Jan 21, 2011

The Psychology of Empty Space & Saving Money

I've been on a decluttering kick for the last few weeks, and I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff. Enough that there are now empty spaces throughout the house that previously used to be occupied.

It was subtle, but eventually I noticed a subconscious urge to fill the empty space.

And I had to remind myself that it's okay to have empty space in the house.

I think this is one of those times when I have to live with the discomfort, trusting that eventually it will feel comfortable. Because intellectually, I know there's nothing wrong with some empty space. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, in which case we will eventually fill it with something that looks nice. But in the meantime, I have a lot more decluttering to do and it makes sense not to make too many changes until I'm done.

It occurred to me that it's a similar psychology for people who feel that if they have money, they should spend it. I don't have a problem with saving money, but I know people who seem to feel compelled to spend every penny they earn (and then some, in certain cases). Maybe they would benefit from the corollary, It's okay to not to spend money.

And then they too would have to get used to the discomfort. As time passes, they would see that nothing bad happens when they save money, and that it's actually really nice having some money in the bank.


Chris said...

I've been decluttering too. My motto is"Less is more".You get used to the empty space,though. Every room looks larger, and there's less to clean!

Chief Family Officer said...

@Chris - Yes, I'm loving that my kitchen looks bigger after I got rid of two large countertop appliances that I never used! But I'm not loving the empty bookshelves so much - those I could see filling with something to please my aesthetics, but I'm going to wait until I'm done with my in-depth purging to see what makes sense to put there :)