If space is what I want… (update)

It is worthwhile to remember that space
is the most precious and also the most pleasing thing
in a house or room; and that even a small room
becomes spacious if it is not crowded
with useless objects.

-Charlotte Mason

I’ve noticed many quotes in my collections that might pertain to my Project of the Year, which is to accomplish a thorough thinning out and re-ordering of my belongings so as to beautify the indoor landscape, and thereby make it a more peaceful place for me and for my guests. This principle that Charlotte Mason sets down so perfectly may be the Number One, most foundational truth of the vision I have. Maybe space is to the visual sense what quiet is to the auditory. Certainly, if space is what I want, I have to create it, and constantly recreate it. Is this real creativity? I believe it is.

by Carl Larsson

We all know that a busy household such as Carl Larsson was living in, and of which he painted so many elegant scenes, would typically be filled with busy people cooking and sewing, with the children’s toys and the costumes that the woman of the home made for them, and of course, the books, and artwork in process. All of that is contained within my vision, and I understand in my bones how the creative impulse is hindered by clutter physical and mental. I need to begin again and again to carve out more of that most pleasing spaciousness, beautiful in itself, and often unfolding into more and diverse created things. I’m greatly thankful to the Larssons for their coordinated work of Life and Art, which continues to inspire us year after year with its Beauty.

Update to original post: It’s funny how this post about space had accidentally been published, while I slept, with extra space at the end where there was supposed to be more text! I fixed it now….

21 thoughts on “If space is what I want… (update)

    1. There is another saying related to this pertinent idea you have shared, which I saw recently and can’t find at the moment, about removing the “noisy” elements of the environment so that the good parts can “speak.” Thank you for giving me this supporting proverb!


  1. In writing, we call it editing: removing the superfluous, the awkward, and the poorly constructed. I watch the birds on the wires, and smile. Even they seem to prefer space. If a new bird flies in, all of them adjust, up and down the line. They may not possess anything more than their feathers and their companions, but the seem to enjoy having even those neatly arranged.

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  2. Surely Carl Larsson’s house was bigger than mine! But, this subject occupies my mind constantly. I think it’s more important to de-clutter and arrange as beautifully as you can, rather than cleaning. When it’s right, then the cleaning will be much easier and faster. I do get it neat once in a while, but it doesn’t seem to last…….

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly. It’s the clutter that is distracting, and takes a while to deal with. Dirt and grime can be wiped away almost mindlessly, much more easily, too, when there is ample space to work in.


  3. I so enjoy Carl Larsson. My best friend in college enjoyed his illustrations so much she was able to recreate some rooms in her home that looked like some of his illustrations. I’m not that talented, but I understand the peace that lovely spaces can contribute to our lives. Hope you have a lovely week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like what you’ve written to accompany the Larsson paintings. I have four of Carl Larsson’s books, over the years read through and through but also kept out to flip through at leisure. I admit to falling in love with him and his wife many years ago. I even wrote my first book, unpublished of course, about a family who lose their money and have to move from a grand Tudor to a small cottage and start over, the wife finding a Larsson book and using paint and fabric to make the little house beautiful.

    I smiled reading your thoughts about freeing space to make your home more beautiful for yourself and your guests as that theme has been my own winter project too. Only, after downsizing in two moves, what I have left now are things I truly love and enjoy and are difficult to purge. And my physical energy is shrinking. But even the few little things I’ve been doing help so much. I am starting with trying to have less little things cluttering floor space, like baskets of books set on the floor in almost every room, books to be read next but meanwhile collecting dust bunnies. And donating some dishes, an almost impossible task because of having donated so much in the past 6 years. I tried starting with my husband’s Fiesta collection. We no longer use them but I got an immediate no way when I suggested it. And those baskets of books I’ve gotten off the floor, they now are sitting by the bookshelves in my office, waiting for room to shelf them. And so it goes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am fascinated by the idea of your unpublished book, and encouraged by your personal vision of your home, and your account of all the effort that has gone into accomplishing it so far — ongoing, of course!!


  5. I love Carl Larsson’s work, also, and would love to live in such a light filled space! So much of our “space” in terms of home decor has been determined haphazardly by what has been given to us or what is available at the time. I’ve thought a lot about wanting to create beautiful spaces for our home, but have not always been intentional about it. I struggle with finding a balance between uncluttering and wanting to have out the things that tell our family history, some of which are lovely, some probably just clutter…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s easier for me nowadays to remove those “things that tell our family history” — that category pretty much sums up 90% of what I own! — as I notice that none of my children is interested in the things, so there is no one I’m saving them for. They say that the current generation wants experiences, not things.

      At my age, and since I am alone, I can weigh each item as to its pros and cons in my life now and going forward. But it’s really hard to get rid of the not-very-useful-and-not-ugly dressing table that I’ve used since a bride, that had belonged to a great aunt before that. And many more such things…


  6. This post may well be the most inspiring ever. There are also many comments that I want to come back to read and take notes on. I certainly look forward to following along with you on this journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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