Would you judge a family with very little furntiure/belongings?

(309 Posts)
allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 11:55:33

Dh and I are in the middle of a 5 year plan to get ahead financially/career wise.

Part of this plan means we are living temporarily for around a year at a time in different locations. We hope to be in our forever home by 2016 smile

We have chosen to live very lightly and simply during this time and not collect many belongings/furniture along the way.

At present we are living in a flat which has plenty of built in shelving/cupboards.

All we have as far as furniture is 2 chairs, one desk, one large bean bag, a toddler chair and table, a toddler flip out sofa, highchair, mattresses for ds (2yr) and ourselves and a tv stand with tv.

We dont mind as even though we could get furniture cheaply (through freecycle etc) we know it would be a chore to get rid of again when we move.

I have got to know a few mothers and their children and have been to a few playdates at their very nice houses/flats of varying sizes/budgets but all nicely furnished and decorated.

Compared to their homes ours is very bare and modest. I would like to reciprocate the invitations but I would worry they would judge us about it.

We are both in our 30s so not in the student lifestyle category either.

So would you judge us if you came for a visit?

Also do you have an interesting way I could explain away/embellish our lifestyle choice without going into the details of our 5 year plan which would be very dull indeed.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 11:57:10

Forgot to say the flat comes with fridge, washer/dryer/cooker smile

BabetteAteOatmeal Tue 11-Jun-13 12:00:42

Personally I wouldn't be judgey about furniture, some people are minimalist, some like clutter! I assume you have toys, books etc. for the toddler though - that would be my expectation if inviting another child to play. Re explaining it, you don't really have to, but what's wrong with how you explained here - three sentences?

RubyrooUK Tue 11-Jun-13 12:01:10

I wouldn't judge you. Mainly I am fascinated and amazed by non-hoarders so I'd love to hear about your five year plan and offer to lend you anything you needed that you didn't want permanently if we had it.

I would think you were very disciplined and sensible. The only thing I guess I really wouldn't be able to cut down on is books for my DS, also two. He needs them to keep him occupied. But if you joined a library, you could achieve that anyway.

So, no, I would be impressed in the main!

wonderingsoul Tue 11-Jun-13 12:02:10

the only thing i would maybe judge would be the mattesses with n o bed. .. purely becasue iv had to use just a mattesses for a year and its just not comffy. a single bed , at least for the children isnt going to cost a bump and your need one any way.

other then that. no, what do i care how y ou funish your place.

CashmereHoodlum Tue 11-Jun-13 12:02:20

I would admire them! We have an odd sort of hotch potch of furniture, but too much of it. I too have noticed that everyone I visit seems to have immaculate matching furniture and everything very coordinated, but my place has never and will never be like that. The people I have over are not the sort of people who would judge on the appearance of my house. I'm sure there are loads who would, but I wouldn't naturally be drawn to them as friends, so it isn't an issue.

Bearbehind Tue 11-Jun-13 12:04:28

I would be surprised if I visited tbh. Are you saying the only choice of seat you have are 2 chairs (desk chairs not arm chairs) or a bean bag and you only have a mattress- not a bed?

I really wouldn't want to live so frugally and basicly even in the short term.

I know it's wrong but I'd probably think the bailiffs had been round to your house!

Elquota Tue 11-Jun-13 12:04:37

No I wouldn't judge you at all. Your home, your choice.

But I wouldn't like to listen to a long tale about how you were getting ahead financially. I'd find it rather smug.

Elquota Tue 11-Jun-13 12:07:13

I know you're not planning to go into detail of your 5-year plan anyway, but I think you don't need to explain at all. If anything just say you'll probably be moving quite soon so don't want to have too much stuff. But don't talk about your "plan".

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:07:36

Oh yes forgot to say the one thing we haven't minimized is toys and stuff for ds. It is basically an empty flat with a toys smile

He is of an age where he outgrows things quickly and we buy second hand and sell on when he loses interests (and will sell the larger toys on when we move next).

wonderingsoul Tue 11-Jun-13 12:08:32

also what happens when youv got a head finacially? .. just look at it.. pour it into your dream house with no funiture in it.?

or buy funiture then?

if i had the choice of not being picky i would save till i found a solid bit of funiture that i loved, that would last and slowly increase my funiture amount.

AnaisB Tue 11-Jun-13 12:09:01

I would notice, but I wouldn't judge you. I would think it was unusual. Obviously, you don't HAVE to explain anything, but if you said "we're buying as little furniture as possible at the moment as we keep moving," I would think nothing more of it.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:11:52

Elquota yes I wouldnt like to mention the real reasons why we are living like this, as it is dull (and most likely smug) which is why I would like some suggestions of how to explain/excuse it etc

I dont really like saying we are going to move soon as people might not be bothered investing in friendships if they know we wont be around long and I dont think that is fair on ds sad

bedmonster Tue 11-Jun-13 12:12:15

I'd probably judge you to be poor students if you slept on mattresses on the floor and had beanbags, but if you were nice I wouldn't give a toss!

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:13:17

bearbehind yes we only have 3 'sitting-items' (2 chairs and a beanbag) so I wouldnt invite more than 2 people around.

mrsjay Tue 11-Jun-13 12:15:09

if you have people in your life that judge you then tbh would you want them in your flat <shrug>

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:15:56

wonderingsoul yes the moment we have moved permanently to our new home we will most certainly be buying some furniture, definitely a sofa! That is what I miss the most.

Also beds and a dining table and chairs.

That is all I think you really need as long as you have built in shelving/cupboards.

Bearbehind Tue 11-Jun-13 12:16:43

I know it sounds harsh but if you are only planning to stay where you are for a year I wouldn't invite people round.

I wouldn't want to be 'that couple who lived in an empty flat then disappeared after a year'.

I know it's superficial.

TwasBrillig Tue 11-Jun-13 12:17:02

I'd personally be tempted to buy v cheaply things you can take with you (ie Ikea trofast can be used in the sitting room now, but used in children's room or shed when moved) or use freecycle, charity shops etc. Honestly it isn't difficult to get rid of things at the end. We moved with a months notice and easily free cycled most of our possessions in a week!

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:17:19

And yes wondering we are saving to buy this furniture good quality.

Jan49 Tue 11-Jun-13 12:17:52

I wouldn't judge you for having little furniture. I'd be concerned if the child is sleeping longterm on a mattress on the floor, not a bed.

I once visited friends overnight who had a 2 y.o. and I did judge them for having only 1 toy for their child in the house. I wouldn't have judged them if they were poor but I knew them well enough to know that wasn't the case so it was very odd. We had our own child and luckily had some toys with us. Otherwise it would have been hard to keep our child entertained.

I don't think there's any need to explain your 5 year plan if you don't want to, and most people probably won't ask.

TwasBrillig Tue 11-Jun-13 12:18:15

I think you need something comfy to sit on if you invite someone around. A charity shop sofa won't cost much, or ask on freecycle etc.

sweetestcup Tue 11-Jun-13 12:18:45

Well I would find it odd if that's what you mean by judge, I do understand we are all different and its purely because I wouldn't like to live like that. Would having a bed really be too much for example, just curious!

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Tue 11-Jun-13 12:19:07

I would notice (who wouldn't?!) and I would probably watch for signs that you were OK (as in not struggling to feed yourselves or heat your home) just to make sure, that as my new friend, you were OK.

I'd love to hear about your plan though smile

bigkidsdidit Tue 11-Jun-13 12:19:17

No, but would there be somewhere for me to sit?! That would be a bit odd.

Explain it as you have here smile

TwasBrillig Tue 11-Jun-13 12:19:40

I also think you need a bed for your child. If it was a case of being broke your hv could help, as it isn't surely you can buy cheap and pass on?

ProphetOfDoom Tue 11-Jun-13 12:21:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Antisecco Tue 11-Jun-13 12:22:49

Absolutely NOT having a go at you Sunshine but I think this is one of the saddest threadsI have ever read. Not because of your current choice (far from it) but because of your fear that you may be judged by it. And going by some of the comments on here (which are not unkind in themselves) your fear may be justified.Yet I would hope you would be measured far more on the warmth of your welcome and hospitality.

However YAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVU to use the term forever home. You have been watching way too much of Kirstie and Phil as have I


allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:23:13

I have to say I think the bed is the least important item, so I am surprised!

I honestly don't notice the difference between sleeping on a mattress and a bed (and our mattress was a pretty cheap one). We do have pretty thick carpets so I dont know if this makes a difference.

It is a sofa (and a table) that I think would be more important.

Oh dear sad I am now rethinking my ideas about asking people over, will invite them to picnics instead grin

Bearbehind Tue 11-Jun-13 12:24:21

There's minimalism and there's sleeping on a mattress and having no comfy seats for no apparent reason.

A year is quite a long time, certainly long enough to acquire and get rid of a sofa and a couple of beds before moving on.

It justs sounds pretty grim to me and I'm sure some others would think the same.

MrsDeVere Tue 11-Jun-13 12:24:29

People will judge you.
Because they will be trying to work out what is going on.
They will assume you can't afford things or perhaps are disorganised/chaotic or that you are a couple of hippies.

That does not make it ok. People shouldn't judge but even the non judgmental will wonder.

Just because its pretty rare now days.

When I was a young mother a lot of us lived like that. It was pre ikea and furniture was something you had to order and cost a fortune.
I moved into my flat with DD, a bed and a black and white tv and a cooker.

I have far too much stuff and am trying to get rid of it. I have been hoarding for years. Mostly clothes but lots of 'pretty things' too.

Good for you.

DeWe Tue 11-Jun-13 12:24:50

The only thing I would say is that apparently a child only sleeping on a mattress on the floor is something ss look as a sign that things might not be quite right.

I know this because a friend who worked with ss used to tease me about it because ds slept on a mattress becuase he could climb out of the cot, and we were trying to move house, so the mattress was very easy to slip away when we had viewings.

I imagine that if you're sleeping on a mattress too it would be viewed as less of an issue. I wouldn't see it as an issue as long as you (including dc) seemed happy.

You may find people start offering you stuff if they think you can't afford it. We don't have a TV and so many people offered their old one I started counting. By the time dd was 3yo we'd been offered 37. grin

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:24:57

bigkids we do have chairs so I would offer you those, or the beanbag.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 11-Jun-13 12:25:06

I know it's wrong but yes, I probably would judge a bit. Having been on MN for a while, I would be trying very hard not to and it certainly wouldn't stop me being friends with you or anything like that, but I would think it was odd. I would probably think you'd had everything repossessed.

I think that beds and a sofa are things that people really need to have in their homes, tbh.

Antisecco Tue 11-Jun-13 12:27:00

Invite me instead then!

And the period when I slept on a couple of mattresses on floorboards (don't ask) was the period when my bad back gave me no bother at all

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:28:23

DeWe Why is a mattress something ss would look as a sign? His room has thick clean (fairly new carpet) and his bed has warm clean bedding?

Technotropic Tue 11-Jun-13 12:28:42

Why do you need to explain to people why you have little furniture? You are you and not your friends so can do things differently. Unless people ask then I wouldn't worry and if they do then just be honest.

I wouldn't judge as people have different priorities.

I think you're being quite sensible about it. Why waste money on a quick fix when the real deal is round the corner?

squeakytoy Tue 11-Jun-13 12:31:25

whilst I can see the point of a "five year plan", I would be miserable for five years if I was living with very little in the way of comfort and looking around a threadbare home..

Decent beds are a vitally important piece of furniture. You spend at least a third of your life it, and it can be taken with you when you move.

I personally value quality of life over materialistic things, and would happily get a cheap sofa, and cover it in bright throws and cushions.

Snoopingforsoup Tue 11-Jun-13 12:32:28

I definitely wouldn't judge you, but I understand your hesitation.
I would have an open door policy too but after hearing a group of neighbours discussing us in really very unfair terms, I make sure none of them ever cross the threshold, as this is my home, my sanctuary and they're not ripping into this place too the feckers!

My real friends and people who know us properly are welcome any time.

If you're comfortable with them, invite them in and be relaxed. You sound quite sensible to me.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:32:51

It may be 'easy' to buy cheaply and to get rid of furniture every time we move but to do it at least once a year for a few years in a row? confused

And to know that when you do buy something over a certain size, you will be needing to plan how to move it on before long. That is giving me a headache just thinking about it.

minniemagoo Tue 11-Jun-13 12:34:04

I wouldn't judge/have a problem until you explained. I think it is awful that you are so focused on having a 'forever' home in 2016 that you sacrifice so much right now. You obviously feel self concious about having visitors I feel its not just material possessions you and by extension your DS are missing out on. Joy in life is passing you by. Sad. Just my opinion but I dont think I'd be friends with someone so selfish.

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 11-Jun-13 12:34:22

I would be a bit envious of your toddler-friendly, low maintenance home, and would probably invite you over to hear more details of your financial planning and ask if you read the MisterMoneyMustache blog.

Everything we have is second hand apart from sofa washing manchine and cooker even our carpet was from freecylce would i judge no they are just things

BadRoly Tue 11-Jun-13 12:36:43

I wouldn't judge. When we moved from a tiny 3 bed modern built house to this one, we had far too little furniture and I rather liked it grin

MrsDeVere Tue 11-Jun-13 12:37:56

The bed thing is only a problem for SS if it is part of a bigger worrying picture.

For example if YOU had a lovely clean bed and you had several well fed dogs but your child didn't have a bed or clean bedding.

How about a simple extending bed from ikea? You can take it apart to move it. Do you need to keep getting rid of things every time you move?

