Making Space

In Inspiration
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Something has happened in 2016. The year ahead looks promising. It’s not always like that for me. With the exception of a lazy New Year’s Day, I’ve walked my dog and begun (and stuck with) a meditation practice (Davidji’s 40 Days of Transformation) every day this year, and today will mark a solid week of evening yoga. (Where is that coming from?)

I’ve spent my mornings designing my year by filling out a colorful life-planning workbook, while keeping track of my goals in a snazzy new planner. They’re bright and cheerful asking me simple, but thought-provoking questions, to guide me towards creating the best year for me. I’m half way through the “Life Planner,” and intend to begin the “Biz Planner” later this week. The workbooks encourage me to choose a word for the year, like Staci and Debbie have done, and although I’ve chosen a word since 2011, outside of Expansion, the rest fizzled out. This year though, I’ve found a word that feels right every way I look at it:


As photographers, we’re used to the concept of space by using it compositionally to create balance within an image. You’ve probably heard of the term “negative space” or “white space” before, which refers to the areas between and around the elements in your images. In 2016, I’ve decided to apply this concept to my life by creating space not only in my photography, but also in my physical surroundings by clearing away clutter, and in my mind by quieting my thoughts.


I’m happy to share, that I’m off to a fantastic start. I’ve begun by embracing the popular KonMari method of tidying up one’s home, and am pleased to tell you that I’ve successfully made space within my wardrobe having cleared out 10 trash bags – and counting – of clothing, shoes and accessories! (I had no idea I had that many clothes!) According to the KonMari method, I’ll be sorting through books and paper next this month, before tackling miscellany and mementos later in the year. For the first time in a while, I can finally see all my floors and carpets!


Once I have my house in order, I’ll be turning my attention to my online homes. Like Kirstin, I’ve begun cleaning up my social media accounts, ensuring that my online space reflects the changes I’m striving to achieve here at home. I’ve been reviewing my Instagram account by paring down my followings, while cleaning up my Pinterest boards to reflect the visual space I am in right now.

By clearing, decluttering, and creating space, I’m looking forward to seeing where my muse takes me in the coming months. How will you begin again in 2016? Are you finding a way to make space too photographically or otherwise? Share with us in the comments! I would love to hear your thoughts! Decluttering really can be a cleansing and good feeling to get all sorted.

Holly ~ Soupatraveler


  1. “cleaning house, clearing away clutter, quieting thoughts”
    I absolutely LOVE how you told this story both with words and visually, Holly. I’m doing a similar purge over here and trying to create space so that I can invite more in this year – inspiration, creativity, and more. (and I’m going to pick up those planners!) Well done, you!

    • Thank you Kim! Glad to hear you’re taking the plunge too! I’ll be looking forward to hearing how it all pans out. When/if you get the planners, please tell me what you think. You also get into a fb group with LOADS of support (and a free audio class) to help you fill them out.

  2. 2016 is feeling different here too. The evening workouts, the decluttering of space and self… Love how you’ve told it here both with your words and visually.

  3. I love SPACE – it was my word last year & for much the same reason, Holly!
    I felt like I both needed more space & to redefine my space in order to have my house be the home I wanted for my family. We needed space to be able to create & I needed space in order to relax, the fact that the clutter didn’t seem to get in the way of anyone else’s relaxation was/is a bit of a challenge, and I can’t say I’m done, but much of what I put in practice has become habit now. Our monthly charity pick-up is today πŸ™‚
    My biggest wins were getting my kid’s outgrown art area out of our dining room & set up in the basement on full sized table and chairs & making enough space in the living room to bring up my records from the basement, which was celebrated with the purchase of a turntable.
    I used some bits of KonMari and also found the Apartment Therapy January Cure, which it isn’t too late to sign up for, really helpful.
    As for all of the boxes of books that weren’t keepers, too loved and no longer loved clothing and housewares I parted with, I have 0 regrets. However, I also made my peace with the fact that I feel differently about paper, photos and books in general than she does, and these are things I have to make space for and honor better.
    I’ll be cheering you on!

    • Yes, that is it exactly Debbie. Somehow over the past few years, as I’ve collected more gear, and as my income has decreased from my advertising days, I’ve been holding on to more things, perhaps due to the fear that I won’t be able to replace them. And my motivation for clearing out and cleaning up has plummeted. I started a Making Space photography project, which I talked about in Bella Grace earlier this year, where I photograph things before sending them on for a visual memory. That has helped too.

      I can see that the books will be almost tougher than the clothes! And my accountant would kill me if I threw away all my papers, but I have committed to regularly downloading PDFs of all my statements so that I can at least bomb those to lighten the load. It will feel fantastic to purge a lot of that stuff. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping to move on to books next week.

      Thanks for the tip on Apartment Therapy, I’ll check it out!

  4. Oh, this is making me want to clean things up and find the space in my life. Thank you!

    • Thanks Staci! I’m glad it’s inspiring you! I can’t wait to hear about how you create space this year too!

  5. Soooo with you. I just took a carload to GoodWill yesterday! We downsized into a 900 sq ft house 2 years ago and space is at a premium. It’s been hard keeping that balance of stuff we need and where the heck do we put it. Our biggest issue is books, though. We went from 7 large bookcases to 5, but the shelves are overflowing and doublestacked still (and we keep getting more because..well books). We need a creative solution since I don’t see us getting rid of those!

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!

    • I can so relate to this Kendra as I’ve been living in 900 sq ft for the past 12 years! Somehow things slowly crept up on me. I was able to cut my books by about 40% and I have a feeling that I will be finding more to pass on as time goes by. Good luck with your cull πŸ™‚

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