By Sherri Curley
“Shalom Bayit” (Hebrew) or “Shlom Bayit” (Yiddish) is a Jewish value rooted in the Talmud. Roughly it translates as “peace in the home.” More specifically, peace via domestic harmony between spouses. Let’s look at it from a broader context. We build our nests to support us, a place to seek safety and security for ourselves and our families. From moments of celebration to times of despair, our homes are our cradles of joy and comfort. Fully supported, we achieve peace, completeness, wholeness and fulfillment. The more content we are, the more our relationships thrive. Shalom Bayit.
Shalom Bayit. Hello. Welcome Home. Peace in your home. Goodbye to any and all things standing between you and a peaceful, harmonious lifestyle.
We’re spending a lot of time in our homes. Even as pandemic restrictions wind down, the “workplace of the future” for many of us will continue to be a home office or kitchen table. Our spaces enhance our productivity and creativity. At this point, it is unclear if hybrid schooling will become the “education of the future.” With so many bodies at home day and night, our storage, work and study spaces, and the flow between multiple users for multiple purposes need to be maximized for the sake of peace. This shift has caused many of us to rethink how we use every inch of space. You may have already embarked on a clear-out or two to pare down to gear up for this new way of life. You’re on your way to Shalom Bayit.
If you’re not professionally working from home, does your home bolster you in other ways? Are you able to sail through chores? Less clutter enables completing tasks quicker with greater ease and fewer four-letter words. You can get on to the next item on your to-do list or chill to refill your resource cup. Does your home nurture you? Are there comfortable, unobstructed places to relax, eat, entertain and sleep? Does your home facilitate Shalom Bayit?
In an internet search for Shalom Bayit, the spell checker suggested “shalom buy it.” I hadn’t seen that coming, although I can promise you that superfluous purchases are not the magic sauce despite what advertisers and social media lead us to believe. I’ve worked with enough clients to know that things are rarely the keys to peace. In fact, quite the opposite. Excess leads to higher levels of stress, confusion, irritation, overwhelm, budget depletion, productivity impediments and contention between family members or roommates. I’ve worked in situations where one partner was given an ultimatum to clean up or clear out – not a pleasant experience. One recipe for Shalom Bayit is to buy what you need and if your budget and storage space allows, purchase the things that enliven your spirit. Peace and harmony originate from within, not from the mall or online marketplaces. Unfortunately, we can’t buy Shalom Bayit.
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of minimizing, simple living and arranging furniture and décor to realize greater balance and flow. When barriers are removed, energy is harnessed, and harmony is created between the home environment and those dwelling within. As in the principles of Feng Shui, Shalom Bayit is attainable through simplicity and clearing away physical and mental clutter.
When our home is out of balance, our physical and emotional life also become unbalanced. Chaotic piles and clutter lead to safety hazards, visual overwhelm and tension in relationships. Productivity is hampered by items lost among the morass and time-wasting searches. Well-being suffers from stressful surroundings. Moderation is fundamental to flow, focus, optimal health, prosperity and serenity. We strive to maintain a healthy body weight to move with ease, live each day with vitality, and feel content in our skin. We feel better. Being mindful of the weightiness of our homes helps us achieve harmony safely, visually, kinesthetically, productively and relationally within our surroundings. Shalom Bayit.
Sherri Curley, aka The Practical Sort, is a home organizer, organizing motivator, speaker and writer at The Practical Sort Eco-Organizing Solutions. Based on her personal experiences with ADHD and her professional tools, she adores sharing her passion for organizing through adult ADHD obstacles and simplifying lifestyles via practical, eco-friendly solutions. She worked for the EPA during the early days of grassroots recycling, and works with her clients to reduce, reuse and recycle. Follow her weekly practical tips and monthly blog at ThePracticalSort.com.