The key to all of this is to have a long hard think about what it is you want from your home and your life and how you can best design your décor and your set-up to make that possible. Too often, our homes get in the way of what we want to do and make it harder for us to be effective and productive.
In fact, our homes should be enablers and facilitators that make what we want to achieve that much easier. So where does this discrepancy come from? Why do so many of us fail to have congruence between what we want to achieve and the layout of our homes? The answer is simple: too many of us just don’t know what we want; not just from our décor but also from life in general.
And again, marketing and media in general are largely responsible for this, as we are constantly being shown different ideals and different ways of living – and told that they are the very best way for us to enjoy our own lives.We end up being pulled in absolutely every direction by a hundred different marketing messages and a hundred different desires. We never feel quite satisfied with anything meanwhile, because we’re constantly being told that something else is the key to happiness.
As they say: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! Instead, have a think about what it is you really want to achieve in life and how you want to get there.If you can do this, then you’ll come away with a simple mission statement and you can then go about designing a house to help you accomplish that mission statement.Of course, this might turn out to be more than one thing. But the idea is to know who you are, what’s important to you and how you’re going to serve that goal
Turning Your Home Into a Means to an End
For example, let’s say that after a lot of reflection, you realize that the things that really matter to you are your family and your love of music. This makes for a very simple and straightforward décor. You will probably want to create a space where you and your family can spend time together – perhaps a media room where you can all chill out on a big sofa and watch TV or perhaps a big dining room where you can enjoy big meals together.And you might also make a music room. Or just decorate your room with things that speak to your love of music.
Now, when making buying decisions or thinking about how to design your room, you should always stop and ask yourself if it will really help you to enjoy those things more, or if it will just get in the way of them. Will it really bring you happiness? Will it make more work for you, so you actually spend less time doing the things you love? Will it distract from what you already have, or diminish from it? With this mentality, you’ll no longer be swayed by marketing because no marketing will be directed at you precisely. You have your own vision of what your home should be and now nothing should be able to move you away from that.
How to Fight the Urge to Buy Unnecessary Clutter
Run through these mental questions whenever you’re considering a new purchase and think about how it is going to fit into your lifestyle on a daily basis. Where will it go? How will it look next to the last thing you purchased?
At the same time, try to be savvy to the tricks that advertisers and even store managers will use to try and get us to buy things we don’t need. In particular, always make sure that you take some time out before choosing to buy something.
The vast majority of purchases are made based on an emotional impulse and this is what can cause us to become impulsive. If you go away and think logically about what you need and what you don’t, you’ll often find you are a lot smarter with your purchases as a result. Never buy then and there. Always have at least one night to sleep on it. The offer will still be there in the morning, no matter what the marketing may claim!
A List of Things to Do
A powerful weapon in the fight against needing to keep buying new things and a good way to practice the concepts discussed in this chapter, is to make a list of things that you want to do – using items you already have, or without needing to buy anything new. This might sound like something you shouldn’t need… Surely you already know the things you want to do! But the reality is that we often forget.
Most of us have lots of books on our bookshelf that we have yet to read, games we never finished playing and even films that we haven’t watched! And these days, you can download books for free, play games for free and more. Then there are the activities we never seem to have time for that might be to do with our hobbies or just getting our lives straight. Maybe you’ve been meaning to go for a drive, maybe you’ve been meaning to build some flat pack furniture, maybe you like the idea of trying to learn another language.
And yet, when you get a free hour you forget all these things and end up just lying in front of the TV. And when you see something else advertised, you suddenly want to buy it. Why are you buying a new book, game or DVD when there is so much that you already own that you have yet to use? Why are you saving money to buy a big swanky computer when you’ve never been out to your local park? Or checked out the free museum down the road?
Having a list of ideas for your evening’s entertainment can really change this. The next time you’re bored, you can simply check your list for ideas of things to do. The next time you are tempted to buy something new, check the list and realize that you have plenty to be excited about without spending more money or cluttering your home.
Stay focused and make a home that helps you achieve your mission