Happy Friday, sweet friends! Also, happy 4th of July! I hope your night is filled with fireworks, good food, and amazing friends :)
Today, I have the immense pleasure of introducing you to a blogger after my own heart - Trina from Beginner Beans. She is a wife and a mother, and incredibly passionate about simplicity!
Since Hans and I don't have kids, I'm not really able to give solid advice about how to live simply with a family. However, I know some of y'all do have kids. So, I asked Trina to share her wisdom about living simply in a small space with a young family. Be blessed by her thoughts, friends! Make sure you check out her blog for other wonderful thoughts about simple living!
Our soon-to-be family of five is closing in on the end of three years living in our cozy 2-bedroom, 1,000 sq. ft. apartment. With baby three due in a few short weeks, we are also preparing for a move to a slightly roomier 3-bedroom place.
Looking back on our time in this apartment, we have simplifying to thank for how well this space has worked for us. We have had plenty of space to relax, play, work, and even entertain and welcome others into our small space.
I'm happy to share a few ideas on how simple-living has made our apartment work for our young family. Of course, these can easily be applied to any family set-up and any size home.
1. Personal Spaces
Simple-living creates room for personalized spaces throughout an otherwise small and crowded home. We each have space on our single bookshelf for our books; the kids have a table for play, eating, whatever in the dining room; my husband and I have separate workspaces in the bedroom. I thought only a large home would have space for these areas, but with fewer things and some of the ideas below, there is just enough space for us each to claim our own little corners of the home.
The absolute essential to helping us fit well is decluttering. Kids are a magnet for things--clothes, gifts, trinkets, toys, books, etc. It's amazing how quickly we start falling out of closets and off of shelves if I don't stay on top of clearing out the excess. But as I do go through and choose carefully what we need, what we love, and what we use, then we always fit well in our home and create a naturally more organized and spacious place.
2. Hidden Storage
We make the best use of storage by hiding things away out in the open. A packed bookshelf makes any space look cluttered; but nicely covered crates disguise the fullness of the shelves and create a coordinated look. Same with the kids' toys: They quickly turn our living room into a messy play room. But with a few storage ottomans under our TV shelf, everything is quickly and easily concealed out of sight. There are lots of options to giving the essentials an accessible yet pretty place to hide.
3. Combining Styles
Simplifying helps incorporate style that represents each member of the family. Instead of going all out with themes and decorations, it helps to carefully curate each item on display. From the kids artwork hung on twine in the dining room to my husband's guitars hanging in the living room and careful selection of my favorite photos on display, we each have carefully chosen personal touches to make us feel at home here.
4. Rethinking Furniture
Almost every space in our home serves double or even triple duty. The living room is also play room, the dining area is also kids' work space, our bedroom includes our workspaces, and the kids share a room. In order to make all of these tasks fit, we have really had to reconsider furniture--both what is necessary and how it's placed.
We have been able to skip on dressers and extra side tables or bookshelves. Then, we got creative with furniture placement including putting our son's bed in front of their closet doors, placing our bed's footboard against a window, and hanging our TV on the wall to eliminate the need for a full entertainment center.
Finding a perfect combination of furniture and placement just takes some time and experimenting until you land on the perfect solution. No idea is a bad idea unless you've tried it.
5. Counting Our Blessings
Simple-living helps us focus on how blessed we are--and those blessings aren't dependent on the size of our space or how many nice things we own. In this season, we are so fortunate to each have our own comfy places to rest our sleepy heads, and climate control from the harsh seasonal weather, and cupboards full of food with a clean space to cook and eat.
The list goes on and on. But no matter where we find ourselves, I hope we will always find something to be thankful for, and find some way to use whatever little or lot that we have to be a blessing to others.
That, I feel, is truly a benefit to living simply.
Want more of Trina's wonderful thoughts about simple living? Check out her links below!
What ideas do YOU have about living simply with a family?
Under Grace, Rachel