One thing I have noticed without fail is that everyone expands to fit their space without fail.
Anyone who moves to a bigger house and thinks: OMG I have so much clean space now…. will, in one year’s time, realize that they feel like they need more space.
The space you have is the space you will fill.
If it is small, you will keep it small.
If it is big, you will expand your things to fit the new empty space, mostly because we are just as uncomfortable with emptiness as we are with silence.
I have seen this happen in 99.99% of all new home situations.
Every time I talk to someone who buys a new place, and ask them a year later how it is going, they sheepishly tell me it seemed like so much space at the start but now it is crammed to the ceiling with stuff.
The thing is that we all expand to fit our space.
Have a second living room in your new house that is empty?
You probably look at it and feel like something is wrong.
How could a room possibly be EMPTY and feel comfortable?
So you buy a couch to “fill” the void. Then a coffee table, then a rug and before you know it, it has become a second dumping zone for stuff.
Even in my own apartment, when we first got it, it seemed pretty large until we started buying the fridge, laundry machines, and packing our STUFF into it. Soon, my closet overflowed to where it looked like a dump site for expensive clothing (srsly..) and we started looking into buying open racks to store our kitchen stuff.
This is NORMAL. You are living a LIFE.
A real life that requires at least 15 glass lunch boxes (5 for each family member, for 5 days of the week) and that stuff takes up space. Being efficient and organized enough to own 15 glass lunch boxes so that you can meal prep the whole week on Sunday for everyone, takes space.
This pictured below, is halfway through the week. Normally it’s packed to the brim with glassware.
(Parts of my Minimalist Home and Apartment. You can see the rest of my apartment here: Sherry’s Home)
Who can really subsist on one plate and a set of cutlery?
I know I can’t.
I don’t WANT to wash all the dishes everyday so I have slightly more (but not insane) amounts of plates so that I get a bit of a house cleaning break to not be on the hook to clean the ONLY 3 plates in the house.
And yet, the balance between three plates or thirty is a fine line.
I myself can’t help myself when I walk into stores and see different coloured plates or things but then I just remind myself that it is unnecessary for my life and it will become instead of an object of beauty, clutter.
I have to restrain myself from buying pretty mugs because we really only have space for 2 at the most (those do get washed daily).
We are organized and neat as much as we can be but we are also human, not robots who eat out daily to avoid owning plates or cups just so that our place looks neat and clean.
That said, my place looks like this, and this is my living room and kitchen.
To some, it looks EMPTY. Cold and soulless I believe, comes to mind.
But I don’t see that. I see clean and lived in. I see stuff on the desk I should really get rid of and clean up, and I see space.
I see a mental break of a clear open space where I can look at it and visually breathe.
I contrast that to my childhood where my parents cluttered the house (nothing has changed), and I couldn’t breathe looking at the piles of STUFF that no one ever seems to have time or the will to sort through, toss and clean out.
In my house it may not be perfect and it may not look like a spread from Architectural Digest, but every square foot is used on a daily basis, and the home brings calm to my mind rather than stress or anxiety about “getting around to that pile of papers one day”.
Even having minimal decorations is part of that scheme. Seeing decorations and things on display is nice but when it starts to blur into each other, I cannot handle it.
I need that empty, mental breath by way of visual serenity. It helps calm me when I come back from a day of work stresses.
I’d rather have ONE central beautiful piece that means something than a whole array of things just for the sake of having things on display.
For me, it has to mean something. I deliberately choose to to put up a painting my mother did for us, framed in thick heavy gold and displayed proudly in our hallway, rather than a wall of random photos that I like but also don’t really love enough. You know?
I prefer the white walled, empty room to a cluttered one. I just have an itch to start chucking things into a basket to sell or donate.
The odd thing about all of this is that I’m a bit of a Hoarding Packrat Collector. I like to own lots of varieties of things in what I like (clothing, accessories, etc) and feel a pang if I have to let anything go.
I just realize and am consciously limiting myself to the actual space I have. You can only cram so many skirts into a rack before it explodes.