House of Welcome and Peace: January

About a month ago, I posted about my New Years Resolutions. I told you all about how my first resolution has to do with moving into a new season with Sweet Water Offering. Then, I told you about my second resolution: I want to make our home a welcoming place and a place of peace. As I mentioned, several books and friends inspired me to begin this process, and it is a deeper endeavor than simply decorating our home and keeping it clean. I promised monthly updates, and (though I’m a bit late) here’s the first one…

There’s a Lot Less Stuff Around Here Than There Used to Be

Even after Christmas presents and the celebration of my birthday, I can safely say we have a lot less STUFF in our house! For this part of my process, I have primarily followed the instructions in  The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The author, Marie Kondo, explains that tidying in this way (mostly focused on getting rid of items that do not “spark joy” for you) should be done quickly and in a specific order. So, I’ve been following her instructions religiously and working my way through each category she recommends.

So far, I have gone through every item of clothing in the house – including shoes and accessories, I have gone through every book in the house, and I have started in on going through our papers. I have found this process to be deeply impacting psychologically and spiritually. I have realized how many things I hold onto because other people handed them down to me, thinking I would like them. I even hang on to things other people complimented or told me they liked, even when I actually don’t like them. All of this has not only brought into my awareness how much I care about what other people think in an unhealthy way, but it has also helped me to be more confident about what I like and don’t like and about what really matters to me. I have found this process to be incredibly freeing. Plus, it is amazing to be surrounded by items that make me smile or relax and not items that result in feelings of guilt or frustration.

On an even more practical note, Marie Kondo also teaches how to fold your clothes in a way that has made folding actually fun to me! I changed over our drawers a while ago and they are still staying nicely organized.

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Trying Out Feng Shui

We have not been happy with the set up of our boys’ room (they are 3 and 9 years old), and we decided to look into Feng Shui principles for setting up a child’s room. We made sure the headboard was on a solid wall (not one with a window), that they could see the door but not have the foot of the bed pointing out the door, and we put their bed in a smaller cubby-like space of the room. I also used Marie Kondo’s techniques to go through all their toys. I am SO happy with how it turned out! We all love hanging out there now – playing games or building with legos. Plus, it’s helped us to feel more welcoming about having friends over to play. The big space in the middle of the room is perfect for hours of creative play.

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Happy boy enjoying his newly rearranged & decluttered room!
Happy boy enjoying his newly rearranged & decluttered room!

Getting Organized

One of the spaces we most need to work on is a spare bedroom on the first floor that was our classroom when we homeschooled. If has also been the “catch-all” room as we’ve been remodeling the rest of the house. Josh keeps his tools in the closet (and out of the closet), the kids’ art supplies are there, Josh’s drafting table and art supplies are also there. It’s kind of a wreck. This month, Josh built some shelves to help us start organizing all the art supplies. Now, I’m starting to go through everything in the room Marie Kondo style. One of the tricky things is that we use this space for a lot of purposes, but we also really want it to be a sort of “open” space in case anyone want to live in household with us (if you are not a community person, this may be a new concept – you can read more about our community endeavors here). I’ll have an update for you next month.

Full disclosure: sometimes this space looks like this…

yiiiikes!!! Craft projects, art supplies, items with no home…I really do tidy this space regularly, but it needs some major help!
before the shelves…
The new shelves.

A Space for Thai Bodywork!

Probably the thing I’m most excited about this month is that we are remodeling the garage apartment in our backyard to use for two purposes: guest space and Thai Bodywork sessions! Woo hoo!!!

My mom’s birthday present for me was to come over and dream up a new design for the space. My mother is an awesome interior designer (though it is not her day job – it should be!). I am so excited with how things are coming together, and I will post pictures in next month’s post. But, for now, here’s a sneak peek. My mom had the brilliant idea of using a curtain to separate the room into two spaces – one side as a guest bedroom and the other as my treatment room. The new color (river birch) is covering the old purply-blue one.

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All in all, I’d say we got pretty far in one month. I’m excited to keep plugging away and see what comes of our efforts in February. Thanks for tuning in to this part of my story – it’s helping to keep me accountable!

My name is Candace McCallister. I am the founder of Sweet Water Offering, a holistic health enterprise to support women and families to heal naturally. My background is in biology, counseling, bodywork, and nutrition. My husband and I are helping to start an intentional Christian community in Little Rock, AR. We have three lively and beautiful children.


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