bowl. A chime. Whatever. This space can be as non/multi-denominational or as religious as you wish. Or it can just feature elements that are important to you.

Some inspiration...
From artnlight


from apartment therapy

botanical altar from ecosalon

from crafty chick's cuppa coffee

love this outdoor altar from hidden hills garden

ganesha teacup altar from leigh's wiccan boutique

I'm so inspired now from cruising photos of altars on pinterest. I'm going to give mine a makeover soon! I'll post a photo after I do.

Well this post certainly took an unexpected tangent! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and please feel free to share your tips and tricks- or a photo of your altar- in the comments!


  1. I wanna see your altar.
    Also, I like the idea of having certain spaces that you keep minimal and specifically focusing on not cluttering those areas. A) it makes those spaces more helpful and B) it makes keeping them clear of clutter easier.
    I like your ideas of decluttering. I am such a keeper of stuff.

    1. Thanks A.Glidz! I struggle with the stuff keeping as well but I'm trying to dig myself out. The little spaces definitely help on the days when everything else is disastrous, and are inspiring on the days when you're getting stuff done. :)

    2. I'll post a pic of it when I get it revamped!

  2. Also, props on writing when you're inspired :)

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