I can’t believe we’re two weeks into 2017! In the interest of starting things new, I’m sharing a three-part series about something that impacted me in a powerful way last year.
I never knew a simple decision would lead to so much heart change.
A challenge to create more white space in my life, my home . . .
An author friend issued a challenge to a create white space in my home. Though I longed to do this, the only room that came to mind was my project/clutter/things-to-sell/stuff-I don’t-know-what-to-do-with room.
And I had no idea of how to begin.
Until two ladies heard what I wanted to do and planted a vision of what this room could be. This vision took root in my heart—the hope of a space where I could breathe. We came up with a plan and a deadline.
Let me put something out in the open right now. Guilt can be a difficult force to reckon with. There were items in this room that I had hardly touched. I felt bad for having spent money and then never used them.
Every time I looked at them, my thoughts condemned me. I really should use them before getting rid of them, right?
Only, that was partially why this room had become the disaster it was.
I had to come to terms with the fact that I hadn’t thought those purchases through. After time, I realized that it would be better to give these items to someone who would actually use them. I felt convicted about the money I had wasted. This is when I had to remember the vision I had for this room.
I set to work. I’m not gonna lie. It took me hours to sift through everything.
I worked thirty minutes a day for a number of weeks. I began in the closet—going through every shelf, every bin—and evaluated whether the items deserved the space they occupied. Did I really need over 100 gift bags (I might be hanging my head at that admission)? What about those travel toys the boys outgrew a few years ago?
I worked my way around the room, considering every item. I asked myself three questions:
- Have I used it in the last year?
- Does it bring me joy?
- Does it instill within me a desire to use it again?
I filled bags with stuff to give away, sell, and throw away. With hubs’ blessing, we sold our computer desk and desktop computer because we rarely used them. Removing unneeded flat spaces also eliminated areas for stuff to land.
Some lessons I learned in creating my white space:
- Have an end vision/dream for this space was a huge motivator to get the work done. Setting a deadline for when people would come and help finish things up also gave me that push on days when I felt tired of dealing with it all.
- I had to be intentional about making the change in this room. I determined in my mind that doing the work was worth the investment of time it would take.
- Going through my stuff forced me to consider whether the things added or subtracted value in my life. Seeing all the “noise” in my project room overwhelmed and depleted me. I wanted it to be my creative space, but everything was speaking—condemning and distracting me from the purpose of that room. As I evaluated books, catalogs, crafting supplies, and other miscellaneous stuff, I realized I hadn’t used most of these in years. Why in the world was I allowing them to hog space in my small room?
- I set a time limit for each day. Thirty minutes was a good period to dig in, work hard, and then move into the rest of my day. Some people may only have ten minutes a day to invest. Or maybe, that shorter amount of time is all they can bear to be in the room. Decide on a time limit, set a timer, and then work hard for those minutes.
Keep the end vision in mind. This fosters inspiration when the work feels tedious.
It’s worth spending the time to create white space in our homes, in our lives.
Can I just say—purging makes me giddy. I think it’s because I now have space to breathe. The more space I opened up in this room, the easier it became to get rid of the things that weighed me down.
My spirit breathes more deeply. After investing the time to do the work, I now have a “creativity nook.” I feel empowered. I am beyond happy about this room. I can breathe soul-deep.
And my spirit feels the peace of white space.
What about you? What’s the hardest part for you when it comes to purging? How do you decide what to keep and what get rid of?
P.S. If this whole idea of purging and simplifying strikes a cord with you, check out this site and post: becomingminimalist.com