Visual (n): Seen or able to be seen by the eye.
Distraction (n.): something that diverts attention; something that interferes with concentration or takes attention away from something else.
So, a visual distraction is anything you see that diverts your attention away from something else. In your home, that can be too much stuff, stuff in the wrong place, stuff that isn't finished, and even not enough stuff or not the right stuff. Think about it. A visual distraction is a discordant note for your eyes. You "see" it all the time, to the point that you can be blinded to everything else. Alternatively, you can stop "seeing" it to the point that you don't notice it at all...no matter how big and distracting it really should be.
Think of it like this: Driving down a country road, you see trees and greenery. The occasional cow or horse brings a smile to your face. You notice more...you actually see more of what you're looking at. Looking around is actually calming. Driving in the city, on the other hand, you're bombarded by billboards, street signs, speeding cars, and storefronts. You literally can't take it all in, so you start shutting it out. You deliberately "don't see" what you're looking at because it is all too much...you simply can't process it all, so you don't. Definitely not relaxing.
The same thing happens in our homes. In our hurry-up lifestyles, clutter-filled surfaces become distractions so great we don't allow ourselves to see them out of self-preservation. The flyer from the kids' school, permission slips, homework to be looked over, the newspaper, the magazines, the stack of bills, yesterday's dishes, the overflowing trashcan, the pile of clean clothes, the pile of dirty clothes, the toys on the floor, the carpets that need to be vacuumed, the dust on the shelves, the smudges on the mirror, the cluttered bathroom counters, the dirty toilets...it all feels like too much, so we stop looking. We have to in order to go about our business with any sanity. The only problem is that eventually, as we avoid dealing with the visual distraction, the space we can still "see" becomes so small, we don't fit in it. So we head out...we shop in nice big clean stores...we eat in clean restaurants...and suddenly, are homes aren't homes anymore. They're way stations...
Now, I'm truly not OCD and no one in my family has been diagnosed ADD/ADHD (I'm not swearing that no one suffers, though.). Through trial and error, though, I have discovered that I simply cannot function in a house with a lot of visual distractions. It takes very little messiness to throw me for a loop...so, I try not to let that happen. Even more importantly, I've discovered my children function far better with orderliness...clean lines, empty surfaces, etc. For example, I can't watch a movie with my family if the room we're to sit in is messy. I can't sit down to read in a room that needs attention. I simply can't relax. I can't sit down to study in a room that is untidy. (Man, oh, man, was my house clean when I went back to school to finish my degree!) I have trouble writing blog posts if my desk is messy, even if it is messy for a good cause. (Hey, it can happen!)
For me, a harmonious home is all about minimizing visual distractions for all of us. I like to decorate with clean lines (no ruffles, please), simple patterns, and colors that flow. Let me be perfectly clear: IT IS NOT ABOUT PERFECTION. It is all about making a home that truly works for you, not one that you work around. The macaroni and cheese room was fun for the kids, but it got very tiresome very quickly. Suddenly, I realized I was working around it...I wasn't enjoying it at all...time for the orange to go. Now the room works again. Have you ever wondered why you feel so good after tackling a big clean-up project? Being productive feels good, but looking around and seeing everything in place actually calms your mind. Think about it...you know I'm right.
So, what does this have to do with Organizing Season in my house this year? Let's face it, we all have weird situations we face when attempting to organize our own homes. Each family is unique. In my case,
|I find myself amused to see hamster supplies next to cat supplies...I don't know why.|
|Cutter free...and definitely usable.|
To be continued...
Part Two: My Closet!