Two words: Sight. Lines.
The first practice of managing sight lines is quite honestly a pain in the neck, but in the end it is a huge gift to yourself. The good thing is you get to decide how far to take this one. It might be one room…it might be your entire living space. Sight lines are what you see when you first enter a new space. It's the horizon that gets your first glance.
I’ve found that the most important sight line in our house is the view when I walk in the door. No matter what outlook my frame of mind is at that moment, I want the outlook of the kitchen counter to be a welcoming one.
This means I work pretty hard (and rally the whole family to help) to clear that portion of our house of clutter and mess. It often comes at the worst possible time of day...the morning! There is a perpetual hurricane known as the morning routine: eat breakfast, pack lunches, sign homework, walk dog, find shoes (why is there always one missing?). But if we take a few extra minutes to clean up the stormy leftovers, we can experience some order and calm when we return home. This may mean a last minute throwing dishes into the dishwasher upside down (or would that be right side up?). But it means that instead of taking in a mess when we return home, we enter a space that is both welcoming and serene. Now of course in our home minutes after coming home the counter is littered with homework, groceries, and rainbow glitter slime (ugh!), but those few moments of a centering sight line were so worth it.
|The counter after the storm surge clean up|
I have employed the sight line practice in other areas of our home. Our kids are encouraged to make their beds and put away their clothes most mornings. Kyle and I do the same. Admittedly, we have hit a dry spell on that one, especially with the kids (and sometimes with Kyle). I’m seriously considering taking all the clothes they leave on the floor hostage and allowing them to trade housework for jeans or yard work for their favorite shirts.
Our house is certainly not perfect. We have closets that would make Marie Kondo faint. Sometimes you need to make trade-offs. I believe sight lines are worth the energy. It is an easy way to tame chaos. Start with a slice of your home and expand from there. After all, one of the most important values of a centering home is a clear view of what you love and treasure, starting with the people in your home. And if you are constantly stressed by a mess, or by pile of dishes or mail, it makes it hard to pay attention to the people you love. After all the best sight lines are oriented towards people, not chaos or clutter.