C999875 Tue 11-Jun-13 12:37:57

I wouldn't judge anyone. I have absolutely no right to. xx

Antisecco Tue 11-Jun-13 12:40:05

Gosh Minniagoo I agreed with every word you said until 'but I don't think...' That's a bit harsh isn't it? What OP is doing may not be what you or I would choose to do but how do you get from there to her being too selfish to have as a friend in one bound???

FriedSprout Tue 11-Jun-13 12:40:07

I admire your discipline, and wish I could manage with less clutter.

However, for the sake of having friends around who will feel comfortable both physically and mentally, by getting hold of a sofa, arm chair and a toddler bed via free-cycle seems worth it to me. Especially when you say YOU miss a sofa. A year is a long time to be uncomfortable in your own home. And really, one email and having to stay in for collection to get rid of it again on free-cycle is not hard is it?

I think you may be getting a little a bit martyrish/smug about the whole process, because there is no need financial or practical to put yourselves through this level of minimalism.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:41:16

minniemagoo no seriously we are not depressed at all by how we are living. I would like a sofa but Im quite happy not to bother with process of finding one and then getting rid of it before we move. And I can quite happily wait. I just wanted to gauge how others might see it before I asked people around.

A sofa (and dining table/chairs) are actually the only things I miss tbh, I have to say I am surprised at the posts saying I am unreasonable about having only mattresses!

There are also benefits of an empty house (beyond those of living somewhere temporarily) cleaning is a breeze and we never lose anything (except when ds has hidden somethings amongst his toys).

I would find it a bit odd you don't have a sofa to watch tv/cuddle poorly children on. I think it's unusual for a well cared for child not to have a proper bed available to them (regardless of whether child chooses to creep into Mum's bed every night or just to have teddies on and sit on to read stories)

I totally understand the - don't want to buy cheap shit, would rather save up and buy nice stuff thing. But, not at the expense of everyday comfort. I have never seen nice wardrobes that I like, and can afford. But I still have wardrobes - ugly 2nd hand ones.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 11-Jun-13 12:42:31

you need a proper bed for your toddler. (eg toddler bed). eveything else is fine. better that than getting into debt.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:44:15

We cant take much with us on our moves as some are international/large distances and the freight is very high.

I will look into freecycle for a bed for ds and get rid of it well before we are due to move.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 12:46:34

And I wont be inviting anyone around! You have all scared me! shock

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 11-Jun-13 12:49:05

Can I ask why you don't rent a furnished place? This is what they are for - renting when you don't to buy too much furniture as you're moving on fairly quickly. It really isn't much more to rent furnished than unfurnished.

CashmereHoodlum Tue 11-Jun-13 12:49:39

Joy is not to be found in possessions. There's a big difference between discomfort and minimalism. I find much of my furniture a burden. I don't like hoovering the sofas and would much prefer to sit on a foam bean bag which I could move from room to room as the mood takes me. The more furniture you have, the more inflexible your house becomes.

With fewer possessions, there will be less tidying, less cleaning and you will have more time and less stress in your lives. More time for joyful living.

I don't think you are selfish at all, and I totally understand why you want to make the logistics of moving as simple as possible.

Primrose123 Tue 11-Jun-13 12:50:20

I wouldn't judge you.

But, if you miss a sofa, why not get a really cheap one, or free if that's possible, and give it to charity when you move on?

I'm also intrigued about your long term plans!

CashmereHoodlum Tue 11-Jun-13 12:50:54

I hope you are moving near me. Then I can pop round and be inspired.

HopALongMcLimpyLegs Tue 11-Jun-13 12:51:15

If you don't have a table, where do you eat dinner? I hate clutter (though I'm more of the shove it all in a cupboard so it at least looks tidy type) and can see why you are living the way you are. But getting a second or third hand sofa off freecycle and chucking a throw/blanket over it and the same with a bed frame and cheap table then freecycling it all again really doesn't sound like that much hassle to me? Or even buying a cheapie one and having a charity come collect it when you're finished with it? I dunno, I would find it a bit odd, but you have your reasons. I know you say it's only for a year, but it's not really, is it. You might be moving in a year, but for the whole five years you are living without those little comforts/practicalities regardless of where you are living? Could you not just move to a cheap furnished flat? Or hire furniture?

If it doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother you I guess.

Lavenderloves Tue 11-Jun-13 12:52:59

I would find it odd tbh, sorry.
I don't think it's helthy to sllep on the floor is it?

I think you are way over-emphasising the hassle of acquiring and getting rid of cheap furniture. You are only moving once a year for a couple years, that is not too insane.

We've moved four times in five years (including one overseas), before that I lived in 7 flats in 4 years, so I do understand the desire to not acquire stuff. But if you have access to freecycle and charity shops and all that, I don't really see it as a big deal.

Obviously you can get by without a sofa and a table, I wouldn't judge you if you were just dirt broke and couldn't afford a penny. But I have to admit, being in similar circumstances to you, I don't quite understand your reasoning.

I wouldn't judge you on that basis, no.

A mattress on the floor is fine for such a young child, they are not heavy like an older child or adult. Just make sure you stand it up to air it regularly and flip it to reduce the chance of mold growing.

I think somewhere to sit and eat/have tea is important, but you could just have a flat pack style coffee table and sit on big cushions and the bean bag to do that.

Most of our furniture is second hand, some free and we have moved 4 times in 4 years. If you get some bits off freegle, you could freegle them when you move.

DontmindifIdo Tue 11-Jun-13 12:56:49

you do'nt need a toddler bed, your 2 year old is old enough to go in an adult length single bed. That is something you can buy quality now, and take with you, your DS will always need a bed and I've never rented a house/flat that came with beds. Avoid one that's too high up so he can get in and out, but really, that's overly sparse and you should have a properly supportive bed for your child to sleep on.

I'd also suggest you get a sofa, you can get a cheap 2 seater one and then either sell on or take with you. How likely is it that you will rent a furnished place next year? (as i've always found unfurnised far cheaper and as a '5 year plan' it makes more sense to furnish cheaply yourself even if you bin it at the end of the 5 years than pay for the use of someone else's stuff). Will you really move every 12 months, rather than try to stay in the same flat?

minniemagoo Tue 11-Jun-13 12:56:53

When posting I debated between saying selfish and shallow. I decided on selfish as while the OP is an adult and perfectly entitled to decide to live like this her toddler doesn't have that option.
I am aware joy isn't in possessions but in this situation it is not just possessions missing in OPs life. Moving every year means no long term friendships, not inviting friends over excludes a lot of fun to be had imo. OPs post gave me the impression that they are very driven by this dream of a forever home.
If they cannot afford freight costs/beds (that last 10-15 years) right now to br able to afford a home in 2016 I wonder how realistic that dream is.

DeWe Tue 11-Jun-13 12:58:33

The mattress would be taken as part of a bigger picture. So it wouldn't be an issue unless there were other signs (like no toys, little food etc)

I think it's a sign of neglect in that a child who's being neglected parents won't buy things especially for them, and obviously a bed is one of those things.

But have you looked at furnished or part funished places as an alternative? When we were looking some of the part furnished were no more expensive, in fact the first place we rented it said "unfurnished" and we rented it below market rent.
Just before we moved in we got a call to say it was actually furnished, was that a problem? As we only had a futon, a sofa and computer desk we were delighted. We did have, for a time 3 sofas, 1 double futon and two double beds, but the landlady took some of the excess away after discussion.

DontmindifIdo Tue 11-Jun-13 12:59:53

oh and if you can afford it, buy a cheap dining table and chairs - your DS is at an age where he should be learning table manners, I do think it's important to sit as a family round a dining table and show them how to eat and have conversation as much as possible at that age, food isn't just fuel in our culture and the younger they see that the better.

alarkaspree Tue 11-Jun-13 12:59:53

No you should invite people round! Maybe you could get another bean bag or two or some big floor cushions so it's a bit more comfortable for them but everybody forms an opinion on other people's houses when they visit them, it doesn't mean they are judging you as people. I would judge someone who came to my house for playdates but never invited me back far more harshly, and you can't avoid socialising for a year.

I am surprised that people are concerned about the mattresses. As long as they looked made up that would just make me think you preferred to sleep that way.

morganster Tue 11-Jun-13 13:00:59

We live in a house that needs lots of work and I think some are a bit judgey about it. It's the other children that surprised me. The parents don't tend to say anything but a curious 5 year old will be quite open. One was shocked we didn't have a toilet roll dispenser - the least of my worries! But as you'll be moving away, I wouldn't worry. If you're staying until your dc is at school, I'd get a flat pack bed. Just really to try and normalise things.

MrsDeVere Tue 11-Jun-13 13:01:06

I suggested a toddler bed because they extend. They don't take up more room than they need to and can be taken apart.

I used 'toddler' beds from 18mths to 10 years.

Inertia Tue 11-Jun-13 13:01:41

I wouldn't judge, but I probably would get a folding table and dining chairs so that the family could eat together, and so that visitors (adults and children) could sit and eat /drink at the table- that's a hugely important social skill to leave for 3 years. TBH I'd do without a TV to have a table if boundaries were that tight.

In terms of explaining, you could just say that you're waiting to buy furniture until after you've decorated, or that you are waiting for the landlord to decorate.

MrsDeVere Tue 11-Jun-13 13:02:46

Ah I didn't realise you were travelling internationally.

I am really intrigued now <nosy>

Inertia Tue 11-Jun-13 13:04:06

Ooh, you could get an inflatable camping sofa and put throws over it. Packs up very small to move.

sleeton Tue 11-Jun-13 13:05:57

I am soooooo curious, now, allinsunshine! All you house-sitters? Property caretakers? Squatters??

Actually, this last is only part in jest. I have a suggestion.

I used to know a couple who were squatters, and they had no more possessions than would fit in the back of their van. What they did have among their few bits and pieces were an armchair and a sofa!!!
I kid you not. They were inflatable, velour covered, packed up really small, looked okay and were surprisingly comfortable.

This could be a way forward for you. Inflatable furniture.

CashmereHoodlum Tue 11-Jun-13 13:06:42

I've had several international moves and they were never less than £4k a pop, for the most basic moving service within Europe, and that was years ago. For us, work paid, but if you were paying that every year to move a load of furniture you don't even want around, it would make a big dent in any money you were saving. If you are truly happy the way you are OP, don't bother furnishing a house just for show, because that is all it would be.

It is only relatively recently that young people expected to move into a place with all mod cons and furniture. It used to be absolutely standard to do without things until such time as you could afford them.

One corner of my dining table is piled high with paperwork and junk mail I haven't dealt with. I might as well be eating at a desk. Come to think of it, the table takes up a lot of space too.

sleeton Tue 11-Jun-13 13:08:35

'Are you' not 'All you'

gymboywalton Tue 11-Jun-13 13:08:54

if you don't have a table and you don't have a sofa, where do you eat?

i would find this incredibly depressing.

i would pick up a sofa and a table on freecycle tbh

it's very little effort and can be got rid of the same way

an empty house devoid of comfort is not a home

Buddhagirl Tue 11-Jun-13 13:12:14

Say we are buddhist and have moved beyond the need for material possessions :p

morethanalltheteainchina Tue 11-Jun-13 13:15:28

Unless I'm missing something, it seems a a little strange to me. I completely understand that if you are moving around a lot, it is an added stress/expense to get rid of furniture or take it with you. However, as others have said, when you can acquire things so cheaply (or even for free), why would you live in such a sparse environment?! You can probably pick things like a small tabke and chairs from Freecycle or a charity shop for next to nothing and I do honestly think that your child would benefit from this (as someone else said, sitting round a table together for meals is, IMO, very important for children)

I hate clutter and having moved around a lot myself (including overseas), have got quite used to not collecting lots of furntiture. But it's not as if you are moving every week - thirty quid for a table from Ikea isn't too much to ask surely.

Elquota Tue 11-Jun-13 13:17:46

Hopefully no-one would be impolite enough to ask, so you won't have to "explain". But if they do, just say it's what you prefer, and change the subject.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 11-Jun-13 13:19:24

What a load of rubbish.

If your house is clean and tidy and you sleep in the same conditions as your child then no its not an issue and you don't need to buy a poxy bed.

It would be a problem if the child had no clean bedding the room the mattress was in was unsuitable for a child ( by that I mean crap like broken lawn mowers tools and things being stored in it) poo up the walls that type of thing and you had a perfectly lovely nice room for you.

People don't need most of the stuff they have, people like stuff and the collection of stuff mostly because they like to have other people admire there stuff or the apparent taste the picker shows by picking the stuff but you don't really need most of it.

The accumulation of stuff on the great scale of life is not important if you don't want it to be pick at leasure in your own good time and when you can afford the stuff you actually really want rather than the stuff you think you need.

One day you will get to a very old age and you may think I wish I had visited xyz lived at xyz or met xyz but you sure as shit will never think oh god I wish that I brought an ikea sofa back in 2013 ( other furniture shops available)

If anybody judges you its because they are yet to work out what you really need in life and nobody sensible would even bat an eyelid as long as what you do have is clean your child is loved and cared for has stuff to play with and is happy.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Tue 11-Jun-13 13:20:44

When we fled exh we lost everything and literally had kids over with no carpets and garden furniture!
We now live in a tiny flat and both childrens friends who have slept over are very well off, neither set of parents has been anything but lovely. Infact one of the kids asked me how we lived in such a small house (not being rude, she is one of 6 in a big house) and mum went mad and give her a real lecture.

