Furniture limits

I have a little buyer’s remorse over the purchase of two end tables at a yard sale over the past weekend.  However, I have talked myself around to them for a few reasons:

  1. They are more functional for my needs as a bedside table than the storage ottomans I had been using, which were not totally flat and did not have adequate space for a book, my glasses, and my phone/charger without precarious balancing acts
  2. They were only $10 for the pair, a relatively painless amount of money
  3. Since I am so unattached, I can easily re-sell or donate when I move again, if I so desire

So now I have end tables.  I’ll continue using the storage ottomans to store things (like fuzzy winter socks!), or if I find another way to store my fuzzy winter socks, I’ll give the ottomans back to my mother or my sister for college.

In addition to end tables, I have procured a desk.  I didn’t initially want one, because I was confident in my ability to handle any and all computer tasks at my coffee table, but I caved and decided to get an actual work surface for tax deduction purposes.  I can claim a home office (for my freelance writing income) if I have a designated work space for my “home business.”

My new rule for furniture (besides my couch and my bed) is this: If I can’t get it up the stairs and into my flat by myself, I’m not buying it.  With this limit in mind, I re-purposed an end table with a drawer as my desk and then realized I would need a chair. Rats! Another piece of furniture.

I have to take furniture into account as I plan for my fantasy-self-future, where everything I own fits into my car.  I find myself looking at desk chairs and thinking, “There’s no way that would fit in my car and leave any room for other things,” so I rule it out.  I am currently coveting the Ikea Jules swivel chair, in white.  It’s small but functional, and would probably fit in my car with plenty of room for other things.  I’m also considering folding chairs, to save even more space.  When I have made a final decision about how to outfit my new minimalist workspace, another post with photos will surely follow, with my own personal tips and tricks for making the most of what I have.

How do you limit yourself when it comes to furniture?  What’s in your minimalist office?

14 thoughts on “Furniture limits

  1. Since having a baby that tends to snuggle whilst i work my minimalist office is so minimal i don’t need the office. It i designed to be used anywhere

  2. Have you thought of putting wheels on the end table – you could then move it around to where you can sit comfortably, while deciding about the chair ?
    One of my favourite “office” pieces, in a 600 sq ft place, was an inexpensive kitchen cart with shelves, wheels and handle, for pushing. There was room for a laptop, office stuff and books ! Because the shelves were adjustable, it was changeable, according to need. Because it was see through, and metal – the place never looked cluttered,and because it stored in one side of a very emptied, closet my little flat always looked and felt organizesd, spacious and calming…
    With the cart on wheels, when and if you do move – you have a trolley to wheel your boxes to the car, which then comes apart easily to fit in as well !!!
    Good luck with all your new beginnings, you are well on your way if you realize it’s hard to start afresh, if weighed down with old baggage – I bet your mum is happy and proud of you, for not adding to her family storage woes!

    1. I hadn’t considered wheels!! That is a fantastic idea. The current end table wouldn’t work with wheels, it has very slender legs, but a cart is something I may look into in the future! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

      1. The cart is also a cheap solution – mine cost $26 new – and if you limit stuff to the size of the cart, it doesn’t get out of hand… any furniture on wheels is great, as it can be used for more than one purpose, and makes housework effortless, and Vacuum redundant, I now think of it as home blessing instead 😉

      2. I will definitely look into a cart. My little desk is so adorable though, I’m already getting attached 😡

        *non-attachment, non-attachment, non-attachment*

        I’m a work in progress 😉

  3. For a desk chair, depending on the size/height of your desk and your preferences, you could either use a foot stool/ottoman or a fun option is one of those big rubber inflatable exercise balls. You can let the air out & fold it up when you move! And if you like your current desk, keep it.

    1. I’ve used an exercise ball before but I wind up sitting very slouched over on it. If I trusted myself to maintain better posture, maybe I’d consider it again in the future 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hi Caitlin! I just found your blog through Miss Minimalist and I love it. My hubs and I are semi-retired and gave our home to our son and his growing family, and we downsized to a less than 500 square foot loft apartment on the river…hubs dream home 🙂 Anyway, for furniture in the living room, we use those folding sports seats with the cup holders that you can store in a bag and carry over your shoulder. They remind me a bit of director’s chairs. We find them comfortable, portable and convenient. We can just pick up our “living room” furniture and take it to our grandchildren’s sporting events. I love multi-functional furniture! For my home office, I use a little nightstand with a drawer and a shelf on the bottom. Small enough that I can carry and move it to where I want it without anyone’s help and large enough for my laptop and office supplies.


    1. Hi Marci — thank you so much for commenting! That sounds about how my “desk” is, I will have to post a picture soon. Congratulations on downsizing to a smaller apartment, and good luck with your minimalist efforts! I hope to see you around on the blog 🙂

  5. Hey, I’m really enjoying your blog so far!

    I really get the whole ‘fit everything in my car’ thing too, I am doing the same, only on a larger scale, with my husband & young daughter.

    If my back could handle it, I would sit on the floor with my laptop, but currently I need a supportive chair, being minimalist doesn’t mean you should risk damaging your back. I think a clean workspace is really important.

    You can always leave things behind, I put things in the street here in australia and they are gone in minutes!

    Have a great day! Xxx

    1. Thank you for your comment, I am glad you like the blog! I am trying to keep in mind that minimalist doesn’t have to be an extreme, it just means cutting the excess out, and a chair isn’t necessarily excess. I tend to get a little overexcited with new things 🙂 Good luck with minimizing your stuff with a family of three!

  6. I love your concept of “limits.” I’ve been heavy into this for a long time. I’m a huge Formula One racing fan, and a deceased three-time world champion named Ayrton Senna spoke about limits, and I thought I’d share it with you:

    “On a given day, in a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit.’ But after you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.”

    I love challenging myself by imposing limits on elements of my environment, daily activities, or what have you. For instance, I wanted to get rid of the dresser in my room, so I imposed the limit of moving everything out of it and making it fit into my desk and shelf. And I did, and now everything is super organized, super compact, but also super accessible, and I’ll be moving my dresser out first thing tomorrow morning.

    Let us remember what Goethe said:

    “It is in working within limits that the master reveals himself.”

    Great post. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for your comment and some great quotes, Adam! Good for you moving everything out of your dresser — my mom thought I was crazy when I declined her offer of one of the dressers she had picked up at sales over the years 🙂 I hope to see you around the blog!

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