See space. Fill that space … Not! by Nicole V

By Nicole V

We said goodbye to an old friend yesterday. It was a hi-fi system that had served us faithfully for many years.

I was with my then-boyfriend (now husband) when he purchased it and – as it was large and really heavy – I remember us taking a cab back to his place and watching him set it up in his room. After we got married, it moved with us to 3 different homes and brought us countless hours of enjoyment and relaxation (thank you, Old Faithful!). After working tirelessly for so long, it finally gave up the ghost and my husband dismantled it and it left our home soon after – I’m blessed to have a husband who doesn’t let things sit around long enough to become clutter.

The corner where it used to stand is now bare and each time I walk in and out of our living room, my eyes are invariably drawn to the emptiness. We have no desire to fill the space with something else or to shuffle our furniture around to fill the space. I feel that when space opens up in our home, it should be left alone – as far as possible – to just be. Our home needs breathing space as much as we do and we love the calm and peace of an uncluttered home. I have been in cluttered environments before and have often felt like the figure in Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream’, as all I wanted to do was to turn and run … fast.

Throughout our decluttering journey, we have felt the impact of pockets of space opening up in our home, and this has energized us and helped to keep up the momentum of weeding out the superfluous. It is amazing how a room can be refreshed, not by adding furniture or tchotchkes, but by removing unnecessary furniture and stuff, and just keeping those things that we love, need and use. The French novelist Antoine de Saint-Exupery said that “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”.

I have often wondered about human attitudes and behaviour towards space. I have come across people who simply seem unable to leave any space bare and must find something – anything – to fill it up with. It is almost as if an empty space is a blight on the landscape or an affront to the eyes. “Nature abhors a vacuum”, Aristotle said. Sometimes I wonder if human beings are the ones who abhor a vacuum more. Ah, well, different strokes for different folks, I guess.

The concept of space – whether white, positive or negative – plays an important role in design, art, sculpture, music and photography. White space plays an essential role as an element of design that helps to convey the message and make it easier for that message to be processed and understood. Think of your favourite book or magazine – how enjoyable a read would it be if it had been printed with no line or paragraph spacing whatsoever?

Positive and negative space usually refer to the subject and the space that surrounds the subject in an image respectively. Negative space is important as it serves to define the boundaries of positive space and highlight it. The Dutch artist M. C. Escher is known for cleverly blurring the transformation between positive and negative space in ‘Sky and Water’ and many of his other works. But I digress. People perceive space differently – when you look at the image of ‘Rubin’s Vase’, do you see the white vase or the faces in black first? Do you see the old lady or the young lady first, when you look at the optical illusion of ‘The hag and the beauty’? And when you look at an empty corner in your home, do you see breathing space or space to be filled?

John Ruskin said that “There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it”. Music is not just about the notes – the silences or spaces between the notes also play a part in the beauty of the composition, giving meaning and adding depth to the melody. Without these pauses, all we would hear is noise. Similarly, a cluttered home can result in a cacophony of “visual noise” instead of a “visual melody”. How can treasured items stand out if there is a veritable babel of “visual noise” emanating from all the clutter in the negative space?

The following quote by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu beautifully illustrates the essence of empty space:

Thirty spokes meet in the hub, but the empty space between them is the essence of the wheel.

Pots are formed from clay, but the empty space within it is the essence of the pot.

Walls with windows and doors form the house,but the empty space within it is the essence of the home.

What part does empty space play in the essence of your home?

P/S: In case you were wondering, we have an existing hi-fi system at home that has stepped up to the plate, so the music plays on. We think Old Faithful would approve.

Today’s Mini Mission

Find something in your linen closet that you haven’t used for three months and let it go.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

Sort every little thing into your recycling bin that you can. What hasn’t been refused, reduced or reused should be recycled for the good of the environment.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


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  • Experiment with going without Sometimes, when it comes to the stuff around our homes, we continue to own things just because we always have. To have them has literally become a habit. Fortunately any habit that has […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. This is exactly how I feel about empty space that people always question in my home. I say ‘I have empty space so that it highlights my items’. Without empty space, where is your eye going to look? Empty space is also a ‘breath of fresh air’ between items.

    • “Empty space is also a ‘breath of fresh air’ between items” – that’s a nice way of putting it, Victoria.

