After a decade of sharing my closet with a parade of five babies, my littlest baby turned three and moved out into a big boy bedroom. I took apart the crib, and immediately sent it off to Goodwill. I moved out the baby clothes, blankets, stuffed animals and diapers. Only a glow-in-the-dark bunny picture is left and a few empty storage racks. I was ecstatic….”I have my closet back!!!” I assumed I would fill it up with the clothes I had been squishing to one side of my closet….”think of all the room I will have for my clothes now!” But after a week or two went by, I realize something…I have all the space I need already- on ONE side of the closet. I have all the clothes I need…I don’t need more space or more clothes. I’m okay.
It’s amazing how uncomfortable we are with open space. Free space. We automatically assume we need to fill it up. My closet is like my life…I can feel uncomfortable with open space. I feel like I need to fill every minute…to have a free day is to have a day waiting to pack with exciting activities- or is it? Can I learn to be content with open space? Can I find contentment in my empty half of a closet?
There are four little things I keep in mind:
First, resist the urge to fill the empty space. I reflect on all I already have and I see it’s plentiful. I choose contentment. I choose to leave my empty space alone.
Second, free space serves a purpose. Sometimes we don’t know what the purpose will be, and that’s okay. I’m enjoying sitting in the silence, waiting, wondering and enjoying the empty. In time, the space will serve a purpose- even if it’s only to remind me I can be content with less. Less, not just in my closet but in all areas of my life.
Free space allows us to dream. We have room to imagine and create. And free space provides room for something new. I could convert this part of my closet into a a prayer room- with prayer lists and maps. I could turn it into a private photo gallery or art wall to display my kids projects. I could set up a recording studio for a podcast or I could even install a stackable washer and dryer (what luxury!). I could do many things. For now, it will stay empty and I will be content and I will dream.
Free space is good. It’s rare to find an open schedule, free time, an unused drawer or empty closet. It’s valuable. I’ve changed my thinking- free space is not bad, it’s good. I take a time to savor the empty.