I don't think it matters if you're moving internationally. You can get rid of everything in 2 days on freecycle.

OP, I suspect that maybe what's going on, is that in order to cope with whatever sacrifices are required in these next five years, you are sort of constructing this 'alternative lifestyle' as a coping mechanism.

You say in your OP that you could easily get cheap furniture but you can't face the chore of getting rid of it -- a process that, honestly, takes almost no time and is very easy. Most people would rather have a sofa for a year and spend a tiny amount of time getting rid of it, than go without.

It's your choice, I wouldn't judge you for that particular choice, but it would make me worry that you are sort of approaching your plan ideologically instead of practically, if you see what I mean.

VitoCorleone Tue 11-Jun-13 13:21:00

I would probably think you where poor and feel sorry for you.

LedaOfSparta Tue 11-Jun-13 13:21:11

I'd think it was brilliant and be slightly envious!

I would, as another poster mentioned, kind of keep an eye out to check you weren't really really impoverished and in need of food/ heat etc.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 11-Jun-13 13:23:15

What's wrong with a mattress on the floor (genuine question)

When DD was born we all slept on double mattress on floor so it was safe if she fell out.

Now DD has a mattress on the floor in her room for the same reason although she still sleeps on with us

I asked on MN at the time if this was an issue as I has always thought mattresses should be ventilated underneath. MN unanimously told me not to be daft. As no one releases that much water vapour in a solely downwards direction.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 11-Jun-13 13:23:57

I have a crappy house, crap furniture, its always a mess - we have very little money and our financial plan for the next five years - keeping our heads above water - would you judge us?

KittensoftPuppydog Tue 11-Jun-13 13:24:13

Say that you are a modern art work.

Bearbehind Tue 11-Jun-13 13:25:48

I feel sorry for your son.

How is he expected to cope going from the first 6 or 7 years of his life sleeping on the floor and not eating at a table etc, to suddenly living in a 'dream home'?

MNBlackpoolandFylde Tue 11-Jun-13 13:27:27

We do not have a sofa or a table or indeed a living room at the moment,
Dc have a bedroom, she has a computer table that pulls out that she can eat at or a tray, I have the living room as my bedroom.

Needs must for us though.

Otherworld Tue 11-Jun-13 13:27:34

I am intrigued too - seems fascinating. I can't decide how I'd react but know that anyone I invite into my home I would know well enough not to judge me for my interior design choices.

Can you tell us more about your 5 year plan?

SolomanDaisy Tue 11-Jun-13 13:27:44

I'd invite people around and explain that you'll be moving soon. In an expat environment people are used to the idea that people will be moving on.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 11-Jun-13 13:28:13

I have a friend who has no clutter at all, she has minimal furniture - she says they live like students because she hates housework - i like her house, its a sea of calm

I'd be a bit surprised by the absence of a sofa and a dining table, but no, I wouldn't judge a person I like.

especially a person I like, I meant.

Sazzle41 Tue 11-Jun-13 13:30:22

Doesn't sound too comfortable tho ... I'm big on comfort tbh, home is where I put my feet up and relax and you dont need to spend a fortune. 2nd hand sofa's are cheap and if u don't buy a huge one, easy to move. And a decent bedbase is a must and again, cheap as chips.. but each to their own. Its about priorities. Some people spend a fortune on gadgets, some people spend it on their home furnishings.... etc etc

forevergreek Tue 11-Jun-13 13:31:21

Sounds great.

Why is a bed better than a mattress? Surely it's the mattress and bedding with make the comfort. The bed frame just brings to a higher height. Japanese society sleep on mats quiet happily without being judged.

I def wouldn't want keep buying cheap then getting rid of 11 months later.

Op - as a idea for table I would use a cardboard box ( strong that you can fill with anything you aren't using and as packing when leaving), and cover with a sheet/ table cloth and use cushions to sit on around. Like a Japanese low table.

I would also invite whoever you like around. Just say exactly what you've said on here and positive point lots of space for kids to play.

Gay40 Tue 11-Jun-13 13:35:42

I wouldn't judge. I've been a poor student (no bank of mum or dad for me) and so have a lot of my friends.
In fact, we live like students now, only with money.
I wouldn't really be that interested in why. I don't think a bed frame, dining table, sofas are essential in the slightest, as long as you and your family are comfy and happy.
All this "the family must eat together" nonsense has never been done in our house, and we are all perfectly happy and stable. We have never had a dining table.
Have your house how YOU bloody well want it, and leave the judges to mutter and fondle their chintz.

IslaValargeone Tue 11-Jun-13 13:40:35

I'm all for minimalism, but I do think your child should be sleeping in a bed.
I'm quite happy to be corrected by an orthopaedic surgeon, but I would imagine growing bones and backs need some proper support? 5 years is a long time to be without what would generally be regarded as basic necessities?
Unless you are on the bones of your arse financially, I don't see how a bed, sofa and table will make that much of an impact in freight charges if the rest of your life is very simple.

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 11-Jun-13 13:40:57

Not having a table doesn't mean not eating together. I think it sounds absolutely fine. My youngest still sleeps on a mattress. We don't have a car, so getting rid of stuff is a pain, and I think not getting stuff you don't need is a good idea. People have too much stuff anyway.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 11-Jun-13 13:42:21

If you mentioned moving soon I would accept your arrangements 100% with no further thought given. If you omitted that point though then if I am honest then yes I would think it very odd. I would probably think you had big debt or money problems or that the bailiffs had recently been.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 11-Jun-13 13:44:09

It is true you could get ds a bed and two Kipplan ikea sofas all for under £300. It would be a more comfortable existence for you all.

cranverry Tue 11-Jun-13 13:50:35

We moved overseas 4 years ago with only 2 suitcases, 2 boxes, 2 bikes and a guitar. We've slowly built up our furniture and have 2 children now so acquiring more stuff on a daily basis it feels like. Due to my husband's work we've moved 5 times within those 4 years but while we've had minimal furniture we've always made sure we had a sofa and a dining table and chairs. I wouldn't go without the things I missed in case it was a hassle to get rid of them sometime down the line.

zukiecat Tue 11-Jun-13 13:50:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ll31 Tue 11-Jun-13 13:54:18

Would be surprised but not bothered . But I do question the whole live For the future with no regard for the present tbh. Who knows what will be happening in your lives, relationships etc in three yrs. I'd be concentratinga bit more on the time you're living in ie now, while still saving.

burberryqueen Tue 11-Jun-13 13:56:55

well for a while one of mine had a mattress on pallets and the other had two mattresses and there was a huge fuss made about that by SW, and no it was not 'part of a bigger picture', that was the picture, plenty of food, attention etc.
so if i were you i would buy a bed for your toddler.

youmeatsix Tue 11-Jun-13 13:57:58

the problem with a mattress on the floor is there is no air circulating. i wouldnt judge you, of course not, but i would want to know if i could help you out with anything. the problem most us have is, and myself included, we think we NEED lots of "stuff" when in truth we dont. I would have to think, as someone else mentioned how this affects your child, living one existence just now (and by that i mean lack of having friends over etc), for one in the future, maybe one day. its lovely to plan ahead, but reality usually deals us a very different deck, 5 years to a child is a LONG time

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 11-Jun-13 13:59:19

Burberry, so social services came into your house and asked to see the bedrooms for no reason other than someone had reported the lack of beds?

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 13:59:28

ghoul the first flat we did rent was actually furnished but we decided against doing it again as it was not that convenient to be honest. We had to stack some of the furniture we didn't want to use and that took up space.

We havent seen any furnished flats that had only basic furniture which is what we would want ( beds sofa table chairs)

It is also more expensive as well.

I wouldn't judge but I would find it unusual.

Surely you could get a dining set and sofa from freegle/second hand and then donate it to a charity shop or freegle it before you move? Furniture charity shops round here even pick up big items you want rid of.

I can understand not wanting lots of "stuff" if you are moving overseas soon but I would want a sofa to sit comfortably on and a dining set to eat nicely at.

Floggingmolly Tue 11-Jun-13 14:01:26

What's the virtue in moving every year for 5 years; and how does it benefit you financially?
I personally couldn't live without a sofa (or a table) for 5 years, and I'm struggling to see where this ties in with your plan? confused

burberryqueen Tue 11-Jun-13 14:04:20

Pixie, yes, it was this person in the village whose kids had been here.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 14:07:08

We don't actually eat many meals together due to work, so we usually sit at the desk to eat alone. Or off trays.

When eating with Ds we push his high chair up to the kitchen bench and then stand opposite him or sit with him next to his little table.

burberryqueen Tue 11-Jun-13 14:09:18

you could just buy a table and a bed, it sounds really odd, and five years is a long time for a kid, to not have a bed or learn to eat at a table.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 11-Jun-13 14:11:28

Lots of people put toddlers on mattresses for a while, to help them learn to sleep in a bed without falling out the side. As a longterm measure for five years though seems a bit unnecessary when you could a frame very cheaply.

Bearbehind Tue 11-Jun-13 14:12:24

You do sound a bit martyrish about all this OP.

Things like the hassle of getting a sofa gives you a headache just thinking about it and the inconvenience of having furniture you don't want to use.

If i were you i would worry that when my son got older and suddenly had all the things his friends have (and I'm not talking about luxuries- I mean a bed etc) and when he realises you chose for him to be so different for such a long time he might well be extremely resentful.

londonlogin Tue 11-Jun-13 14:12:31

Invite your friends over. We've lived like you. The trick is to distract people with the superficial stuff. So buy a bunch of flowers and spread them out in bottles,jars or tin cans with the labels scrubbed off. OHH fresh flowers/ love the smell of lilies they'll say.

Look at your crockery and use it so:

Big bowl/plate of fruit on the counter.
Good cake or brilliant biscuits arranged nicely on a plate.
Do you have a teapot? Use that. Milk from a jug. Sugar in a bowl not out the bag.
That's the stuff that will actually stick in their heads.
If you've no convenient places to put tea/coffee when sat in chairs then orchestrate it so that it's served at the worktop or put on a window sill so as not to mix hot drinks/small children.

With visiting a strange house with children the more minimilist it is the easier it is, it's the knick-knack infested, technology cluttered ones that make a house call a stressful one.

If you're happy don't buy rubbish for the sake of it.

foreverondiet Tue 11-Jun-13 14:13:00

I might wonder and I personally couldn't live like that - think might be appropriate to say that you planning to move locally so don't want to buy furniture.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 11-Jun-13 14:18:15

If it was a young person starting out in their first home I wouldn't be alarmed, but a family without proper beds would concern me.

Would your plan really be scuppered by you buying a couple of cheap bed frames? It sounds so bleak and uncomfortable. Your life is happening now, it doesn't start in five years.

Catbiscuit Tue 11-Jun-13 14:22:31

In 5 years your toddler will be 7ish and all that time eating off the floor (he won't be in a highchair for long!), sitting on the floor/office chair to watch telly and sleeping on a mattress won't be great long term.
You can get all sorts of things off freecycle or very very cheap collection only on eBay.
If its purely the factor of not wanting to pay out for furniture that you will have to then pay to transport each year, why don't you get free stuff or very very cheap stuff and just pass them on again before you go?
You can very easily and quickly pass on things through freecycle when you no longer want them.
I'd hate to not have a table to eat from for that long! Do you never all have breakfast together or anything?

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 14:24:05

Oh dear I'm now feeling slightly paranoid. Will definitely not invite anyone around. And will be getting a bed for ds as worried about the ss issues.

We will be moving into the area where we will settle down when ds is 4, so he can make friends and get settled before starting reception. We didn't see the harm of him moving around before then, especially since the moves will benefit us financially.

Also is it bad to not want to tell people that we are living here temporarily? I get worried that if I do then people won't want to invest time in friendships, worry mostly for ds sake as he does love play dates and I wouldn't want people to avoid us sad

aldiwhore Tue 11-Jun-13 14:26:28

If anyone judges you on your possessions, don't invite them back. My friend has always said that friends visit her not her house. When she started saying it she lived in a bit of a shit hole (certainly looked that way on the surface) and the tut-tutters never got invited back. 20 years on, her house is STUNNING, she's the same person.

Don't worry about what other people think. Let them judge. Maybe a few people won't even give your possessions a second thought, they're the ones to invite to your forever home.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 11-Jun-13 14:28:22

Don't stress. All you need is a bed frame for ds and perhaps one small, cheap sofa so you can sit and chat comfortably with guests. Your flat won't raise any eyebrows then. I agree with saying you are moving again soon but locally. It might not be the truth but if you say you are moving away then people will quite reasonably not be as inclined to bother investing time in forming friendships with you and ds.

CashmereHoodlum Tue 11-Jun-13 14:28:24

You don't need to tell people anything. Just be yourself and only reveal what you are comfortable with.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 14:28:32

And dh and I have never really eaten together at a table even when we used to have a table! We always ate separately due to work or off trays in front of tv blush

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 11-Jun-13 14:30:29

I don't think a table is a make or break item, tbh. If I had to chose between sofa or table I would go sofa.

plantsitter Tue 11-Jun-13 14:32:15

I wouldn't judge. I would probably be a bit envious of your minimalist home (eyes clutter stuffed in every available space in ours). Sounds like a toddler bed might be needed though; I dunno.

You don't have to invite people over unless they are nice enough for you to bother explaining the plan to though!

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 14:33:37

property yes I would prioritise a sofa over anything but was referring to the people saying ds needed a table.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 14:36:53

I don't think we are the sort of family to eat at a table together even when ds gets older. I don't see that happening often at all. Do people really do that when their children get older?

