26 Apr 2017

The Way We Use Our Spaces

Recently I've been wondering whether we really still have too much stuff or whether some of the cluttered feeling in our house comes more from a misuse of our available space and a lack of storage where it's needed.

Hubby, when he's home, spends most of his time between his workshop and his office off the lounge. Which to be honest is a bit of an eyesore with not enough storage space.(see pic below) . 

Did I say, ' a bit of an eyesore?'

I spend my daytime hours when I'm at home either at my desk, which is also in the lounge, or in the kitchen, laundry, or garden. Our current office spaces don't have any real storage. Hubby has a few drawers, otherwise everything's all over his desk and I have files stuck in boxes in a cupboard off the lounge that are a pain to get into when you need something in a hurry and a few art supplies stashed in a drawer in the spare room.

The picture below is of the office space we built for me in a corner of the dining room just after we moved here. Hubby built my desk for me. It had lots of positives like great lighting, lots of space and close to the kitchen for working while keeping an eye on things cooking but unfortunately the cold draft from people going in and out the back door (out of sight to the right of this picture) and the constant disturbances from everyone coming and going decided the fate of this office space. So I ended up moving into a dark, out of the way corner of the lounge for the last year or so. 

Looks great but has too much through traffic and cold drafts in winter.

Another problem has been a lack of linen storage. The previous owners of our house had removed the linen cupboard from the hallway and extended the bathroom into the space. They had then created a cupboard in a corner of the dining room, I suppose to replace the missing linen cupboard, but it's in a really silly place and the door opens over the doorway into the lounge. Blocking traffic flow through and around the main hub of the house. It turns out that they must have built the whole wall between the lounge and dining area as it doesn't show on the original house plans at all and after removing the wallpaper from the wall you can see that that whole section of wall has all new wall linings. Effectively they took an open plan house and partitioned it all off. 

Our problems; 
  • We had a cluttered lounge filled with office stuff and overflow from my daughter's room. 
  • A large master bedroom space with more floor space and storage than we needed and all the best but unused light.
  • My daughter's room with not enough closet space or floor space to play and so her things were spilling into other areas of our house. 
  • We also had no linen cupboard as the people that lived here before us thought it was a good idea to take it out and extend the bathroom and then partition up the lounge and dining areas and squeeze a cupboard into a random corner. 
  • No proper storage for office related things and a messy office just by the front door and my desk in a dark corner.

Our solutions;
  • Hubby and I decided to swap bedrooms with our daughter. We gave up the master bedroom to her as she has far more need of the storage and floor space in her room for playing and dancing with her friends than we needed just for sleeping. We had the largest room with the best natural light streaming though huge windows and yet the room remained empty most of the day. All that light and space was wasted on us. Now she has storage for all her books and toys/board games. She has plenty of floor space to spread out with her friends and the low winter sunlight in the room makes it a sun filled, warm, pleasant place to be for her. She loves it!
  • We moved our bed into the spare room. It has ample space for us and a great large wardrobe so we haven't lost any space. It's on the South West side of the house so we don't get much sunlight until the late afternoon but that's fine because we're rarely in there during the day.
  • Our daughter's bedroom we've turned into an office, it only has a single wardrobe so we've converted that into the linen cupboard. All the towels and spare sheets are in there and it's close to all the bedrooms and the bathroom where we need it.
  • The office space is large enough to fit two desks and some shelving with room to spare, so all the files I have stashed in boxes will have homes as soon as I pick up another shelf unit. That also means that Hubby's desk can be cleaned up.
  • Which leaves the lounge. I haven't taken a picture in there yet as I've got a large pile of things to be donated growing in there at the moment. I can also say that we've moved our home library in there too (it was in the spare room before) and it's so much better having the books near a comfy, well lit, place to read them.

So it looks like we had a mixture of problems. Some of it was due to too much stuff but a good bit more of it was due to us not thinking about how we could better make use of our available space.

The master bedroom doesn't have to be used just for the adults. I'm not sure where the idea came from that we have to have the largest bedroom in the house but it seems a waste of space to me. If I want some quiet time I can go to my room, lie on the bed and read or listen to music. I don't need loads of space for that. I've also discovered that if the kids have a nice space of their own to be in, they're more likely to spend their time in it. So the lounge is then quiet anyway. 

If you have a spare room you can turn into your office, do it!
This removes all the work thoughts to that room, where you can walk out, shut the door and leave them when you need a break. Having the office in the lounge just encourages working at stupid o'clock or when you should be having family time.

Storage is best placed where you need it. Linens and towels near the rooms you use them in. Files and office stuff in the office. Your home library is best placed near a comfy chair and a window for good light to read by.

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