Empty Can Be So Fulfilling

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Did I mention that I’ve turned an entire bedroom into a closet?

Now, if you are a woman reading this, you are super jealous. Brilliant idea, you’re thinking. You want pictures and advice on how to talk your two children into sharing a room so you can do this. If you are a man, you might be thinking about how pretentious and self-absorbing this person is and that you can’t imagine any reason to read anything else this hoarder has to say. Allow me disappoint you both. I don’t have pictures or anything so profound to say that either of you should finish this post. But, I do want to explore this issue of needing more space for things I don’t deeply love.

My closet-room is full. I suspect it would be full if it were three times larger. Though I might have to shop at thrift stores to fill it, there would be this crazy obligation I’d have to fill it up.  But, it’s everywhere else in life, too. I’m uncomfortable with empty or nearly empty things. My gas tank, my shampoo bottle, my belly, my cup, my Pinterest boards, my checking account, my pantry, and the worst, the toilet paper roll. Certainly, empty is not preferable with these things. But there are other aspects of my life that could use a little less. I need to get a grip on this “fill it up” habit. Rather, I should to establish more empty or nearly empty habits instead. My attic, my garage, my calendar, my appetite, and my weekends — they all need less. Most folks would probably agree.

I’ve read several books about organizing, controlling clutter, and such. I have some kicking boards on Pinterest, a playground for people who dream. (It’s no surprise that my largest board is Style Statements.) I’m struck by how funny these sorts of things are. The underlying message is still “collect more stuff” and “here’s what to do with it.” I’ve also read blogs of minimalists and studied the concept. The problem is finding the balance that will work in conjunction with the life that you lead. Childhood Dream: I always wanted to live like the Boxcar Children. Revised Dream: I would really prefer living like the Brady Bunch. Reality: No stay-at-home mom, no Alice, no Sam the butcher, and no way they could fit the clothes of six kids in those small closets and dressers. So, here’s the rub.

I love my closet, but I should have never allowed myself to do this. I’ve given myself permission to fill ‘er up when what I really needed was to let ‘er go. In the end, stuff clutters our physical space as much as our mental, intellectual, and spiritual space. When I’m burdened, I can’t think clearly. When I’m busy, I can’t reflect like I prefer. For me, living life to the fullest might require finding ways to empty out all the clutter in my home and in my schedule, as well as in my mind and in my heart.

Or maybe I need a room in my house with nothing but a cozy chair.



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