I love eating at a table and chatting with DH and our children (5 & 9). A table is also handy for drawing and painting as your DS gets older.

I wouldn't worry so much about the beds. DH is North African and quite a few of his family sleep on mattresses on the floor. I suspect a fair number of the worlds population sleep on the floor without any adverse effects.

allinsunshine Tue 11-Jun-13 14:56:29

chaz did you sit at the table to eat pre-dc?

I would also like a table to put things on, or clutter up smile

wonderingsoul Tue 11-Jun-13 15:05:14

But I do question the whole live For the future with no regard for the present tbh. Who knows what will be happening in your lives, relationships etc in three yrs. I'd be concentratinga bit more on the time you're living in ie now, while still saving.

that.. i agree with. its great you have a dream, but i dont see how its godo for any of you to put your life/comfort on hold untill then. you can get free sofas and tables and beds.

moving sucks, but you know what thats what comes along with l ife. i dont see how packing up a bed, table and sofa is really that hard.

the matterise thing, the rolling of to get up isnt the best, and plus. beds are supposed to be for relaxing and recharging. its seems mean to say ok son. you have to wait 5 years before you can have a proper bed. till then your ont he floor becasue we want to save £50 and cant be assed to take it with us when we move. you can pick up toddler beds for £50 or less.

i just think your living in the furture and forgetting about the preseant and near future.

thats said. if i met you and liked you it wouldnt stop me from wanting to hang out with you.

Not so much because DH was working shifts. However, we both come from families where sitting down for a meal together is the norm (although we are both from different cultures) so we have reproduced that with the children. I think its a good habit which becomes more beneficial as the children get older and in a couple of years might be the one of the few times my sons talk to me once they are teenagers.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 11-Jun-13 15:15:58

I wouldn't judge as it sounds pretty much the same as when we were first starting out. For us it was being skint though, not part of a greater plan. grin. So perhaps some will wrongfully assume you are skint.

As for the meals my dc are 21 18 and 9 and apart from ds1 who has practically left home now, we have/ still all sit down for family meals as often as we can. Sometimes we all wait until the last one comes home before we eat. So yes people still do this when dc are older, and for some like us, its the most important part of the day.

I think you should consider the beds, especially for dc. They shouldn't cost too much and obviously don't take any more space than the mattress does. Also would second obviously having toys, books and materials for dc to play, but apart from that I don't see a problem.

Some may think it odd if you invite them and there is nowhere to sit, and I think I'd be more inclined not to invite people if I couldn't accommodate them. I don't think your idea is bad though and your 5 year plan will obviously benefit from this, as you sound as though it is ll well thought out.

Xiaoxiong Tue 11-Jun-13 15:24:13

sunshine I'm find the comments about mattresses on the floor hilarious because I grew up my whole life sleeping on a futon on the floor - we all did in my family. We sometimes had tatami mats underneath but generally straight onto the carpet. They were then rolled up in the mornings. (I've only slept in a "real" bed since my SPD when pregnant with DS made it hard for me to get up off the floor.)

I do think a dining table is really valuable though - at the moment DS eats in his high chair in the kitchen in the evenings but DH and I always sit down together, even if one of us is working late we generally wait for each other (unless it's past 10pm). On weekends we always eat with DS at the table.

Also it's somewhere to do homework together, to read together, do crafts...not just family meals.

It doesn't need to be fancy, a gate-leg that folds is perfect, or a low table where you sit around it on the floor on cushions like I grew up with.

mignonette Tue 11-Jun-13 15:26:08

Would anybody negatively judge John Pawson, high priest of minimal architecture and design?

Why didn't you just rent a furnished flat?

wigglesrock Tue 11-Jun-13 15:38:18

I wouldn't think twice about it. We have very little in our house. We have beds and 2 sofas etc but we don't have stuff put away in the attic or anything. Honestly I think it would take me 2.5 hours to pack up our house.

I have a small dining table and 4 chairs - they're are 5 of us! We very rarely eat in our house all together. My husband works shifts, the kids are small and I don't eat dinner with them. I sit with them but don't eat. We all descend on my Mums twice a week with all manner of distant relatives.

We mainly use our kitchen table for homework and you're a long way off that smile

I couldn't sleep on a mattress on the floor but that's because I'm too old and stiff and quite possibly wouldn't be able to get up again blush

I know 2 bigger families who lived in mobile homes whilst they were building their own houses.

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 11-Jun-13 16:00:51

I have no problem with sleeping on a mattress. My youngest currently has a mattress on the floor, and I actually wish I'd got rid of my bed when I was pregnant and had a big family bed made up of mattresses side by side. I would also be fine with no sofa, but maybe a big heap of cushions - I tend to sit on the floor even when a sofa is available. I would miss having somewhere to sit and eat together. a coffee table with cushions would be perfect, but I would probably settle for a tablecloth on the floor with cushions to sit on. But from reading threads on here, lots of people who have tables rarely eat at them, so if you wouldn't use one anyway, there doesn't seem to be much point on buying one.

A mattress on the floor can get damp underneath, which is why futons are hung up in the day. A bedfame is a good idea - they were invented to prevent the damp, not to look good!

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 11-Jun-13 16:16:04

Bloody hell burberry that's crazy that they even responded to that,I'm guessing for them to express an issue over it it was a student or newly qualified one who took the fact sheets just a bit to seriously.

Socarrat Tue 11-Jun-13 16:17:32

I lived like this for a few years as we were living abroad in a few places and only left the uk with two suitcases.....i found if draining tbh, inviting people around never seemed a possibility and I was always aware that I'd be a lot happier with my own stuff rather than other people's tat.

My husband promised me that we'd not move again unless we look all our stuff with us. So I wouldn't judge but I think it's an unnecessary denial of comfort.

OP -- just to address your question re moving around and friendships...

As an expat myself, I do understand your concern. It personally wouldn't put me off if I knew you were moving soon, because plans can always change, and anyway it's possible to become quite good friends in a year and keep in touch on FB and what have you. I have friends scattered all over the world, it's lovely.

But, I can also understand why people wouldn't want to put the effort in -- people are busy, they need to prioritise socialising, etc.

Part of the reason I think it would be good to make your flat a bit more inviting (at least get a couple more chairs in, so you can invite more than 2 people!) is that a good strategy might be to invite a few people at the same time. That way, even if they're not sure about how much to invest in you, they will still come because there are other people there they know will be around longer.

Also, don't say 'we're only here for a year', say something like 'we'll be here at least a year, we're not entirely sure after that'.

Are there any expats where you live now? They will not be fazed about your leaving soon and might be happy to meet some non-expats.

And you are right not to worry too much about moving around while DS is small -- they are very adaptable.

oldwomaninashoe Tue 11-Jun-13 16:26:12

The first time I went to our local auction room I was astouded how cheaply really nice furniture went for, £10 table and 4 chairs, £5 newish sofa etc.
I personally could not live without a sfa or a table and I think the little one should have a proper bed.
Whatever the state of your floors matresses on floors are not very healthy, damp issues!

FreudiansSlipper Tue 11-Jun-13 16:28:34

i would assume you liked the minimalist look

if you all seemed healthy and happy what is their for others to worry about

ds slept on a mattress on the floor for about 6 months. we were going to move and i thought it better to wait until we had before getting a bed

what is wrong with a mattress on the floor anyway

Ilikethebreeze Tue 11-Jun-13 16:31:59

I personally find people that are doing things differently from the norm, interesting and thought provoking.
But yes, I do think some might choose not to come for return visits. But that can happen with anyone.
But if the children got on, that might not be an issue anyway.

xylem8 Tue 11-Jun-13 16:44:10

Mattresses on the floor are unhealthy, they need air circulation around them to dry out properly
Also where are you storing clothes and toys?

I guess I did mention the table based on my own cultural experiences, I grew up eating at the table, and most nights me and 8yr old DS eat at the table together, the odd night we eat sat on the sofa. It's nice to sit together and I am confident in his table manners and that he will sit nicely at other tables eg at school, in other people's houses, and in restaurants or cafes.

Even if you don't all eat together, we live in a culture where it is expected that we eat at a table. Will your DS start preschool and then primary school not having eaten at a table? Or is he in childcare while you are at work and they sit the kids at a table together there?

scottishmummy Tue 11-Jun-13 16:57:06

no.i judge on character,things one does/says. not their home
I could never be lovely and minimal with solitary object d'art at home
too much sentimentality and guddle in mine

starfishmummy Tue 11-Jun-13 17:01:42

OP - you asked us what we thought so people are telling you.
If we came round we would probably keep our thoughts to ourselves.

Yes - as you have asked- I think the mattresses on the floor thing is odd unless you are students, Japanese or have back problems - but as a casual visitor I would not expect to be inspecting your bedrooms!

I would be a bit unhappy if I had to sit on a beanbag though!!

scottishmummy Tue 11-Jun-13 17:04:51

I think you're over thinking this,it's play dates,casual acquaintance
at 2yo most others mums just grateful for playmate and adult pal
don't sweat it

usualsuspect Tue 11-Jun-13 17:21:34

I wouldn't mind as long as you didn't make me sit on the beanbag. As I'm old and wouldn't be able to get back up.

VeganCow Tue 11-Jun-13 17:30:55

look there is nothing wrong with a mattress and no bed base! Have done it myself many years ago out of necessity. So, are people who take kids camping on only a blow up bed or even just a mat, being neglectful?

Raaraathenoisybaby Tue 11-Jun-13 17:58:10

When I take dd to play dates I only care about two things - her health and safety and whether the host family (if they expect me to stay) make a good cup of tea grin
Yep think that covers it grin

Lotkinsgonecurly Tue 11-Jun-13 18:07:10

I think its fine, maybe freecycle for sofa and bedfor ds then you're sorted!! Do invite people round, if they judge then tney wont go rpund ahsin!!

wonderingsoul Tue 11-Jun-13 18:08:19

vegan cow. . your just being silly. of course going camping or having a sleep over is not neglect

and nor is not having a bed base if you cant affordnit.

its not even neglectful in the op case. but I dont understand whennshe can afford it but just doesnt because she doesnt want to move it.

Bearbehind Tue 11-Jun-13 18:10:10

raara are you really saying that if you had to sit in an upright chair in an otherwise empty flat (except for a bean bag, tv and some toys) and had nowhere to even put your cup of tea down, that you would form any kind of conclusion on this family.

Judge is probably the wrong word but I find it hard to believe that anyone would assume anything other than that these people didn't have a pot to piss in, whether due to poverty or repossession or something.

Some people might offer them money or whatever to try and help rather than judging, which doesn't seem very fair when it is all completely avoidable and is self imposed.

KaleyX Tue 11-Jun-13 18:14:06

I wouldn't judge, because I hate clutter and lots of unnecessary stuff, but where would your guests sit?

Also, why do you need to make up an 'interesting' story? You don't have to justify yourself to anyone.

LittleBearPad Tue 11-Jun-13 18:23:02

I think that I'd think you'd just moved in and you were waiting for the rest of your furniture to arrive, sorry.

I wouldn't personally be happy without a sofa and a few other home comforts but that's me. I need my home to be my refuge.

2016 feels a long way away to be doing without a few creature comforts. I hope your forever house is worth it.

scottishmummy Tue 11-Jun-13 18:25:43

in minimal home I'd assume v rich,and into minimalist architecture

Raaraathenoisybaby Tue 11-Jun-13 18:30:47

No I wouldn't judge....I would be politely asking the op to share wisdom about living with less clutter though because my house is a tip sometimes.
Dd has lots of friends with vastly different economic back grounds as in some ate richer and some are poorer. As long as the other kid shares and she can run around shrieking she is really happy.
I have some parent friends who live frugally and though they have v minimal stuff they are great hosts and really fab at entertaining the dc in inventive ways. Actually they have been a good influence on me grin

MrsMook Tue 11-Jun-13 18:43:23

We moved 2 years ago and gained a large conservatory which is the main play space. (Previous owner had it properly furnished). First we had two bean bags in there. We now also have 2 IKEA Poang chairs in there since I had PGP. I actaully gave up the sofa and swapped a chair into the lounge for the last 4 months of pregnancy, and despite the PGP, I had no issue with backache (had been crippled with it first time).

People find it odd that it's not "properly furnished" in there, but between the couple of chairs, bean bags and folding camping chairs, there's something comfy for a crowd of people to sit on. It works for us because we keep floor space for play and a sofa will only be bleached by the sun anyway.

DH got his first house young, but couldn't afford to furnish it for a while. He started with a camping mat on the bedroom floor- easily as comfortable as a bed. He gradually got some quality furniture like the dining set that are still loved 15+yrs on, and some cheap make-do furniture that is gradually being replaced now we are in our "forever" home.

If you have met your comfort needs, go for it!

theodorakisses Tue 11-Jun-13 18:45:04

I wouldn't judge anyone but as n expat employer of engineers who earn at least 7k tax free a month with a free 5 bed house, maid and utilities who quibble over a 2p difference between the literage in their car and the charge in cash I would say that meanness is a miserable trait. Being careful and having a plan isnt.

LondonBus Tue 11-Jun-13 18:45:27

I don't think we are the sort of family to eat at a table together even when ds gets older. I don't see that happening often at all. Do people really do that when their children get older?

I wouldn't judge you on your furniture, or lack of it, I would find this a bit odd. But then eating together every day is very important to me. It was even when DC1 was a baby.

Anyway, it's not the amount of stuff you have/don't have - it's the way it's arranged/what it's like.