  2. Excellent post Nicole V. Beautifully written!

    My hubby and I love our almost decluttered home and the space it has created. We sold most of our bulky furniture and only have enough to suit our simpler lifestyle. I received lots of kitchen appliances as wedding gifts but to be honest, I’m not a great cook, so I stick to simple and easy recipes that we both enjoy with basic ingredients. So I gave away most of it. I struggled constantly for counter space in the kitchen in the past. But now I have figured out through trial and error what works for me and I love my sparse kitchen where I can see everything clearly and the best part is I use every single item. The same applies to every room in our home and with all that space cleaning is a breeze and it is a task I no longer dread.

  3. It is a goal of mine to have more empty, “breathing” space in each room. The living room is pretty good, but the TV room is stacked with bookshelves, entertainment devices and the computer/ office zones. Its functional but oh so busy! I recently took a couple bags of DVDs to a music shop and “traded” them for store credit. I now have far fewer DVDs and 8 new vinyl records! We just recently revived the old record player and are thoroughly enjoying it as a screen-less form of entertainment.
    Also less books (finally admitting there are some I will never make the time to read). And cookbooks are almost obsolete thanks to the internet (kept the family favourites though).
    The biggest change is in the furniture!
    In the last month I have sold and given away several large pieces and they won’t be replaced!

    • I wish you well in achieving your goal, creativeme … you seem to be off to a good start.

  4. Great post! Love everything you said! My old stereo recently gave out as well, the replacement is much smaller, more compact. Still have the music, but more open space.

    • Thank you, Deanna! “Still have the music, but more open space” – gotta love that!

  5. Wow Nicole, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, you write so beautifully!

    Thanks to you I am thinking about space in a whole new light now.
    I tended to see space as a void – something to be filled. From now on I will think about it as the essence of my home, and the music in my soul.

    Right now I look around me and see the noise – it’s time to go make some melody!

  6. Nicole V, this is a great post and you do a great job of writing. One of the things I really like is that we have space from moving out furniture. We gave away the sofa and didn’t replace it. We don’t miss it. At some point if we stayed in this place we would have bought a nice chair to go there. Since we are going to be moving we are neither of us going to get a couch. I love space.

  7. One year we replaced the flooring in our living room and dining room. After the new flooring was all laid down and the rooms were still empty I just couldn’t get over how much nicer it looked empty, with no furniture or stuff. I wanted to leave it that way! That was over 10 years ago and I still remember the picture in my mind of how nice it was empty. My husband made me put the furniture back in though because he is not flexible enough to sit on the floor! 🙂

    • Those empty rooms seem to have made an indelible impression on you, Claire. Did you return all the furniture to the rooms or were you able to edit some?

      • I can’t remember for sure Nicole! I’m pretty sure most of the furniture ended up going back in place. That was before we became empty nesters so we still had a full house and frequent company and were using lots of furniture. I don’t think that we have any of that furniture now though…..still have living room furniture but it is fewer pieces.

  8. Several years ago my stereo went out also. I decided to go with an I-pod & Bose which take up much less room. Like you I love the empty space. People remark about how empty or bare my rooms look, I just smile say I like it that way! People marvel that I have 3+ empty closets. But, I have to work to keep it that way. Keep up the great work and the thought provoking posts!

    • Thank you, Calla! Yes, it takes work to get decluttered and stay that way. But it’s worth it.

  9. I too enjoyed every word you wrote Nicole V. Thank You.
    Cheers

  10. This was such an interesting and beautifully written post Nicole V, thank you! I really like the quotations you chose (will have to note those down) and I looked up the optical illusions you mentioned. It is great that art, music, literature and philosophy can be relevant to the task of decluttering. What we are all working on here is anything but mundane, and will improve our lives in so many ways!

    I definitely agree that breathing space is very important in our homes and lives. It seems that these days clutter spills out everywhere and for some reason we are expected to want the constant stimulation of noise and things wherever you look. More than ever I find that I need quiet time, and creating space in drawers, closets and rooms gives me a huge sense of relief, although I have some friends who seem to get anxious if it is quiet, if the TV or radio aren’t on, and who have asked me how I plan to fill the spaces in my home. I guess as you say we are all different!

    • You’re welcome and thank you, Christine! I do agree with you about how “clutter spills out everywhere”, in its various forms. Sometimes, it’s so difficult to even hear myself think!

