Several rooms qualify as living space, rather than get into semantics I’ll define my meaning here: living space is space that is not kitchen or dining room and not used for sleeping or showering. So whether you call it the living room, the office, the den, or the great room, it qualifies as living space. These are the rooms where we spend the most time during our day, generally. Personally, I am a fan of simple, uncrowded, multi-use space. Our home now has several rooms that are “living spaces” The good news is that we also have what I call disposable furniture so when we downsize, we won’t be crowded. Let’s get to it.
1. A flat surface does not mean you have to put something on it. Walls, tops of furniture, tables, these were not made to be filled with stuff. In fact, the less we have on them the cleaner our home looks all the time. Do not fall into the greenery, knick-knacky, quaintly cluttery trap. A clear surface is a thing of beauty.
2. If you love a coffee table, you may need to take a deep breath. I’m about to get all up your space business. I feel about coffee tables like I feel about closets. They are crap collectors and space wasters. Most of our rooms are not big enough to accommodate them comfortably. We use them as, “we’ll take care of this later” storage spots, allowing the piles grow and spawn. The most use they get is to hold food while we sit at them to eat and watch television. I challenge you to say good bye to the coffee table. Just put in the garage for a few weeks and see how it goes.
3. Books are a touchy subject. No one is really middle of the line when it comes to them. Either this whole paragraph doesn’t affect you at all or your jaw is set and you are already kicking and screaming, ready to throw your protests out to the world. Take some deep breaths and go read this post about books (click here). I’m won’t repeat what has already been well written. We are down to one and a half bookcases from six full bookcases and stacks of books everywhere. Both pieces of furniture with books are ones Hunky and I have agreed are not disposable; one of them houses school books which are, of course, not optional. I am a lover of books. I love everything about them, the entire book experience. They were one of the last things I was able to begin letting go. But since we continue to live a gypsy lifestyle, my desire to be unburdened won out over my love for books. Honestly, I was never going to read or reread them all anyway. I have no one to impress with my collection.
4. Anything with doors and drawers needs to be severely assessed. I’m not opposed to cupboards and drawers. I am opposed to the fact that we employ ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality regarding them. Just because you shut the drawer, doesn’t mean the stuff goes away. If your furniture has drawers, doors or shelves, I suggest having a specific purpose for each one (for instance we have a cabinet with the school pens, pencils, calculators and protractors in one drawer and bound playing cards in the other. Nothing else goes in the drawer but those items that belong there). DO NOT HAVE A JUNK DRAWER. I’m planning to talk about this when we hit the kitchen, but just don’t. It never ends well. When you go through your drawers and cabinets get rid of duplicates, pens that don’t work, any pen if you have over twenty – don’t be that guy, trash, scraps of anything, anything that you can’t immediately identify, old keys, stray coins, marbles, bouncy balls…just toss it. No one misses these things. I’m not going to tell you to run out and buy organizers for your drawers because if you are diligent, you won’t even need them.
5. All the other odds and ends really fast:
- Paper Clutter. Unclutterer has two great posts: HERE and HERE
- Old magazines. If it’s been sitting untouched for six months, you don’t need it. Recycle or donate. Most magazines now offer digital service with superior search engines, and it’s friendlier to the environment. At least consider it.
- There should be nothing under any furniture. Period. (Those of you with littles get a small pass because those toys are tricky. We’ll be talking about that tomorrow)
- If you have too much furniture for an area, stop stubbornly hanging on to it. Why not give it to someone who needs it and can use it.
- Exercise equipment. This is not a clean clothes shelf or a mail box. Clear it off and use it. Putting stuff on it is just another excuse.
- Anything that doesn’t have a home needs to be removed from the room. Remember when I talked about having some boxes to keep things in while you transition? Determine quickly if it’s keep, donate or trash and put it in the right box. Random stuff sitting around is discouraging. Put it where you have a plan to deal with it. DO NOT JUST STICK IT IN A CLOSET OR DRAWER. That would be counter productive, now wouldn’t it?
Do you have any questions about your living space? I’d love to help out or point you in the direction of someone who can. Speak up in the comments!