“Buying” Space

By | August 21, 2009

Since moving to Virginia seven years ago my husband and I have crammed every last second of our days with activities, work being the biggest, but getting a masters degree also ate up time, having a baby, juggling two big hobbies — belly dancing (me) and track-side roller derby announcing (David). The result? We rarely cleaned. We purchased things we didn’t use. And we neglected to donate, recycle or toss our unused goods.

Now that we’re home more, purging has become a bit of a pastime. Last weekend I said to David, “Hey, lets get rid of the TV and DVD player in the bedroom!” Removing that dusty set of boxes helped us reclaim a patch of our floor, which makes me giddy. We also cleared the house of four bags of books, two bags of toys, two laptop computers, two cell phones, two packs of too-small-diapers and at least a bag of trash.

Recently I remarked to a friend that throwing things out is almost more of a thrill now than buying new things. Master organizer that she is, she replied “When you purge items, what you’re ‘buying’ is space.” I’d never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense. Our house feels bigger without all the stuff.

Then there’s cleaning… the mellow hum of the vacuum cleaner, the gentle spritz of the glass cleaner. Finding the perfect spot to place an item. Putting coins in one cup. Jewelry in one bag. Relocating the bottles of hairspray and moisturizer from the bookshelf to a box. Consolidating vitamins. Searching in the medicine box for expired drugs to toss. It’s meditative.

Having an organized home makes the following week more enjoyable too. We can find things and there’s plenty of glorious space to help keep the focus on work and creativity. Plus, all that purging makes us more hesitant to introduce new items into the home. I think about the lifespan of an object before buying it now. How long will it be useful? How will be dispose of it afterwards? Hopefully, these habits will stick and we can maintain our hard-earned space beyond the current economic situation.