Names have power. They describe, define and identify. Recently, I have been working on a project that has brought this message home in a fresh way.
One goal of this project has been clearing out the storage room. Many of us have this room: the one where we stash everything that doesn’t have a clearly designated place to live. Typically, this is an attic, basement, garage, spare room, or even a closet. In this case, the client had expressed an interest in repurposing this storage room into a child’s bedroom. (see photos of this “Bedroom” project here)
As we worked, we kept referring to the room as the “Scary Room.” This is the name the room had acquired over time, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the volume of the contents. As we worked and talked, I realized how easy it had become to stick items inside this room… a “scary” room has no constructive purpose, and is clearly a space where you don’t want to spend any time. In fact, according to its name, this is a place you want to open the door, pitch things in, and get out as quickly as possible!
On my last visit, I suggested we rename this room. Instead of the “scary room”, we decided to start calling it by the name we wished this room to have… her daughter’s room. This seems like a small change, but it made us think differently. Items that might live in a “scary” room have no business in a little girl’s bedroom, a distinction that helped us make choices and decisions.
This principle applies to every area of our home or office. By giving a space a vague or disparaging name, we are likely to disrespect that space, allowing the contents to get out of control. Instead, we can choose to name a space for its beneficial, intended purpose. For example, instead of the ”junk “drawer, call it the “desk supplies” drawer. Or, instead of the “messy” closet, call it the “craft” closet or the “coat” closet.
As you look around your space, take a moment to think about what you call various areas. Have you chosen specific, positive, functional titles, or allowed some areas to fall into negative disarray? Sometimes a simple change like a name (especially when coupled with a corresponding, printed label…) can turn the momentum in the direction you wish to go.
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Names matter! Do you have a room, closet or container in your life that needs a new one?