Apr 11, 2013 · 3 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

Mental space comes from physical space. How, I ask you, can a person create something if there’s no room?

Have you thought about what’s taking up your space? I have. I’ve thought and thought and thought about it. It weighs on my mind, and the thing is, I don’t even look at it every day.

The space that’s bothering me is the cabinet under the bathroom sink. The one where the first aid kit and the extra shampoo live. The place where my nailpolish camps out, waiting for the day every two months when I think it might be neat to paint my nails.

This is what is looks like:

left sink Left side of my undersink cabinet
right sink Right side of my undersink cabinet

Why does it weigh on my mind so? Because I can’t for the life of me figure out how two people, one of them under 10 years old, came to have so much stuff. More specifically, so much bathroom stuff.

It boggles my mind, but it’s the way things are, so there’s only one thing to do: clear the clutter.

This has been this way for some time, but my inspiration is two-fold. First, I recently read the New York Times piece on one man’s life after downsizing to live in a tiny apartment.

I’ve read a lot about tiny houses, and having lived for a year out of a suitcase, I know that I can do it just fine. But I’m not talking about that kind of de-cluttering; right now, I’m just talking about a small space that has too much junk in it. The point is to get it down to just what we need, free up some space and create a little room to organize and find things.

My second source of inspiration comes from Tsh at the Simple Mom blog. This is spring cleaning month over there, and Project Simplify on Simple Momeach week, she suggests cleaning out a different type of space in the house, from shelves to piles for Project Simplify 2013.

Now I must admit, other than the inexplicably cluttered bathroom cabinet, I’m pretty good about keeping things organized and free from stuff. I’m generally pretty good about throwing things away, too. But I am, I hate to say, a piler.

If there’s something I don’t know what to do with, or that I don’t want to forget, or that I just want to deal with later, I’ll stick it in a pile. I’ve gotten better, but my kitchen counter, where space is already at a premium, is the perfect spot for piles, and I tend to start them there. Also, in the entryway. Often on my desk. And now on the dining room table.

Luckily, Tsh has a specific week for piles, too.

So, following Tsh’s example, I am going to be merciless about going through the cabinet and keeping only what is necessary. I will also consolidate my piles and then go through the one giant pile until I have obliterated it. Prepare for oblivion, pile. Isn’t it inspiring?


Well, whatever. The point is, by clearing space in the cabinet and on my home’s flat surfaces, I will also be clearing space in my head, and that’s what’s really important. Then, that space can be taken up by ideas. Brilliant ones.

I’ll let you know how things go.


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.