By Stephen Thompson
“Memories of empty spaces remain
As hopes for new spaces
Take root …”
These words come from Alabama native Charles Kinnaird’s poem “Empty Spaces,” where he writes about life’s inevitable changes, its treasured remembrances, and clearing space for future growth.
Curiously, it is very hard to find empty spaces in most of our homes. Even though America’s houses have doubled in size since WWII, that growth in square footage hasn’t kept up with our appetite for acquiring more, and more belongings.
My friend and interior design blogger, Wendy Wrzos writes, “I have traveled a lot throughout my life and I realize that where I feel the happiest is always in a home that is loved; a home that is cared about, and reflects the person who lives there. If a person loves their home, it shows. It has brightness to it, warmth that envelops you as you enter the door. This doesn’t mean that you have to love the style of their home, or their color choices, it just means that it makes you feel good to be a part of it.”
Wendy says, “I think we all strive for these connections in our lives, to be a part of something, and to feel as if we belong. Often it is easier than we think; all we have to do is open the door to the possibilities.”
Sadly, homes cannot live up to this ideal when they are bogged down with too many possessions. If this describes your home, asking the right questions can open the door to possibilities you’ve been missing.
Let’s start with that closed closet door. You know the one where you’d cringe and die if a guest accidentally opened it and saw everything you’d crammed inside. Open the door with me now and let’s create some space. Instead of asking, “Is there a chance that I will wear or use this item someday in the future?” you should ask, “Do I absolutely love this?” If you do not, then it’s taking up space for no good reason. To have adequate space for things you love, you must eliminate clutter.
You can ask that same question, “Do I absolutely love this?” about everything in your décor. Bringing your heart into the decision-making process will clarify whether or not you really want to keep, replace or live with something for the long haul.
Life tends toward messiness. Our closets, countertops, desks and dressers attract clutter without even trying. Our acquisitions don’t come with an expiration date; once brought into our homes, they tend to hang around forever. Figure out which items are important to you and keep them. Get rid of the rest.
But, isn’t it bizarre how the moment we try to let our belongings go, their value seems to increase? For example, think of how a book on your shelf that you haven’t used in years seems to increase in value the very moment you think about giving it away. Instead of asking, “How much do I value this item?” we should ask “If I did not already own this, how much would I pay for it?” And later, once you’ve edited your décor, eliminate one item before purchasing another. This simple rule ensures that you won’t add anything to your home that is less valuable than something you are already have.
When your home contains things you are truly passionate about, it shows the world that you’ve made a mindful, heartfelt connection with your belongings. And that, my friend, brings beauty and meaning to the everyday and makes poetry out of the ordinary.
Live in beauty!
Stephen Thompson, Allied ASID has been creating coordinated, beautiful, tasteful interiors since 1975. For questions, comments, or consultations contact Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or firstname.lastname@example.org