04 September 2010

The Case For Space

We are currently living in a small cottage while we search for a house.  It is at a campground/resort area called a Bungalow Park.  Most people come here on weekends and holidays, so folks often assume we are vacationing indefinitely.  We hear, "Prettige vakantie" (enjoy your vacation) almost every day from someone.  But in a country where it will likely take 2 months to procure a rental house, this was a much better and more economical option than a hotel.  There are very strict fire laws in Europe, making it impossible for the 5 of us to stay in one hotel room.  Not to mention the fact that bungalow parks are cheap!  We'll definitely use them in the future for our own holidays.

But for now, this is our home.  When we first moved in, we chose a 5 person bungalow because, well, there are 5 of us in the family.  But we soon discovered that a 5 person is merely a 4 person with another bed crammed into the 2nd bedroom and a 5th dining chair at the end of the 4 person table.  Add to that the baby crib we had to stuff into our room, and we had a 5th bed taking up space and a crib right next to mom and dad which the baby took full advantage of in the middle of the night (think standing, screaming, and reaching for mommy's arm).  As boxes we mailed started arriving, we realized that this option was not going to work for the long-ish term.

So when our initial reservation was up, we moved to a 6 person bungalow.  And it has made an enormous difference.  There are 3 bedrooms, which means the baby doesn't have to sleep in our room(!), and the kids rooms are upstairs in a dormer area.  Built in gates at the top and bottom of the stairs take care of the safety issue, and the toilet room is separate from the bathroom, which has 2 sinks.

Which finally brings me to my point.  This new place still only has a dorm room sized fridge, no oven, and only a foot or so of walking path between beds and walls, but it feels like a castle.  Yes, there are times when more space is needed (see above).


And do we always need more of it?  Or do we need to first evaluate the space we have and make better decisions regarding what is very important to us?  Hmmm.  Moving often makes me very careful about what we keep and what things can move on to someone else.  I know right now I am in a special situation, but the principles can apply.

This post is long, I know.  I'm making up for lost time!  If the topic is remotely interesting to you, then I have a book to recommend.  It's called The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka.  She proposes that people need 1/3 less space than they think they need.  That doesn't mean that everyone should live in a tiny house, just that space needs should be carefully considered and planned intelligently.  It makes you think about all the cookie cutter spaces we have today and if those spaces really fit individual needs.

Think about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment