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Is Your Home Your Haven?

March 12, 2011

Is Your Home Your Haven?

Definition of HAVEN (Merriam Webster)

1 : harbor, port
2 : a place of safety : refuge

I would like to preface this post with everyone’s haven is different. One person may find energy and peace in a disheveled home – another may need feng shui and coordinating colors.  Creating a haven is more than coordination and simplicity.  For me a haven is a place where my family can find refuge, safe harbor, a  sanctuary from the chaotic and fast-paced world, a place of  that supports and nurtures my family and hospitality.

If disorganization is a sign of genius, then call me Albert Einstein! Dishes half done, ‘Mount Laundry’ soaring tall and proud on our love seat, bathroom half cleaned, bills splayed across the kitchen table awaiting attention, children’s toys in various states of disorganization thrown into bins. Let’s not forget the scarf, birthday  bunting, and other partially completed crafts lying in wait.

Standing in my truth : the top of our bedroom dresser has not seen the light of day in over a year. Why? Because it is covered with clutter.

(I went back and forth about posting this picture as it is a private and embarrassing place for me. No one needs to see this. Normally, I simply shut our bedroom door and the mess is out of sight. I don’t want to keep my doors shut anymore.)

Clutter, clutter everywhere!

In my opinion, my home is not my haven. It  is a wreak! There is no corner of solace, no tiny parcel of peace and organization – this excludes a freezer  bin full of perfectly neat cubes of  food purees. But it’s hard to get cozy with ice cubes – though I will admit to opening up the freezer, just to look at them in times of frustration and thinking,

“At least these are neat, organized, and in control.”

All this clutter creates chaos in my space and comes in many forms — physical, mental and emotional. Each day more of it enters my home and my life (like junk mail or unwanted gifts from grandparents), and costs myself and my family much more than we realize.

Home should be a sanctuary from the chaotic and fast-paced world, a place of  that supports and nurtures my family.

Removing clutter is one of the most important moves I can make to open our family’s life to hospitality, decrease daily stress, and make space for our dreams and desires.

What is clutter?

  • (n.) Clatter; confused noise.
  • (n.) To clot or coagulate, as blood.
  • (v. t.) To crowd together in disorder; to fill or cover with things in disorder; to throw into disorder; to disarrange; as, to clutter a room.
  • (v. i.) To make a confused noise; to bustle.
  • (n.) A confused collection; hence, confusion; disorder; as, the room is in a clutter. Source
  • Clutter, meaning to clot or coagulate, functions in our space much like a blood clot in our body. Cutting off circulation – creating chaos and disharmony in our lives.

    Clutter, meaning confused noise, functions in our space as much like static on a television – drowning out the true voice of our desires and our hearts.


    Think back to a time when your home was your haven?

    How long ago was it? Has your home EVER been your haven?

    I had to think hard and l o n g on this one.

    During my adult life there are a couple times I can remember creating a haven (in at least part of my home). One place shines especially bright in my memory – my fully furnished apartment on Lake Calhoun during a travel nurse assignment. At this time nearly all of my belongings were in storage. In my possession were ONLY the items I needed. I remember loving the simplicity of this living space. A place for everything, and everything in its place. This home apartment was my haven.  I felt peace. I could relax.

    During my childhood, I can’t remember more than two or maybe three times when I would have considered our home a haven. There are many reasons, but I don’t feel like going there, not now. Mainly we moved – a lot! We never unpacked completely. There were always boxes everywhere of our “stuff”. I would often think,

    “Why? Why do we have all this stuff if we are never going to unpack it?”  “Why can’t our home be put together like my friend’s homes?”

    So, I would often escape to my friends homes. I remember relaxation came easily in places other than my own home.

    Somethings never change. I find myself repeating history. I find myself living out of those damn boxes (even if the boxes are metaphorical).

    Why can’t I unpack? Why can’t I just settle in? Why is this SO hard for me to feel “home”? The answers to these questions are not easy, nor do I really know the answers.

    What I do know is this:

    I find it very difficult to relax in my home. I find myself escaping to friends homes or just out. To breathe. To relax. I ask myself, “Why can’t my home be put together like my friend’s homes?”

    So…Why can’t it?

    I need to stop making excuses such as : When we move into a bigger place my home will be organized.  When the kids are bigger my home will be neater.  When I don’t work as much I will have the time and energy to organize our home.

    They are all excuses and excuses are emotional clutter.

    The time is now, the day is here!

    According to Andrea Gerasimo of  Third Mountain :

    “The process of beginning actually generates more energy for continuing the process. Learn how to begin! That’s the key. It is similar to the way a river comes into existence. The river doesn’t just show up one day. A drop of water creates a little groove in the soil, which then collects more water, which then creates a larger groove, and so on.”

    Join me on this journey to find peace, home, and ultimately a haven for my family and for myself.


    Do you have clutter issues?

    Have you overcome clutter (physical or emotional) to create a haven in your home?

    Please share your wisdom and insights. Thanks.

    (Several phrases and ideas for this post were inspired by Third Mountain -Thank you!)

    3 : a place offering favorable opportunities or conditions
    2 Comments leave one →
    1. March 23, 2011 3:29 pm

      Hi Kristina-

      I really enjoyed reading this article and it came exactly at the time I needed to read it. A few months I finally had had it and decided that I need to evaluate where my priorities were. So to answer your questions:

      Do you have clutter issues? On my goodness definitely. Having two young children I don’t think any parent can honestly say they don’t. And emotional clutter comes with being a parent as well. At least for me finding a balance between motherhood and life can be difficult.

      Have you overcome clutter to create haven in your home? Not yet but I am working on it. Some of the ways are clearing material things we don’t use or need anymore and converting a space in our home specifically for the kids so their toys aren’t everywhere. Does this work all the time? Nope, but it does help. Our home is not large and storage is very limited so we have to be creative.

      One thing I’ve found is that I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and can’t seem to focus well when my home feels out of place. When I begin to feel this way I simply have to step back and say it’s only for a season and my husband and children are most important in my life. I’ve developed a cleaning schedule that has really helped. Example; Mondays are bathrooms, Tuesday’s I vacum, Wens I wash the floors..ect.. you get the point. This may seem more difficult but it has honestly made a world of difference. Staying on top of things is much easier done in segments.

      Emotional clutter is much more difficult to change. All I can say is this is a work in progress. Getting enough sleep and eating healthy really helps. 🙂 Realizing I am only human and life will always have “to do” lists but at the end of the day appreciating my life is a great start.


    2. March 26, 2011 10:01 am

      This struggle is what hinders our creativity most..Structured Creativity.In order to think clearly and creatively corralling the clutter is essential. If youre on a computer this means closing applications that arent going to be used.

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