Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finding Space to Make Space

It is the nature of grace to fill the places that have been empty.

As I wrap up this month’s focus on enthusiasm, I came to the realization that there is nothing that gets me more enthusiastic than a blank slate. Clearing away mental and physical clutter leaves me open for a world of new possibilities. 

I am trying to incorporate the practice of meditation into my daily routine, but I am having the challenge of finding a little space in the house to call my own. Although I am responsible for decorating, cleaning and maintaining an entire house, why is it that I don’t feel like any of it is mine? 

For help, I sought help from professional home organizer Heather Lambie. Heather is also a mother of two, wife to one, friend to many, free-lance writer, full-time publicist, former educator, goat lover and yard sale bargain hunter. Can’t explain why a woman who purges other people’s clutter likes to shop for it or why exactly she loves goats, but she knows about blank slates. 

Let me introduce you to this week’s guest contributor Heather Lambie.

Q: How do I carve out a little space to call my own (to begin the habit of meditating daily) when I don’t have any extra square footage, don’t have money for a renovation and don’t feel like there is any part of the house that is just mine?

A: I have two solutions for this question, one practical, one tactical.

PRACTICAL: Find or create square footage in unexpected places.

When we bought the home we live in now, the two-car garage was already closed-in as a livable space. With only one child and a third bedroom to utilize as a home office, the garage was designated as a giant playroom to ensure that the rest of our home was preserved as an adult space. As our family grew and my husband and I both started working from home, this once-large playroom slowly shrunk. It is now expected to house an entertainment center full of Wii and board games, a couch, some bikes and two home offices.

Our garage/family room has three built-in closets, all housing things normally stored in a garage like luggage, holiday items, tools and memories. To create a space of my own, I cleared out one entire closet worth of clutter. I re-sorted the remaining contents into the other two closets, removed the shelving in the empty closet and found a desk that fit my new nook perfectly. Take a look.

Tour your abode with fresh eyes and re-visit the unused things that take up so much space in your home’s nooks and crannies. What are you willing to give up to regain the private legroom you crave?

TACTICAL: If you can’t spare one square foot, get up an hour earlier.

What does getting up earlier each morning have to do with carving out space for yourself? The meditation corner you long for almost certainly already exists in your home, but right now it’s hard to see it through a boisterous family and busy life. You probably already have a chaise lounge in your bedroom or a reading chair in your living room or even a bench or hammock in your backyard garden that isn’t used as it should be.

If you’re up before the rest of your household (or before the sun) it can seem as if your home is yours and yours alone. Ponder on your chaise. Read a book in the decorative chair you never let your husband or children sit in. Swing in the hammock and meditate. When everyone else is asleep, enjoy the silence and every square inch of your oasis . . . until the beasts awaken.

For me the tactical approach is more practical, how about you? How do you find space to make more space?

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