Blank Space

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand…

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It’s been a long time since I last posted, and a lot has happened in the in-between! The spring was a busy season for me as I taught a graduate-level course for the first time at Trinity University, in addition to my full-time work at Deloitte. Weekends were filled with class preparation and assignment grading, and this little blog of mine fell by the wayside. I told myself I would have time to pick it back up once the class finished in May.

Come May, I was throwing myself into a brand new job, and this creative outlet moved down the totem pole once again. On April 13, our one-year wedding anniversary, I started my first day as an accountant at Noonday Collection, a thriving five year-old jewelry company based in Austin, Texas. Noonday Collection is a socially responsible business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. We design and sell an inspired collection of jewelry and accessories handmade by artisans across the globe. Suffice it to say, the Lord found a really good fit for this next chapter of my career, and I am exceedingly grateful. Not only do I love the work I do, I get to do it alongside some of the most genuine and talented people I know. Either one of these would be a gift, and He has provided both.

Since then, I have been wanting to write about how all of these big changes subconsciously prompted my search of ways to simplify other parts of life. Between January and June, I devoured Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, Joshua Becker’s Simplify (electronic format only, temporarily on sale for $0.99!), and Jessica Turner’s The Fringe Hours – all of which I highly recommend. The essence of these books was very similar to the Thoreau quote above – how to not let your life be “frittered away by detail”, how to not lose sight of the important in the face of the urgent, how to not be ruled by material possessions and calendar commitments, etc. This translated in several ways to my everyday life, but the most relevant manifestation to this blog would be our home…

It was time to let go of the possessions we didn’t really need, time to remove the things that weren’t functional, weren’t beautiful, or both. I wanted margin, breathing room, clean, and uncluttered. I wanted whitespace, or – in Taylor’s words – blank space. *insert pen click*

One of my biggest takeaways from Marie Kondo’s book was to determine what to keep, and to organize that. This sounds really obvious, but I’ve been doing it all wrong. I usually skip the purging part and just organize what we have. This might make things feel tidier for a little while, but it doesn’t resolve the root cause – too much stuff. I was determined to do something differently this time.

The best part of this step was getting to give things to people who could use and enjoy them more than we could. As a bonus, our home is less cluttered!

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It’s funny how the more you clear out, the more you see what still needs to go. We had removed plenty from our closets and drawers, but I wanted to open up our entry to not feel so cramped. We decided to donate our bookshelf and sell our barstools (both pictured above) – afterwards, it felt like there was more room to breathe!

At first, that blank wall below the floating shelves made me feel like something was missing. I had really gotten used to the bookshelf filling that space. But as time went on, I realized this was exactly the blank space I was seeking. Our eyes can get really tired if there is too much stuff in view and no place to rest them between things. As The Nester recently said, “Whitespace is something too.” Now that the bookshelf was out of the way, we were able to fully extend both leaves of the table, allowing it to function with its intended purpose.

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Additionally, the front entry table could be centered on the island now that the bar stools weren’t stealing space. Again, blank space on either side.

In the name of white, I also sewed some pillows for our living room that were brighter and more simple than our previous ones. Future post coming – I can’t wait to share where I found the fabric for these!

When you want to change up a space, consider first what can be removed before jumping to what can be added. Most of the time, you can sufficiently freshen a room by editing what is already there and adding only what you find to be most functional and beautiful. We just decided to renew our apartment lease for one more year, so I will be doing plenty of this in the months to come!

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