Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Organization category.

IS There a such thing as HOME ANXIETY?: Working towards more home organization

Your closet does not have to be this organized to be functional

Your closet does not have to be this organized to be functional

While waiting at the pharmacy I started to browse through Organizing Magic: 40 Days to a Well-Orderer Home and Life, a book by Sandra Felton The Organizer Lady. After five minutes of reading I was nodding my head with both interest and agreement. In multiple ways Felton was arguing that there is a deep connection between our homes and our inner feelings. She was exploring the kind of disorganization that debilitates our lives (and our interaction with others).

In the section that I skimmed Felton discussed how people come to feel ashamed of messy homes or even homes that they consider to be shabby in comparison to other people. Sometimes people begin to become extremely insular out of fear of being judged because of their home.

After I left the pharmacy I began to reflect on Felton’s ideas and to think of ways to categorize what I will call home anxiety. Of course, home anxiety cannot be attributed to everyone. First, there are those of us who are more nomadic which lessens the time spent on cultivating home spaces. For these folks their home is more of resting place in between new sights and adventures. Secondly, there are other people who enjoy their privacy and who believe that our tents should remain separate.

Yet, there are those who have a genuine fear of letting people venture into their home space out of feeling of inadequacy. This group desires to connect with others and to share but are reluctant to do so for a number of reasons.

I personally love to invite friends and families into my home for special occasions, for barbeques or for potluck dinners in order to catch up with each other. I live in a very modest older home. Alhamdulilah, I have people in my life who make me feel at ease in my home so that I can be a proper hostess.

Home anxiety is largely about trust.

Felton suggest that one way to move towards inviting people into your home is to build relationships of trust. I think that one of the rewards of inviting a friend, a sister from the masjid or another couple into your home space is the ability it has to deepen friendships. Whether you are offering a simple cup of tea or a more elaborate meal there is something about the act of sharing that often symbolizes a more profound act of love.

Of course, it is important to understand the boundaries involved and adab of being both a host/hostess, as well as a visitor. If you are feeling a little less than confident as a host/hostess it might do you well to spend some time searching for the source of your home anxiety and then making small steps to increase your level of home comfort.

*Try to learn the proper adab of being a host and visitor. Read Qur’an and Hadith in order to reflect on how to build trusting relationships. Also consider secondary resources. The Importance of Sisterhood in Islam by Ruqaiyah Abdullah offers useful tips on visiting homes and sharing between sisters.

*If a messy or extremely disorganized home is the central issue remember that small strides go a long way. You might begin by confronting a closet. Then a bookcase. Then an entire room. It does not have to happen overnight. Consult secondary sources like Felton’s books or visit her Messy Anonymous website. Read articles on home organization. If your budget allows you might want to hire a professional home organizer. **Remember organization is a FAMILY AFFAIR! Everyone should take responsibility for keeping the home in better shape.

*Work what you got! We are bombarded with images of fantastic homes. From Italian marble counter tops to home theater systems-there is an increasing home improvement market. Masha’Allah some of us are already living in our dream home while others of us are still aspiring. Whether you are living in a studio or five bedroom colonial it is important is to embrace your home. Embrace your own sense of style and use it to create a space of peace and beauty, Insha’Allah. From thrift store curtains to eccentric throw rugs-small accents can make all of the difference. Learn to listen to your inner designer!

*Your intentions and your heart make any gathering a success. Any small extension of brotherly or sisterly warmth is needed and often greatly appreciated.

(c) Baitunjamil 2008