The Psychology of Empty Spaces

Empty Shelf
One of my (almost) empty shelves!

In stereotypical fashion, I’m finding myself overwhelmed by the urge to spring clean as we welcome the sunshine and warm weather. I’m switching the girls’ seasonal clothing (sooner than I would have liked since all four of them seem to have gone through a growth spurt in the last month!), cleaning all of the spaces that rarely get cleaned and decluttering as I go.

As I’ve mentioned before, decluttering builds on itself.  Once you begin the process, you find yourself getting rid of more and more each time you do it. This is partly because you become less attached to stuff and more aware of how often you actually use an item and partly because you begin to place more value on the space and the peacefulness that results from eliminating clutter.

But this time, I’m starting to notice a different pattern. We’ve reached the point where I’m leaving a ton of empty shelves, drawers and cabinets in my wake!

Although we tend to take a pretty minimalist approach to our decorating, I’ve realized that I’m actually fighting a negative psychological reaction to these empty hidden spaces, as if I need to fill them.

Do you have empty shelves or cabinets in your home? How do you feel about them? Do you think fear of empty space keeps you from decluttering?

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way