Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too.

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

So the other day when I shared my scrappy Irish Chain quilt, I mentioned in passing that there’s no longer going to be a mudroom. I know. I kind of just slipped that in there without much of an explanation. Terrible. So today I’m going to explain.

For those of you who may not remember, my family room has been a long, ongoing process. I haven’t done any real decorating in there yet, despite living here for 6 1/2 years, because I can’t seem to get the layout right! I keep fussing with it and fussing with it and still I’m never happy. Last time I made a big change, I had decided that it was just that the room was too darn big, and that no matter what I did it wasn’t going to work unless I carved off a hunk of the room and used it for a mudroom.

It was the first time I felt excited about the room and I even finally got started painting my cabinets green. For awhile it was cozy and comfortable and it actually seemed like it might be the family room I could stick with.

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

Of course, when you consider where I had come from, it’s not hard to see that it was a major improvement.

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

(We won’t even discuss what the room looked like when I moved in!)

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

But over time, the “mudroom” just became a holder for junk. It was dirty and claustrophobic. The stuff was weighing down on us, threatening to topple through the curtain on a daily basis. We couldn’t use the sliding glass door.

I just figured the junk was the problem, so I cleaned it out. Yes, all of it. Some of it I put in the office closet for later sorting, but 90% of it is just gone. It didn’t need to be here anymore. I have gone through so much in the last year, and grown so much in the last year, and one thing that is so very, very clear to me now is that this stuff is just stuff. I don’t need any of it. Sure, I enjoy having things, I prefer to have some things (like fabric), but for the most part? I don’t need it anymore. Once I got to that place, I just gave it away.

But then guess what happened? Somehow, the mudroom didn’t seem that compelling anymore. We kept the curtain up for awhile, and Mr. Magpie even started some preliminary setup for building the wall. We could a secondhand flatscreen TV we were going to hang up. But our hearts weren’t in it. We’re happy watching TV on our laptops. That is, when we watch which is not often. We missed being able to see out onto the porch and have easy access to the garden, especially in the nicer weather.

We toyed with the idea of putting in French doors on the other side of the family room (replacing the window there), but it was going to be a long time and a big expense and as Mr. Magpie pointed out, ruin the whole point of a mudroom anyway!

And then, one day, through some rambunctious playtime, the blue curtain came down entirely. And it was so light and bright and open, that we said, well, maybe we should just embrace this big space. We can make it as cozy as we can and just enjoy it.

So that’s what we’re going to do.

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

You know what the funniest part is? It doesn’t feel cavernous or uncomfortable now, even though it’s completely a mess with half-done furniture and mismatched ottomans and toys everywhere and a crazy 80’s leather chair.

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

It just feels like home. Oh, we have plans, of course, and I’ll tell you more about those, but what surprises me the most is how comfortable it feels, even with all the open space. Before it felt like the space was pushing us around, you know what I mean? Now it feels like the space is there to support us in growing, blossoming and thriving.

Maybe Bigger is Okay, Too via cottagemagpie.com

You know what I think? I think maybe the junk was the root of the problem. Maybe we just weren’t ready for a large room because we were so tangled up with all the excess stuff that was in the house. Maybe we hadn’t grown enough as human beings to handle all of the light and energy that is flowing through that big space. Maybe now we are.

It’s amazing what decluttering can do.

Have you ever been transformed by a change in your amount of stuff?

~Angela :-)

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Comments

  1. Wow, you’re right about the junk holding us down. I’ve been through a couple of stages like you, and are currently at the ruthless stage. And I just posted a similar decluttering post this past week! I love how your family room looks now… Welcoming and light and open!

    • Thank you!! I was wavering, but I’m back to ruthless now, too. It seems like every time I start to think maybe holding on to stuff might be a good idea, something in my life intervenes and says, “Nope!” It feels good to get rid of more and more and more. ~Angela~

  2. It does look comfy and welcoming, maybe because it’s not perfectly matching.

    • Thank you, Magali! I have to say I’m a fan of rooms where things don’t match. I’m hoping this one will be a wee bit nicer than it is now, but still be cozy. ~Angela~

  3. Andrea in Iowa says:

    I read a book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, and other than the Bible, it’s been the book that has had the most profound impact on my life, in fact, I need to read it again and then hit my craft room and clear out about half of the stuff…..LOL

    Can I make a suggestion, if the room doesn’t feel cozy, you may find just a slightly darker wall color would help, it’s such a big and bright room that it might feel cold. You have the luxury of space and light and it is the perfect place to warm up the space with a cozy color on the walls, and one huge area rug under the conversation area to define and warm up the space.

