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Asher on Aspen: Making shelter-in-place a sanctuary

Shannon Asher
Asher on Aspen
Rear View Of A Young Woman Choosing Cloth From Shelf
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

When I was a kid, my father built me an art desk. It was a makeshift station constructed out of leftover plywood and I was allowed to paint the exterior however I pleased. My parents recognized my love for art at a young age and they gifted me this desk as a creative outlet. This little 15-by-17 desk was my sanctuary. I would spend hours on end there making every arts and crafts project you can imagine.

I was a crafty kid and I always felt the need to be making something with my hands. Whether it was scrapbooking, journaling, drawing, painting, or making jewelry — I did it all. I would spend hours organizing all of my art supplies and making my space look as neat and tidy as possible. I can still vividly remember this desk as the place I would resort to whenever I needed a little “me time” away from my three older sisters.

These days, as a fully grown adult, I find myself still seeking that organized type of haven that I yearned for as a child. I have never really had the time to transform my apartment into the desired oasis that I always dreamed of. Now, with the mandatory stay-at-home orders, I find myself nesting in my home moreso than ever. I am taking delight in organizing and decorating in the way that I always dreamed.

My friends all know that I suffer from a serious self-diagnosed condition of FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s difficult for me to stay in on a Friday night and it’s almost impossible for me to pass up an invitation to indulge in a social gathering. Now, for the first time in my life, my FOMO has subsided dramatically. There is simply no fear of missing out because no one is doing anything. It’s a wonderful feeling, really. Since I can’t be social anyways, I certainly might as well invest the time in making my house a home.

I recently finished reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. This book not only motivated me to organize and tidy up, but it also showed me that a dramatic reorganization of the home can create correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. I recommend this book to anyone who is determined to get organized but doesn’t quite know where to start.

Initially, I cleared out about 50% of the clothes in my closet (which are now in bags stored in my car waiting for the Aspen Thrift Shop to reopen). The book encourages you to look at each piece of clothing you own and ask yourself if that item brings you joy. If it doesn’t bring you joy anymore, you should discard and donate. Turns out, a lot of clothes in my closet don’t bring me joy anymore and I was simply holding onto them because they were functional.

The book encourages one to organize things in categories so that it doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming.

“When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too,” Kondo states. In my opinion, having a simplified, uncluttered home is a form of self-care.

I can’t exactly explain the feeling but all I know is that when I wake up in the mornings, I feel immensely more satisfied with a tidy home. The whole world seems a bit brighter. I am finally getting around to hanging frames and posters on the walls, organizing all of my jewelry, clearing out the random things stored underneath my bed and setting up some order in the kitchen pantry.

After three weeks in quarantine, I can honestly say that it feels extremely gratifying to be this put-together. It is nice to know that everything has its place and I feel significantly more organized with not just the physical things that I own but also with my life affairs. When my home satisfies me in how it functions and how it feels and looks, then it becomes my sanctuary from the rest of the world. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a sanctuary from the rest of the world right now?


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