  11. A thank you from me also Nicole.

    Maybe someone can post about decluttering computer files. I know they are hidden away, but we do accummulate a lot don’t we.

    Love this group.

    • You’re welcome, Katherine! I agree, that’s a good idea for a post.

    • Hi Katherine, I was complaining to my husband that my computer had been a little slow recently. He eventually took a look at it for me. He thought the problem was going to emanate from me having used up too much of the hard drive but was surprised at how little space I have actually used in the three years I have owned it.
      My secret is to declutter as I go. Every now and again I simply open a folder and clean it out of stuff I no longer need. The could be either documents of photos. As a result I don’t have files building up.

  12. Not sure if here is the appropriate place to post this, but I want to share what my wife and I have been able to do about decluttering. About a year and a half ago, I commented that I was having a rough time letting go of sentimental items. Since then, we have moved to another house, a little smaller than the previous, and in the process reduced our possessions by about 25%. Included in these were some sentimental/family items. It has taken me a LONG time to internalize the truth that just because my family had something and passed it on to me, it must be valuable. We still had LOTS of kid stuff, too, including clothes and toys. Our children, grown and on their own, of course didn’t want any of it. Well, my son took his Legos and my daughter took some items, but most of it was either donated or just trashed. After we moved into our new home, a blanket chest handed down in my mother’s family for two hundred years to the oldest daughter just didn’t fit. Our daughter, who is a wonderful young lady (otherwise!) didn’t have the slightest interest in it. My mother really treasured it, but I finally came to the conclusion I could part with it. I contacted a cousin who still lives on the original property in Georgia where it came from and asked her if she wanted it. She was thrilled! So I sent it back to its original home. That felt so good and liberating, knowing it would be lovingly taken care of and that I didn’t have to warehouse it anymore. I know also that my mother would be happy it was “back home.” Just today I sent the same cousin some Civil War papers from our great-grandfather who lived on that property. Again, what a relief! They won’t be blown away in a tornado, destroyed in a fire, or thrown away by those cleaning out our house when we die.
    We still have lots more, but I have to remember how much we have already taken care of. My wife’s parents are still living and are packrats, bordering on hoarder tendencies. We have made an unspoken pact that very little (read almost nothing) will make it to our house.
    Even now it’s an everyday chore (struggle?) to keep the clutter down. Throwing away coupons, offers through the mail, catalogs, envelopes, magazines, old clothes, etc., etc., etc. is an ongoing job. But it’s so worth it!
    Thanks for letting me ramble. I appreciate so much this blog.

    • Jeff – what a brilliant idea to send the chest back to the original homestead!

    • Jeff, I live in beautiful N GA, and love antiques. I can only imagine how thrilled your relative was to receive such a wonderful family gift so full of history. I know I would have been. I’m in the process of letting a lot of things go, but none with a family history. You have my greatest admiration!!!

      • Brenda, I sent it to Ringgold. My mother was born there about 1/4 mile south of the TN line. She always considered it home; the original house is there from the 1860s, with a gorgeous view of Lookout Mt. And the best part, I think, is that relatives still own that part of the property; it has never been sold!

        • Jeff, I am just fascinated with your story! I absolutely love old homes and think it is so marvelous that your relatives never sold the property!!! I am near Blue Ridge, GA in the gorgeous Blue Ridge mountains, so not really all that far away from Ringgold. Again, I think it was so kind of you to give them your blanket chest. I’m sure they will treasure it always and pass it down to others who, hopefully, will love it just as much!!!

    • Wow Jeff. We are proud of you. The sentimental things can be really hard to deal with. What I think is great is that you sent them back to the original “homestead” where they can stay with other historical items.

    • Imagine the stories that chest could tell if it could speak, Jeff! I think it adds to the charm that things have come full circle with the chest back in Georgia.

      • I agree, Nicole. It was made I think in the 1830s or so as a wedding gift from a father to his daughter, and it has been handed down to the oldest daughter since. In generations with no daughters, as in my grandfather’s (he was the oldest of his brothers) and mine- I’m an only child- the chest is kept for the next girl born. I’m breaking the tradition, but sending it back home, at least to me, makes up for that. The chest is in great shape for its age, btw.

        • You’re also creating an opportunity for a new tradition to be created, now that it’s back home, Jeff.

