The Lonely House

You know that we’re getting settled in a new house, right? So, as I’ve been unpacking boxes and sorting through our ever-dwindling collection of “stuff,” I’ve discovered that I have so much extra storage space that I literally have cabinets with nothing in them. It is so liberating. I have to tell you. Liberating.

And, I have plans yet to go sort through the boxes downstairs in the toy room. My kids are gearing up for a big Yard Sale so they can sell their baby toys and save up for the latest Transformers they’ve been coveting. (According to my math, they’ll have to sell a lot of toys to get that Optimus Prime, so it’s still an effort in minimization.)

Now, as I have so much space to store the “stuff” I’ve managed to keep, there isn’t much adorning the counter tops or wall spaces. It’s a very minimalist home. And I am loving every deep breath I breathe in here.

Until my son came to me and said “Momma, this house feels lonely.” I thought he was talking about the move and maybe the emotional insecurity a six-year-old might feel to be uprooted and replanted in a new home. So, we sat down to chat. It turns out, he thinks the house feels lonely because the walls are bare. And the stuff is put away. And there’s nothing to trip over in his bedroom. So, because I am constantly psycho-analyzing my children, I started to ponder the question … what it is about “stuff” that makes us feel secure? Do we decorate so we don’t feel lonely? What is it about white walls that make us feel less content? Is it part of our human nature to create? To beautify? Can we not “nest” in a new home without clutter everywhere? Does it not feel “homey” without accoutrements? And more importantly–is that a learned perception that we can unlearn, or is it an intrinsic perception that we should find a responsible way to foster?

What makes your home feel like home?


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7 Responses to The Lonely House

  1. Kim says:

    I often get this type of comments from friends. It takes a lot of effort for me to put things on my walls, which are mostly bare. My girlfriends say “Your house doesn’t feel lived in”. Even my kitchen, which I use often. I put my 4 slot toaster away after using it, and get it back out every morning for my kids’ toast, simply because I CAN. I HAVE an entire cabinet that is empty enough to put a behemouth toaster back into, and one next to it that i put my DRAINBOARD into when I’m done with it (this also helps with the forcing to put the dishes in the drainboard away, which I routinely fail at). I love the clean look of nothing as I walk into my kitchen.

    So what makes my house a home? The sounds and smells of it. My childrens feet on the hard floors, the dogs snores, and the Pandora blasting from seemingly nowhere. Without all the clutter, I can see what project my kids are working on, I can hear what they are doing. We have room to take over the entire kitchen table with a model dino project, or the playroom floor with a life size Winnie the Pooh puzzle. Litterally, Nothing is in the way, and I firmly believe that operating with a blank canvas promotes creativity. My big empty house echos the sound of the buzzer on my dryer, so I can’t get lost in another task waiting for it to finish. I can smell the chicken soup on the stove, not the constant whaft of the scented candle sitting on my dresser, which does not change day after day after day.

    My Home is always changing because without too much to fill it, every sound, smell, and item has a bigger impact. It is snapshot of our life in the present, not what we were last Christmas or mothers day. We learn fluidity because we are not burden with material representation of the desires of yesterday. Our minimilzation allows us to be us.

  2. Leah says:

    I loved your comment, Kim. To respond to the OP–would it help your six-year-old to paint a mural on a wall (in the kids’ bedroom, for example) or to use blackboard (or green) paint on a wall in a play room or office space for him to create fanciful illustrations, games, and poems? Those options might be visually less minimalist, but would provide visual interest, a sense of “lived-in”ness (especially if your six-year-old gets to help design or paint the mural), and an opportunity for creativity without buying more stuff or putting things on walls.
    Happy living in your new space!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful feedback and creative ideas! My daughter has just taken an interest in painting … I will have to figure out how to incorporate our art into our blank walls.I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading!

  3. Michael Gray says:

    I agree with your empty cabinet feeling! I’ve just purged almost everything I own, and every time I walk past the cabinets that use to be filled with dishes, forks, pots and pans, I wonder what I’ve been thinking for the past 20 years?
    I’d like to put a link to your site on my Interesting Links tab. Would you consider checking out mine to see if you think it warrants being on your Like Minds?
    Michael Gray,RN

  4. Pingback: Truth be told … | The Minimal Challenge

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