Friday, October 13, 2006


I have made a new discovery. It is obvious, as most discoveries are, but just to let you know. Instead of filling a cupboard, I purposefully leave some extra space for maneuvering. Duh. But it makes me wonder why I felt compelled to fill the space in the first place.

I've been doing a lot of organizing, post construction, and have noticed these interesting tendencies. I have already written about my compulsion to do things efficiently and this is sort of along the same lines. I first noticed my compulsion to fill things up when I was in the bulk aisle at the grocery store. I was filling a medium-sized container with almond butter and, as always, had trouble because after I filled it, putting on the lid would make it spill. And then I realized, why am I filling it? I could take a larger container and fill it half way. Or fill two smaller containers three-quarters full. Why did I feel that whatever container I had it had to be full? And then I noticed the same thing, but in reverse when I put liquid detergent in the washing machine. I felt I had to get every last drip out of the lid. Why? Using slightly less detergent would do no harm, and would actually save detergent in the long run. The caps are nicely designed so it can all flow back in anyway.

So that is my new revelation: stop short, leave space. Do not even get close to stuffing. Cupboards ARE full when there is still enough room to maneuver. Laundry detergent is empty when most of it has come out. The bulk peanut butter is full well before it reaches the top. Houses are full when they are closer to empty. And so and and so on.

My friend noted that whatever sized purse she had, it was always overfull. Same deal.

I remember someone saying that a similar philosophy is prevalent in France regarding just enough. They do not stuff themselves, but value stopping just short of enough. Quality over quantity and all that.

And time too, don't you think? My favorite inspirational quote of the day is: Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

It’s a new outlook for me, and I’m going to give it a try. Full leaves some room for more.

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