    • Ramble all you like Jeff, although I wouldn’t call it rambling. Here at 365 Less Things myself and all my readers like to encourage each other to let go of the thing we have no need or love for. And what a splendid job you have made of that so far. You appear to be doing a good job of finding good home, and sometimes even previous homes, for your stuff. Good for you. Being conscientious about housing your discarded items well can take longer and sometimes more effort but it is well worth the time and effort. Being happy with your choices in that area can spur you on to continue with the task.
      I hope that you eventually reach you ultimate decluttering goal.

  13. Jeff, thank you for a wonderful posting. I too am sentimental and hang onto things belong to those I love/loved.

    Sometimes – hard as it is – we have to let go. But if the item goes to someone who will cherish it as much as you did, then you don’t mind letting go.

    Please post more Jeff.

  14. I enjoyed the ‘art speak’ in this post. My older daughter and I have not one artistic brain cell between us, however my younger daughter is very arty. Younger daughter will dialogue on all the artistic factors of something, older daughter and I have learnt that we just sit there, nod and occasionally throw in words like “under-tone” and “light and shade”. We don’t really know what we’re talking about but it amuses my younger daughter.

    I can remember when pockets of space started opening up around our house and initially it gave it a slightly moth eaten look in contrast to everything around it, but now it looks nice and airy. It was amusing a few months ago, my son held a party for his friends (all in their early to mid 20’s) and they perceived our uncluttered house to mean that we were ‘wealthy’. So less stuff = more money to the young.

    • LOL, Moni! Here are a few more phrases that you can throw into the mix. I hope you’ll find them “useful” – contemporary veracity, fiercely deconstructive and reconnecting abstraction. 😀

      Your anecdote about wealth and being uncluttered reminded me about certain print ads. Many luxury or high-end products (think Apple, certain cosmetics, watches, etc.) are often featured in minimalist ads, with lots of white space.

  15. Hi Nicole V,

    First of all, great job with this post!!!

    I totally agree with leaving physical empty space… However, it seems that the more I declutter from the kitchen, the more kitchen gadgets my younger daughter (who lives with us) buys… She gets angry when I mention decluttering… I do not know the solution here – Is there one??? But if she ever moves out, all that stuff is going with her!

    I appreciated your comment about the spaces in music too… Much music does not give your brain & ears a rest (between notes)! I think the silent or quieter spaces in music lend to greater appreciation because of the rest and the anticipation of the upcoming notes, etc.

    Another thing I wondered if you were alluding to was the TV in every doctors and dentist office and car repair waiting rooms… Is there no room for quiet thought? It seems that patients and clients could bring their own amusements, as I have done for many years (books, Sudoku, notebook, cell phone). If I am the only person in the waiting room, I have been known to ask the receptionist to turn off the TV… I like to have the quiet space in my brain 🙂

    Thanks for a good read 🙂

    • Hi, Peggy … you’re welcome – I’m glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for your kind words.

      Does your daughter use the kitchen gadgets that she buys?

      I like your comment about there being “no room for quiet thought”. Sometimes, it seems as if people are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts and look for constant distraction. And have you ever noticed how people can feel uncomfortable during a lull or pause in a conversation and will quickly try to think of something to say so that the conversation doesn’t flag?

      • Hi Nicole V, My daughter uses SOME of the things she buys… I have also noticed my linen closet mysteriously filling up… and I was so proud of that space!!! It’s frustrating. I feel like I am clearing space just so that she can fill it… (frown, grumble, growl)… I need to find a time to speak calmly with her about how overwhelmed this stuff makes me feel. I think that just because the space is there, doesn’t mean something has to occupy it! She feels that since there is space why can’t there be something there… But I think I should get more say because it’s my house 🙂

        • I can understand your frustration, Peggy. I do hope that your talk with her will be fruitful.

        • lol Peggy, what a nightmare. I never heard of a parent having a hard time with the packrat children. I always argued with my mother about the amount of stuff she owns. Since she started working at an asylumseeker home, she gave away a good amount of it though. I give her credit, I never thought, she would be able to do something like that.