You are the opposite of a horder. grin

LondonBus Tue 11-Jun-13 18:49:22

I think you should be honest with people.

I met one of my best friends when she was renting a house in this town for a year. Knowing she wasn't staying long didn't put me off hanging out with her. We both had small children, and neither of us had much furniture (I was attempting the minimalist look, but with hindsight, it we probably just looked poor grin) Anyway, she stayed longer than a year, moved away for a bit and came back. We both have more furniture now.

PurpleNeihu Tue 11-Jun-13 19:27:42

I would think it's weird you don't have a table. Where do you use your laptop/ organize paperwork and where does your ds color / draw?

My dd had a toddler bed from age 1-4, but preferred to sleep on a futon on the floor. We eventually took it out of the room to give her more space.

catgirl1976 Tue 11-Jun-13 19:35:45


And I dont mind sitting on the floor smile

Or people who only have one mug. Or no glasses so wine must be durnk from said single mug

kerala Tue 11-Jun-13 19:50:32

I would think you were on the run or in a witness protection programme <overactive imagination>

babyhmummy01 Tue 11-Jun-13 19:55:09

i would just be honest hun, temporary accomodation while we save up for our forever home and furniture we will love rather than settling for cheap just to tide us over.

I can't imagine anyone who genuinely wants to befriend you will care as long as the coffee flows and the kids have toys to play with

primallass Tue 11-Jun-13 19:55:12

I don't think we are the sort of family to eat at a table together even when ds gets older. I don't see that happening often at all. Do people really do that when their children get older?

Yes!! I think it is important to all eat at the table together.

primallass Tue 11-Jun-13 19:55:30

Sorry, don't know how to quote.

starkadder Tue 11-Jun-13 20:08:30

I wouldn't judge you and I think you should invite people round - if you're in the UK, at least, where inviting people round for a cup of tea etc is so much part of our culture. Otherwise you'll get out of the habit of it and get more nervous about it, and that would be sad and bad for your ds. And for you. Just be confident you're doing the right thing and you're not weird! Minimalism like that is the norm in plenty of countries (eg Japan).

lborolass Tue 11-Jun-13 20:32:37

I'm slightly surprised at how many people would be happy to go round to someone's house for a cup of tea and have to sit on the floor/beanbag. Maybe it's my age but if you invited me I wouldn't come a second time not because I'm judging you (you can live as you choose) but my free time is in too much short supply to spend it reliving my student days in uncomfortable surroundings. If I liked you and wanted to be friends I'd invite you to my house.

One of the small pleasures for me is having my friends sitting at my kitchen table putting the world to rights over endless cups of tea and without the table and chairs it would just be wrong.

My DCS eat every meal other than school lunch at the kitchen table and tbh I would feel a bit sorry for a child who didn't have that social and experience. I don't sit down with them except at the weekend but I'm always in the room.

scottishmummy Tue 11-Jun-13 20:40:16

great,that's your preference and it works for you.but it's not a universal given
equally,op has different aesthetic and environment. it suits her
I wouldn't overthink it,play dates are casual acquaintance based on kids in common

I keep seeing people using the word minimalism, which implies lack of clutter and less furniture, but usually the presence of dining tables grin!

ThisWayForCrazy Tue 11-Jun-13 20:46:32

I'd be jealous! We have so much crap in our house, it drives me insane!!

Popcornia Tue 11-Jun-13 20:48:36

OP, I'm afraid I laughed with recognition when I read your thread title - my DH's aunt and her husband have been living with minimal furniture (or flooring, or wall decoration) for over a decade. They've been self building - VERY slowly - and it seems that they now no longer miss having armchairs, a sofa, anything other than plywood underfoot, etc. (I think they have a bed, but in all the years I've been with DH I've never gone nosing around for their bedroom.)

They seem happy enough. And it certainly makes visiting with rambunctious toddlers a more relaxing experience.

scottishmummy Tue 11-Jun-13 20:49:02

frankly when you have a kid,someone will judge you for something
so don't worry about it
don't make up a convoluted story

VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Jun-13 20:52:04

Probably already been said but why don't you get stuff off free cycle and then rpfree cycle it to get rid of it when no longer needed.

I just free cycled a 3k suite to get rid of it. Believe me people bite your hand off to take anything free. You won't be stuck with it.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Jun-13 20:53:44

And I've had no living room carpet and no bathroom flooring for ten years. I'm sure people in the village judged. I always used to explain that I was waiting for dh to finish some DIY before doing flooring. Which was true, but after ten years it wears a bit thin!

But I now have flooring for the first time in years, my neighbour came round last night and was gob smacked!

Floggingmolly Tue 11-Jun-13 21:03:24

I think you're taking minimalism to ridiculous extremes, op.
If you were moving in five months I wouldn't bat an eyelid; but you're planning to live like this, two chairs and some mattresses, for five years? hmm. Why?
When your toddler starts going on playdates he'll wonder why everyone else's set up is so radically different, and his friends will ask him why his house looks the way it does.
Also, where's the financial advantage in moving every year? Do you really save money this way? confused

MummyMastodon Tue 11-Jun-13 21:03:24

If I visited you and had to sit on hard desk chairs or beanbag, I would hesitate to come again, sorry. I hate sitting uncomfortably, and I don't think i'd get up from a beanbg without the use of cranes.

Fraxinus Tue 11-Jun-13 21:03:46

I would wonder where you relaxed. A kitchen chair is comfortable only so long after dinner.

The lack of places to sit would invite the thought that you never have people round, and I would wonder why.

I don't really get why you would not want to make your surroundings pleasant and comfortable. Even if it is a short term home. You can get all sorts for free, as others have mentioned. And getting shot of stuff is really not that difficult.

YonisAreForever Tue 11-Jun-13 21:04:19

Have not read whole thread but agree with posters saying do not put life on hold.

In this day and age there is no need too. There is so much nice stuff around.

You can and my friends have, furnished their homes for nothing or very cheaply.

It depends on your perceptions.

I was astounded by one friend, who I know has virtually no money, and her house is gorgeous.

She got everything from charity shops, car boot sales, freecyle.

Your flat could look very nice, right now, for nothing, with some imagination. Look to blogs for inspirations. You do not need to wait to save up for ten years. Just get some paint, some ideas and make it nice now.

You only get one childhood.

Popcornia Tue 11-Jun-13 21:05:19

VivaLeBeaver, am I related to you by marriage? :D

rockybalboa Tue 11-Jun-13 21:08:15

I think I'd be a tad judgey about mattresses on the floor rather than beds, surely you could take beds with you when you move? In respect of everything else I think I'd be impressed!

nightowlmostly Tue 11-Jun-13 21:15:48

I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your DS tbh, and I'm sorry if that sounds harsh. Do you not want to make his home comfortable and welcoming for him? As others have said, as he gets older he'll notice that his home is different and wonder why. I think with a little bit of effort you could make it nice, a few posters up maybe, a cheap dining set from ikea and a sofa. A year is a long time for a wee boy. Just because you have decided you don't need 'things' doesn't mean that you shouldn't try and make your current house a home, for the sake of your baby.

YonisAreForever Tue 11-Jun-13 21:16:27

I have got four beds for the Dc on freecyle.

And people come and get stuff, as you know - sometimes within a few mins if they are close to get stuff off you on freecyle.

Parker231 Tue 11-Jun-13 21:32:27

I would find it unusual particularly as free cycle etc have so much good furniture. Why would it br a chore to get rid of it if you move ? We've moved a few times but taken our furniture with us - this was important when the DT's were little - the new house might be strange but their beds, chairs etc were familiar to them. Although the DT's are teenagers now we try and always eat our evening meal together at the table - this sometimes does take some work with everyone's different schedules. Meals on your knee - I can count on one hand how often this happens.

peteypiranha Tue 11-Jun-13 21:40:17

I wouldnt judge at all. I used to live with dh with a living room with 2 directors chairs and an overturned milk crate with a telly on. We lived liked that for a year. Things like that dont phase me at all.

I would judge, but not because of the lack of stuff or how the house looks - but the act that as others have said you are putting your life on hold so very much during your son's formative years when you should be enjoying it. Life is a gift to be enjoyed! You don't have to live on hard chairs and beanbags just because you may move - just take the lot with you for goodness' sake! That is what removal vans are for!

I want you to imagine how you would feel if in 2015 something happened that meant your dreams were not going to be as you planned - how would you feel then about your 3+ years of living this way?

It's good to have a long-term plan but surely you should be enjoying your son, your DP and your lives now too?

Liara Tue 11-Jun-13 21:59:10

I have lived in Japan where the furnishings you describe (minus the chairs) would be absolutely the standard in many middle class families.

It is simply not necessary to have so much stuff!

I would not judge at all.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Jun-13 22:00:33

Popcornia - possibly. How awful if I'm outed on MN by a post about my lack of carpets! grin

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 11-Jun-13 22:02:55

I would definitely notice and be wondering why you were living like that. I think I would wonder if you had money problems or something like that.

I do think your life sounds very disjointed. Never eating meals together, always moving, and the lack of furniture seems to add to that.
You have your mattress, DS has his - but you have no communal furniture. No sofa, no dining table or even a kitchen table to be a family together. Perhaps that doesn't seem important to you now, but children need some stability. Your DS won't care about your plan.

And I too think it is very strange to put your life on hold in this way when your DC are so little.

CinnamonAddict Tue 11-Jun-13 22:06:59

I don't think your son minds at all, he needs love and attention.

The mattress issue is a real one though, the slats in the bedframe are there for ventilation, if the mattress is flat on the floor it can't air.

We have always had a table to sit round and we have had meals together even before we had kids. Our eldest is a teenager now and we all sit and eat and talk together. Every day. It's part of our family life I couldn't inagine being without a dining table.

No, I wouldn't judge on lack of furniture. I would not even be put off by knowing you won't stay long. But then I've moved around a lot.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Tue 11-Jun-13 22:13:27

Think it's a great shame this master plan coincides with your childs early years. Is a "forever house" (is there really such a thing) so important that your child has to sleep on a mattress for five years.

Sleepyhoglet Tue 11-Jun-13 22:19:21

Tell us the plan. I am so curious. Or pm me.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 11-Jun-13 22:19:45

Talk of a 'forever home ' and 5 year plan sounds to me like you're waiting to live. Which I find sad.

Df and I have a '3 year plan'. This time in 3 years we aim to be married (and had a lovely wedding) and moved to a much better area. So we are compromising on how we live over those three years. However...that three year plan could easily be a one year plan. If we wanted to completely sacrifice any standard of living for the next year

Personally I don't think it's worth it.

formica5 Tue 11-Jun-13 22:35:54

We had loads of clutter and stuff. Even my mind was cluttered. Keeping a house tidy and organised was next to impossible. I felt overwhelmed despite trying hard.

Then in 2012 I took about 13 car loads to the skip, 13 bin bags to the charity shop and freecycled tons. My life is simpler and more straight forward. I can't tell you just how much happier I am.

I there for conclude that the less stuff I have the more happier I am. Saying that, we do own a lovely home.

Floggingmolly Tue 11-Jun-13 22:40:20

A sofa and dining table are not clutter, they're reasonable accoutrements to civilised living.

formica5 Tue 11-Jun-13 22:41:28

I like a mattress on the floor. Always have. Life long student I am.

I think if you told people you were saving for a house deposit, many questions would fade.

You could always pick a sofa up on freecycle if need be.

However I love how people live so differently - whole families living on boats, or in those tent things.

formica5 Tue 11-Jun-13 22:45:00

A sofa and dining table can be picked up via free cycle. Free.

I think a dining table and sofa are desirable but not essential. Obviously a dining table is practical/social but many people world over don't own one.

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 11-Jun-13 22:48:38

I'm a little bit shocked at how much value so many people are placing on stuff. Living with very very basic furniture doesn't mean a dour and miserable existance. It can be great fun. Being warm, being able to get clean, having healthy food, spending time playing and being surrounded by love - that's what a small child needs. A sofa really isn't vital.

We live pretty frugally, and actually have a lot more fun with less expenditure and less stuff. Our kids have a better time, too, and will hopefully have the very big benefit of having plenty of time with us as we will soon be pretty much financially independent, and able to spend lots of time with them as they gow up.

Floggingmolly Tue 11-Jun-13 22:49:45

True, but very few people put off owning one until they buy their "forever" home confused

FloozeyLoozey Tue 11-Jun-13 22:53:33

Your child sleeping on a mattress on the floor is grubby and grim. Sorry.

Kiwiinkits Tue 11-Jun-13 22:53:42

I would think you were very poor and think of ways to try and help you. I'd be offering you my old couch, the chest of drawers in the garage, unwanted cushions, everything! And I would secretly be a bit funny about being offered a bean bag to sit on, sorry.
I couldn't live without some nice things (especially a sofa) even for just a few months. But then again I buy home and design magazines for fun. You clearly don't have the same nesting / decorating urge!

Kiwiinkits Tue 11-Jun-13 22:54:38

A few very nice, well chosen, design-led items is minimalism. Living with a few odd chairs and a fold-up table is, IMO, grim.

I would furnish the house from freecycle then advertise it all on there a month before you move or offer it free for collection to a local charity shop.
I would at least get a sofa and a single/ toddler bed.
In answer to your question though, no i would never judge anyone on material possessions but I would think you were skint & would be trying to help you!

candyandyoga Tue 11-Jun-13 23:08:49

Your child needs a bed and it would be nice to have a sofa for you and having people round! I would judge the no bed for a child - nothing else. Although it would be nice to sit on a sofa!

ouryve Tue 11-Jun-13 23:13:15

I would miss a sofa (I need to sit comfortably) and a table of some sort. Would you make guests sit on the floor or a hard chair?

