Slow Homes

Slow TV, slow food … now people are talking about slow homes. The slow home movement is more of a lifestyle change than just a change to your dwelling, although that is a big part.

The movement encompasses simplifying, decluttering, mindfulness, and unplugging from the constant demands of your phone, TV, laptop, tablet, etc. All those time-saving devices are meant to make our lives easier, but often they just complicate things, keeping us tuned in to the outside world, and tuned out to ourselves. The slow home movement wants to stop that tuned-outness and help us focus on the things we know are important.

In your home, you should have enough space to move around freely in each room, but not more space than you actually need to live comfortably. Your kitchen should have the right amount of counter surfaces and the perfect triangle of stove-fridge-sink to make your work in there as easy as possible. Natural sunlight is hugely important, not only because it’s mood-lifting but also, practically, it can keep your heating and lighting costs down. Living in an area with a high walkability score is also encouraged.

You’ve probably heard about the “tidying up” method of decluttering your home, pioneered by Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo. A slow home needs to be decluttered, too — although maybe not quite so radically. Advocates advise you to walk around each room in your house, picking up anything and everything that doesn’t belong where it is. As you finish each room, sort the items into piles according to where they go, and put them there. For items that do not belong to you or that need to leave the house, have a special location by your door where they can be deposited, and check that place every time you leave the house.

Gratitude, recognizing your own importance, and living in the moment are all ways to approach mindfulness. When a slow home is properly set up, you should be able to appreciate the objects you possess, enjoy them fully, and be aware of your surroundings and how you relate to them. TV watching is considered “tuning out” if it’s done as background noise or just channel flipping; think about rearranging your living room to facilitate conversation and to comfortably read or listen to music. Don’t allow surfaces to accumulate piles of items that don’t belong there. Create and enjoy white space.

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