A Simple Home | Working With What You’ve Got

a simple home: working with what you've got

The past couple weeks, something just felt off in our house. Something about it felt hodge-podgey and unfinished. I mean, it is unfinished, but it just didn’t feel like it was even moving in the right direction. The most obvious offender was my desk; it had become a dumping ground for all my crap, an excuse to not deal with my stuff. When I really thought about it, I realized I hadn’t actually used my desk for its purpose in quite some time, and even when I did it was few and far between. Since my desk was in the living room, it wasn’t exactly a quiet getaway space like in our old house, and it became easier to just sit on the couch.

Then, there was our dining table, an IKEA gateleg table that felt temporary. We bought it for our tiny Sellwood apartment, and it worked fine in the last house as well, but it just didn’t work in our current space. Our dining area already feels awkward, and without real dining furniture it felt accidental. My plan was to hunt Craigslist for a simple, inexpensive wood table and chairs for the room, and sell the IKEA table. It seemed like the most reasonable thing to do.

Then, the other day at work (where I ponder our house more than I do at home) it hit me: what if we swapped my desk and the dining table? My desk is just a table anyway, and it made sense for it to serve more of a purpose. I brought it up to Bryce and he agreed that it was worth a shot – we could always change it back if we didn’t like it. The best part was, we were solving two problems with one, free move. Work with what you’ve got.

a simple home: working with what you've got

So this past weekend, I moved the desk (with Bryce’s help – be warned that IKEA tabletop is heavy) into the dining space, moved the gateleg table out, and rearranged the living room so the bookcase is in the desk’s old spot. While I haven’t found a permanent resting place for the gateleg table, which will now serve as a desk when needed, the house feels transformed.

There’s something oddly satisfying about completing a task like that, when everything just kind of falls together without having to add anything new. A free fix is surely my favorite kind. I think when we’re wrapped up in a problem (I’m using that term loosely here – we’re talking about homemaking, not rocket science) it can often seem easiest to go outside of our home to solve it. Buying something new seems like the easy fix, but so often, the simplest fix is already under our roof. Rearrange, repurpose, and reuse before you whip out your wallet. It might not be the perfect fix, but that’s not the point – perfect isn’t an achievable goal. I’ve found that a simple home doesn’t require too much time or money, and if I’m stressed out, I’m not doing it right. Maybe somewhere down the road, in this house or another, we’ll replace our furniture with something new. Or, maybe we won’t. For now, it works, and I have money to save or spend on another problem.

Also, my living room looks so much better without a desk in it, so this is a triple-win in my books.