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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

The spaces in between....

Looking at the yellow pollen flowing out onto the concrete walk yesterday afternoon, as I finished pressure washing the screened-in porch, I realized how long it had been since I had done any cleaning out there. I don't even think we sat out in our comfy chairs to watch the sun set once last year.

Given all the issues involved with Jenna's passing, I guess in retrospect that I was staying so busy, I didn't have time to think, much less just sit and talk much. I was able to sleep, but I think it was because I was totally exhausted from driving back and forth to work on her house, especially the yard, and the other houses on that farm.

As the men moved everything out of the porch yesterday, while I scrubbed and rinsed the furniture on the sidewalk and they beat cushions to shake off the dust, the space opened up as huge. It's been cluttered with first one thing, then another, for a year, too.

A number of things will be going into storage, some were sent to the trash dump, to make a space for Winn's sand table and some toys. The porch is a nice, non- buggy place to play in the shade. I figured we could enjoy it in the mornings, and with his PaPa when we keep him in late afternoons for riding lesson time.

As I made choices , literally about what to let back inside the door, I realized that I was having a sort of internal struggle. My mind's eye has always been pulled towards an empty space, and a sort of subconscious ciphering occurred, as to what would fit into it. It was a strange feeling to look at a space and consciously decide to leave it unfilled...to just allow it to be.

I had never really grasped this before...if " nature abhors a vacuum", it had evidently been my mission in life to fill it up. If I could wedge in one more chair, or a tabletop to load with candlesticks, then why not?

Sitting here and sipping coffee this morning, I am having he epiphany that I have done the same thing with my time, all of my life. If I could squeeze in one more activity, then why not?

Just as my possessions have been crowded together to the point that I couldn't appreciate any one of them, so have the things I do with my day. Maybe this is why I could never meditate until now...it felt like a waste of time, because I could have wedged another hobby or volunteer meeting into that space in time. I do not know what causes me to be so uncomfortable with quiet time.

Having to embrace these spaces in between these days. Are you vonscious of them, either in your home or in your time? Do you feel driven to fill them up, or are you able to relax and enjoy them? Learning here....




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5 Replies
dairy mom
Senior Contributor

Re: The spaces in between....

I am not one that needs to fill my time with activity.  I've always enjoyed reading.  Am very good at being still and just thinking.  Probably too good and get myself into trouble when my thoughts go where they shouldn't go.  Seems as I age I tend to ponder on the negatives and the missing.

As far as stuff in my house.  Not a collector of any kind.  Use to but lost so much of what I thought I treasured in our house fire and really learned they didn't matter.  Then we moved to the farm and just being able to survive became the focus for so many years that I couldn't and didn't take the time and money to think about what was in the house.

Seems much of the furniture in the house is too much.  Have an absolutely beautiful dining room set, if it was in a dining room that was at least half again larger. Room just can't handle the huge table, buffet and china cabinet. To me it just looks crowded.   Our bedroom is overstuffed because we wanted a queen sized bed and the room is much too small.  Another bedroom has a vintage (50's) bedroom set that my husband found in a second hand shop.  Gorgeous but too much for the room.

So I guess I'd say I'm a minimalist but my house doesn't really reflect that.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: The spaces in between....

Reading was always my in-between activity, too. I still do a good bit, but not nearly as much, now. Maybe my eyes can't take such long stretches of it anymore.

I think older houses, which tend to have separate rooms, create tight spots more readily than the newer, open floor plan designed ones. Newer furniture is often huge...can you imagine setting a giant sectional sofa into a 75 year-old living room?

Giant plantation houses would be an exception to the small room observation, but new stuff still would look totally out of place in them. Scale and style in a home are so much more than just what shows on a measuring tape.

Maybe that is what my life has lacked...tools to measure available time and space. I am working to develop them daily.
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lawinkle
Advisor

Re: The spaces in between....

Just a thought on the dining room....I had the same issue. Beautiful set bought for a much larger space. I solved my problem by breaking the set up and using the buffet in another room. I put my buffet in a hallway beneath the stairway going up. It fit in nicely. I use it for linens and glassware so it still funtions as it should. Plus the horizontal surface made a great place for displays of famiky photos etc. One time I had the buffet in my kitchen. It worked well there, too.

Maybe you could move one of the storage pieces to a family room or living room? Maybe sell it or pass down to one of your family members? Better to lose one piece if it will make your dining room more usable.

We have a king sized bed in a master bedroom that is only 16 x 16. I bought all kinds of storage shelves and racks for each of our closets and put all of our folded clothes in there. I put in double rods to maximize hanging space and put long hanging items in another closet. That gave me room to have half of the six foot closet for floor to ceiling shelves and half for double rods. That way we dont need any dressers in the bedroom.

We are almost done with the remodel in there. One thing I want is matching three drawer night stands to give us extra space. I figured a night stand has to be there anyway. Why not make them functional instead of just a flat surface for a lamp and alarm clock.

We hung a small new flat panel tv on the wall which eliminated the big honkin thing the old one needed hold our 20 year old tv we just finally replaced. Including a chair (actually i am thinking of putting in a bench with storage for bed linens) this room will only have four pieces of furniture.

When i recall the master we had at our ranch house t was huge! It was about 18x24 with a sitting area plus walk in closet ensuite bath and french doors to an attached screened porch. It was lovely but a big waste of space. The rest of the house was open concept which was great when we had six teenagers and their friends around all the time.

Our farmhouse has lots of smaller spaces which can be a pain with our big family at holidays but that is only four times a year indoors. The rest of our gatherings are outdoors where it doesnt matter. I find that for two of us the smaller cozier rooms where each room has a specific function works especially well. With each room for a specific purpose i find that things stay where they are supposed to be and i have much less clutter in the public rooms.

If I had a young growing family i would probably like the open concept again. But it had drawbacks. I tend to need quiet space at times and the open concept didnt give me a place to call my own that i could go and recharge. I love each of us having an office and i love my craft room. Sometimes i think our house is pretty big for just two people but we use all of it regularly except for two guest rooms but that is fine since they are always ready for guests.

I think a lot depends on what stage of life and what your lifestyle needs are. This discussion is relevant to me right now as DD and DSIL are listing and looking to buy larger for their family is growing. We have talked alot about these issues of home and hearth. I am enjoying their search but glad we are settled for what i hope will be a long time!
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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: The spaces in between....

It is sort of a contradiction of lifestyle, that when families didn't enjoy much privacy in generations past, the spaces were broken up and had specific purposes, and now that everyone wants their own space, houses feature these huge caverns with so few walls.

You are right about the coziness factor. I sometimes wonder what future adults will embrace, since they were raised in houses that feel like barns to me. People either tend to crave what they know, or despise it, with very little in between those extreme sentiments.

I think one aspect that makes older homes pleasant is higher ceilings in many of them. Even this tiny house at Jenna's has nine-footers in its original three rooms. They feel bigger than the larger, later additions.


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Ruby Lou
Senior Contributor

Re: The spaces in between....

I am one that needs to keep busy.  The only time I can "sit still" is lying in bed reading!  Have been thinking a ways to de-clutter a bit in the house.  Just little things.  Had to laugh when I opened a drawer to find a plastic measure for the calf milk.  He said "you don't need to keep all those plastic things, throw them away".  Later I was out in his shop and they were working on an engine and were looking for things to shim something with...guess he has his stash of junk too! Antique shopping doesn't appeal much right now as I have so much stuff now, and don't have room for much else.

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