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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.

OhDearNigel Sun 16-Jun-13 22:28:20

And if you need a "manifesto" to explain your reaons look no further. simple living movement

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 !

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

BeyonceCastle Sat 15-Jun-13 10:55:09 spotty 5 quid red 4.50 green 4.50 black 4.50

80 cm diameter stack up in corner

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 10:30:24


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


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.

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.

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..

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?

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