year of living minimally

The Year of Living Minimally: Week Ten

Conversations with two different friends about furniture and this great quote Martha Reynolds shared about WHY you own things being more important than what you own inspired me this week.

One friend is trying to find the perfect furniture to invest in to put in her rental space – but buying furniture is expensive. My other friend has owned her house a few years but has only bought 3 pieces of furniture – the rest are hand-me-downs and garage sale finds.

That made me take stock of my own furniture. Most of my furniture has been hand-me-downs from my brother and/or his friends; when they moved, they’d ask if anyone needed X or Y, and I would usually take it to upgrade the X or Y I had gotten from someone else’s move the year before!

When I rented a small duplex, I searched for a nice tall kitchen table and chairs to fit in a little space off the kitchen. I found one better than I could have imagined, and it’s the table I still have today. Once I bought my house, I searched for the perfect couch. I bought it about a month after I moved in, and slept on it or an air mattress until I bought a bed. When my husband moved in, I bought a larger dresser for all of our clothes and moved my old dresser to the baby’s room. Besides baby furniture and IKEA-ish bookshelves, those are the only furniture items I’ve bought new. I have gotten rid of the baby things and am trying to get rid of the large dresser, now that my stuff all tucks away in my closet.

The computer/TV is on a small desk my dad had when he was a kid. He kept it and I used it as a desk when I was younger, and it moved with me time and time again. My old DVD shelves looked like they matched and stood on either side of the desk like it was a nice piece of “real” furniture. When I got rid of a lot of DVDs and used something else for storage, I got rid of the shelves but kept the desk. It’s nice and simple and the perfect size; I can sit at it as a desk when I need to, or have it be a TV stand when my kid is watching a show.

I have a “card catalog” CD storage system that my mom bought me for my first apartment. It has moved with me everywhere, no exception. It is probably my favorite piece of furniture. When I got rid of most of my CDs, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could do with it, because there was no way I could get rid of it. Luckily, I found that DVDs fit in longways, the opposite of CDs, so what’s left of my CD collection is in the top row, and the rest of the drawers are full of DVDs. Practical, out-of-sight storage, and I get to keep my favorite furniture piece.

Then there are bookshelves. A lot of bookshelves… but I am about to get rid of one big one! I might be way too excited about that, but it will make my “office” space look a lot bigger, and will free up some wall space so I can hang some art I’ve been wanting to display.

Do I sit at the kitchen table much? No. Nor do I use the 4 chairs there. I don’t sit in my armchair or glider much, and have considered getting rid of both. And that cute little recliner that I couldn’t resist buying for my kid when he was 2… he doesn’t sit there much. But I also think that I could move these chairs into different spaces and they would get more use. The kitchen table will get more use once school starts and we have a stricter routine and eat dinner together at the table every night instead of staggered due to the other tasks I have to get done.

My main focus for a long time was getting rid of the smaller items, like clothes, books, CDs, DVDs. Now that I’ve done that, I can focus on getting rid of the bigger things that housed those items. The reason WHY I needed them isn’t an issue anymore – because there isn’t anything to put on or in them. I have made sure I can keep the sentimental items and have them stay useful, but everything else is up for grabs. I will move some around and see if it gets used, but if not – it’s gone.

2 thoughts on “The Year of Living Minimally: Week Ten”

  1. Excellent post, Allison! We still have furniture I’d like to get rid of. We lived with second-hand stuff for a long time after we were first married. And the couch and chairs we have in our living room are from 20+ years ago – they’re pretty well worn, but we also have an old dog, and she sleeps wherever she wants, so we’ll hang on to them as long as we have her. We did donate our big dining room table and chairs last year, and kept the smaller two-seater for ourselves. Our bedroom set is too big (we bought it new 12 years ago and it fits well in the big bedroom), but if we move to a smaller, one-level condo (as we’ve talked about), the pieces won’t all fit, so that will force us down. After paring down our wardrobes, I think one dresser would suffice. It’s an ongoing thing, isn’t it? 🙂

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