Last week I challenged you to “make do” with at least one thing or situation. How did you do? Did it turn out to be a big deal that you went without something or made a substitution? I’m hoping that you found results like I did quite some time ago: It didn’t matter one bit. Plus I saved time and stress because I didn’t give in and go for society’s solution: more. Using a fork instead of a wisk may not be ideal but it will work. Using minced onion instead of fresh onion is a pretty easy switch too. I’ve found it’s pretty easy to make do with the little things.
But what about the big things? Is it easy when your bathroom is really dated and driving you nuts? When your family grows and there’s no extra bedroom? It all depends on your resolve, but I’m gonna guess that most of us would find these situations increasingly harder to avoid giving in to.
The thing about us as wealthy humans, (compared to most countries) living in a society surrounded by nice things, is that when we think we need something we jump to the solution that we have to get something new. Not necessarily brand new, but new to us. It’s just our mindset. I once read a book (and wish very much that I could remember the name of it) where the author spoke of his family’s clothes not getting dry on the line during winter before they ran out of clothing. The wife said they needed to buy a dryer. They discussed the options and eventually they realized that instead of a dryer they just needed to buy one extra set of clothes at the thrift store per person. That would give them enough to last until the clothes on the line were dry. They were jumping to an obvious solution instead of looking at the problem.
One current such “problem” in our house is our bathroom. It has baby
blue tiles everywhere and mint green trim and cabinetry. I’m sure it
was really styling back in the 50’s, but it’s just not working for me.
It irritates me everytime I go in there.
My first thought when we looked at the house was that the bathroom would have to be gutted. Then I thought that maybe we could just take the tiles down and get a new vanity. Then I finally decide that we would paint the entire thing, including the tiles. By the time we closed on the house (less than 3 weeks after looking at it, mind you) I had decided that I could live with the tile all together if we just painted the trim a more complimentary color. I bought a can of chocolate brown. Of course it’s still sitting in the can, but I’ll get it painted eventually. Obviously having a really nice bathroom doesn’t make enough impact on me to have painted it 5 months ago! How did I finally come to his solution? Well, in addition to my husband wanting to keep the tile for some strange reason, I took some time to look at the cost of getting what I wanted. It wasn’t worth $8,000-$10,000 to me to have a new bathroom. Nor was it worth $4,000 to remove the tile and get a new vanity. $1,000 to paint all the tile was more reasonable, but why go all that effort and expense to just hide something I don’t like anyway? So we agreed on the paint and I’m happy with that.
Now, what would you do if you ran out of rooms for a growing family? If I could afford it, I personally would sell my house and buy a larger one, or would add on. Space is a big deal to me. I can work around decor and furnishings, but not lack of space. The current housing market may not allow for selling a home either. We know, we own two. I have two friends who have been in this situation in the last 4 years and have decided to be creative about their spaces instead of changing spaces. Are you reading this with an open mind? This one may take some getting used to- I know it did for me. Both of my friends have made space for their children to sleep in
the laundry room. Just think about that for a minute.
Most homes in America didn’t have laundry rooms 60 years ago.
Current society has made us think that we need a room just for laundry, which may run up to 12 hours a week if all the loads are done completely separate from each other.
When I first heard about this, I thought it was a great idea- for the babies. But as they’ve grown and become children it’s taken some getting used to. I think they both have the right idea and their hearts in the right place though. You see, a laundry room really isn’t used that much for laundry. It’s more of just an extra room in a house for occasional use. Both of these friends have good sized laundry rooms and they have small children.* They’ve decorated the rooms very nicely and appropriately for their kids. Honestly you wouldn’t even realize that these rooms are laundry rooms except for, well the presence of the washer and dryer. They both also have very family oriented minds so the laundry/bedroom is used for just that: laundry and a bed. The kids play together in other areas of the house as a family. Isn’t that how a family was designed to work and play?
I’m not suggesting that you all go out and convert your laundry rooms or garages into bedrooms for babies. But I encourage you to stop and think about all the possible solutions to your wants and needs. Maybe you can do with just a new coat or paint, new curtains, or a good carpet cleaning. Maybe you can get season passes to a local theme park or water park instead of taking the unaffordable vacation. By taking some time to think about all the options, you may realize just how much, or how little something matters to you. Then you’ll know what’s worth spending your family’s hard earned money on. Or there may just be a more affordable option that you can “make do” with.
*If you’d like to read one friend’s story and see pictures of their laundry/bedroom, you can visit her blog Simple Purpose here (don’t you love that title?)