The Paralyzing Blank Slate

Have you ever sat and stared at a blank piece of paper knowing that you had to fill it up with words, or color, or an image?  Even though there are limitless possibilities, that blankness can be more paralyzing than organizing information or images or words that already exist.  As the days count down to my move in date on my permanent apartment, I find myself alternating between total preoccupation with the potential of a new home, and paralyzing brain numbness at the sheer blankness of it.

I’m living right now in a completely identical apartment, so every where I go I am surrounded with “What will I do with . . ” questions.  Every time I put away a dish, or trip over a toy, or fold a towel, I’m thinking, “Where will I put this?”  Sometimes that leads to an answer and I have a satisfying border piece for my puzzle.  More often, though, the question leads to another and another and a cascading avalanche of wheres.

Where will I put Moriah’s coloring?  In the chifferobe that I won’t need for her clothes, because I’m doing a family closet.  Well, where will the chifferobe go?  I think right here.  Then where will the Chinese hutch go?  Oh.  Right.  The hutch.  Okay, the hutch can go here, and I’ll put the coloring in the hutch.  Then where will I put the chifferobe?  . . .

At some point I get the mental equivalent of a blue screen and I have to play Eggbreaker, or something to let the processor cool off.

Unfortunately, sometimes I sit down to play Eggbreaker, and check my Google reader instead and I find posts about basement bedrooms on Design*Sponge or basket lamp shades on the Art of Doing Stuff, and the cascading thoughts go from “wheres” to “hows”.  How can I divide up the basement in a fun and functional and Design*Sponge worthy way?  How can I build a family closet spending almost no money (or actually no money) and yet looking like it popped fully formed from an DIY website?

The hows lead to wheres and the wheres lead to hows.    In extreme cases I have to completely re-boot by taking my kids to the playground and looking at not an apartment.  It has to be the playground, because if we go out back to splash in the wading pool I start planning my garden.


About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

4 responses to “The Paralyzing Blank Slate

  • Corinna Groom

    I can I relate to this problem. Please post pictures when you figure out the family closet thing. I need inspiration. 😉

  • Pati Allen

    Oh Coralie! I happen to have an awesome closet idea!!!
    Soooo what if I call you tomorrow…?

  • Carole

    Can you please explain the family closet idea? not sure I have a complete understanding of it

  • Karen

    Hi Coralie! It’s me, Karen from The Art of Doing Stuff! I’ve thought about your basement problem and decided you have a definite problem on your hands. Yup. You cannot turn a basement into a multiple bedroom/closet with no money at all. HOWEVER, you can do it inexpensively. Off the top of my head, I would run to Ikea. Your “rooms” can be divided with their cover up curtains. They are curtains that run on tracks or rings used to cover up bookcases and the like. You can also divide the rooms with bookshelves that hang from chains, or just regular old bookshelves. That way you’ll ALSO gain storage for clothing, toys, etc. If you’re careful in how you arrange everything it could look cool as opposed to cluttered and give each room some privacy. Another option is to use cell shade blinds. I would attach them to the ceiling. They’re really cool looking and will let light through. Push them up in the day and pull them down at night. Problem is, they aren’t cheap. I’ll keep thinking, but I really think browsing Ikea with an open mind is your best bet. If it’s too expensive take your inspiration from Ikea then make stuff yourself. Good luck and I’ll keep thinking! – karen

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