Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Clutter and Too-Small Spaces

blueprint of a home interior

Architects and organizers both deal with people's space concerns.

I was chatting with architect Edward Love a few days ago, and we noted that sometimes people might not need additions if they simply uncluttered their homes.

But does it ever make sense to remodel a home — or buy a new one — to accommodate your stuff? Sure.

Here are a few scenarios that come to mind:

1. You're a crafter.
Crafting is your hobby and your passion. You've already sorted through your supplies and found new homes for the ones you don't anticipate using. But you still have quite an array of supplies, and you also need work surfaces to do the crafting on. But there's no good place in your current home for all of this — and you're lusting for a craft room like the ones you see on Pinterest.

2. You're a collector.
You've got a carefully curated collection; you're going for quality, not quantity. But even if you do rotating displays — showing off only part of your collection, and changing the display every few months — there's not enough display space, and not enough storage space for the part of the collection that's not on display.

3. You're a homeschooler.
You need classroom space for all that school stuff: books, science project supplies, art supplies, etc.

4. You're someone whose furniture is a mismatch with the space you have.
You love big, overstuffed couches and chairs — and they just don't fit well in the living room you've got. Or you have massive storage pieces, perhaps family heirlooms, which overwhelm your space.

5. You need exercise space.
Unlike the many people whose exercise equipment becomes a clothes rack, you really do use yours. But you'd really prefer not to have the exercise equipment living in your bedroom.

So if you have stuff you use, but are struggling with finding space to store it and make the most of it, you may be one of those people whose clutter problems really are just a matter of inadequate space — and if you can afford it, a remodel may solve those problems. If not, then living in a space that's somewhat more cluttered than your ideal may have to be the answer — and that's OK, too.

Photo from dawniecakes / Dawn Peterson, found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.


Debra said...

I do believe living spaces can simply be too small. We've got less than 500 sq. ft for 2 and a pet. The flat is old and the space is not well designed. We have winnowed down our already few possessions but it still looks too cluttered for my tastes, but food needs to go somewhere, the coats need to go somewhere, the pens need to go somewhere, the tax receipts have to go somewhere...
We also both regularly have to work from home and so there are boxes of work files which we are not allowed to throw out. You get the picture. Yes, sometimes living spaces are indeed not big enough. In a larger flat with closed storage we would look like serious minimalists.

SueBK said...

I would add - if you love to have people stay. My dream house has a spare bedroom that is only a bedroom. A room a can decorate and make 'homey' so my visitors can truly relax and enjoy their stay, without being surrounded by our stuff, and without feeling (or being) an inconvenience.