Making the most of your space

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Several years ago, when we were considering moving to a bigger house, or staying where we are and remodeling, I purchased a book called The Not So Big House by Susan Susanka and Marc Vassallo along with the follow up book The Not So Big Remodeling by the same authors.

The current Marie Kondo “sparking joy” trend reminds me of when I first read the Not So Big books.  From an architectural perspective, the Not So Big House concept looks at the spaces in which you live, and how those spaces themselves, not the things around them, should make you feel.  

When we remodeled our kitchen, I brought this idea up with our designer, and he was already on track to make that happen.  It is no wonder that our kitchen is my happy place, and it tends to stay clean and organized more than any other place in our house.  When our designer, along with our close friend finished out the remodeled space including the placement of art and objects, the friend who did the finish out of objects told me to be mindful of the space and not junk it up.  I have honored that request, which is why the space still brings me such joy.

Some noteworthy tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Make the space you have more personal, which in turn makes your house a home for you and your family. 

  • Choose a month and give away/donate one item each day. Enjoy the transformation of simply reducing your stuff one day at a time.

  • Custom shelves are not expensive (they can be an easy DIY project) and you can fit them into awkward spaces and nooks. If you have a wall that juts out or an awkward corner where you can’t fit furniture, consider custom shelves to fill the space. 

  • Use your doors. Hang hooks or shelves on the backs of your doors. Pantry items, jewelry, towels, handbags etc. The insides of cabinet doors can also provide extra space.

I attended the Home Builders Association Housing Forecast for 2019 in mid-January, and over half of buyers the HBA surveyed said the motivation to move is based on the design and lack of functionality of their current home.  More specifically within the design elements, these are the things buyers are considering: interior style, more function versus size, curb appeal, and better community/lifestyle.  Interestingly, things further down the wish list were MORE interior space and MORE private outdoor space. Because of these findings, along with the minimal approach being a current relevant concept, it looks like HOW you live not what you HAVE is what people are looking for.

Considering the space you are in, and making it more useful and less clutter-filled is a tall task. I personally have been working to reduce the clutter in our house. Thinking through the process of decluttering, as a family, we have been more mindful of considering experiences with each other and not things. This has led me to think more about wants vs. needs.  I know it’s a small step, but just a few days ago I shocked my husband by letting him know I was in Target and ONLY purchased the one item that I needed.  No impulse purchases on things we definitely didn’t need.  Because of that successful trip to Target, I feel like these small steps of mindfulness towards a goal of “less is more” will lead to a path of being more present and grateful for each other than with what we have or think we want.  We shall see!