Taking Full Advantage Of Your Living Space

Father-in-law's garden and our clothes hanging to dry
This past weekend was a lovely weekend. The sun was out, the weather was warm, all around good stuff.

Summer is the best time of year. This is when you can hang dry your clothing, you can grow all sorts of vegetables outside, and you can hang out outside and enjoy the weather.

This past weekend was no exception. Wifey, despite being 25 weeks pregnant, insisted to grill some sausages outside. Well, we did that and enjoyed the outdoors.

It occurred to me that we have a HUGE backyard. I mean, yikes. Before the landscaping, we rarely hung around outside. When we did, it was either on the back deck (small side) or on the front porch. The front porch doesn't offer much in terms of privacy, so we rarely hang around outdoors.

Now, all four of us spend most of our time outside. Father-in-law is busy working on his vegetable and flower garden, mother-in-law is busy helping father-in-law or going to friends' houses to discuss matters of great importance, wifey is busy walking around trying to get her exercise for the day, and I'm happily tagging along (to make sure I'm around if she needs me for anything) or just sitting in the back catching up on news or researching something or another.

Compared to our neighbours, we're seemingly never home. Our neighbours, while they do go out, I've noticed they spend most of their time indoors when they are home. I've never seen them sit in their backyard enjoying the weather or out of the front porch having conversations with neighbours. I have noticed that they also hang dry some of their clothing. Makes complete sense given the sunny days (drought) we've had the past few months.

Of course, they aren't the only ones. I rarely see people hang out in their backyards or front porches. With the exception of a family two doors down that uses their backyard as a play area for their kids, seems everyone isn't interested in the great outdoors.

With that in mind, I've heard (through my mother-in-law) that almost everyone she speaks to has complained about the lack of space in their homes. Granted they may have more than 4 people living at home (2 parents, 2 grandparents, & 1+ kid), but still. In addition, most of her friends who come over to visit her are amazed at the amount of space we have. Our house is not bigger than everyone else's in the neighbourhood, so people are just flabbergasted.

I suppose one reason for this is the fact that we don't have much stuff. Four years into home ownership, and we've never gone on a huge spending spree to purchase furnishings for the house. Sure, when we moved in, we bought a dresser and a bed frame from IKEA and a mattress from Leon's, but that's pretty much it. Four years later, we've added a couple electric fireplaces, a couple of televisions, two couches (one leather), and a TV stand. That's not including the free stuff we've picked up along the way. My sister even gave us her old elliptical and kitchen table and chairs. I'm using our old kitchen table as a desk in the basement, and the old kitchen chairs are sitting in the office in the basement arranged in a way that makes it seem like a waiting room.

Despite all these things. We have an office downstairs that is absolutely barren. A bedroom that is still, for the most part*, empty, and now a living room that father-in-law is using to give the indoor plants plenty of sunshine.

Personally, I feel we have too much stuff. But other people who visit us disagree with us and remark at the amount of space we have.

So what's the secret? I suppose, it's very simple. Don't buy too much stuff. Life happens. You'll pick up things here and there. Things will break, only then should you consider replacing it... if you really need to. Like a washing machine... or a fridge. A coffee table that is a little scratched doesn't count.

What else? Well, it's keeping things tidy. Nothing is really out and strewn about. Mother-in-law is on top of that. But really, most of the stuff we do have is put away or on a shelf.

Finally, the biggest thing I can think of is using every room in your house. So many people I know throw all their stuff somewhere to store stuff. Or they stick to one place where they hang out. Or even have so much stuff, they start piling things up in their bedroom and hallway (that's my aunt and uncle). Their bedroom appears tiny compared to my grandmother's despite their room being the master bedroom and grandmother's being the smallest bedroom of the 5 (yes, FIVE!) upstairs.

Declutter, use each room differently, and go outside!

We'll see if this advice sticks after the kid is born.

*This is be to the child's room. We put the playpen we picked up from Kijiji in here until she arrives.


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