Must-Not-Haves | 9 Things We Don’t Have That Everyone Expects You to Have
There is an unspoken list of belongings, rooms and furniture that the world expects you to have. While many are pretty necessary for living, like a mattress or couch, there are others that you don’t have to have. In fact, we’ve lived quite comfortably without a few “necessary” things in our 679-square-foot apartment. Here’s what we’ve done without — whether it was out of pure laziness or for the sake of saving money, and in most cases, because our life at this stage does not require them. That’s not to say that we won’t ever have these things, because our circumstances will fluctuate as the years go by. For example, we will definitely want a dining room table once we have a family and a guest room once we have a house with more space for frequent guests. But for now, we are quite content with our simple setup!
By the way, this is not meant to exclaim “look at us!” — it is simply intended to help us all, together, reconsider what we classify as obvious “must-haves” for everyday living. If someone had told me “you don’t have to have a bed frame” a few years ago, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. So, now I’m the crazy lady telling you the very same thing!
A Dining Room Table
A few weeks ago, I decided to move our tiny square dining room table into our bedroom to act as a desk. I was planning on searching for a desk and chairs over the weekend and realized that a deep/square desk is actually what I wanted rather than a long rectangular/shallow desk — especially so I could fit my monitor behind my computer. I work from home, so a desk was increasingly more important, since Brandon now works from home much of the time and kind of took over my desk out in the living area. We hardly ever ate at our dining room table, and (confession!) we end up eating on the couch 99% of the time — usually while watching a show. A dining room table may have made the room look more “complete” or “put together” but the function just wasn’t there. It ended up being a dumping ground for miscellaneous things, so in its absence, we are now forced to put things in their proper place. And we can use the open space for our daily yoga studio! Just so much room for activities.
A Guest Room
As you can probably guess, our 679-square-foot apartment does not come with a second room. This has been a non-issue for us, even when we’ve hosted guests, which is not very often! We’ve had a few family members and friends stay for a night or two, and we always offer our bedroom while we camp out on the couch or air mattress. Most have denied the offer and opted for the couch themselves, but it is a perfect option! We don’t mind sleeping out in the living room at all and they get a private bedroom with a queen sized bed — or at least a mattress (but more on that later!). As mentioned, we’ll want a guest room eventually, but for now, it hasn’t been worth paying extra in rent for the off-chance that someone will visit.
A Second Car
Last summer, right before we moved from Denver, we ended up doing tons of car-related things that I won’t get into (which involve the VW buyback scandal, a crazy hail storm and Geico check, and a spontaneous decision to sell my car to my brother and sister-in-law while we were on a road trip to Seattle). Ultimately, we ended up buying a car while in Seattle, driving it back, and not buying a second one. We knew we wanted to only have one car, but all of these crazy circumstances made it a seamless transition. This has been even more possible because of our living and working conditions — which includes both of us working from home and living in a super walkable neighborhood. So again, when we have kids and if we end up moving to a more suburban area without places we can walk to, we will probably have to buy a second car! But for now, we are saving all the gas and maintenance money.
A Fancy Set of Dishes
As you can probably gather, we hardly ever host people at our apartment. It just doesn’t feel super conducive for hosting, plus we love to meet friends at a restaurant or bar in the neighborhood. So we have no need to create a beautiful tablescape for a dinner party or some fancy occasion. For now, we are embracing the ability to keep it simple with our plain white dish set (that we just got on Amazon the other day!). Our chunky dish set we registered for was not cutting it — and I’ve heard similar sentiments from fellow newlyweds. We broke half of the plates and bowls and the other half had chips and cracks. Plus, they took up so much space! We just got this set from Corelle — the brand every grandmother swears by — and for good reason. These things are indestructible and they take up so little space in our cabinet.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth reiterating. We own zero books. I will borrow or get a book handed to me from a friend every now and then (because there’s no denying to joy of holding a real book in your hands!) but other than that, we don’t own books. Instead, we’ll do audiobooks or go to the library. It keeps us from having to deal with a physical object after we’re done reading! The Minimalists talk about “minimizing” books — even the ones they are selling themselves. This simply means passing it along to someone else to enjoy after you’re done. How many times have you reread a book? The answer is: hardly ever. And if you do end up wanting to reread, there are so many easy (and instant!) ways to access a book these days.
A Bed Frame
When we moved into our apartment in Nashville a year ago, we decided not to get a bed frame while we were buying furniture and decor. And it ended up being one of the best decisions! It sounds ludicrous, but we sleep on a mattress on the floor. We were looking far and wide for a short “platform” bed frame, so it wasn’t much of a difference for us to forgo the frame altogether. Plus, not having a bed meant we didn’t need the next item on this list...
It’s pretty simple. Without a bed frame, you don’t need nightstands. The floor became a place we set our books or tea at night. And I now plug my phone in away from my bed so I’m not tempted to aimlessly scroll through it at night or first thing in the morning. Now that I made a little office in the bedroom, I’m so glad we don’t have nightstands! I don’t think it all would have fit well. Also, it helps us minimize clutter, as we don’t have drawers to hide miscellaneous things.
Our tiny kitchen has very little counter and storage space, so the less “gadgets” (I hate that word...) we have, the better. We don’t have a toaster and other major kitchen appliances, mostly because we don’t use them. If we need to toast bread, we’ve done it on a stove and it works perfectly! A few extra steps involved, but it gets the job done.
Artwork on Every Wall
We have slowly added a few pieces of art to our walls, but we don’t add things just for the sake of adding them. I actually love the gallery wall look, so this may be something we tackle in a different space down the road. But for now, we have a piece from our friend Laura Beth at Gardner and Beth, a Hatch Show Print poster from the Fleet Foxes concert in Nashville, and two random Target pieces I love — and that’s it.
After taking a mental inventory of our belongings, there are certainly more things we could do without. Because at the end of the day, what we think are necessities are actually luxuries. And privileges. And undeserved. And we are so thankful for all of it.
What about you?
I’m curious — what “must-haves” do you consider unnecessary, either in your current life stage or forever? I would love to know the ways you are consciously trying to minimize! I get so inspired by the stories I hear from you all. Comment below or shoot me an email!