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Setting up a Cozy Reading/Writing Space

Where do you do get lost in a good book?

Picture of a desk, small bookcase, & futon
My Home Office

Perhaps you have an old lounge chair in a corner by a window in your home to get lost in a story for hours. Or maybe you have a favorite coffee shop where you sit and write while you watch others wander in and out getting their morning dose of caffeine. Maybe you're one who reads or writes anywhere the mood strikes you.

For most of us, our environment matters. Writers find their productivity boosted when surrounded by certain scenery, in certain weather (for me it's rain), or in a certain type of chair. Even enjoying a good book requires a setting conducive to concentrating on nothing

but the imagined worlds the authors have penned.

Where do you enjoy your books?

I recently asked this question on social media and most people responded that they prefer to read in a cozy spot at home compared to out at a park, a café, or anywhere else. It can be relaxing sitting in your own home in your favorite, comfy spot, reading a relaxing book. But how do you begin setting up a cozy space?

In the picture above, I recently redesigned my home office to try to make the room a little cozier. I had no choice but to redesign my room after a pipe burst back in January and once I did one room, I was on a roll and off clearing clutter in my whole house. I can't stay that I know the perfect home organizing secrets, but I think the space is cozier now than it was before.

The futon was previously located right near the door, (I took the picture from the doorway) which partly blocked the entrance. According to feng shui, blocking entrances is detrimental to the energies in the room. Feng Shui also says that main sections of the room, such as desks or sofas, should face the door to allow energies to move into and through the room directly to you.

My treadmill and other clutter
Hidden Space in My Office

While the room is a snug space, I was able to section my workspace and my leisure space so that the small white bookcase contains work-related books. The closet is actually where my printer and other office materials are located (it's a little messy as I'm still decluttering that space). And there's a brown bookcase behind the door containing leisure reading and board games, then a window, and then my futon, where I can sit and read.

What's being blocked from view is a treadmill and packages of old items I'm selling on eBay (anyone need any good 90's dvds and books?). Feng Shui would probably say that blocking off any area of the room blocks energy, so I guess my technique of just hiding these things isn't perfect. Still, I'm working on my spring cleaning, and I'm getting better at it one room at a time.

How to make a Cozy Spot at Home

Step 1: Clear Clutter

Minimalism and Feng Shui agree that clutter affects and reflects our state of mind. In feng shui, there's a belief that clutter blocks our energy. In Psychology, clutter often arises out of a stressed state of mind and clearing clutter can help one's focus. Extreme clutter, especially to the extent of hoarding, might be a sign of anxiety. Holding onto object because you "might need it one day," as pointed out in several books on tidiness, comes primarily from a fear of scarcity.

How much clutter should you clear? Ideally, throw out every unnecessary thing until everything you keep has it's own space.

Step 2: Find a place for everything

This is the time to figure out where everything goes. Have you ever taken a bunch of books out while trying to find a book you know is sitting in a pile somewhere on your shelves? Then, when you go to put them away, you don't know where to put it back in all the mess. The best way to resolve this is to make sure you have a place for everything.

When it comes to books, you can organize them by topic, author name, and/or title. But even these methods sometimes fail us. After years as an elementary school teacher, I learned that, especially when you have bookshelves for children, it's hard to keep books organized. Eventually, I resorted to putting stickers on books and buying bins of a corresponding color for the books to go in, so that students knew where to put things away and I could find the books I needed when I needed them.

If you have a bookshelf just for yourself, you can organize with bookends to keep books separated and in their proper place. For me, the best way to keep organized is to only buy physical copies of books I want to re-read or might need for reference. As much as I love holding a book in my hands, I love having a huge kindle library without adding any clutter to my home.

When you have fewer items in your home, everything has its own space. Once you have a place for everything, you no longer have to worry about losing objects. Organizing become a cinch, and life becomes that much easier.

Step 3: Choose Economic Furniture

One of the things I love about my room is my chair. I'm a petite person, so those big office chairs never work for me. I find that I can't adjust them to the right height, the arms don't fit under my desk, and/or my back starts hurting after a while due to bad posture. Not just for writing, but for reading, too, its important to choose the right furniture. Good seating, end tables within reach, lamps or lighting that don't strain your eyes and even placing your most often read books at eye level on your bookshelf, can make a difference on your reading enjoyment.

Step 4: Separate Spaces around Your Lifestyle

One quirk of mine is that I love a lap desk for working and/or reading on the couch. In fact, I have two wooden lap desks with legs that pull out so that I can work comfortably on either my living room sofa or the futon in my office. But there is danger in not separating work and leisure spaces in your home. When you work in the same places where you read for fun, you'll find your mind drifting to work topics when you're trying to relax or vice versa when trying to work. I find that a simple fix is to only write for fun or do simple, relaxing work (like making the crosswords for The Cozy Mystery Library) while sitting on of the couch, which I don't really count as working. Yes, it's not a perfect solution, but my one rule is not to bring any work in my bedroom, so that work can never interfere with my sleep.

Step 5: Don't Focus on Perfection

No one is (that I know) has zero clutter and nothing but serene set-ups in their home. Perfection is not the focus, though. The focus is peace of mind. So, let your home be a work in progress and enjoy the process of creating a cozy home. And when you're in your cozy spaces, just let yourself get lost in the moment.

How do you set up cozy spaces in your home? Do you have any tips for home organizing? Comment or join the conversation on social media.

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