You may have read my 4th blog post where I discussed my internal conflict between wanting order and alignment but also wanting a creative, cohesive and flowing style at home. Well, my internal conflict, where different aspects of my personality fight, doesn’t end there! So in this post I’m going to discuss another one of my classic internal conflicts.
This also relates to my previous post about minimalism. In that post I do admit that a true minimalist home is probably out of reach for me and also isn’t quite my true style. However, I do want to get as close to minimalism as I can because of the positive impacts this has on me personally – from clearing and decluttering my mind, to adding a feeling of serenity and to making me practice being thankful for the things I have rather than covet more possessions.
So where’s the problem you may be thinking. Well for me the problem is that this simple and calming minimalist style goes against my natural tendency to want to be the hostess, to be able to cater for all my friends and family and to have large gatherings where no-one is short of anything! This is so massively ingrained in me that I didn’t even realise it was a part of my personality until I started learning about interior styling. When I started thinking about my home and looking around, critically analysing it I realised something quite profound; I probably have quadruple the amount of stuff needed for the number of people living here – just my husband and I! Why on earth do I have 2 huge sofas and an arm chair and a dinning table that seats at least 6 people and takes up half the room? Why have I collected and kept about 40 knives, forks, teaspoons etc. – some of which live in our hallway cupboard! Why do I have 12 wine glasses plus 8 champagne flutes? And countless mugs that can hardly fit in the cupboard. I have gone seating, cutlery, crockery and glassware mad!
Now if we had a larger home with a utility room or pantry or garage or all three (that’s the dream) then this amount of stuff may be permissible but we don’t, we live in a relatively small 2 bed apartment with only 1 reception room and 1 hallway storage cupboard which is half taken up with our washing machine and boiler! So, it’s no wonder that the apartment feels cramped, messy and the opposite of a relaxing sanctuary.
One key thing I’ve realised, especially in a new build, is that the space in a room/property pretty much correlates with the number of individuals that would be expected to live there. This is very true for our apartment because realistically, it’s probably expected that only 2 people would live here and so the kitchen, dinning room and lounge allows enough space for 1 sofa and a dinning set for a maximum of 4 people. It doesn’t allow for enough sofa space and dinning space for 6 people full time!
We’ve actually recently sold our apartment and for the viewings we put a lot of our furniture in storage because it did a massive disservice to the space having so much furniture crammed in. With this furniture still in storage, I look around our living area and it absolutely baffles me how we ever lived with more than one sofa in this space, I just can’t now see how it would fit in without compromising the usability of the space.
This is definitely still a work in progress for me though because it’s still slightly anxiety provoking for me to think about having people over and not having enough stuff to fully cater for all their needs. However, I also love our apartment so much more and it works a thousand times better for us day to day now that we have reduced the amount of furniture. Also another key thing to highlight here is that I’m still blooming hoarding the other furniture in storage and we are paying through the nose for that privilege. So, although I feel good about the way our apartment looks, I do not feel good about the cost of the storage container but then I also get anxious when thinking about selling all that stuff in case one day we need it again.
For me the solution is really to work on my anxiety around not providing for my guests as this is a deeply ingrained belief that I need to chip away at to uncover why it’s so important for me to be the hostess with the mostest! I’ll also need to work on living in the present – we don’t need the furniture now and there’s no way to predict the future so it’s really illogical to hoard all that unnecessary furniture. Much easier said than done! This therapeutic process will take a little while but it’s absolutely worth it to ensure our next home isn’t catering for triple the number of people living there!
If you also feel like your home is cluttered then consider the size of your property and how many people would be expected to actually live there. Take a look at your furniture and possessions and consider – are they the right size for the room and for how many people live in your home? How often do you have others over – is it often enough to warrant a whole extra sofa just for them or could you get away with using the dinning chairs or a couple of small fold away stalls?
If you can work on reducing the amount of permanent furniture you have out all the time then this is likely to add a nice airy and bright feel to your home, which in turn is likely to elicit feelings of tranquility, calm and peacefulness.
I’ll have more on the use of multiple purpose furniture, which can help with this challenge, later in my series of blogs probably in about 2 weeks time so look out for that one if the above internal conflict resonates with you!