A quick Google search on the average square footage of a home in the United States will reveal that most Americans like to live large. At over 2,000 square feet, that average suggests that my family is choosing a very different lifestyle than the majority, and we are absolutely fine with that.
When buying our house in Wyoming, one of the factors we loved was that it is a small house. At just 1350 square feet, it doesn’t come close to the national average for size. It is also over 100 square feet smaller than the house we owned in Nevada. Smaller was a goal for us, and we achieved it.
It’s interesting to note that by the standards of much of the rest of the world, our house is still quite large. That just goes to show you how different life is in America. We are so blessed, and yet we always want so much more.
But this post isn’t about wanting more. This post is about our living room and how we’ve minimized it.
This is my living room…
When you walk into our house, you are met with this view. We have one bookshelf, a television and stand, a couch, a chair with ottoman, and some TV trays for those nights when we have snacks on the couch while watching a movie.
A closer look…
One thing we keep our living room free from is abundant clutter in the form of CDs, DVDs, and knickknacks. In order to still have all the entertainment we love, we have chosen to go digital. In this technology driven time, it is so easy to put movies and music on hard drives or just use streaming services. We have only a very few actual tangible DVDs and CDs in our possession, and those are stored on the shelves in the TV stand. We also have a Wii and some games in the stand. If it doesn’t look like much, that’s because it isn’t. Minimalism for my family means that we don’t have all that stuff cluttering up our space. We just don’t need it. We are all tech-type people. Going digital suits us.
Before we moved, we had three bookshelves and a ton of unused, never to be read again books. I love books. My kids love books. But having books all over everywhere was driving me nuts!
We downgraded to one bookshelf. The top two shelves hold all that remains of mine and my husband’s books, and the bottom three shelves are all that remains of the kids’ books. All the excess has been donated to the library. We love the library.
I know that readers out there are gasping at the thought of getting rid of books, but it just made sense. Most books only get read one time. After that, they become dust magnets. I remember the first declutter of books that we did… By the time we were done, it was like a weight had been lifted. I remember sitting on the floor and saying out loud, “I feel like I can breathe.”
As for personal touches in the living room, there are a few odds and ends scattered around. There were quite a few more, but careful thought about each item led to the realization that I only wanted to keep what truly mattered. The items I kept were things that everyone in the family agreed on as being special.
I don’t think you have to have every space in your house full in order to make it a beautiful, inviting home. The kids have told me that they like not having so much stuff around because they have more room to spread out when they play. My husband likes that I spend less time cleaning. And I like that my house makes me smile with joy.
Minimalism in the living room, done my way, means getting rid of all those things that just sit collecting dust. Books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, knickknacks… they all become dust magnets and create a cluttered space. We chose to go digital and donate the vast majority of our entertainment items. We chose to cut down on the knickknacks. And we gave a lot of books to the library. During the day, the kids bring out toys to play with, but in the evening those toys all go back to their rooms. I don’t keep stacks of anything lying around. We do have some blankets on the couch because it gets cold in Wyoming. When warmer weather finally hits, though, the blankets will get put away.
Our living room is a place where we can relax. Our brains can decompress from all the stress of life as we sit in a peaceful, calm space. There’s just something special about relaxing in a room that doesn’t keep your mind racing… I believe a house shouldn’t overwhelm your senses. And we’ve achieved a good amount of calm considering we have two kids living here.
How have you minimized your living room? I’d love to hear from you.