Every new year, new season, or new month presents itself with its own challenges. I don’t think mine are unique.
Moving into a new home this summer has revealed more challenges and projects than we anticipated. One main project we knew going into the move was going to be setting up a schoolroom.
While getting geared up for #Back2School is thrust upon us whether we have kids in school or not – just check out ANY store during the months of July and August – for us it isn’t a matter of whether we get everything on our supply list to be ready.
No, somehow I have to transform this room – that was silently dubbed the “just go put it there” room. The house we now call home, has little to no storage, and so it became routine to store everything in this room.
So without the help from these 5 things I needed most in my life, and a lot of other voices of encouragement on the same topic – I would have sat down right in the middle of this room and cried. Left to myself, I do not have it in me to tackle space challenges like this.
It was my express desire to simplify in the process of our move – because if not now, then when? It always requires effort to remove the constant tide of clutter that enters the home, so it felt ultimate to envision how we will use our space and then only allow in the house what we need to maintain a healthy flow.
Here’s my mental check list for deciding what comes in:
- Just because we own it, doesn’t mean it needs a home in here.
- What will we do everyday? And what do we need close by in order to flow easily?
- Where can things hide – both intentionally and accidentally?
Just because we own it:
I have a backwards way of thinking about setting up spaces. I know that it’s backwards because of all the HGTV watching I did this past year. I look at a space and I see 2 things: what it is and what I have. I do not see it like a designer who can see these 2 things: what it could be and what you need to get it there.
But since we need to redesign this space on the cheap, I need to alter the second thing of the designer mentality to “what I can repurpose to get it there.”
In tackling the first item on the check list, I’ve decided to selectively forget what we have and just wrap my brain around the vision of what this room needs to be for us to function well.
Remembering my motto – Focus on function, don’t pine after perfection – helps me let things go that I know I cannot change. I can’t jump in the car and run to IKEA for a new desk, so how can I repurpose the desk we have?
Well, we have this long, rectangular coffee table. Why not put taller legs on this and make it into a table for the kids? I know we can get some wooden children’s chairs – so the kids’ desk is done!
Envision the flow:
The second item on the list is definitely a challenge for me as well. Envisioning the flow of a space isn’t natural for me so I take it in baby steps.
- Now I’ve got the kids’ table/desk decided – where will their subjects go and how can I position the furniture to make the best transitions for them?
- And which wall will fit the desk best?
In our schoolroom we only have 2 walls to use for furniture because of the built in and the sliding glass door (which I love for natural light).
Plan for clutter:
Then the third item on my mental check list was kind of like a “clean up” item. Now that I have separated what we have from what we need and a vision of what will naturally take place in this room: where will the clutter magnets be? And if it needs to go in this space, then where can it hide when it isn’t in use?
I don’t want to create a space that ends up looking crowded and cramped. Small spaces are not inevitably cluttered spaces. If anything, I’m happy for small spaces for the confrontation of my greedy tendency to buy, save, store everything I MIGHT need someday. No. I admit small spaces have glaring limits, but they are also endearing and cozy. Any space can be maximized by highlighting the strengths and working with the weaknesses; it can become a purposeful and peaceful.
Tomorrow, I’ll share how I used Pinterest to spur my creative brain to action on our schoolroom and how not to become paralyzed by all the good ideas out there.
And if you missed Day 1, you can read it here.
Thanks for adventuring this #Back2School challenge with me. Let me know in the comments what your biggest challenge is for your space – I would be happy to brainstorm with you.
More good reads:
- I wrote about my one room schoolhouse on Simple Homeschool.
- Organizing kids’ stuff by The Art of Simple.
- I’ve learned slowly by handling other small space situations :: From 900 square feet to 2 bedrooms – 10 Tips for Simplifying and Staying That Way
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