Other than that, fair dos.

Socarrat Tue 11-Jun-13 23:33:20

You do realise though, that once you are in your home you will have to buy these things anyway? So a second hand sofa and a couple of beds is nothing.

underthemountain Tue 11-Jun-13 23:34:38

It's true about the ventilation being needed for a bed. When I was young and in a shared flat my bed broke and I decided to just sleep on the mattress on the floor. At some point (months later?) I had cause to move the mattress and discovered furry mould underneath. I quickly got a new bed!

UndineSpragg Tue 11-Jun-13 23:36:37

I'm shocked by some of the responses on this thread. OP, I've also moved a lot internationally in my time, and have lived as minimally as you are now in the US, France, the ME and this country. I would assume you were rolling stones like we were, and would get all reminiscent about our own various bare living spaces. It would never occur to me to think you were poor purely because of a lack of furniture, and the idea that the bailiffs had paid a visit one of the weirder 'judgements' I've ever read on here.

cantspel Tue 11-Jun-13 23:46:20

I would think you were living in poverty or the survivors of a house fire.

allinsunshine Wed 12-Jun-13 00:10:29

Ok I thought I quickly check back and have to say I'm surprised at the responses.

It seems half of you would judge us very harshly. The other half not as harshly, or wouldn't care.

That genuinely surprises me but I guess we have never been materialistic. Our forever home is more about being settled for ds and being surrounded by family and friends.

I won't be inviting anyone around sad but I will endeavour to reach out to other families for ds sake and invite them out with us.

I think people overlooked my post about not just being about to move our stuff in a van, our moves involve international/long distances and the freight it expensive.

Ds life and home is far from grim hmm and I know he will appreciate the (small) sacrifice he has made in his first 4 years of living without a sofa and dining setting. We are organising a simple bed frame and bed guards for him.

Doing what we are doing now will pay off for us in the future not just financially but also in regards to being able to get ahead with our careers and being able to work with more flexiblity with regard to hours etc in the future.

At the end of next year we will be moving back to the area where we will settle permanently and will buy sofa, dining table, beds etc as we pay off our mortgage as quick as possible before moving into 'forever' home. So it won't be that long. We will continue to live quite simply though as I do prefer space and the ease of living without clutter.

One thing this thread has made me think about is how we eat! I never thought much about eating as a family as have never done this before, we will have to see if we can start to do this when ds is older.

spiderbabymum Wed 12-Jun-13 00:28:11

I admire u for furnishing your home in a way that suits you

Op thought you might enjoy this site

Full of stories of living in an off beat kinda way


defineme Wed 12-Jun-13 00:41:06

Half the world (and not just poverty stricken people) sleep on mattresses and eat cross legged sat on the floor-these are cultural differences, but not crucial necessities that will affect your child.

I doubt people will judge much: visitors only go in one room usually -if it's full of toys then they'll just think your furniture is in another room and they probably wont think at all.

However, eating together is something that holds families together all over the world and may well have a detrimental effect on his social/eating skills and your bond as a family if you don't. I'd seriously reconsider that one. Even if you can't manage it every day -what about weekends? There's studies that support the fact that a family who eats together are happier. I don't think you need a table to do that-a picnic rug is fine, but switch the tv off.

mathanxiety Wed 12-Jun-13 06:11:04

Allinsunshine -- your question about eating together as a family makes me wonder a lot about how you were brought up. Your comments about 'investing' in friendship ditto. Same goes for your worries about what people would think of you - you have an ideal way to weed people out so use it. Invite people around. You will know which ones are keepers when they see your home.

To be social beings you need a table to eat off and chairs around it, and you need a couch. That is not materialism. That is furniture that serves a social purpose. Getting those items is well worth the trouble.

If you wanted to gussy up the accommodation you live in now you could hang some of DS's art in cheap frames from a thrift shop.

You speak about this forever home and a completely different life within its walls as if it is going to be possible to switch from a life you have got very used to (and it seems elements of this life are completely familiar to you from your youth too) into a new one as easily as changing knickers. Can you really change from one life to another so easily? I don't know how you can be so cut and dried and completely single minded about this investment of years you are making. Life is about the journey, and not the estination. 'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'. Live in the here and now.

HollyBerryBush Wed 12-Jun-13 06:17:38

So long as your house is clean, no one in their right minds would 'judge' you.

Although, personally I couldn't do without a dining table! grin

AlanMoore Wed 12-Jun-13 06:27:42

Mattresses on the floor are not 'grim', nor are they 'grubby'. Having lived in rented furnished for years I can also attest that they're a darn sight more cfortable and better for your back than cheap/ancient beds.

My dc love theirs. They aren't scared of falling out of bed and they have lovely bedding. Their beds are made every day and turned and aired every week. Their mattresses are much nicer ones than we could have afforded if we'd bought beds too.

Isn't a very low bed or just a mattress a Montessori thing as well?

And we are pushed for space and money and only have 2 proper chairs, if we have visitors we sit on the floor and blind them with the quality of our cake and hot drinks smile

nooka Wed 12-Jun-13 06:58:18

We did two international moves in six months (once across the Atlantic and then from East to West Coast North America). For the first move we had to wait almost two months for our furniture to arrive from the UK. As we knew everything was on it's way we bought the absolute minimum. Blow up beds, a couple of beanbags and the box the TV came in, plus a couple of kitchen starter sets. It was pretty grim, and we were all very very happy when our container arrived. I would personally never live like that again.

I'm not totally sure where you are living and far through your 'plan' you are, am I right in thinking that you are currently in the UK, and that your next move is to your forever area? In which case you only have one more move to do, so the hassle/cost factor doesn't seem incredibly high to me. Also you do have quite a bit of stuff, so I'm guessing you will either ship or sell/freecycle what you currently have, so adding a bed frame or two and extra seating doesn't seem to be that big a deal for the added comfort/entertainment possibilities.

With regard to invites, I think that if you have been invited to other peoples' houses it is polite to reciprocate, but it's also absolutely fine to say that you don't have much in the way of seating (in fact you would probably need to as some people really would find it awkward/uncomfortable) and then let them choose if that's OK or if they prefer to keep having you to their house (in which case you probably just need to bring along a small something to share of a cake type variety). As a reason I'd just say that you were saving up like crazy for a deposit and leave it at that. Most people will think you are either poor or very careful, but neither are such bad things are they?

LentilAsAnything Wed 12-Jun-13 08:57:46

We also have a mattress without a bedframe. I love it. DS is perfectly happy, and sleeps beautifully, as do we all.
I'd be happy to be invited round for dinner and be seated on the floor, though perhaps older people would struggle with this.
We're also living in a bit of a nomadic minimalist style, moving regularly, and though we've only moved twice since DS was born (now aged 2.8) I am feeling quite used to having less stuff, being ready to move, making friendships that needn't be forever (how many are, anyway? And the good ones, we keep in contact with via Fb), though still daydreaming of a forever home in maybe ten years. Suits us. In the meantime, we are travelling the world, and trying to be less consumerist.

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Jun-13 09:12:27

Refusing to have a sofa or table to eat off is not evidence of your "not being materialistic", fgs!!
Your assertion that your child will appreciate the sacrifice he has made in his first 4 years of living without a sofa sounds barking mad, tbh hmm
Why in the name of all that's holy would he "appreciate" it!?

Bearbehind Wed 12-Jun-13 09:31:14

I thought that*flogging*. I'm pretty sure all he'll see is that his friends have sofas to sit on and tables to play at and friends round to their house and he doesn't.

I don't think people missed the bit about you needing a van to move things or to ship them internationally OP. plenty of people suggested buying and selling the items you require locally. You seem to be clinging to that as an excuse.

LittleBearPad Wed 12-Jun-13 09:34:04

Lots of people suggested freecycle to resolve the moving internationally issue. However if you're moving to the long term neighbourhood next year then why not start to accumulate a few more items.

You seem to be wearing your current lack of stuff as a badge of honour.

Finally small children don't appreciate sacrifices - they just see they are different to their friends.

orangeandemons Wed 12-Jun-13 09:40:02

Sounds like you have a house but not a home. A home should be comfortable, not sure a bean bag is my idea of comfort.

I like my living environment to be harmonious and restful on the eye, and I suspect most people do, hence matching furniture etc. I do believe you can have ecclectic and be comfortable, but tbh yours sounds more like student mish mash. It may be part of a plan, but you still have to live in it now

LackaDAISYcal Wed 12-Jun-13 09:49:51

When I started reading this thread last night I thought your set up sounded just fine, and that if people judged it would be their problem, and that I would only judge based on personality (after all I have been without a carpet for almost a year as the old one was hideous and having lived with it since we bought here 7 years previously I couldn't stand it any more and think bare floor boards are preferable) but the more of your responses I've read, the more inclined I am to agree with floggingmolly and that you sound an itsy bitsy teeny bit bonkers tbh.

Also, if your next move is to the area you will buy your forever home in, then I assume your five years are almost over? So why not start now to get the stuff that your forever home will need? And if your stint is almost over, then why are you canvassing opinions? Unless you have got to this ooint with some sense of emptiness and loss over lack of friends and are looking for validation of your choices? I also can't understand why moving this much will give your careers a boost? Surely employers look for stability in employees? If someone had four jobs on their CV in four years, I would be asking 1) Why? and 2) Do I want to invest in them (recruiting a new employee costs a lot of money) when they may just bugger off again in a years time? Or save you money? as moving is expensive, regardless of the amount of stuff you need to move, there is still the cost of tickets, deposits for houses etc etc.

And the bit about DS appreciating the sacrifices? sorry, but that sounds absolutely nuts.

orangeandemons Wed 12-Jun-13 09:51:10

Also minimalism is about a select few well designed objects which are placed with thought to give a feeling of space and order.

It isn't about a selection of tatty uncomfortable bits which are make do

xylem8 Wed 12-Jun-13 09:55:02

You do realise that when you move you can hire a van for £40 a day to shift your stuff
If your Ds mattress is on the floor then you need to lean it up against the wall during the day to give it chance to dry out, otherwise you will get mould forming which I think can cause respiratory problems.

Fecklessdizzy Wed 12-Jun-13 09:58:52

I'm totally drowning in surplus tat so I'd probably be a bit envious of your spartan ways, to be honest!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 12-Jun-13 10:41:25

Ds life and home is far from grim and I know he will appreciate the (small) sacrifice he has made in his first 4 years of living without a sofa and dining setting

OP do you realise how absolutely bonkers that statement makes you sound?

I'm glad you've given some thought to the eating thing. I find it very strange that you and DH have never made a habit of eating together.

What are the things that you are hoping will change in your life once you have your 'forever' home? What is lacking now that you hope will be there? Why not think about ways that you could achieve whatever those things are now?

I don't really understand your response. You think those disagreeing with you don't understand the reality of moving around, but many of us do. As I said, I've moved 11 times in 8 years, twice internationally. I still think you are being dogmatic.

nooka makes a great point in that you do have some stuff, which you will either have to get rid of or move -- so adding a table and something like an ikea poang chair, both of which can be broken down into very little space, is not going to add much.

I think mathanxiety has a good point as well. It's interesting that the furniture you are doing without is the communal furniture -- a sofa and table. Personally I don't care about mattresses on the floor, but sofas and tables (or their cultural equivalents) encourage family coziness and intimacy.

You said earlier that you do miss having a sofa. Nothing you have said since really explains why you don't just get one. It's a practical problem with a practical solution.

I also don't understand how those of us suggesting you get a cheap sofa on gumtree, that you freecycle later, are being materialistic, but you are not materialistic even though you're planning on buying an expensive sofa when you get your forever home.

I'm not sure small children really do see the value in an ascetic lifestyle.

It seems that you are having to buy and sell property for every move. It seems strange to me that you'd want to encumber yourself with that but feel that a sofa would be too much trouble.

I honestly can't imagine why you're so against procuring some additional cheap furniture (enough chairs for everyone to sit at the table and eat at the same time and something to sit on) and then freecycling it when you move again. You could even rent the bloody furniture if owning it bothers you so much.

You are living there now, so you may as well make the most of it (by cuddling up on the sofa and inviting people around). You can't just fast forward this part and move on to the 'forever home' with the expensive furniture. Live life in the present.

DontmindifIdo Wed 12-Jun-13 11:37:50

OP - you do seem to have not grasped that if you get something very cheap, you can just use it now and hten get rid rather than ship it when you move overseas. Personally, if I could pick up a dining table and a couple of dining chairs (plus a high toddler chair) for less than £100, unless it cost less than £50 to ship it, I'd then sell it on/freecycle it when moving overseas. You'd have a year's use out of it at least. (You could get a table and 4 chairs from Ikea for about £90).

You do'nt need to keep the stuff, if you aren't planning on keeping it, then buy cheap or get stuff from freecycle, freecycle back again when you are ready to move.

It does sound like you are scared to aquire because you don't trust yourself to let it go at the end of the period. My DH has a view that you are supposed to keep things, he's found it hard mentally to accept that you don't have to accomodate everything, that you can just take stuff to the tip. Don't emotionally invest in stuff. Use it, dispose.

Eating together is lovely, it isn't something for when your DS is older, it's something for now. He can at least have breakfast and lunch at the table with you daily and then at the weekend with DH as well.

