Compliments of simoneladybug via Flickr

Wall to wall advertising on cell phones, TV, and flyers bombard us with images of what we presumably need. These things are many times unnecessary, overly faddish, and out of our budget.

What if you resisted the urge to buy, and instead considered your space as a personal store? I imagine that several of your items could be put to better use through re-purposing, recovering, and re-freshening.

Instead of sticking old photos in a drawer, why not mat them using a fabulous frame? Do you really need new clothes, or can you alter your current ones so that they’re more stylish and better fitting?

If you have a large space in mind, this overhaul will likely take place over a period of time; e.g., a living room restoration may take several months. This gives you plenty of time to rummage through your attic, explore the hidden recesses of your basement, and journey to the back of your closet.

Things you’ve forgotten may surprise you in a positive way; for example, those items you didn’t know you had may be the exact ones for which you’ve been looking. With a modern twist, they can become treasured items within your own home.

Sometimes re-purposing simply requires some awareness. Instead of tossing that pitiful looking plant in your garden, try a little tender loving care – weeding, feeding, pruning, replanting, or perhaps, taking better care of your things in the first place. A more proactive approach may negate remedial measures down the road. Are you regularly inspecting your home to check that everything is in order? Do you have yearly maintenance scheduled for your heating/air-conditioning, have you looked at your window caulking to check for decay, and has your brick exterior been scrutinized for issues that may become problems? When was the last time that your home was thoroughly cleaned?

In addition to “finding the unexpected,” a deep clean can keep carpets from matting, prevent potential fire hazards, reduce clutter, and ward off unwelcome six legged guests. In The Success Principles, Canfield suggests (if possible) hiring individuals to clean your home, perform household maintenance, and cut the grass. “Farming out” these mundane tasks frees you to concentrate more of your time on the business at hand, and simply to enjoy the life that you have.

Regular maintenance however involves more than a simple cleaning. Do you regularly service that tool on which you rely the most (your personal vehicle?). Routine care takes scheduling, organization, and a willingness to set aside the time (Canfield, 2005). I’m reminded of a woman who (more than forty years ago) began planting daffodils in her garden. The result of her diligence is staggering. At your own castle, are there broken items that need repair? Do you maintain your yard flagstone (to prevent crumbling), and have you engaged in yearly sealing? Letting house issues go unchecked can lower the resale value of your home, and in the worst case scenario make it seem less appealing to a potential buyer.

In the electronic realm: have you backed up your computer files and blog? Have you employed site scanning as an added prevention? Do you regularly change your passwords? Has an expert checked your machines (to ensure that they’re secure), and that they’re running at maximum throughput? Do you update virus definitions before scanning your hard drive (hopefully, on at least a weekly basis?).

On a personal note: did you make a doctor’s appointment about that nagging persistent physical ailment? If your own personal machine is not in good order, the things on this list become moot.

Preventative measures take time, but in the final analysis can help you save that essential non-renewable commodity. I think Sarah Ban Breathnach captures the essence of this sentiment: “All you have is all you need.”

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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