Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wide Open Spaces

No, no....we're not about to make the move to the country. Yes, we are still (and very likely will always be) city dwellers. Wide open spaces refers to how we keep the inside of our's our preference in the way that we keep our home for our family and our ability to minister to others.

We choose to keep lots of open space in our home and not to fill all of our spaces with furniture, toys, and decor as we could. This allows us:
  • to have space to host groups of people (i.e. bible studies, super bowl/sporting event parties, holiday parties, baby showers, guys fellowship nights, girls nights, etc.)
  • to have space to (eventually) homeschool our children 
  • to have space to make and store bulk purchases
  • to have space to have overnight guests and family visit frequently 
To do these things, we need wide open spaces. For this reason, we have chosen to be fairly minimalistic with the possessions and furniture we bring into the home. We use the house as we feel best meets the needs of our families and our ministry to others as they come into the home.

For example, we have a formal dining room as well as a breakfast/kitchen area. We do not need two tables - one table, big enough to seat 8 or more, fits in the breakfast/kitchen area. We have left the formal dining room almost completely empty - it makes a great place to set up a folding table for gaming, or to leave clear for kids to play or work puzzle in, or space for working on projects. That empty space allows it to be super multi-functional!

In our family room we have three couches to seat groups of people, arranged in a circle-ish shape in order to encourage relationship building and conversation. We have a bookshelf with some of our books and toys for our little girl. The middle of the room is completely empty (except for her pack-n-play which is currently under her favorite thing to watch - the fan!) - allowing for more people to join the group on chairs, to allow for play, or gaming. It's great! 

Our house, with it's wide open spaces, is adaptable to a variety of situations, circumstances, and uses. We have been very intentional about choosing what we need and choosing not to fill it with things that we do not. This includes furniture and decor; we choose to be very minimalistic and only include things that we LOVE!

Another great thing about this principle of maintaining wide open space in the home is it's benefit for children. Having taught for several years and researched and read about how children learn and grow the past several years - I believe that children function best in open spaces without an over-abundance of visible "things." 

Children need space in which to explore with and without the use of toys. 
They need space to move and be active. 
They need space to build and create. 
They need space in which to imagine. 

For this reason, we will continue to be minimalistic in furniture and "things" in our house. Children do not need the large (in size and/or in number) toys that are on the market. Too many options are overwhelming and even detrimental to healthy development. I have fairly strong beliefs on the value of few and high quality (& non-battery operated) toys for children. Maybe I will do a post on this topic in the future. Our simplicity and minimalism truly spread through our views on many aspects of homemaking and family life. 

Do I believe that the way we chose to keep our home is the right way for everybody? Absolutely not!
God has different purposes for each of our homes. He created us to live and thrive in different environments. This is simply the environment and the reasons behind the environment that we have actively sought to create for our family. Simplicity just works well here!

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