Today is Day 19 of the 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life Challenge. If you want to jump in, go get the book at Amazon, Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life.
I’ve learned a lot from sharing 1,300 square feet with six people, five of them children. I won’t go into all of the lessons at this time, but let’s just say that floor space is important. And by floor space, I mean empty, walkable floor space. If you have a large room, you need big furniture (think four-poster bed) so that it doesn’t look like doll-size. But when you have a small room, you need to adjust the size variance accordingly. We have small rooms in 1,300 square feet, except for the bathrooms, which could double as bedrooms. I won’t tell you how annoying it is to not be able to walk around the dining table when there is an extra two feet of unused floor space on the other side of the wall.
In a living space with children, you’re also going to lose floor space to everything they are not playing with at the moment. By default, unused toys fall to the floor with the floor around the toy box seeming to have the greatest gravitational pull. WHY can’t they stretch two more inches to make it to the toy box?!? Sigh. I don’t know.
But things are looking up on the floor space front. We are signing on a new 1,900 sf home in a few weeks. We are giddy over the idea of having room to breathe again. And I have a few plans for our new floor space.
1. Less furniture. I know that sounds backwards, but we have discovered that we really hate dressers. Yes, we need something in which to store clothes, but dressers take up a lot of space that could be better used for breathing. So, one of my first projects in the new home will be to install closet systems that use combination drawers/shelves/hanging racks to make better use of mostly unlivable space anyway. Then, the bedrooms will have more floor space to be used for living…and toys. Never forget the toys.
2. Smaller furniture. Like I said, furniture needs to be proportionately sized to the room. The bedrooms will be shared, so furniture will have to go up rather than out to maximize living space. We currently have a large, heavy, solid-wood bunk bed with matching five-drawer dresser. It will fit in the bedroom, but there are smaller framed bunk beds that will not dwarf the room. So, we plan on selling this set and purchasing something more conducive to an open space.
3. Hang it. Why use something that sits on the floor when you can mount something to the wall that serves the same purpose? You don’t have to walk around it or pick it up or even dust it much. I bought a wrought-iron coat rack for just this purpose. It’s pretty, convenient, and space-saving.
4. Replace furniture. Strategically-placed furniture enhances a room and encourages a smooth flow of foot traffic. We are replacing our fifteen-year-old couches. I’m not sure with what, yet. Couches are the obvious choice. of course, but what I mean is I want to leave the living area with some open floor space while accommodating seating for seven+. This may get tricky.
5. Use existing furniture for more than one purpose. If you have a piece of furniture that you cannot get rid of and is pretty enough to be shown, then consider using it for more than one purpose. For instance, I have an antique dresser. Selling it is out of the question. I don’t want to move it to the closet. So, I’m going to use the bottom drawer to store something, like craft supplies. I have shared a dresser with at least one of my daughters for several years, so I’m accustomed to not using all the drawers. Now that she will be at the other end of the house, I am reclaiming the drawer.
So, basically I’ve come to the conclusion that floor space isn’t for filling. It’s for living. And the less of it that I have covered up, the more I feel free.
How about you? What can you do with your floor space?