Empty Shelves

Picture an empty shelf for a moment.

Got that image in your mind? What did you picture?

It doesn’t matter whether you pictured an empty store shelf, an empty bookshelf,an empty fireplace mantle or empty decorative shelf. You probably almost immediately started mentally filling up that shelf.

With stuff.

Empty shelves are bad. Well, shelves are just shelves. The fact they are empty can mean something to us. They can mean a disruption in market supply, or a shortage of resources or a lack of creativity.

Disruption, shortage, lack…not words that we would normally associate with success.

So if you find yourself one of the lucky folks who are preparing to move to a smaller home at a certain point in your life, also called downsizing, you are not going to immediately think Empty Shelves = Success!

But walk with me on this little journey. You started with next to nothing when you were young. You move from your first apartment to a starter home to a bigger home, where you raise a family, to maybe even a bigger home. Then everyone graduates, leaves home, maybe returns a couple of times but finally launches into their own lives, but somehow your big home doesn’t shrink back to the right size. So you contemplate perhaps downsizing to a more luxurious but smaller footprint, easier upkeep home. You get serious about trading in your five bedroom home for a two bedroom home. You put some money down on a spot that will open up for you sometime in the next two years but…here’s the rub…even though you are mentally ready to downsize, you don’t actually know how to do it, and so you put it off until it becomes a crisis.

Want to know the secret to successful downsizing?

Empty shelves.

You totally saw that coming, right?

If you have months, and maybe even years before you move, then you have time to clear out cabinets and empty the shelves.

You are used to looking at shelves with stuff on them. Boxes. Keepsakes. Thing you might use again. Your stuff sits on those shelves. But chances are really good that you haven’t looked at that stuff on the shelves for quite a while, especially if the shelves are in a storage area, like a basement or garage.

full shelves, downsizing

But in the new home, you are likely to have fewer rooms, fewer cabinets, fewer shelves.

If you can start to live within a smaller footprint, even while you still occupy your current home, then moving to your new home will be a cinch. In order to live in a smaller footprint in your current house, start organizing, clearing stuff out that you don’t want to take with you, and leave some shelves empty.

How do you do that? Easy.

Don’t put stuff back on the shelves.

empty shelves, downsizing

They will look empty and sad. They will seem so useful. You’ll think, I’ll just put things here…for now. You’ll think, I can always put this in the basement/garage/attic of my new home.

But it’s all lies! Lies and more lies.

Here’s what isn’t a lie.

Empty shelves mean space to breathe.

Empty shelves mean less to move.

Empty shelves mean that you’ve already made decisions about your favorite things.

Empty shelves mean that you aren’t leaving a mess for someone else to go through.

Empty shelves mean you don’t have things for just in case. 

Empty shelves mean that you are using your things instead of storing them.

Empty shelves mean that you are ready to stage your home.


Empty shelves equal success.


Can you imagine empty shelves in your home today?

[bctt tweet=”Empty shelves equal success. #Organize” username=”DarlaDeMorrow”]

Does the image of empty shelves leave you feeling relieved or sad? (It’s ok to be a little of both.) Let’s talk about it in the comments.