The Joy of Empty Closets

I have empty closet space in my house. 

Does that statement seem strange to you?

If so, let me explain.

For many people, and pretty much all of my clients, there is a direct relationship between the amount of storage in their home and the amount of stuff they have. Specifically, the amount of storage dictates the amount of stuff, and when space runs out, they seek to obtain more storage.

In my personal life, and when working with clients, I flip this around. Forget the storage space you have - whether it’s closets, shelves, a basement, an attic, whatever. Instead, focus first on the stuff. What do you actually need and use? What do you love that brings you real joy? And why would you have anything at all that doesn’t fall into either of those two categories?

Then, only then, do we talk about how and where to store the stuff.

This is our laundry cabinet - everything we need, nothing we don't, and space if needs change. The cabinets above are empty, too!

This is our laundry cabinet - everything we need, nothing we don't, and space if needs change. The cabinets above are empty, too!

Leaving empty storage space is also about acknowledging that time is an important dimension of organizing. The process of living an organized life is ongoing. You need to maintain your home organization systems every day (it takes just a few minutes if your systems work well) , and adapt them as your needs change.

If there's one thing I know, change is a constant in this life, no matter how much we may fear or resist it. So, given that, why not leave yourself both the physical and mental space to accommodate that change? Future You might take up a new hobby and need a place to stash the equipment. Future You might throw a party and want a coat closet to accommodate guests. Future You may work from home and need a place to set up a work station, and Future You may bring home a baby with all of the gadgets, gizmos, outfits, and diapers parenthood brings.

This is our entryway coat closet. We love to entertain, so there needs to be space for coats and bags so people can settle in and feel at home!

This is our entryway coat closet. We love to entertain, so there needs to be space for coats and bags so people can settle in and feel at home!

By completely stuffing all of your storage space full, you are creating serious problems for Future You! Under likely time crunch and performance pressure, Future You will have to cobble together a solution for their new venture, rather than having the space and energy to comfortably and easily fit it into their life.

In so many ways, living an organized life is about investing time in the present to free up more time in the future to spend on the activities and relationships that really matter to you. What kinds of amazing future projects could you make room for if you left yourself some empty storage space?


Weekly Peek

Special Delivery

This past Thursday, I loaded up my car to drop off the goodies for our family adopted through Compass Family Services.  In general, it is better to donate to large, well vetted nonprofit organizations who can best use your dollars for maximum impact.  However, there's nothing more fulfilling to me than knowing you can touch the lives of people in your own community, especially during the holiday season.  So, our philanthropic strategy encompasses both: we give annually to organizations we believe in, and we buy Christmas presents for deserving families through Compass.  It feels like a win-win.

Bonding Time

I am not a diaper changing sort of aunt.  However, I am quite good at baby holding, and middling to decent at feeding and soothing.  So, when my sister was in a bind this week and able to work from home but in need of another pair of eyes and hands so that she could actually do some of said work, I happily headed over to her house for an afternoon of bonding with my niece.  She's six months old, smiley and sweet, and gloriously chunky - not exactly tough duty!

Cone of Shame

For those of you who follow Petunia's Instagram (@petuniapibblepie), you may have noticed that she has been sporting the lampshade of doom recently.  It all started, as it often does in her case, with a little too much enthusiasm.  She's very strong, and her tail is very long, and she gets very excited, so she often thwacks her tail into walls, furniture, people, etc. when she's happy.  One too many knocks and it started bleeding... and then she started chewing on it... and of course it got infected and disgusting.  So, we have been diligently heading into the vet every three days for a bandage change and re-check, and stuffing antibiotic pills down her throat with yogurt every night.  The things we do for this beast!

Shown here: oysters and an Old Fashioned, two quality Christmas traditions in my family.

Merry Merry

I'll be spending Christmas with my husband and family, which is really all a girl can ask for.  Plus, this will be our first Christmas as three generations, with the addition of my niece this summer, so this holiday is sure to be extra sweet.  To those who celebrate, all my best wishes for a very merry Christmas!


Weekly Peek

Big News!

Five weeks ago, I became an aunt!  My "little" sister (she's 20 months younger and 3 inches taller) and her wife welcomed their daughter and the whole family became instantly smitten.  My husband and I took our aunt and uncle duties seriously from the start by bringing the tired new moms a complete steak dinner from Harris in the hospital (and we may or may not have smuggled in a dirty martini for my sister as well...).  I'm looking forward for many more years of being "Crazy Aunt Lucy."

Photo taken by @nibblinggypsy at Sugar Pine Point State Park

My Happy Place

Summer at Tahoe is glorious, and we've been lucky enough to get away for a couple long weekends so far.  Petunia's a fan of snoozing in the sun on the deck, all the nature smells, and the wind in her ears... but not so much the water!  

Photo courtesy of

Bad Student

We went back to school just for a night - Cheese School, that is!  Cheese School is a fun concept that gives you an in-depth look at cheese and beverage pairings, letting you taste and sample as you learn.  My husband and I went with friends who had been before on an evening that just so happened to be my birthday, so while the three of them scribbled notes and debated pairings I happily munched on my cheese and sipped my wines and beers without a care in the world.  Cheese?  Good.  Wine?  Good.  Cheese and wine?  GOOD.

Girls Weekend

It's a cliche for a reason: there's nothing like a weekend getaway with your closest crew of friends to relax, refresh, and get a little bit of a new lease on life.  If your group is looking for the perfect spot, may I recommend The Phonecian in Scottsdale?  We went for four nights (we only do this once a year and don't all live in the same city, so we wanted to make the most of our time together) and we wanted a place big enough that there would be enough variety in food and activities while still feeling like a luxurious treat.  This place definitely fit the bill: we tried all the restaurants, I do believe all the exercise options including a hike up Camelback Mountain, and a solid proportion of the spa treatments as well. Yes, my friends are all gorgeous, but they're also all amazing women who have always supported each other - I'm so lucky to have them in my life.