Like most people, my life has changed a lot over the last year. Between the pandemic, changes to my support routines and various health issues, i’ve had to rethink a lot of my day to day life. One of the areas which has been slowest to change is my home.
Before the pandemic i didn’t spend many waking hours at home. For most of the day i would be out at the cafe where i did most of my work. My flatmate was the same, he’d be at college in lectures or working on projects in the labs. In the evening i would be doing my routines or maybe playing video games.
These days we spend most of our time at home. Plus 3 nights a week we also have a carer here sleeping in the lounge doing overnight support. It’s a small flat for three people to share.
This is all a long way to say; i needed to redesign my flat. Or more specifically, rethink how i used my bedroom. Like it or not, my bedroom is the only private space i am going to have for the foreseeable future. I need to make the most of it.
In order to make things work, i had to condense my life into a single room. My bedroom was setup for sleeping, but now it had to do more. My bedroom is not very big and its a weird shape. I have around ~6 square meters to fit my entire day to day life into.
Sleep was the simplest change. I already had a bed that worked and it didn’t take up much space. The main changes i made to the bed where to be more disciplined in how i used it. I am trying to avoid spending long periods in bed “resting” or working on my phone. Only being in bed if i was intending to sleep. This also means leaving bed quicker in the morning. Pretty much as soon as i wake, i get out of bed.
The largest change i made was to put a small sofa in my bedroom. I’ve had it in storage since my flatmate moved in and my home office became his bedroom. It’s small and sort of comfortable. If i lay across it at a 45 degree angle with a cushion it works pretty well.
I use the sofa for all of the time when i am neither sleeping, working or gaming. I’ve recently brought a HomePod mini and like using it for podcasts when i am on the mini sofa. It’s also where i spend time between steps in my evening routine. I do a tiny amount of work on the sofa. Its where i do work related calls etc.
The changes to my workspace where more of an evolution than a revolution. I upgraded to a bigger desk and a larger monitor. The desk came form my flatmate (who wanted to downsize) and the monitor came from my office (as its not being used).
The new workspace works really well. I also have a lamp and the HomePod mini setup. It’s been really nice to have a proper desk again. Apart form my BBC work and side projects, i also use the desk for gaming. I have my xbox and my Mac mini sharing the same monitor. I’ll write more about those in the future.
The final consideration was rethinking how i used the storage space in my room. I already had 14 “cubes” of storage space in my bedroom. 4 in the en-suite bathroom, 8 in the room, and 4 more under my bed. I went though all the boxes i was using and i free’d up some space. I also swapped the 4 cube storage in the bathroom into a proper bookcase equivalent to 8 cubes of storage.
The basic idea is the bedroom storage is all tidy boxes and the storage in the bathroom is the awkwardly shaped messy stuff. It works pretty well.
I’m still living in my flat, so i continue to have access to a lounge and a kitchen. However, i made a decision to depend on the other spaces less. To that end i have a small supply of food and snacks in my room and i moved all my washing things into the bathroom.
It’s been a few weeks since i moved everything around and i am pretty pleased with the outcomes. My new studio room feels very different. In the past the room was very focused on sleeping and had lots of space. The room was extremely simple. Now the room is much more “cosy”. Most of the floor space is being used and tall furniture surrounds me wherever i am in the room.
It’s good. It feels very similar to the room i had in supported living. I’ve started defaulting to keeping the door closed rather than open. Keeping it a small, private and controlled space. As long as i keep it tidy, it seems to be somewhat sustainable.
Sharing a home is an art. While it’s “my home”, i choose to share it with someone else. Sharing a space is hard and i am keen to minimise my impact on others. After all, he’s living through this mess too. By consolidating into our own spaces were finding that life flows much better. This isn’t a “forever” change, but hopefully its enough to get us through to the end of the pandemic nice and smoothly.