One sure way to create a more peaceful environment in your home is to change the way you store your electronics.
Unless you live in a spaceship (or decorate like you live in one), most electronics are in jarring contrast to their surroundings. For example, I live in an industrial style loft. My furnishings and decor are a mix of industrial and rustic. I use warm, natural colors, so the space feels comfortable and relaxing. Now, imagine a glowing computer screen, a ringing phone, or a huge flat screen television in that space. No good, right? Your home should be your oasis from stress. Take your electronics out of your bedroom and main living area. Do away with what you can and hide the rest. You’ll enjoy your home much more.
Where You Work vs Where You Relax
When I first moved to NYC, I lived in tiny apartments and had roommates. When you live like that, your “work space” tends to be in your bedroom out of necessity. Unopened mail, bills to pay (I’ll cover how to process all that in other posts), freelance work if applicable, etc… there is no way to have an oasis of calm with your “work stuff” lying around.
From the moment that I had enough space, I’ve always kept my work area separate from my bedroom. It’s amazing how much better you sleep without the mental distraction of unfinished work in the room with you. For more info on how and why this is important, Psychology Today posted an article about “Electronic Insomnia.” There’s also a good article on LifeHack about “Why Electronics Don’t Belong in Your Bedroom.”
Electronics and gadgets are a part of our lives, and they serve a purpose. I couldn’t write and publish this post without electronics (nor could you read it). I couldn’t Skype with my BFU (best friend in the universe) every night without electronics. I couldn’t watch Dr. Who without electronics! But, if you visit my loft, you won’t see any of the electronic tools that I need and use.
To TV or Not to TV
I was raised in a house with ONE television. No, we weren’t poor, nor did my parents have a problem with television as entertainment… it was just that TV only belongs in the den (or the family room as my parents call it). I remember seeing multiple TVs in my friends’ homes and thinking that was odd. Fast forward more years than I’d like to admit, and I don’t even own a television. (I can still totally do the occasional Netflix binge though. I just do it on my 10″ Chromebook.)
But What About Phones??!?
Yes, our phones are practically indispensable now. Calls, texts, email, social media… mine even tracks my sleep and wakes me up at the optimal time in the morning. So, how does this fit with my electronics-free oasis? I do two things that help. (1) I keep it on silent, for the most part. The ONLY time it makes noise is if someone on my very short list of priority (family) people calls or texts me. (2) When I go to bed at night, it is between my mattress and the edge of my platform bed where I can’t see it or easily reach it, and it is set to total silence (except for the alarm).
Do Away With What You Can & Hide the Rest
Not only do I keep my electronics and work area out of the bedroom. I’ve removed or hidden them in my home entirely. For me, doing away with TV was easy. I didn’t even own one until after I was married. When we divorced, I went back to a TV-free life. I bought a flat screen at one point, but eventually gave it away and never replaced it.
I live in an open floor plan loft. I don’t have (or want) a separate room to set up as an office, so I hide my electronics in an armoire. The top half of this armoire contains my printer/scanner, cable modem, and shredder, plus a charging area for my Chromebook, Kindle Oasis, Windows 10 laptop, phone, bluetooth headset, and my dog’s GPS tracker. It also contains paper, a box of the things that would be in a desk drawer (pens, sticky notes, stamps, paper clips, etc.), and an “inbox” area where I put receipts and documents I will deal with on the weekend.
How Can YOU Make YOUR Electronics and Work Stuff Invisible?
You don’t have to go out and buy a new piece of furniture to take the electronics out of your living space. One idea is to convert a closet into a work space. Build a shelf at desk height, organize the necessary work items and electronics in there, add a chair, and voilà it’s an office. Close the doors, and it’s out of sight out of mind. Of course these ideas only work if you’re willing to only have the bare minimum that you need.
If you’re living in a tiny space, you might do the reverse and hide your bed away from the rest of the living area. My daughter recently moved in with me temporarily, so we had to create a space for her. The open space under the mezzanine level is only about 8 feet by 10 feet, but it was empty and has 3 walls, so it was the logical choice. When she was arranging her furniture, she hung a tapestry along the side of her bed to separate her sleeping area from the rest of the room.
So, what are some ideas you have seen for eliminating the electronics from living space? Do you have a question or need help figuring out how to do this? Please comment and we’ll discuss it!