While it's great to share stories about designs and practices that help us live comfortably and contentedly in small spaces, I think it’s just as important to discuss the things that we can happily live WITHOUT. After all, making a home of a small space isn’t mainly about figuring out how to cram as much stuff as possible into your compact quarters— it’s about experiencing more by owning less.
As always, before we jump on in, here’s a lil’ disclaimer: To each her or his own. While these items might be easy for easy for some folks to forego, they might be gems elsewhere. You know your own needs and space best. Habits shift, tastes change, lives and practices evolve. Design and decor should be different and enjoyable for everyone.
The following is just a small sampling of everyday items you might want to reconsider.
How have I not discussed this one before? We don’t have a microwave in the Cottage kitchen. I didn’t have one prior to moving here, either. You can use your oven/range for pretty much everything. If the extra prep-time gets to you, try to convert those minutes of waiting into productive chunks of time by using them to water your plants, stretch and breathe deeply, read, clean, call your loved ones, or read a book with your child.
I know some folks can’t imagine living without a TV, but if you’re on the fence then give skipping the tube a try! It’s incredible how many hours you’ll get back when you’re not watching commercials or flipping through channels. I have a large iMac for work, and every now and then Adam and I will use it for a movie night since nearly everything is online now anyway. Our time on this Earth is short and precious— let’s try to be more mindful of when and what we watch.
If you’re in a small space, chances are you probably had to scrap the concept of matching nightstands and lamps long ago. I find that out-of-the-ordinary or multi-purpose side tables are much more interesting than matching sets. And tabletop lamps take up so much space. Get creative with your bedside accent furnishings and lighting alternatives to save inches and reduce the number of items you feel inclined to purchase.
Music is one of the greatest joys in life, but bulky and fragmented audio system components aren’t necessary for the casual listener. And for those of us in small spaces, the idea of having high-tech audio capabilities is likely highly unnecessary anyway— a small, decent quality bluetooth speaker is likely more than enough to provide you with enjoyable sound throughout your tight square-footage. (Since 2013 we’ve had the same white “Big JamBox” over our kitchen cabinets next to our security system, and it sounds great throughout the entire Cottage, porch and stoops.)
While many types of clocks are beautiful works of functional art, they are no longer vital accessories for most homes and apartments. For better or worse, our devices tell us the time, wake us with reliable alarms, and also function as stopwatches and timers.
Curtain Tie Backs
There are so many ways to keep a curtain cinched without buying a dedicated piece of hardware and tieback. You can simply gather your window linens with basic twine, or even knot the fabric. (For our bedroom curtains, we use a loop or rope that we secure to a piece of driftwood I drilled into the wall.)
The more bath products you buy, the more cluttered your shower gets, and the more ledges you’ll need to accommodate the bottle build-up. Challenge yourself to stick to the basics, and you might find that you no longer need any storage accessories in the shower.
There are so many beautiful mini-cribs, bassinets, bedside sleepers, and pack-and-plays out there. Do what’s best for your family and infant. We had a mini crib and I loved it, but if we decide to have another child, I suspect that I’ll stick with the Dock-A-Tot in lieu of a compact crib. It’s also portable, and it functions as a changing pad, activity gym, and tummy time surface, so it’s a win-win-win-win-win-win.