Have you ever heard of that mental exercise that challenges you to think about what you might grab and run out with should your home ever catch on fire? The challenge is to as succinctly as possible narrow down what the most essential elements of your home are (or perhaps, remind us how few the really important, irreplaceable things in our lives are). But there’s a better way to help pinpoint some of the most important elements of your home — and it’s an exercise worth undertaking to make sure you’re maximizing these elements in your space.
Wherever you are right now, imagine being in your car (or your transportation) headed home (even if you’re currently in your home). Imagine pulling into your driveway or walking up to your entryway. Imagine approaching the door and putting your hand on the knob. Before you mentally open that door into your home, what are you most looking forward to seeing as soon as you step inside?
Is it a spouse? Your kids? Your cat? Your dog? Or just that feeling of a weight being lifted over your shoulders as you leave the world’s troubles behind?
1. That thing you most want to get home to in the exercise above — that’s the most important thing in your life.
Never forget that. Make extra time for it, even if you're exhausted. Make it a priority when you get home, even if you have an armful of groceries. You might be thinking...duh. But, it's not always that simple. Sometimes life simply has a way of confusing us as to what our priorities are. This quick exercise can help you get back on track if you realize your priority isn't aligning with your values (or your nightly after-work routine).
Then pay attention to where you go next.
After you’ve greeted your loved ones and plunked down your shoes, keys, purse and stuff (or if you have kids or pets, where you go after you attend to their most immediate needs), what room or spot in your home to you head to? Is it to the fridge to grab a snack? Do you plop down on your living room sofa to sit still for a minute? Curl up on your bed? Head to your outdoor space with a glass of wine hoping to unwind?
2. That spot is a good contender for your favorite spot, and should be designed accordingly.
In your end-of-the-day exhaustion, where you instinctively go after the day's have-to-get-this-done-before-I-can-relax activities are "finished" (in quotations because we all know most of the time they're never finished) is the place in your home you draw your most peaceful, energizing, recharging powers from. Chances are, it's your favorite part of your home, and it's the part that should have a lot of attention paid to it. Not just to make sure it functions precisely the way you need it, but so that it also is designed the way you want it. If ever there were a place to put your design (and money, time and energy) efforts to first, it'd be this spot.
Now that you are relaxed, fess up: which part of your home are you actively avoiding right now?
The creeping “ugh, I’ve got to…” thought that pops in your mind when you ask yourself this question is the answer to the following:
3. This is the thing about your home that you should tackle (soon!) even though you don't want to.
Sometimes we put things off. Doing the laundry. Fixing that door. Filing. That's fine; we all have days (weeks, months!) where not everything gets put in its place perfectly on time. But if one of those things is something that creeps into your mind when you're trying to relax (and it's happening more evenings than not), something in your home or your nightly routine should be fixed. This will make your home better because your home will be able to serve more as a relaxing retreat and less like a reminder that you're not doing enough.