We moved to a fairly large house 11 years ago. When I say large, I don’t mean gargantuan. But it is bigger than where my husband and I each previously lived. There are more cabinets in the kitchen, more closets in the hallways and bedrooms (than I actually think really are necessary), more garages, and in general more opportunity to save more, and be full.
I certainly am not complaining. But it did strike me when we moved in that I would need to be careful to not grow to my environment.
That can be very easy to do.
Like a goldfish grows to its environment, humans tend to fill their spaces in the same way. And it happens to the best of us. Being an organized person doesn’t make me immune to this. Sure, I have developed habits to stay organized, but without those habits and a clear vision for how I want to feel in my space, I would have overflowing cabinets, bulging drawers and closets, and crowded and cluttered counters and floors.
My space would be full, as in to capacity.
When your space starts to feel full it’s a signal that you have too much.
I know that a lot of people want to live minimally. And understand that it isn’t about living with nothing at all. Rather it is about living – happily – with enough. Minimal is more about what is important (needed, liked and used) and that those items allow you feel fulfilled, and live on purpose. Free.
Some things just don’t do that. Instead, they linger, and crowd you; they subconsciously (or consciously) suffocate you.
Being organized about how those important things are stored and kept. And it’s about how you feel in your space.
Can you find what you need, when you need it…without stress and frustration? Is your space functioning the way you need it to?
It might seem unfair that living in a smaller space means you can’t keep as much as someone in a larger home. And perhaps it is unfair a little. (No one should have to contend with storing necessary items in a home with no closets). But regardless of the size of the home, if we take in more than we let out and we allow our stuff, not our internal compass that reminds us about our purpose, guide us to what brings happiness, we will be stuffed.
We’ll be full. Too full.
I think it is time to redefine full.
Full should never mean we are at the brink with no room to move, and no room to grow.
It shouldn’t equal trouble finding something to wear in a closet or drawer stuffed with options (yet none clearly seen).
Full should not feel uncomfortable.
Instead, full should feel satisfying.
And it should mean fulfilled. Fulfilled means there is always space to move. And there is always room to grow, and to think.
If full means fulfilled, we wouldn’t define our worth by how much we own and how much space it occupies. Instead, we would define our purpose in life first, and then allow things into our space that fulfill that purpose.
And that very well could mean having empty shelves in the closets, and drawers that open easily. Redefining full in this way would mean we no longer look at space as a thing that needs to filled. Instead, we’d recognize space, room to grow, emptiness as a gift that signals freedom .
Don’t live like the goldfish in a big pond, growing to your environment, filling it to the brink with more.
That goldfish grows to the size of its environment. Eventually, it gets too big for its tank and leaves itself little room to move.
Don’t get too big for your tank!
Pay more attention to the purpose of things. Don’t fill in valuable space just for the sake of it.
It will leave you no room to live.