Dividing Up the House: Making Space for Ourselves

When I was younger I noticed that my parents rarely lived in the same areas of the house. My dad tended to spend his nights working over the kitchen table and my mom often moved into the bedroom to read or watch television.

My husband and I moved into our house just over ten years ago and we have certainly divided and conquered various areas in our home. My husband works primarily out of the study. It’s where all of his computers are set up and it’s where he processes photos, tracks our spending and works on various aspects of his business.

The living room is my domain. It’s where I play with my son, cuddle up with a good book, write and blog. At only ten months old my son has already taken over a good number of rooms in our house. He has his own bedroom, a playroom (a sun-room we rarely used until his arrival), and over half of the living room.

His stuff has also taken over a good portion of the basement. In his mere ten months on this earth I have amassed four tubs of clothes and a closet full of outgrown baby equipment. With his height in the 95th percentile he outgrew his baby swing, bouncy seat, cradle and co-sleeper long before hitting the six month mark. Those odd shaped contraptions are now piling up in various corners of the basement. They seem to be impossible to stack and all need to be thoroughly covered and wrapped to avoid dust, kitty litter and mold.

Though we all live in the same house I am fascinated by the ways in which each of us finds a space to call home.

I’m happy that we’ve divided and conquered this way. While my husband tends to be a very neat and orderly guy he will let mail accumulate on his desk or keep a pile of newspapers stacked on the floor for days waiting to be read. With his own space he can keep all of this exactly how he wants. It’s out of my line of sight and into his control.

Similarly if my son’s toys are haphazardly distributed all over the living room I don’t much care. I let him play wherever he wants in that room, (it’s baby proofed so he doesn’t need to be placed in a playpen), but I tend to keep his toys in the back of the room out of the path of foot traffic. If he wanders into that space while playing I simply throw those toys into a fabric box at end of the day. I used to pick up all of his toys after he went to bed, but over time I’ve found I’m not so bothered by seeing his stuff on the far side of the room.

Before I had my son I thought this kind of thing would drive me crazy. I’m not the kind of girl who likes to see a lot of clutter laying around, but I don’t seem to mind his toys. Maybe it’s because they are so bright and colorful and I love that we’ve been able to baby proof the living room so he can have free reign of it.

I did find an old basket in the closet that I now use to carry our belongings upstairs. With a little one in tow it’s not so easy to travel up and down the steps as it used to be. If I find items downstairs that need to go up I place them in the basket and take them upstairs at the end of the evening. This has worked wonders for my husband’s stuff too. He tends to take his socks and belt off when he comes home from work. He previously put these on the steps and I had to walk over them anytime I went upstairs. Now he throws this stuff in the basket and no longer worry about tripping over his belongings.

Of course, we do have one area of the dining room that piles up with things. I’m not exactly sure how it happens, but a hodgepodge of miscellaneous items always seems to make it’s way into that corner. Every time I walk by that area I cringe just a little. I do my best to weed through it at least once a week, but I really wish stuff didn’t accumulate there in the first place.

There are also those areas in the basement that I try to avoid including the overflowing storage shelves full of unused computer equipment and other random electrical devices. Or the boxes of hand-me-down toys just waiting for my son to get old enough to play with.

What about you? Do you have separate areas in the house from your spouse or partner? Do you have tricks for keeping your house neat and orderly? Do you have areas in your home that you try to avoid?

3 thoughts on “Dividing Up the House: Making Space for Ourselves”

  1. I went from having a home all to myself to sharing with my husband and the dogs. I moved into his place, so I had to carve out a space for myself. I can’t wait to move into another home together. I took over the living room and the spare bedroom, while he has most of the half finished basement. Unfortunately, one of our dogs had a UTI and started urinating in the basement so it stinks and he is being forced into my space.

    Who am I kidding, our dogs own most of the house.

    • Oh yeah. Our cat has free reign of the place! He goes wherever he wants whenever he wants. I figure my son will be the same way soon enough 🙂

  2. My spouse moved into my house and I cleared out a room for his “stuff.” My teenager had two rooms, but has now grown up and moved out. I don’t really want to reclaim the kid rooms because they are downstairs and I’d rather be upstairs nearer the kitchen, because I like cooking and baking. So do you think I should make my spouse move downstairs and take his upstairs room? LOL!


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