11.2.13

Minimalist Monday: Wasted Space


When you live in a small space the rooms you have need to be multi-functional. You may not have a separate office, dining room or kitchen and your rooms will have to serve more than one purpose.

I prefer the homely vibe of multi-functional spaces. They feel more lived in, cosy and welcoming. By contrast, the separate dining room we had in our previous home felt cold, sterile and empty most of the time. Yes, it came to life when we ate in there with friends or family but that wasn't very often. Likewise, our study/fourth bedroom was never a pleasant room to work in because it was a magnet for clutter. We could close the door on the mess but working in a disorganised and untidy room felt uncomfortable and uninspiring. We could have decluttered it but because it contained so many random things we never got round to it until we came to put our house on the market nine years later. On a very small budget and in a short period of time we made it look presentable by clearing the clutter, decorating it and turning it into a spare bedroom/study. For a few months before we moved we enjoyed this space but for the previous nine years this room had simply been a WASTE OF SPACE.

After the hard work of major decluttering I am enjoying the smaller but clearer space of our new home. Our kitchen feels sociable and warm as well as functional and I don't miss our old dining room. We eat in there as a family and with guests (we have an extending table) and it is a great place to congregate. Our living room serves us well as a place where we relax and work and, because we keep it tidy, working at the desk in there is much more pleasant than in our old messy study. We still have clutter hotspots (the loft, understairs cupboard...) but we don't have rooms devoted to clutter as we did in our old house. Our house gets untidy regularly but the clutter doesn't silt up like it used to. Clutter in a smaller house is so much more noticeable and demands to be tidied up.

If you have a room that you currently use for a single purpose you might want to make it more multi-functional. You could create a reading nook, craft space or musical area in a dining room or a living room. Or you might want to reorganise a room to suit your current lifestyle and interests. I have a friend who is currently reorganising her living room because she wants to have some tropical fish. She is giving away her rarely used dining table and is planning to put a modern aquarium there instead. This will give her hours more pleasure than the unused dining table; her reorganised living space will suit her needs and improve the quality of her daily life.

If you have a cluttered spare room or garage consider blitzing it and turning it into a useful space. Don't let clutter trap you in the past and prevent you from living the life you want to lead - like we did for nine years.

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10 comments :

  1. It's wonderful to hear how happy you are with your present home Claire and that it gives you the warmth and functionality you felt was lacking in your former home. The images you've been attaching to your home themed posts are lovely to look at and certainly fit the criteria of a cosy multi-functional space.
    I really love my current home but it certainly a waste of space with two of us living in a five bedroom plus study house - and it is why we are selling and downsizing.
    There are a couple of families interested but neither have sold their present homes. We on the other hand are not going to look until we have sold. Claire did you find your present home before or after you had sold the former?

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    1. Hi Megan. We sold in 3 months (January 2012) then didn't move until June 1st 2012. We found a house we LOVED as soon as we sold - a cute mid terrace three storey house but this fell through just as we were about to exchange contracts. Although disappointed we immediately found a different house (this one) which we'd seen many months before but never viewed as it was too expensive. However it had been reduced and our offer was accepted straight away. We had to rent it for a few weeks before buying it. This house suits us much better (better layout & location) than the one we first wanted would have done. Some things are just meant to be. Hang in there - someone will buy soon and in the meantime think hard about what you want from your new home xo

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    2. Isn't it wonderful how things worked out for you? It does seem as though it was meant to be and you were in a good position having already sold. We are also prepared to rent for a while if we can't find what we really want after we've sold. Thanks for all the advice Claire and of course the inspiration :)

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  2. Haha, Claire, what you said in the last paragraph is so true. Mess nags much more in a small home. This is sometimes annoying, as leaving the kitchen messy after cooking also means having a messy dining space etc. Sometimes this is driving me nuts. Our home so easily looks like a big mess. Then again, it doesn't take that much time to clean it again, even after the worst stressful weeks or illnesses or parties, serenity is always just one or two hours away (at most). But still, it looks like a big mess anyways - and there's no way escaping it. The two sides of a medal...

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  3. hello, belated happy birthday wishes! I like this post, I'd like to live in a space like this, I particularly like the floor, and I know what you mean about wasted space. This space feels more friendly. Heather x

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  4. In the house I'm currently living (my parent's) there are rooms that are seldom used and this waste of space just doesn't make sense at all. As you say, these rooms end up being quite depressive and cluttered. My future house, like yours, will be smaller and much more functional!

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  5. I have found that even in my 2000 sq foot home, by making rooms serve more than one purpose, our home is less cluttered. There is always room for improvement, though.

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  6. We turned our dining room (which we used only for Thanksgiving and Easter dinner) into a cozy TV room and it's been the best thing we've done. It's actually a room we use and since we use it we tend to keep it cleaner. The dining room table just became a place to stack papers and throw your mittens. Ugh. I agree - a multipurpose/used space is a happy space.

    Jenny

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  7. Am I the only one out there that uses her dining room every night? It has a large table that is much easier to use than the one in the kitchen. A snap to clear off, wipe off and keep it clean until the next evening meal. I actually like being out of the kitchen and away from my dinner prep mess:)

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    1. If you're using the space and enjoying it then it's not wasted. I suppose it depends how good you are at ignoring the temporary mess or how separate the dining space of your kitchen is. There is a clear divide between our kitchen area and dining area and we're working at making the dining part more stylish. Thanks for commenting :)

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Thanks for reading and leaving your comments. Keep in touch xo