          Is there any chance that your daughter could get her own linen-closet? Or that she gets her own drawer in the kitchen? If she wants to fill the space, she should at least fill her own space. just a thought…

          • Hi Peggy, I too hope that the conversation with your daughter is fruitful. Ultimately though I think you need to take control of your home. Your daughter should not be in charge there, which seems to be what is happening. I don’t know how old she is but if she is determined to set up a home that suits her sensibilities she might want to move out first. I allowed my children to fill their bedrooms to their hearts content when they were at home (the mess in my daughter’s room drove me crazy at times) but I made it clear that that was their private space in the house but the rest of our home was to be kept to a certain standard. They seems to have no problem with that and we all lived in harmony. As Lena suggested, give her boundaries and don’t allow her to trespass past those points.

          • That’s good news about your mother, Lena. It looks like she has come across a decluttering trigger that works for her.

        • Peggy – Could I suggest an old fashioned Glory Box or sometimes called Hope Chest? Maybe she’s collecting stuff for her own future home?

  16. Nicole V, what a lovely post!!! I love quotations and have a notebook of my personal collections that go back 40 or 45 years! It is one of the things I won’t be parting with.

    I am in the process of trying to have some space freed up after many years of collecting and having wall to wall furniture.

    Your post reminded me of a book I read by a Chrisatian psychologist. The name of the book was MARGIN. He explained how important it is to have margin, or white space, in all areas of our lives. And how too many choices in life creates unrest. Also, how constant noise affects us negatively, and how we need peace and quite. I could so relate to the things he said. My house is still too full but I need lots of margin in other areas of my life for sure! I’m looking forward to seeing more space around my furniture soon.

    • Thank you, Brenda! That book sounds interesting, I must google it. I can definitely relate to the negative consequences of constant noise, too. I hope you attain the space and margin you are looking for.

      • Nicole, the book is by Richard A Swenson, MD. He also had one called THE OVERLOAD SYNDROME, but MARGIN was the one I really liked. They are older books. I wouldn’t t call them fun to read but when I read Margin, it was nice to know someone out there understood!!!! Most people think you are a bit nuts if you need quiet!!! As mentioned above, there is now a TV in every public place almost. I despise the noise of TV and find it very annoying to go have a quiet dinner out only to discover the TV going, even if it doesn’t have the volume on. It is still a visual noise. I realize I am the oddball in the crowd, but he explains in his book how people like me are distressed by noise and how it isn’t good for you physically and mentally. Well worth the read! In fact, I underlined so much in the book that I haven’t decluttered it yet!!! I still like to look back in it and read my highlights!!! It is nice to be assured that I’m not crazy. Ha!!! (sorry I did not catch the typo of “Christian” in original post)

        • Thank you for the info, Brenda. I do think that the importance of ‘quiet’ is often underrated.

  17. Nicole,
    What a beautifully written post. Years ago, Martha Stewart published an article in her magazine on the minimalist architect, John Pawson. It struck a cord with me, so much so, that I refer to this article often. Martha said, “When we were photographing his house, all of us felt very comfortable in this interior where the “irreducible minimum”, the “uncomplicated beauty of the unadorned wall”, and the “elements of simplicity”made us all want to run home and start editing our rooms in an attempt to make “reason visible” and our own environments echo some of his way of living and designing.”

  18. Hi Nicole, I wonder if there is a parallel with how some people adorn their bodies. The abundance of tatoos crawling up to cover almost every square inch, a hardware-store worth of rings punched round the perimeter of an ear, hands with rings jammed two or three to a joint — these all make me want to scream. As I have decluttered my home I have also decluttered my self. I wear a watch. On a rare occasion I will wear one of my two pairs of earrings. I have personal space and no desire to fill it.

    • Hi, Wendy B. That’s an intriguing question and your vivid description made me smile. I really like what you said about “hav(ing) personal space and no desire to fill it”. Like you, I prefer not to clutter my person with too many adornments.

    • Hi Wendy B, I love earrings & have quite a few… But I wear only one pair at a time 🙂 I’m with you in disliking the multiple rings, especially the “thumb ring”… I don’t know why, but I really dislike that look! (pet peeve)…

  19. Wonderfully thought provoking Nicole!
    It is amazing how people have to fill things up. They fill their calendars with commitments, their quiet time with noise, their shelves and drawers with stuff! And I have been guilty of it all! First I learned to just sit and be quiet, and that wasn’t easy. Then I learned to say “no” to things that I had no passion for. Now I am learning to love the thinned out places in my home. Sometimes I open a cabinet just to gaze at all the space! I love looking at my bookshelves now because only what I love is on them. And…drumroll please…there are empty drawers in my dresser! When funds are available the big dresser will go and a much smaller piece will hold my decluttered items! This site is an inspiration and it’s wonderful to read all the comments! Thanks so much!