DontmindifIdo Wed 12-Jun-13 11:42:56

BTW - your DS will be 5 by the time this plan comes to fruitian. If you haven't taught him table manners (and that includes how to eat together) by 5 you're going to struggle to suddenly make the shift in your family's way of interacting.

Teapot13 Wed 12-Jun-13 11:57:36

Do you want to be friends with the people that judge you?

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Jun-13 12:26:25

I don't think people on this thread as so much judging, Teapot, as trying to make some sense of op's frankly bizarre thought processes.
If there is true logic in her plan; she's not explaining it very well.

lborolass Wed 12-Jun-13 13:09:47

The posts about minimiliism are missing the point. OP isn't choosing a minimilist lifestyle, her choice just happens to involve very few possessions.

OP - I don't think you've said if you are currently in the UK, if you are it would be really interesting to hear why the freecycle/cheap second hand route isn't for you. I have to agree with those who doubt that your DS will be grateful. To my knowledge my DC have never been grateful for anything I've done grin

My current sofa is a very comfortable corner sofa which was bought at a charity furniture shop for £100 second hand. The covers are completely removeable and machine washable. It has lasted us 3 years and we are now thinking of moving house in the next few months. We are in rented, and will just hire a moving van.

I appreciate that you may be moving COUNTRY but even so, you can get a cheap sofa and then pass it on when you move?

It's not so much about style or how it looks, but I would think I would be really uncomfortable not having an easy chair to lounge on.

Also, a bed - ours is a metal frame and wasn't expensive. Often things like that are being given away.

starkadder Wed 12-Jun-13 20:18:28

Am I the only one who really wants to know what the five year plan actually is?

LittleBearPad Wed 12-Jun-13 20:26:32

Nope, I'm intrigued as to the plan

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Jun-13 20:56:34

No, I've asked several times (nosy cow!) but op is not telling, it seems.

bedmonster Wed 12-Jun-13 21:19:05

I think it's buying, doing up properties and selling them off as quick as possible! But it can't be, it's clearly much more top secret than that!

RubyOnRails Wed 12-Jun-13 21:21:06

Squatters. Waiting to claim the house.

LittleBearPad Wed 12-Jun-13 21:40:13

Ruby grin

Bearbehind Wed 12-Jun-13 21:44:28

I think it is probably as boring as having a sofa and a bed in 5years!

Why anyone would choose to live such an outwardly grim existence in order to get what most of us spend our lives gradually attaining us beyond me?

marriedinwhiteagain Wed 12-Jun-13 22:07:52

I don't think the OP's being so unreasonabe but have oly read the first and last.

I would just tell people the truth - never anything wrong with the truth - boring or not!

Also, I think family meals are important. OP could you buy some cheap garden chairs and matching table even if plastic and use it inside for now and transfer to the garden when you eventually have year home for life.

A house filled with love is a home imo x

hottea7 Wed 12-Jun-13 22:16:09

I hate stuff! We have hardly anything I just like it that way, makes cleaning with 5 soon to be 6 children so much easier! One sofa and a massive chest for toys and books with the tv on, lovely smile

bakingaddict Wed 12-Jun-13 22:39:06

I dont understand why anybody would choose to live like this with a young child

What happens if your 5 year plans doesnt materialise and it suddenly becomes a ten year plan and you have a teenager who is ashamed of his house. You need to consider your child and make a comfortable house for him now not some point in the future.

Turniptwirl Wed 12-Jun-13 22:41:34


If people give you attitude then you should bore them with your five year plan. In detail. With footnotes.

Sparrowp Wed 12-Jun-13 22:43:55

I wonder if the OP lives in one of those studio flats the government are so keen on. Some of them have space for sofas and dining, but some only have space for a bed. The government says this is all you can have until you turn 35. (loony tories)

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Jun-13 23:15:19

Can you be forced to live in them, Sparrowp? Who the hell would choose to

Mimishimi Thu 13-Jun-13 01:53:53

OP, when we were living overseas and not sure if we going to settle there ( due to visas and we ended up not doing so) we did the same thing. We slept on an mains powered inflatable mattress for six years and our DD slept in her car seat until she was about six months and then she got a cheap Sniglar cot from Ikea. Our main concern was potentially having to shift stuff too although it turned out that we didn't move around too much anyway (had a long term lease). However, we did have a couch and a dining table - the dining table again was Ikea and just one of those folding ones - not too much trouble to move at all. However, when we left, we could not find anyone to take the couch but building management said it was ok if we left it behind as sometimes they get tenants who ask if they can provide one. We own our own home outright now. We have lots of furniture.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 13-Jun-13 01:56:27

Hello, late to this but yes I would judge you as a sensible couple who know what they want, don't try to impress with shallow displays of material stuff, and know about saving for things you need. I like all those things.

HullMum Thu 13-Jun-13 02:27:19

it would be fuckin heaven

I am swarmed by stuff

mathanxiety Thu 13-Jun-13 03:00:25

If your child is going to appreciate the sacrifice, are you talking about appreciating the material things you will provide a few years down the road? If so then you are not unmaterialistic, you are the opposite. Material things can dominate your life by their absence too.

Your DS, like all small children, would probably go right to the heart of things, and appreciate eating together as a family and time spent together cuddling up on the couch. Money can't buy this togetherness, and a cheap table and chairs and a couch from freecycle would facilitate it.

Furniture is just stuff. It's what you do with it that matters. The four walls of your forever house are just walls until you and your DH and child bring life to them.

MusicalEndorphins Thu 13-Jun-13 04:15:14

I would assume that you had financial woes, but I would not judge you for that. I started over when I left an ex years ago, and had all second hand things. If I were you I would get a table and chairs to eat and a frame for your beds from freecycle, and just put them up for grabs when you are ready to move. Good luck with your 5 year plan.
My ds's gf had worked in India and Nepal, and people did not have beds...they slept on mats they roll up and put away during the day, and all live in one room. She said the children she met there are the happiest children she has ever met. You don't actually need materialistic stuff to be happy.

mathanxiety Thu 13-Jun-13 05:12:06

I bet they all eat together and not at a desk

mathanxiety Thu 13-Jun-13 05:14:53

And the OP is not committed to an uncluttered or unmaterialistic life. She fully intends to get all the accoutrements she doesn't have now once she finally settles. In the meanwhile she is hesitating to invite people over for fear of being judged (but strangely no hesitation about inviting people over with nothing for them to sit on and chat or have a cuppa and a slice of cake).

YoniSingWhenYoureWinning Thu 13-Jun-13 05:25:54

I have to admit I would find it extremely odd if I went to somebody's house and they had no sofa or table and all slept on mattresses on the floor.

FairPhyllis Thu 13-Jun-13 06:29:03

Tbh I would assume poverty or transient/chaotic lifestyle. It just sounds like a scrappy, fairly transient kind of way of living. OK as a student but not so much with a child. It's not so much the lack of stuff as what sounds like a lack of sociability and intimacy, which I think you do really have to have to give a secure-feeling home to a child - what people have said about you having no communal furniture and none of you really eating together. Homes should be intimate, relational spaces. Yours sounds like a barn with some toys in.

I remember us having very little furniture when I was little - we used cardboard boxes for furniture sometimes. But even in the mankiest places we lived I always had a bed and we had a cheap foam sofa and a table.

I have done two overseas moves too so I know what it is like. But I just sold my furniture when I moved. What you're describing is unusual enough that people will be confused and speculate. But then you are mainly bothered about other people in terms of whether they will 'invest' in you - there's something slightly odd about the way you seem to relate to them.

SolomanDaisy Thu 13-Jun-13 07:42:57

I assume the 5 year plan is that they are renting out their house, overpaying the mortgage and taking career benefiting short term contracts with cheap housing elsewhere.

I actually find the lying to potential friends about their plans weirder than the furniture. Expat do tend to have less stuff anyway and there's always someone who has just arrived or is waiting for their stuff to arrive.

glastocat Thu 13-Jun-13 09:46:24

I'd would think it odd. I moved into an empty house amonth ago, having no furniture as we have just emigrated to Oz. In a month I have accumulated a sofa, dining table and six chairs, outdoor table and chairs and two bed frames , all for free from freecycle gumtree and roadside collection. We have bought new mattresses, a tv and a giant beanbag, and BBQ, also second hand fridge freezer and washing machine and chest of drawers. We don't have a lot of stuff yet, but the place is basically furnished now and it really hasn't cost a lot, but we have somewhere comfortable to sit eat and sleep, all pretty essential I reckon! We brought cusshions and rugs with us, shipping was pretty cheap. Once we are settled we will upgrade the furniture and put the old stuff on freecycle and gumtree, easy! So there is I need to live like a monk, I can't imagine having no sofa for five years!

glastocat Thu 13-Jun-13 09:47:39

Is no need to live like a monk

ShatnersBassoon Thu 13-Jun-13 12:08:30

Yes, somebody's said what I was struggling to put my finger on! It's the shunning of familial facilities that is most unusual.

Have you ever had family over to the house?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 13-Jun-13 12:13:21

our DD slept in her car seat until she was about six months

Mimi - do you have any idea how bad that will have been for her back and her physical development? There is a reason that babies are supposed to be a lie-flat prams until they are several months old.

xylem8 Thu 13-Jun-13 12:18:49

'Mimi - do you have any idea how bad that will have been for her back and her physical development? There is a reason that babies are supposed to be a lie-flat prams until they are several months old.'

what about slings then?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 13-Jun-13 12:26:52

Any sling which puts pressure on the spine in the way a car seat does should only be used for short periods - that is why Baby Bjorn and similar shouldn't be used until babies are a bit older.

2 hours at a time maximum in a carseat with a baby that is newborn or 1-2 months.

Lavenderloves Thu 13-Jun-13 15:06:29

No child should sleep in a car seat for more than two hours.

fuzzypicklehead Thu 13-Jun-13 16:47:44

OP, I lived like that for a couple of years. It was fine. Actually, I kind of miss it sometimes...

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 13-Jun-13 19:26:11

I wouldn't judge but after reason your reasons I do think you are a tad mad

You don't want extra furniture as too much hassle to get rid of it when you move??

Sofas make life more comfortable rather then sit on the floor or hard chairs and personally i think tables are essential for all the family to sit round and eat and talk about your day / your ds won't be in a high hair for much longer - from 12/15mth I get a booster seat so can sit with family

Mattress on floor unusual but fine

yes a baby shouldn't spend more then 2hrs in a car seat as ruins their posture and bad for back

Liara Thu 13-Jun-13 20:58:19

Good god, how would any of you cope in Japan?

Standard household furniture is a low table and futons which get rolled up during the day.

That's it.

No sofas, no chairs, no dining tables.

They survive, and many have perfectly good family lives (and eat dinner as a family).

Floggingmolly Thu 13-Jun-13 21:28:54

It's the cultural norm in Japan, it's not in the U.K.
If it was, op wouldn't be worried about inviting people over lest she be judged...

RubyOnRails Thu 13-Jun-13 21:30:20

OP, are you enjoying living like this? Do you find it relaxing etc? I'd find it such a hardship...did find it hard living with basics and nay comfort.

CheapBread Thu 13-Jun-13 22:00:42

I'd find it a bit odd as I find plain (just moved in, bedsit, no colour or personality, not necessarily clutter ) homes utterly depressing but wouldn't judge.

However, if you expained why you didn't have any 'stuff' then I'd be in awe and mightily impressed. Do you read the minimalist blogs? I do, seems so liberating and makes you realise how much shit you don't need and how much richer you'd be without buying 'stuff'.

Liara Thu 13-Jun-13 22:18:06

It's the cultural norm in Japan, it's not in the U.K

No, but people don't just talk about it being unusual in the UK, they say that it is awful that anyone should live like this and that it is sad that the OP is choosing to.

It's not. It's a perfectly valid, fairly normal choice, just not the cultural norm in the UK. No big though, right, we are a multicultural country in theory

Bogeyface Thu 13-Jun-13 22:29:07

You talk about your son appreciating the sacrifices he has made. But he hasnt, you have made them for him. You have convinced yourself that he would, if he could, agree with your choice of living so that you can justify it.

I have to say that I feel your choices are quite selfish, because you are assuming that your DS if fine with it. Living like that to get yourself your dream home, mortgage free is a great thing to do when you are making that choice for yourself. But you aren't doing that and it is affecting your sons life and ability to spend time with his friends as you wont invite his playdates back for a reciprocal date, which could well mean that the invitations stop coming.

For the sake of a sofa and a dining set (you can get those teeny ones that fold into themselves) it seems a bit of a silly thing to do.

But Liara, in Japan they do have tables, as you just said. We're not quibbling with the OP over the height of her table, but the fact that she doesn't have one at all.

I don't personally care about the mattresses, but what some people are objecting to is the damp that can build up underneath them, which isn't a concern when you roll up futons every day.

I take your point that these are all cultural norms, but having spaces and ways for family to be comfortable and spend time together is pretty universal across cultures, however different the methods. That's what seems to be somewhat missing in the OP's setup.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 13-Jun-13 23:45:41

Lots of people don't have tables many dont even have a place for a table to go.

Its a 5 year plan not a lifetime.

mathanxiety Fri 14-Jun-13 01:25:47

Liara, the OP probably wouldn't get the standard low table or the roll up futons if she lived in Japan, given her reasons for doing without the pretty standard table/chairs and couch wherever she is in the west.

