“Putter, verb: “To occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner doing a number of small tasks, not concentrating on anything in particular; to move or go in a casual, unhurried way: to loiter”.
The grace of a day of puttering – really, can anything beat it? It’s one of my favorite ways to attend to life. And I especially like to putter around my home. You might wonder what the heck I’m talking about – or you may get it completely! But read on, I’d like to share with you The Sacred Art of Puttering.
Setting aside a day to tend to your life is such a blessing in our hurried and full of distractions world. You can focus, go slowly, attend to the details with pleasure. Puttering as a practice allows you to comfort your home – and receive comfort from it in return. It is grounding in a profound way. Grounding into your life, the people you love, the environment that supports you, and the small rituals that delight and assuage. It is a luxury to not be goal-oriented, but to still be focused and attentive, loving.
Today, I really enjoyed a day to tend my home and home life, which has been neglected lately. I also needed to ground myself in what is true and what matters to me, and puttering around the house is the perfect way to do that! Tending to your life is such a pleasure when you just slow down and take your time. Below you’ll find some ideas for puttering – but of course it’s a very personal practice and it’s always best to putter from the heart!
- I like to set a bit of atmosphere for my puttering. It’s very easy to default to get-it-done mode and become efficient and rushed – that is really anti-puttering! We are loitering here! And I find the right props help me loiter and be desultory in a pleasant manner with greater ease. Some ideas: Music is my favorite tool. I play a bit of Blossom Dearie or Madeleine Peyroux to get me in the mood! Light some candles or the fireplace. Or fill a diffuser with a favorite, peaceful scent.
- You could choose a surface that has been bothering you and just take everything off. Clean it, revel in it, and then replace the items as feels good to you. This is not about decluttering (though you may indeed get rid of a few things, or put them away), it’s about the enjoyment of creating a space that supports you functionally and delights you visually. Really it’s just play! No thinking too hard, or worrying what others will think, no stress. Clear, clean, replace with love.
- You could do laundry like it’s delicious. If you hate laundry then, of course, skip this one! But I find I hate laundry mostly because I try to cram it in between 20 other things, so I don’t do it with care and attention. But let’s say you took time sorting and handling your things, attending to stains and tears. After you put in a load, you might sit down and read a magazine, or have a quiet cup of coffee in your favorite chair, dance to music, or take a stroll. And when the timer goes off you calmly, slowly, with pleasure, change the load to the dryer, or hang things up, or take the next step – whatever that is – with care and love. Enjoy the scent of warm clothes straight from the dryer, the softness as you fold them, and the simple steps of putting them away in ways that make choosing clothing, or towels, or sheets a joy. You may find a new appreciation for your things – or find they no longer work for you and need to be replaced. The point is not to get it done (laundry, as you know, is never done!), but to enjoy it as a practice.
- One of my favorite puttering practices is to move things around. This could simply be changing things out seasonally. Today I took great pleasure in hanging my Valentines’ wreath on the front door! And over the next week I’ll be making things to decorate and add romance and color to our home. I also like to consider what I want at this time of year – soft velvet pillows, cozy and sensual throws, pretty tablecloths, lots of candles, and room to work on inside projects. In the summer I like clean surfaces, less rugs about, shiny windows, crisp cotton pillows in bright colors, etc. You might put some of your lovely objects away and bring others out. I keep a cabinet with favorite things to rotate in and out as I like. You can even move furniture (oh, how I love to move furniture!) and create a more beautiful and/or functional layout for your home. OK, this gets a bit more involved…but still is very satisfying puttering.
- I also putter with things like papers and financial projects. These of course have more of a real process and goal, but I like to keep the spirit of puttering. Basically – I act like this is the most delightful thing I have to do, and that I want to offer it all of the time and attention it needs. Not being a numbers or detail girl, I have much of my life felt stressed about and put off these types of tasks. I can’t tell you how much it changes when you decide to do something from a place of peace and openness, vs lack and strain!! Go figure…
The truth is puttering doesn’t require anything but a willingness to spend some time enjoyably engaged with small tasks of any kind. You can putter in the garden, at the library, in the grocery store. It’s like a vacation from being “on task” and efficient. It feels good, it lets your mind wander to lovely things, to what you want, and changes you’d like to make. It is creative and open-ended. It is a release. I’ve written about puttering before – so you know it’s good! :). You can read that post right here.
I hope you have a delicious day and spend some time puttering. Please let me know if you did!! I We fellow putterers must support each other! You could set up a time to tell me all about it here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Sacred Puttering!