Tuesday 2 September 2014

A space of my own - part 1: stuff

When you have a baby, you accumulate a lot of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Big stuff. Small stuff. Really small stuff. Awkwardly shaped stuff. So much stuff, you don't have a great deal of room for your own stuff any more.

And as they get older, their stuff just keeps on growing. 

Some stuff you pass on, sell on or store in the loft. "Just put it in the loft" you say. "We might need it again one day." When really you know that 'one day' may never come and you'll undoubtedly forget what you've put in the loft in the first place. 

But that doesn't stop you. Just keep putting things up there, they'll be fine, there's still room...

I like stuff. I always have. I like things to have their place but I don't like those places to always be hidden away. I like my home to feel homely and to me, clear of clutter shelves and next to no nic naks just doesn't do it for me. 

I need things. I need our home to reflect our personalities. I need to have the things I like out on display rather than tucked away.

I'd find it harder to live somewhere that was minimalist than somewhere where everything was out on display, although my natural need for order means that in a house of our size, I need to find a balance somewhere between the two.

The other day, hubs said to me that soon, Ethan will have taken over the whole house and we will have to ask him for some space to sleep at night. It was a slight exaggeration as generally, we have designated spaces for Ethan's things and we created a nursery and a playroom to keep his things contained. 

But his stuff does keep on spreading. 

And Ethan keeps moving around, hands into everything, wanting everything that's ours, everything that's just within reach and everything which isn't in equal measure. 

I keep adding new areas in the house for Ethan's things, be it a nook down the side of the sofa for his box of building blocks or replacing a coffee table with another Ikea unit (thank God for Ikea - those clever Swedes know how to turn every inch of your house into issuable space). 

I like to think that we are still managing to keep order when it comes to toys and Ethan's nursery is still looking as nice as it did when we first decorated it before his arrival into the world. 

We've removed the chair now as it took up too much room and instead, at the weekend, I made a little reading den in the corner, with a playmat, some cushions and his hamper of cuddly toys and a few books close to hand. Ethan has never used his nursery for anything other than sleeping so I wanted to make sure he could play in here as he gets bigger.

Speaking of which, at what age do you tend to move them out of the cot and into a toddler bed? We wanted to get Ethan a bed that would transform over time when we needed it to, but the shape of his nursery wouldn't allow for this and we had a specific space to fill in order to leave plenty of floor space and to avoid him having to sleep by the outside wall. We've dropped the bottom of the cot as low as it will go but I wonder when the time I'll come for us to swap the cot for a toddler bed. 

We also turned the spare room into a playroom, save for the small desk, iMac and hubs'wardrobe. We knew that Ethan would only gain more and more things as he grew older so it was an investment and a very wise decision as it's a well used space for storing things and to provide an alternative place to play other than our lounge.

Our lounge itself serves several purposes. It's mainly the place where hubs and I spend time, play with Ethan, eat our dinner and relax. Hubs plays on his consoles or on his PC from one sofa, I blog from the other and Ethan plays on the floor, pulling down all his books from an easy to reach shelf or tipping all his building blocks out for a big construction job.

We are still clinging onto a few spaces to call our own and I thought it would be both interesting and useful to share some of the ways in which we have created space for Ethan and for ourselves in our modest family home over a series of posts.

It would be great too to hear how you have tried to maintain order in your house and I'll also be sharing any fab finds or seriously clever storage options that I spy along the way.


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