Life

How to Maximize Space

Making room (where there isn't any)

“Sorry, I hate being late!”

This is my constant refrain as I arrive—you guessed it, late—to meetings, to coffee with friends, to dinner dates. “Sorry! I hate being late!” Yet here I am! Late!

After three back-to-back apologies in the span of one afternoon behind schedule, I’ve been thinking a lot about the space we create for ourselves in our lives. And sometimes, the space we fail to create. Everything from allowing yourself enough time to walk to the train, to taking time to make a five-year plan and figure out if the track you’re on now will get you there.

This idea took a very literal turn on a recent rainy Saturday. Taylor and I were at a bagel shop hiding from the weather, and she mentioned something about her old-school coffee maker.

“If I had the kitchen counter space, I would buy one of those Chemex things for really fancy coffee.”

“If I had more counter space,” I replied, “I’d buy a KitchenAid mixer. And a Soda Stream. And a toaster .”

We let our NYC-addled minds dream big, mooning over all the normal-sized-in-any-other-city possessions we’d buy or add to our collection if we had the room. I left that day full of veggie cream cheese and a desire to spend my life savings on a run-down farmhouse set on five acres of land in the Catskills.

There was talk of fluffy overcoats we’d buy (and never have to store!), upright vacuums we’d stow away in obscenely large, Harry Potter-sized hallway closets, and hats. So many hats.

I may never have a hallway closet that could double as a young wizard’s bedroom, but I can build more space into my everyday. And I’m not just talking about my closet (though if you want to start there – and I encourage you to! – you can use this handy dandy guide to get you through a full wardrobe purge)

This month, I’ve started doing transcendental meditation (or TM, for short) to see if I can’t mentally elbow more room into my mind. The practice consists of silently repeating a mantra—I picked mine off a listicle I found online—for twenty minutes. TM practitioners will tell you for best results to do it twice a day, once in the morning and again later in the afternoon.

For the first two weeks, I decided to commit just to a morning, once-a-day routine to start. Finding time the size of a Master of None episode felt like a big goal enough.

Turns out, I did have an extra twenty minutes in my morning to devote to clearing my mind. Amazing how malleable finite time can feel….just like a kitchen counter or a closet, however big it is, you’ll find a way to fill it.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the space I create in my life, and I’d love to hear your efforts to do the same. Tell me about it in the comments below. You know how I love to guinea pig test your life hack best practices!

Heck, I’m cleaning out my own closet this weekend before swapping in my spring and summer clothes, so maybe I’ll even make more room for hats.

TELL ME: 

HOW DO YOU CREATE SPACE IN YOUR LIFE, PHYSICALLY OR OTHERWISE?