A table could be a tiny little thing with three stools around it. Or even a shelf hinged to the wall that could be lifted up. Stools could be the fold up variety.

mathanxiety Fri 14-Jun-13 01:28:30

<Disclosure -- I have currently in the back seat of my car a coffee table I picked up on a curb this afternoon. It needs a little wood glue in one spot.>

FairPhyllis Fri 14-Jun-13 01:44:02

This isn't the norm in Japan though - they have social spaces like a shared table.

TanteRose Fri 14-Jun-13 02:20:28

very true - traditional Japanese homes would have one room (with "tatami" rush matting) with a low table where the family would gather to eat. Everyone would sit on flat cushions.

After dinner, children would do homework at the table, and adults would watch TV lying on the floor.

At bedtime, the table and cushions would be folded and put away, and the futons would be taken out of the cupboard and everyone would sleep in that room (especially when the children were small)

However, the point is that it was a social space, and no-one would dream of eating dinner by themselves - everyone would gather around the table.

of course, nowadays in Japan, most homes will have dining table, chairs, sofas and beds...children will have their own rooms. Homes are now built with more rooms (very small ones!) so there is more of a trend to spend time separately, even within a family.

My DCs are teenagers but the one thing that we insist on (other activities permitting, of course) is eating dinner together round the dining table. We have done this almost every day since the children were born.

judging about sleeping on the floor is ridiculous, but having some sort of setting to gather as a family is important.

Mimishimi Fri 14-Jun-13 03:35:48

We did have a Moses basket for DD but she prefered the carseat and it's the only place she would sleep. Very tempting after six weeks of no sleep or limited to 20 minute bursts.Her back is quite straight (well, she's a preteen and she's started slouching around but I do pull her up for that). Her dance teacher has never had any problems with her posture.

Orangebirdonatable Fri 14-Jun-13 03:54:23

I used to live in Japan. We had a dining room table and chairs, as did everyone else I knew. But no other furniture, apart from the futons.

But I don't think the OP is Japanese or in Japan. She does plan on buying furniture in five years, so I find it strange she has so few items now. With the amount of stuff on freecycle and ebay, there is no reason not to have furniture if you want it.

KeatsiePie Fri 14-Jun-13 13:49:32

allin I don't find your approach to the furniture strange. We have moved 3 times in the last 2 years [whimpers at the memory] and until two days ago I was not sure our lease would be renewed, which would have meant moving AGAIN this July. I wanted to die at the thought. We have "real" furniture -- not expensive, but nice enough, and I like our things, so we fucking packed it all and paid to have it moved and unpacked it and then did it again and then did it again, and the 3rd time I had a bit of a breakdown. Actually I was a fucking mess.

In July 2014 we will move again. It is my very great hope that we will be moving to a place we can settle in for at least a few years.

If I had known earlier that we were going to have this degree of upheaval coming on, I can see how we might have done it the way you're doing it.

I know people are saying it's not that hard to get a couch in or to pack a few things, and one by one it's not, but the cumulative effect of packing and unpacking, with all the wrapping and care required, is actually rather staggering if you do it again and again. And financially it does add up, and it's a lot of work to find secondhand things -- if someone told me I would have to put in the time to find a decent affordable secondhand couch and buy it and get it moved into the house and then arrange to sell or donate it in a year and then do that again 4 more times, I can see how I'd say forget it, no couch for me.

As for your son, if he has a comfortable bed and the living area is pleasant for him to play in then I don't see a problem. You say I know he will appreciate the (small) sacrifice he has made in his first 4 years of living without a sofa and dining setting and I agree that sounds a bit odd, but that's b/c I don't think he will appreciate it, b/c I don't think he will remember it! By the time he's old enough to care you'll be settled, and good for you for doing what you need to do to achieve financial security.

mathanxiety Sat 15-Jun-13 02:46:03

But how much wrapping and care are we talking about for a couch from Freecycle? A free or virtually free couch? You wrap it in a plastic tarp and get it into the back of a truck. You drag it to your flat. You unwrap it and use the bejapers out of it. The next owner comes to your flat and removes it however he wants. End of story.

I own a piano that couldn't move with me into the place I am living in now and it has been lodging with a former neighbour, whose children are taking lessons and enjoying it, for almost three years. That would be too much trouble to move - it would require a professional mover and would cost quite a bit. But a freecycle couch?

mathanxiety Sat 15-Jun-13 02:47:37

And you have to look at the value of the couch, what it brings to your quality of life, when you decide if it's too much trouble. I suspect if the OP had one, and a table and a few chairs or even stools she would invite people in and be sociable, or eat together as a family..

OpalFruitshoot Sat 15-Jun-13 09:35:16

I boak at the thought of a Freecycle couch though, who knows what the previous owners did on it.

And having just moved countries ourselves, eBay and Gumtree don't always work - we thought we'd sold a couple of large items then last minute the buyers dropped out and it was too late for us to try selling again, so we had to give certain things away for free. Adds up if you move regularly. Next time, I'll be happy with a nice beanbag. Sod conventions.

LittleBearPad Sat 15-Jun-13 09:47:19

Ever sat on your friends sofas Opal. Want to think what they've done on it? Or lived in/visited a furnished flat or a hotel room.

There's no real difference is there.

BeyonceCastle Sat 15-Jun-13 10:30:24


I would think you were very sensible and be envy
I have lots of clutter atm
Far too much stuff and it takes rather than gives
Used to be 'minimalist' then screwed up royally
Quality of life worse as a result
If you have space you can keep said space spotless
If you have space your little one can skip run jump to heart's content
Also no sofas to fall off/roll off and no hard edges to run into


BeyonceCastle Sat 15-Jun-13 10:45:15


I am cosleeping on mattress with my baby - mattress on floor no problem.
Would not judge mattress for little one either confused

As for the friends I personally would treat it like a mum-kids group and get a few ikea circular mats or similar, put in a circle and have the mums sit on them with kids in laps doing a sing song before they scamper off this is probably more unreasonable than your original unreasonable
so they think you are a hippy so what?

The great thing about six circular mats is they are easy to store, stackable and when your friends are not there you can do an easy colours game with dc Jump to the red one, green one etc

I would love to do that but have no space cos of the dustbunnies and goddamn clutter

BeyonceCastle Sat 15-Jun-13 10:55:09
YoungBritishPissArtist Sat 15-Jun-13 13:16:13

OP, I think you've been treated very harshly on this thread, I can't believe some of the judging shock

If this is the way you want to live then do it. Please invite people round smile If they're genuine, nice people they won't care what it looks like.

Mattresses on the floor - you could keep it propped upright against a wall during the day and turn it regularly, surely that would prevent any mould?

Floggingmolly Sat 15-Jun-13 14:33:29

That argument doesn't really hold water, Opal, unless you never stay in hotels, eat out in restaurants, have a coffee in Starbucks, or even travel on the tube... Most things in the world have been used before; they're fine.

Yika Sat 15-Jun-13 15:01:57

Coming late to the thread but: OP I think you should invite people! There's no harm in living the way you live; it's entirely your choice and you have your reasons. And while i think your DS isn't missing out on something by not having a bed I think not inviting friends over is a sacrifice too far. I'd tell people before they came that the seating arrangements were fairly minimalist so they are forewarned. But it's not like you'd expect them to be sitting through a three course dinner with no furniture. I wouldn't mind sitting on a hard chair for an hour, like I do in a cafe.

TiredFeet Sat 15-Jun-13 15:03:13

I don't have an issue with most of it, if you are happy with it fine, and I probably would hardly notice how the house was furnished if the children were having fun.

as to the mattress, ds has a toddler bed but he falls out about 5 times a night and sleeps on the mattress we have placed next to the bed, or the floor. he seems to be surviving.

I think it is a bit of a shame not to have meals together, as I think it is a lovely part of family life.

I think it is a real shame to live your life for some time five years in the future. If you are happy with your life now and it doesn't feel like a sacrifice anyway then fine, but really there are no guarantees in life and making massive sacrifices for a large chunk just isn't worth it. I lost too many friends in various horrible accidents in my early twenties to take my future for granted. yes we do save and we do plan but we make sure we enjoy our life now too. It may take us longer to get our 'dream' home but it is important to me that we live a happy life now as well.

OpalFruitshoot Sat 15-Jun-13 15:52:13

Yeah, I use other people's sofas, etc, but my own sofa, I'd rather feel it was all clean and lovely, and not wonder if it has spunk/dog pee/cat puke on it, when I am in my pajamas and ready for bed, and my toddler is lying with his face on it.

mathanxiety Sat 15-Jun-13 16:29:45

You can steam clean a couch just like a carpet. Then you would have a clean place for your guests (and yourself) to sit. Some of the people you invite over might be pregnant or breastfeeding, or have wonky joints, or older people, and sitting on the floor for an hour might not be too comfortable.

wanderings Sun 16-Jun-13 06:51:34

I do a job where I visit people in their homes. I regularly see huge detached houses, worth millions... with almost no furniture. These houses frequently have vast plain white walls, with almost no pictures (except very large photos of the family, clearly taken at a professional photo shoot). Not an ornament in sight.

It seems to be a bit of a recurring feature, minimalism. This seems very odd to my partner and me, who have pictures everywhere, and I am constantly putting up shelves for lots of ornaments.

peteypiranha Sun 16-Jun-13 10:16:13

The people who are saying they need a table to gather as a family have you ever lived in a flat with children? You are with your children and dh constantly in a small space. The idea of eating by yourselves if you live as a family in a flat is laughable or needing a place to gather as a family. You will constantly be gathered as a family as there is no space grin

TheYamiOfYawn Sun 16-Jun-13 11:13:25

There's a difference between gathering together and all being in the same place, though. At the moment, I'm on MN, DD is reading a book, DS is jumping off the sofa onto a cushion and DP is hiding in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. We are all close together, but not in any way gathered. In a few minutes we will all bake a cake together. Proximity isn't the same as doing things together.

peteypiranha Sun 16-Jun-13 11:27:58

When we were in a flat together meant literally together. We did practically everything together as you havr no space to move to other rooms so we would be playing or doing thing with the children constantly as had no choice in the matter and we had no table. We have a table now but we are not anywhere near as together and doing stuff all the time as we were then as we have more space.

peteypiranha Sun 16-Jun-13 11:32:46

Also hiding in the kitchen isnt being together. Im talking about being stuck in a place were there is nowhere to hide at all which is most small flats.

Oldraver Sun 16-Jun-13 11:39:51

I would be a bit surprised to see people living like this but their choice. I dont live in a modern way (being on a FB buy and sell page you get to see lots of interiors) and my house hasn't been updated or decorated for years so I am aware people may go hmm at my house.. a friend has already said she thought we were 'poor' as we dont have wallpaper grin. It sounds like you are living studenty.

Mattresses on the floor I wouldn't like for myself though appreciate some posters have said it works for them

I am also intrigued about a plan....five years of austerity living with just a few basic sticks of furniture, how does that equal 'forever' home beutifully furnished. I think you need to share your secret OP so us lesser mortals doing the mortgage slog can be enlightened

TheYamiOfYawn Sun 16-Jun-13 13:03:43

peteypirhana, the OP isn't living in a single room. There is at least one bedroom and no indication that she is cooking in the living area. If she did only have a single room, it would probably look quite full with the furniture she already has.

peteypiranha Sun 16-Jun-13 13:11:32

We werent living in a single room but whatever way you look at it most flats are very small wity no space to escape from each other for your average family.

KeatsiePie Sun 16-Jun-13 14:12:21

The OP could get on Freecycle or craigslist, get a couch, rent a truck, move it, and steam-clean it. But she doesn't want to. The only reason she posted was to see whether people would look down on her for having chosen not to spend her time or money that way.

And, well, no one should. It's incredibly rude to look down on or judge someone unkindly b/c when you arrive at her house you find that her home's style is in some not up to your standards.

Basically, you would be judging that person for having priorities that are different from yours. But your priorities are not the gold standard -- they are only YOUR standard.

E.g., I used to bake my own bread. I also used to make my own laundry detergent. Now I don't, b/c my priorities have changed. It was fine for me to make bread and soap, and it's fine for me to buy bread and soap. You could judge me harshly for making my own laundry soap (e.g., "I can't believe she does that, what a waste of time, that's so weird, is she a hippie or something") and you could judge me harshly for NOT baking bread ("I can't believe she buys sandwich bread, that's so lazy, I mean how hard is it to throw some yeast and flour in a bowl, and the store bread has all those additives, does she not care about her family's health"). In either case, the harsh words are not being spoken b/c I'm doing something wrong -- they're being spoken b/c I'm prioritizing something that you don't see as a priority.

So to say "How hard is it to get a couch" or whatever -- it's probably not that hard. But that is not the point. The OP has chosen different priorities, and wants to know whether people would be likely to look down on her for it. I'm really surprised that so many people said yes.

mathanxiety Sun 16-Jun-13 16:47:53

I lived in a flat with three small children and exH until we moved into a small house and then had two more small children (plus exH plus a cat we picked up along the way). Now I am back in a flat with four much bigger children in summer and at Christmas, three the rest of the time. We eat together around a table and sit on the couch together and when we have people over or when the DCs have friends the table and couch get a run for their money. The table is bang in the middle of the way in the kitchen and folds down when not in use. If it didn't fold I wouldn't be able to open my dishwasher. I really value it, and the couch too.

OhDearNigel Sun 16-Jun-13 22:25:23

No, as the owner of a tiny house overflowing with belongings i would be so jealous that i would hate you !

OhDearNigel Sun 16-Jun-13 22:28:20

And if you need a "manifesto" to explain your reaons look no further. simple living movement

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