Wait, what? Talk to my house? This is a crazy topic and I am fully aware of it. Most people I know don’t talk to their houses, but many of us surely talk about our houses, and often this talk takes a form of complaint or resentment: “I can’t fit anything into this rabbit hole”, “this house is too big, it takes up all my free time to maintain it”, “I can’t wait to move” and so on. You get the idea.
I was no different. I whined about how we need an extra bedroom, about bad air quality and dust on the window ceilings because of two constructions outside, and my favorite pet peeve: “why does a 2 bedroom apartment need 9 windows, which I need to wash, if it does not provide enough day light anyway?”
My perspective on how I feel about my home changed completely when I took a 3 day Kon Mari Consultant training seminar earlier this month. At some point we started discussing how a Kon Mari consultant would greet a client’s home. When Marie Kondo, the Japanese author of the Kon Mari home organization method, visits her client’s home, she takes a moment to greet the house. She kneels on the floor, folds her hands in front of her, bows and addresses the house either out loud or silently. There is no script for what to say but it might go something like this, “Hello house, thank you for having me. I am excited to be here right now. Please guide me and [client’s name] to help us find the perfect place for every item and restore order and joy”.
Most homeowners are greatly surprised to see this kind of respect paid to the house they might have secretly (or openly) resented. This ritual is incorporated into practicing Kon Mari method for a reason. It teaches showing respect for our possessions, including those we decide to part with. All things we own come into our life for a reason and most of them serve us diligently by supporting us in our daily life. Just think about your work bag or your favorite pair of jeans. Even those items that we end up not wanting, teach us what we don’t need or don’t like.
Extending this sense of appreciation from our possessions to our houses is only natural. There is probably a very good reason why you decided to move into the place where you live now and unless you are already in transition and planning to move, your house is perfect for where you are in your life right now and it’s doing a pretty good job protecting you and giving you a personal space to be.
Thinking of this, I decided to write down everything I like about our 2 bedroom co-op apartment that my husband and I own and I easily listed 30+ things I appreciate about it. I started with “great layout” and “close to the beach” and ended with “blessed with great neighbors” and “our daughter is growing up here and she feels happy here”.
As I was writing, more fond memories rushed in. I remembered our moving day. While my husband was finishing packing at the old place, I took the stroller with my 2-month daughter and went to the new apartment by foot because it was only 15 minutes away. I walked into our new home, where everything was just beautifully renovated and cleaned and where no furniture or boxes arrived yet. I remember wondering what kind of life we will have here and how many happy moments are bound to happen inside these walls as our daughter grows up.
If you catch yourself feeling annoyed with your house for whatever reason, I invite you to change perspective and start having a little talk with your house as you go about your life. Say good-bye when you leave in the morning and smile at it when you come home. Take a moment to feel how good it is to be back home at the end of a long work day or after you were away on a trip. Ask your house for guidance with big projects like remodeling, home organization, and decorating or when you need to heal and find space and time to self-reflect. Allow your house to serve you and support you. This will create better energy for everyone in your household.