Home can be many things: where your family is, where your friends are, where your duffel bag sits on the bed. As for the home you come back to every day, though, whether it’s from a long night out with friends or a stressful day at work, it should give you a sense of relief and serenity.  Here’s some ideas on how to create that effect in your home:

  • Nothing says restful like having your living space totally organized. Before you rush out and buy shelves and baskets galore, take some time to figure out what you can get rid of (by recycling, tossing or donating), what’s left to sort and how best to arrange it. Just because your BFF sorts her socks by color doesn’t mean you should. Julie Morgenstern’s “Organizing From the Inside Out” is excellent for figuring out how to organize your space in a way that’s organic to you: organized chaos or spare simplicity?

  • Hear that? The leaky faucet you still haven’t fixed? And that breeze coming from the window screen that’s come loose? Now’s the time to get it done. Whether you do it yourself or call in reinforcements, you’ll feel better knowing they aren’t laying in wait to pounce on you, a la Hobbes, as soon as you come in the door.

  • It can be fun to be an impromptu hostess, but if you’re tired of your home being the go-to place for spontaneous get-togethers, or if there’s a friend or family member who drops by unannounced just a little too often, it’s time to set some boundaries. While it’s great that they feel comfortable in your home, you can’t be a happy hostess if you’re stressed and even the most social creatures need some alone time once in a while.

  • Meditation isn’t just for yogis and Buddhists. Find a spot in your living space that is either unused or can be repurposed for a meditation space: it doesn’t have to be huge. The key is to start from scratch and consciously add elements that bring you peace.  Natural objects add a breath of life, but a sumptuous piece of fabric could be just right.  One thing to leave out: photos of friends and family.  This is a space for solitary thinking, to give back to yourself.

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If you try nothing else and still want to transform your home into a restful retreat, remember Mariel Hemingway’s advice (yes, those Hemingways):

“Keep your sacred space sacred. If your home does not have a feeling of celebration, love, and comfort, then you must create it. Simply change the way things are. Find places in your home that feed your inner voice and create an environment that supports you.”

Photo credit: Michael Bentley