  20. Thank you, Karen! That’s quite a learning journey you’ve been on – well done!

  21. I’m not big on empty space as an aesthetic concept, but I like it for practical reasons. For example, one surface in the kitchen needs to be clear so when I want to cook I can just stick a chopping board down and get going. My bed needs to be clear so I can get in it and sleep without moving clutter around when I least feel like it. I clear my desk between tasks so I can spread the next thing out on it. I grew up in a house where empty spaces were maintained for purely aesthetic reasons, and the idea that a space MUST be clear at all times still scares me, but having a few spaces that are clear by default so they can be used where necessary is appealing.

  22. What a wondeful post! I just found your blog through seeing it mentioned at Joshua Becker’s. Looking forward to reading more here and subscribing. I LOVE to free up space in our home. I am learning more and more to do this, and to just let the peace of emptiness be. I am also learning to utilize permanent storage space, (cupboards, closets, shelves, etc.), instead of buying storage gadgets that are movable. It was so nice to “meet” you!

  23. Hi, Cheryl … welcome to Colleen’s great blog and to the 365LT community. Thank you for your kind words.

  24. I have an interesting example of this. I have a little lounge off my kitchen, once upon a time it was jam packed with: office desk, filing cabinet, tv (the older box shape ones) and book case down one wall. The other wall had a students desk, a drafting board, couch and a side table. After a lot of effort we ended up with a two seater couch along wall facing a flat screen tv and I love, love, loved it.

    The computer desk that was exhiled to the garage for the last year, was in the way of a construction project, combined with a drop in the temperature as Winter looms, saw it moved back to our little lounge last week. My older daughter and our boarder (they attend the same course at Polytech) have dragged the coffee table in to use to study under the heat pump unit, my younger daughter (still at High School) has all her papers all over the desk. My lovely minimalist lounge is now a student-zone (sigh) – I am working on the basis it wont be forever, when it warms up again they will move back to the dining room and by then the computer desk will go back to the garage. I had already decided that when this computer dies I will replace it with a laptop.

    Getting back to my little lounge, I miss the empty space it had, but I shall look on the bright side that we have the dining room table back and my daughter is able to work longer each night now that she’s in a warmer spot.

    • I feel for you, Moni, especially after all the hard work that you must have put in. The warmer days will come and this, too, shall pass.

  25. Nicole, I loved your post as well. your style is great.

    I did mention it before here I think, that I got rid of my desk temporarily. then I needed it back on, because the shelf with the “desk-related” work was right there, and it was more annoying…
    a couple of weeks ago I decided to rearrange my appartment. My living room was at a good decluttered level, so I dared to bring more things in it. I brought the desk-shelf from my bedroom/office into the living room. And because I have a dinner table, I could get rid of my desk for good.

    My home is not this conglomerate of a student apartment anymore, but feels a bit like a holiday home, where you have not much, but the essentials. bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom.
    the best thing is: My bedroom is now really just a bedroom. It has my bed and my wardrobe and most of the room is empty. I suddenly have so much light and air. And space for doing some yoga. how easier it is to get started, if there is no need for preparation. AMAZING… isnt it funny that space is the biggest luxury one can get and it doesnt cost money?

    • I can relate to this Lena after staying in an AirBnB place on the weekend. I’d say that in a past life it was a small motel room to witch they have just added a, not that functional, kitchenette. It made the sleeping area seem so cluttered and not conducive to sleep. One bonus was that it didn’t have a TV to add to the clutter. When I returned home yesterday and sat on my bed to read before going to sleep my room felt so calm and spacious in comparison. Needless to say I only got through a few pages before I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

    • Thank you, Lena! I do agree with what you said – “how easier it is to get started, if there is no need for preparation”. I remember reading about a professional organizer who had a client who worked from home as a writer. The client had amassed such a huge collection of books in her home, that there was only a narrow path available from the front door to the living room. Every other space was stacked with books and she hadn’t had much interest in writing for quite some time. Once she was able to let go of the books she didn’t need, her desire to write returned. She found it so much easier to just get started when the clutter was gone and there was space for her to not only easily access her writing materials, but to sit down and write.

  26. Again I say – this is such a great group for ideas. Thanks everyone.