    But I’m still in shock over ripping out the cabinets….LOL

    • Andrea, that’s so funny, that’s exactly the same book that I have!! It completely changed my life!! I have been re-reading it over and over because every time I get a renewed sense of confidence about getting rid of everything. Thanks for the suggestion on the wall color — I will consider that! I know wha tyou mean about the cabinets. When I bought the house I was so excited to have them and I never thought in a million years I would get rid of them. But you have to trust me, they did NOT work!! They were so deep and not many shelves and you couldn’t get to anything in the back half — they just collected so much stuff. I’m as shocked as you are, but I’m so much happier with them gone. ~Angela~

  4. Your family room looks so homely and comfortable, I love it. It’s lovely to see your quilts in situ too. Your furniture and furnishings look so fresh, cheerful and full of welcome :-)
    I have some understanding because I have had a similar problem with our sitting room but for me it was the layout plus colour issues. I wouldn’t say the room is sorted as I feel it is a work in progress, but we are happier with it.
    Re decluttering…. mmm…. I just seem to acquire more stuff (lol!)…I’m forever bringing charity/thrift store finds home.
    I’m really happy for you that you you ‘discovered’ or should I say, rediscovered your room.
    Tracey xx

    • Thank you, Tracey!! I agree, color is a huge factor. I think if I had made more color changes sooner I might have discovered how to make the room work earlier on. Oh well! :-) It still needs lots and lots of things, but at least it’s feeling good to be in. ~Angela~

  5. YAY! Let’s hear it for getting rid of 90% of our junk! All it does is let us breathe free, let the sunlight flow in strong and bright, and allow us to truly appreciate the possessions we do have.

    I’m loving all these bright colors … such a gift after a long gray winter.

    Enjoy!

    • Thank you, Linda!! Yes, I’m feeling better and better the more stuff I get rid of. It’s great to hear your encouragement! I’m inspired to go de-clutter some more right now! :-) ~Angela~

  6. Barbara H. says:

    Gosh, time got away from me – meant to comment before this. Isn’t it interesting how our space evolves as we evolve? I don’t come close to what you’ve done in terms of getting rid of the junk, but it feels more and more like this is the year. I want both my inside and outside space to be clean and nice instead of messy with potential projects. I love your description of your space supporting you now instead of pushing you around. Thanks for articulating my goal for me, Angela.

    • Barbara, it’s so great to be on this journey together! I never thought I’d be able to get rid of so much, but I have to tell you, the more I get rid of, the easier it gets. There’s something so freeing about having more space and less stuff!! Of course, that doesn’t make it easy with some things (books, fabric, kids things), but I keep plugging away! ~Angela~

  7. Hey girl! I’m back! Spent 3 weeks in Colorado with my Brother who is…..well, he’s dying. Can’t think of a gentler way to say it. He’s 83 and is dealing well with it. Me, not so much.
    Anyway! I’m always struck by how you are coming to realize so much about yourself! Took me 50 years to realize I don’t needs so much STUFF! Good for you! And I love your family room. I could hang out there, no problem!!! And of all the beautiful things I’ve seen on your blog……that cat is in top spot!!! Beautiful!!!!

    • Oh, Dona, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. Hugs and hugs and hugs for you. As you know I lost my Dad last August and it’s just so hard! Like your brother, my Dad’s only concern in the last few weeks of his life was that he was taking up too much of our time. He was completely at peace with his life and it not lasting much longer. So inspiring. I have to say, I spent so much of my life *not* knowing who I was that I feel like I’m on the fast-track to catch up! Ha! If you ever make it up to the Pacific Northwest, let me know! :-) ~Angela~

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