Unclutter your space, unburden your mind: Creating a Kempt Zone in your home

Unclutter your space, unburden your mind: Creating a Kempt Zone in your home

Does the thought of “becoming organized” feel like an insurmountable and unrealistic burden? It doesn’t need to be so overwhelming: start small by creating a tiny utopia of organization in your home - AKA a “Kempt Zone”.

The idea of a “Kempt Zone” struck me recently while I was struggling to keep a major part of my house organized: the dreaded basement. While my vision is for it to become a cozy den one day (read: a place for my fiance to watch football while I hog the upstairs TV), it has recently become a dumping ground for tubs, camping equipment, items to donate, plus a variety of random things I plan to deal with in the future while striving to keep the main part of the house kempt. And, right now, it’s also my primary workout space.

While the “dumping ground” started to slowly get bigger, my workout space inevitably got smaller. And, it started to accumulate dust bunnies that I couldn’t help but glare at mid-plank, mid-stretch, you name it. I found myself getting anxious as I did my workouts and even cutting some of them short because I was so frustrated by what I was seeing around me.

All I could think about while I was down there was how it had gotten this way, how hard it was going to be to make it into a cozy den, and I even thought about getting a gym membership instead even though my home basement had worked perfectly fine for me the past two years. 

Finally something so simple occurred to me: instead of rehauling the entire basement in order to continue to workout here, why couldn’t I just make this one small area manageable?

I cleaned up the dust bunnies and lightly organized the items that were starting to encroach on my area. Even though all I did was really give myself 2’ more space and eliminated some dust, my stress dissipated. I was able to focus on my workouts - and my Netflix show - without getting increasingly frustrated about my surroundings. While this was a small change, it made my mind so much lighter and enabled me to ditch the excuses and keep my routine. 

So, what’s the concept exactly…? A “Kempt Zone” is a small space in your home that you commit to consistently keeping organized. Meaning, you organize it once, and then leave it the way you found it. Always. Think of it as a little haven away from any disorganization that feels beyond your control at the moment. If you’re feeling like you just can’t muster the energy to get every room in your home “perfect” you can likely muster the energy for 5 minutes to get your little zone back to its original state and leave it the way you found it.

This isn’t a new concept, but it is so simple that it’s actually doable. I find choosing a space that you want to focus your energy on or prioritize is the most beneficial (i.e. your desk if you want a zen, productive space for work, that book you’re working on, etc.); or an area that you utilize every day that can slow you down if you get stuck looking for things (wallet, car, files, kitchen counter). You can even choose something as simple as making your bed every day, but make sure to choose something that will make a real difference (i.e. don’t pick that drawer you never use), even if small. And even if it takes some time and effort to get it organized initially, the daily maintenance of it will be that much easier.

Where can you make a small change today for a big mental lift?

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