Today I suggest that you give yourself the gift of the empty shelf.

January tends to be a month when people spend time organizing things. It sort of naturally happens as you are storing Christmas decorations and finding places for your new gifts. As you are organizing and possibly donating things, try to find a place in your home for an empty shelf. Writer Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project says that an empty shelf shows that “I have room to expand – I am not crowded in by my stuff.”

I keep one empty shelf in my home office. I admit it is a very tiny shelf. But it feels good to look at it, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed with stuff.

One of my children has also followed my example and keeps a relatively large shelf in her room empty. This is good for both her and me. She spends her allowance money on toys and dolls and when I feel like her room is just TOO MUCH she will point to her empty shelf, and I feel better.

Gretchen Rubin continues her empty shelf directive by admitting that she also likes to keep a junk drawer. I have one, and I’m pretty sure you do too. (If you do not, I am not suggesting that you start one.) Today, let’s go through that junk drawer and see what surprises are in there and what can be let go. I did this myself today, and it helped me to say the following when I put things back. “This thing is just for when…” as opposed to “This thing is for just in case.” Anything that was “just in case” went into the trash or donation bin. The only things I put back in the drawer had a purpose that I could visualize.

(Image credit: StockNumber2)

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