Reader Vicky writes in to ask:
I was wondering whether you might have any thoughts on what to do with the empty spaces left behind from de-cluttering. Specifically, we have decided that two full rooms of our house – the guest bedroom and the formal dining room – are serving no purpose and we would like to get rid of everything in both rooms. But what should we do with these new wide-open spaces? Having a blank formal dining room right as you walk in the house is a bit of an eyesore, and moreover it creates a temptation to fill the space with new purchases we don’t need.
Now, you should take what I’m about to say to you with a grain of salt, because you’re talking to a serious unclutterer here, but I would take the opportunity to do something radical.
Sell your home and move into something smaller.
American home sizes have more than doubled since the 1950s, yet we constantly complain about not having enough space. The bigger a house we buy, the more we buy to fill it, and this has led to the proliferation of the self-storage industry. Now that you’ve realized that you don’t need those two extra rooms, why look for excuses to fill them up again? That said, if you’re passionate about ballet, for example, and you’ve always wanted a dance studio and it will bring you joy to have one, by all means repurpose the room to be a dance studio. But, you wouldn’t be asking what to do with your space if you had a definite idea.
To me, a formal dining room is a unitasker. If you don’t use it more than two or three times a year, why bother with it at all? And, think of how much money you’ll save if you move into a smaller, cozier space. You could have your house paid off in much less time, or move in closer to the city to shorten your commute.