Keep Some Empty Space in Your Life

Having just come back from a long weekend’s skiing, my unpacking method was to throw most of my ski gear into an empty drawer in the closet, ready to be packed again in a couple of weeks, if and when we decide to revisit the soft spring snow.

Yes, you read that correctly: I have an empty drawer in my closet, which lurks vacuously for most of the year, but is brought into service for occasions like this. I also have an empty section in our dining room cabinet, so that our unattractive paper recycling can be hidden from guests.  If they’re overnight guests, they benefit from the empty drawer and hanging space in their bedroom. And the very top shelves of some of my kitchen cabinets are… well, empty.

Slider puzzle available from Therpsajik, Etsy

Slider puzzle available from Therpsajik, Etsy

The point I’m making is that life is a whole lot easier if you can afford to leave just a little empty space, to call upon when needed.  Just like the plastic puzzles I used to play with as a child, sometimes you need to rearrange your picture, and it can be really hard if there isn’t a spare slot to work with.

If every available space in your home is jammed full of belongings, this may seem like a distant and wholly impractical idea.  But for those of you who already have your stuff somewhat under control, try creating – and maintaining – a bit of spare space, and see how it makes you feel.

The same principle, of course, applies in not packing your schedule so full that you have no room for emergencies, or to stop and smell the roses.  On that note, I really enjoyed this White Space article by organizer and productivity trainer Margaret Lukens.

Is empty space a reality in your life, or just a distant dream?

If you would like friendly, confidential Professional Organizing help to turn chaos into calm, contact me to take the first step toward a sorted, stylish space.

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6 Responses to Keep Some Empty Space in Your Life

  1. Claudia says:

    This is such a good idea!

  2. Shelley says:

    There isn’t a great deal of empty space, I must admit. However, in my wardrobe there are two spaces (labelled ‘underlinen’ – I bought the wardrobe at an antique shop). I keep all my sweaters folded up in one of the cubicles and move them to the other as I’ve worn them. Any that don’t get moved get donated to charity. So it’s empty space, but not. I do manage to give guests an empty drawer for the time they are here, but I can’t off hand think of any other empty spaces. We seem to have the mindset that they must all be filled, which is very strange when you think of it…

  3. Pauline – I’m about to reorganize my kitchen cupboards and now the wheels are turning…

    Shelley – that is a fantastic idea! I’ve read of a similar tactic where people turn their hangers around and switch them when they wear something to keep track of what does and doesn’t get worn, but this is great for things you can’t hang up!

  4. Agreed – Shelley, that’s an excellent idea. “Underlinen” sounds very chic, too. :)

  5. Bromeliad says:

    I totally believe in that. Empty slots on the shoe shelf. Empty hangers in the closet. Empty drawers. Otherwise where do you stick your great new stuff?

  6. I love this idea, and I am in awe of you for maintaining empty space in several places in your home. I remember you talking about the empty drawer when you talked about international travel, and I secretly wondered, “Could that really be a lasting thing, that empty drawer, or just an unsustainable passing fancy?” So I’m doubly impressed that you truly keep some space empty!

    Any empty space seems wholly unattainable in our jam-packed condo, but I have been getting better at leaving some empty time space, especially on the weekends. That does not come naturally to me, so I give myself a big pat on the back when I can leave an entire Sunday unscheduled.

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