Slow Home BootCamp Task 5/20: Empty Space – Learn to Love It.

Empty Space - Learn to Love It

People are afraid or ashamed of empty space. A blank wall, an empty table, a bare shelf.

We’re fearful that our homes will look sterile, boring, cold. People might think we’re poor, without style, lacking personality.

The reality is, an uncluttered, minimalistic home does not need to look cold, sterile or boring. In fact, empty space allows us to best admire the things in our home that we love.

This task is designed to have you fall in love with empty space.

Learn to appreciate the calm space brings.

Discover just how wonderful it is to have space filled with only light, colour, things of use, meaning or beauty and – most importantly – the people you love.

How can you appreciate the beauty of your home and the people in it if there’s no clear space around them?

Before we get any further, I have to say I am not an advocate of white box, thoroughly modern, minimalist homes. I love clutter-free, I love empty spaces, I love highlighting only things that are truly meaningful and beautiful. But I LOVE warm, inviting, homely spaces.

It comes down to balance.

I believe it’s a matter of surrounding ourselves with a limited number of things we truly find meaningful, beautiful or useful.

But understand – they are just things.


Gradual Changes:

To introduce yourself to living with empty space, white space, vacant surfaces, follow these simple steps:

1. Choose one single surface in your home. Just one. It could be:

  • dining table
  • coffee table
  • one shelf in the bookcase
  • a wall in the living room

2. Clear it of everything.

Take everything off that surface.

And remember – every single thing you remove from that space needs to be:

  • donated to charity
  • thrown away
  • designated another permanent place in your home

3. For three days, leave the entire space empty.

Take note of how you feel when you see the empty space. Calm? Proud? Nervous? Embarassed?

Do you have an urge to fill it? With something? Anything?

4. On day four, place just one thing on the shelf.

Preferably a thing of beauty or something of particular meaning:

  • a bunch of flowers
  • a plant
  • one piece of artwork
  • one favourite photo

5. Keep the space clear of all but that one thing for the rest of the week.

Again, take note of how you feel when you see the space that celebrates beauty/a special memory.

This is a space in your home where you have chosen to highlight something beautiful, something meaningful, something special. And that is awesome.

Do you feel more positive about the space now that it celebrates something wonderful?

Use this feeling as motivation, as you continue down the path towards a slower home and a simpler life.

Imagine feeling that sense of calm when looking around your entire house! Imagine feeling that sense of purpose and clear-headedness (is that a word? Is now.) when examining your life! Imagine it!

{Excuse me if I get a little worked up – it’s just an incredible thing you’re doing.}

What Next?

Try to keep the surface clear permanently.

If you really need something there though, try adding:

  • a momento that would otherwise sit in storage
  • a small cluster of photos (2-3, not 20-30)
  • some empty glass jars holding flowers or candles

Maintain the space as a sort of daily reminder of what you’re trying to achieve by slowing your home and living a simpler life.

That’s Great. But What About All My Other Stuff?

I understand that each and every surface in your home cannot hold just one thing. It’s not possible unless you have A) a very large home or B) no personal belongings.

But the aim here is to inject some empty space into your home – permanently – so that you are better able to enjoy the things you do choose to surround yourself with.

As we continue through the BootCamp together, there will be more opportunities to declutter and organise your things, so that the flat surfaces in your home can become little pops of beauty and positivity, while everything else is stored away.


Hi there. If you’ve made it here via Twitter, Facebook or a link from a friend, why not go ahead and enrol in the Slow Home BootCamp yourself? This is Task #5 in a free 20-part email course that will kickstart your Slow Home journey and then some. You can find out more about the BootCamp and sign up here.