White space

This morning I listened to the audiobook A Simplified Life by Emily Ley, not so much to jumpstart my simplifying journey but to keep me at it. I’ve started decluttering quite a while back. But in some areas stuff tends to creep back in, so I was hoping to refresh my resolve. The most striking effect the book had on me, however, was the surprising realization that I’ve already done pretty much all of what it recommends doing. And more.

I’ve sorted out my wardrobe, my books, my paper work, my kitchen cabinets and countertops, even my basement. There are still some tiny clutter clusters left in each and every one of them, the last five percent I once called them, – but they are minuscule in comparison to where I began. And I realize I have come to a point where I can start savoring the side effects of an uncluttered home:

W h i t e   s p a c e.

The space that isn’t occupied by stuff I no longer need or want, or never needed or wanted in the first place. There is more and more room for nothingness. And I love it. I’ve become used to the calming effect it has on me. The serenity it radiates. The peace it creates.

When I had people over at my place for New Year’s Eve friends brought friends who didn’t know me. So when they saw my place they asked if I had just moved in because it looked so empty. I took me by surprise because my home is not spartan, by any means, at least not by my standards. It is light and airy but still comfy and warm. I have cushions and books and lots of kitchen utensils which I love. But I guess by normal standards my home looks, well, not quite full.

spaceBut then what is normal? And is normal healthy? I’ve long felt that all this stuff was suffocating me. It weighed me down. It demanded my attention. It took up my time. And at some point I must have decided I didn’t want that any more. And this spark, this initial first step to opting out of stuff, I guess, created some sort of chain reaction that spilled over and onto many more areas of my life.

I’ve started being much more conscious about how I spend my time. I take the liberty to not answer emails or phone calls, or not as fast as I used to. I listen inwards as to whom I want to be in close touch with. And when. I treasure the moments I decide to share with them. And I treasure the time I reserve for myself.

I also stopped watching TV a good six years back. It all started with an antenna I couldn’t seem to install properly. I swapped to on-demand films using my inbuilt wifi connection, somehow never got around to replacing the antenna, then slowly forgot I had ever watched TV in the first place, eventually only used my laptop and kicked the TV set out altogether.

I don’t miss it at all. If anything it now totally irritates me when I visit friends or family and they have their TV running while we speak or eat dinner. I can hardly concentrate on what they say because it is distracting me so much.

I notice that I get drawn into films that I would not consciously have chosen to watch. I get shouted at by TV adverts that tell me I risk missing out on this incredibly fabulous amazing deal if I don’t rush to buy this thing right NOW. It creates this fake sense of urgency I had long forgotten. The artificially generated need to own something I didn’t even know I was missing before I was told so.

And then I realize how blessed I am. That I have managed to create a refuge, an oasis of quiet blissful white space in my home – where I can just BE.

And not feel lacking anything.

Nothing at all.

me

 

11 thoughts on “White space

  1. I love this post! I began the process of decluttering many years ago — it’s a slow process for me. Our latest move has helped but there is still much to do now that we’re moved in. During the 3 months we lived in a rental while the renovations were being completed on this house, I was limited in what I had with me to wear etc. It was amazing how little I missed the rest of my stuff.

    A good lesson.

    Thanks for the morning inspiration. (and yes, TV is a nuisance) I got my husband to agree to not have a TV on the main level which is wonderful! He can watch his sports downstairs and the main level feels more like an oasis.

    Have a lovely day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Louise. I totally agree, it’s a long process. In fact, I feel it never quite ends as it takes discipline and practice to keep it up.

      I find it interesting that you say you suddenly managed to live with so much less out of necessity of renovating your home and moving into a rental. It reminds me of my own journey. It’s not so much the living without that is difficult but the act of parting with things.

      So maybe we can trick ourselves by moving and parting with things just for a while but then never actually letting them back into our newly created sacred space again. 🙂

      Have a lovely day, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that idea! I have purposefully left some boxes unpacked to see how long I go without realizing I don’t miss what’s in them. 🙂 And I shall carry the image of ‘newly created sacred space’ with me. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We allowed our TV viewing to slide when we choose NOT get a cable provider/etc, back when Hubby and I first got married. We both came from households where the TV was on from morning until bedtime and we didn’t want that. We gave ourselves one year. If we couldn’t live without it, THEN we’d change things. That was back in 2000. We DID get Netflix a few years back, but we certainly don’t watch it every day. We have a TV in our bedroom that gets used maybe once a month, usually when I’m working on a project, (Sometimes I like to watch movies while folding laundry.) We have a spare room that’s really our library, but also has a TV and game system. It mostly get’s used for game nights and when kiddo has his friends over. (My kiddo and I LOVE playing Just Dance with the Wii, so that’s fun.)

    I love hearing about successful declutterers. We’re at the last 10-15% of clutter. I just got SICK of the stuff. It’s suffocating, especially the unfinished stuff, like old craft projects. All that stuff weighs you down!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can very much relate. The conscious choice what to watch or not watch is what makes a huge difference to me. I use Netflix, too, and love it. Because I get to decide what and when and what and for how long. Theoretically, this could work with watching TV but it doesn’t for me.

      It‘s funny you should mention it but my Wii was the one reason I contemplated keeping my TV. I sometimes played tennis. In the end I gave this away too. But understand that with kids it’s a whole other world. And can be lots of fun!

      Good luck with your last 10-15%!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I decluttered my wardrobe and I love looking at the free space…it feels less complicated and I’m working on other areas such as books and class resources. I also no longer value possessions but think life should be filled with enjoyable experiences instead! I really enjoyed your post and hope I reach your stage and manage “to create a refuge, an oasis of quiet blissful white space in my home.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marie! The wardrobe is a huge chunk I felt when I did it. And the greatest thing about it is that you get to enjoy it every day, first thing in the morning. I certainly agree that enjoyable experiences are way more valuable than possessions.

      You seem to be well on your way to your own blissful oasis 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like this post. It’s well-written and very true. I started decluttering when I sold my family home after my husband passed years ago and have been downsizing ever since. I still get stuck once in awhile in buying things I don’t need though. It’s important to be aware and pause and ask myself what I really need and you have reminded me of that this morning. I too have not watched TV for years and don’t miss it at all. I get enough news on the internet and other ways. There are many benefits of decluttering, like the serenity you describe. Thank you for writing this and for liking my blog post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Pauline. I am very sorry for your loss. I can only try to imagine how hard it must have been to part with the many things that reminded you of your husband. Downsizing is a very long and sometimes painful process, but also very liberating. I’ve also found that when I give things away respectfully, donate or sell instead of throwing it in the trash, that is, it becomes easier and also rewarding. I’m glad I could remind you of the serenity this creates. Similar to the serenity you experienced in Costa Rica, mind you. Your post had a very soothing effect on me, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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