In Japan they say that the silence between the notes is just as important as the melody itself. So it is with furnishing your small space.
This is the final instalment in a three-part series…
While it’s important to get each furniture purchase right, it’s just as important to eliminate the uneccesary. Living in a small home is a daily discipline: you are forced to keep the clutter under control because you just don’t have anywhere to put it
People in larger homes can get away with a little mess here and there without feeling cramped, but in my home I just can’t. This is one of the benefits of downsizing.
Miss Minimalist suggests a One-A-Day Decluttering regime, and if you have children at home or a demanding job, getting rid of one item per day may be all you can manage. But I think that sometimes the only way to tackle a cluttered environment is to take the bull by the horns! By this I mean selling or donating one large item from your home. This is good for two reasons:
- It will free up space and energize your home. I always get a thrill when I get to see a new part of my skirting boards! It will inspire you to look more critically at other redundant items in your home.
- If you donate a large item, you’ll have to figure out what to do with its contents. Perhaps they could be donated too?!
I’m thinking of selling this cabinet. It’s a lovely antique piece, but it does take up a lot of space for the items it stores. Perhaps I could store these things on floating shelves on the wall above it? I’d really like to create a reading nook in this space. But after I styling it up for the photo, I began to love it again. Hmm…I wonder what you think?
Some suggestions for creating some clear space in your home:
- Use the walls. If I had lots of money, I would install String System Furniture along one wall in my home. It’s so flexible that you can use it to create a home office or shelving in many different configurations.
- Keep your work surface clear. The easiest way I have found to keep paper clutter under control is with a simple box. If I’m too busy to sort my papers (aren’t you?!) I can stash them in here until I have some time to go through them properly. This way they stay together, they won’t get lost or crumpled, and they don’t look untidy:
- Have a place to dump toys at the end of the day. Having a quick tidy-up at the end of the day is an good discipline, but you have to make it easy for yourself when you’ve had a long day! I can store children’s toys in my coffee table/nest of ottomans (see Part 2), but I also have baskets for toys in other places in my home.
- Use the ‘borrowed view’, another idea from Japan. Because most Japanese people live in small spaces, they’ve developed a style of architecture to deal with it. Homes there often have screen doors that open onto a view of a manicured garden. This takes the eye beyond the four walls and out into the space beyond. All my adult life I have wanted to live in a house with a beautiful view I could see whilst sitting in my living room. Finally, I have one:
There’s no way I’d give up this view to live in a bigger house. How about you? Have you downsized your life recently? How do you make your small space spacious?
More from this series: