Week 3: Breaking Up With Big Furniture

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Moving on from small clutter to the big stuff in week 3 of the Clutter Cleanse.

I used to think an IKEA organizational unit would solve all of my storage problems.

If I just had the right storage my stuff wouldn’t be so disorganized. If the right shelf combination and drawer unit was in place the toys would be out of sight and my t-shirts would magically fold themselves into a GAP worthy pile.

Organizing sucks. I hate it. Making the perfect pile of t-shirts every Sunday, and watching it turn into a big mess by Tuesday, is so deflating. I don’t need a perfect pile of t-shirts on a shelf. I need fewer clothes so that those t-shirts can be hung up in a closet or thrown into a drawer. Yes, if you can get in the habit of Kon-Mari folding, keep going. I’m still not there myself. I usually do a big fold session once a month but a week later it’s all undone.

When I have less stuff I need less furniture. That bookshelf squeezed into the living room or that monster night stand that really holds overflow jewellery and more books and your underwear – it’s there solely because you have too much stuff.

This week we’re going declutter furniture and bigger items.

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Task #7 in the Clutter Cleanse: identify once piece of furniture you can get rid. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be a foot rest, an extra dining chair or an end table.

Here’s another thing: you don’t have to get rid of it. Just think about it. What would this room feel like with one less piece of furniture?

What would I get rid of? The red chair we got in a package deal from a family that was moving back to France. It doesn’t work with our furniture but they basically gave it to us for free and we have just a couch as living room seating. Someday we will get a high backed comfy chair (love this IKEA one) but for now, we have this red chair. I think I can get by without it so… red chair, your days are numbered.

More about ditching furniture:

 

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  • I did it, I actually got rid of a storage unit in the living room by consolidating the things in it into the the other three items of furniture. I did it when I found the perfect dining table on facebook (2nd hand) and bought it. it’s bigger than the one I had before but seems to take up less space because all 6 chairs fit under it at the sides and the end goes up against the wall. With one unit less I’m feeling the spaceousness. Interestingly it started by thinking about it for weeks and I’d almost emptied it when the big move around came.

  • I recently decided to sell an IKEA HEMNES Dressing Table I bought years ago. When I simplified my beauty routine, it became a desk. But now it is just a catch-all for miscellany in route to it’s home or the garbage. The space where it once sat in the bedroom now allows for a much wider path into the bathroom, and I’m loving it. Now if only I could remove the kitchen counters, the other location where stuff just accumulates…

  • I”ve never subscribed to the fact that we “need” sets of furniture. I’ve never had a bedroom set – with matching bed and dressers and night tables. Currently my bedroom has a mattress that sits on a platform my husband built and that’s it. No night stands, no dresser, no chairs.

  • We did this towards the end of last year. We got rid of all but one piece of furniture: a coffee table. I am studying under Katy Bowman, who discusses how our habits of daily living contribute to physical ailments (sitting all the time – chairs, couches, etc.). So we ditched it all. We didn’t need any storage space because we had already minimised, and we sit on the floor with cushions around the table to work and eat. I also stand at my kitchen counter to work. Aside from making us stronger and more mobile, it is SO EASY to clean now! Hardly anything to dust and vacuum around.

  • On a smaller scale, once I got rid of craft supplies I was no longer using, I got rid of the cute baskets that held the obsolete. If I don’t have the stuff, I don’t need the meta stuff to store it in or on.

  • Oh furniture… I have mixed feelings about you! I love an un-cluttered room, but I still feel like I have too much furniture.
    In the last month we’ve gained a bigger dresser (replaced the small one) and also an *arcade cabinet*! I’m trying to just go with the flow and accept them both. The big dresser replaced a small plastic one. We didn’t need/want a bigger one (just a non-plastic one!) but found the big one for free. I couldn’t say no – not with the alternative being $$$. So oh well, it works, just bigger than I want.
    The arcade cabinet is something my husband built…so it gets a pass. I actually love it, and love being able to play games on it, I’d just prefer we get rid of something in exchange to sort of keep the clutter down.
    Big shout out to those who donate their furniture to others who need it! We have been on the receiving end many times and are so greatful to have friends and family offer to help us.
    So while I’ve pruged our closets, got rid of junk, and rearranged furniture to fit our life better…somehow we’ve had a net gain of furniture! It’s a process :)

  • I’ve been keeping a shelf unit, a TV unit and a shoe rack (all collapsed) just in case – they all went to the charity shop at the weekend!

  • We are getting ready for an onslaught of furniture, as my dad is moving out of my childhood home into a new home he built with his wife. I have got to (GOT TO) decide what to move out, to make space for the pieces coming in that I really want. (Like my mom’s corner cabinet…)

  • We have a dining table with 6 chairs and a much used sofa-bed in our kitchen-dining room-sitting room. Our book shelves and kitchen cabinets are built in. We also have an old sawing machine that I inherited from my great-grandmother. It is beautiful and is in perfect working order; and as it is by our front door, it is also used to hold our keys, wallet, purse, mobiles. We recently purchased a (minimalist) white and wood rocking chair, made by a local carpenter. The rocking chair is definitely not an essential piece of furniture, but I love sitting in that chair by the fire and or when I read. We spent a couple of years contemplating the purchase of the rocking chair, and now we are happy with our new-forever piece of furniture. :)

    • Apple – it is so wonderful to read that someone spent years, not hours, contemplating adding a new piece of furniture to their home. It’s so easy to feel that you are furnishing a home on a deadline and push yourself to be ‘done’. Our new/old home is still 80% there and I’m happy to keep it that way. If we really find we need, or even just want, another piece of furniture we can take as long as we want to decide.

      • I do collected images of homes that look similar to ours, but that already had the item of furniture we needed with on Pinterest. We bought our sofabed and rocking chair after looking at images, looking at the items in shops, thinking about when and how we’d use the new furnitures. …you got me ono Pinterest by the way, so thank you, Rachel! :)

  • How do you feel about the quality of Ikea furniture? I’ve found the stuff that we got looks cool, but isn’t very high quality. I’m debating whether we should eventually replace Ikea furniture with more quality pieces that will last longer. It also helps to have a father-in-law who is a carpenter. :)

    • I would agree: some IKEA furniture isn’t great quality. But there is a big range. We just bought a couch from them last year, one of their more expensive models the Stockholm, and we bought it because it felt sturdier than all the other models and better made than what we could find for a similar price elsewhere. A lot of what we have right now is IKEA that we bought second hand moving back from the UK to Canada in 2015. Some day I will invest in better furniture, likely vintage and second hand.