Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why Minimalists Bought a Ping Pong Table

oh yes, we did.
One reason we often cite for our bucking of the American stereotype is that we favor smaller living spaces.  We also like to think outside the box regarding arrangement of rooms.  After gradually purging our master bedroom in our house back in the States down to just our bed, we converted the oversized room into a multipurpose/bonus/music room. We repurposed the master closet as storage for all the kids' games and toys, and roomed the kids together in one small bedroom with only their beds and clothes (no dresser, etc).  Pete and I and took the other small bedroom and closet as our master, also with just our bed and clothes.
converted master bedroom
converted master bedroom - why waste all this space for just a bed?!?
We left no furniture or any other possessions back in the U.S.--everything we own is here--but we still don't have a lot of furniture.  I would guess that people who don't know us well walk into our Lux apartment and think we left a bunch of stuff in storage in the U.S.

In general, living quarters in Luxembourg can actually be quite large, even apartments.  Yet a distinguishing feature of many European dwellings (and I suppose many older homes in the U.S) is that there is a lot of extra separation by walls and doors.  Often there are closing doors on the kitchen, dining room, living room, etc. in addition to bedrooms and bathrooms.

Even though we like small, one of our favorite things about our apartment is the unique feature that the living and dining room is one continuous, large rectangle. When we first visited this apartment, I think this room called out to us, "flexibility!" even though at the time it was filled to the brim with tables, chairs and bookshelves.  At some point along the way, Pete or I made the joke that we could play table tennis in here.  And at some point along the way, I suggested that we actually buy a table.

Let me emphasize, I suggested it.  If you know Pete and his love for table tennis, I think we can agree I score major wife-points for this.

We started looking on Amazon, but no tables would ship to Luxembourg.  About a month ago, Amazon began shipping "heavy/bulky" to Luxembourg from Germany.  Accordingly, one of their inaugural heavy/bulky shipments was our very own ping pong table.

table in action!
There's no denying that a ping pong table is a big hunk of furniture and isn't all that minimalist in the standard sense.  The great thing about minimalism, however, is that there isn't really a standard sense; it's not one-size-fits-all.  Here are some of the reasons a ping pong table fits with The T's brand of non-extreme minimalism:

  1. Fewer possessions overall gives us the flexibility to focus what we do own on specific things we enjoy, instead of owning a lot of everything with not much leftover flexible space.
  2. Playing table tennis is a great reason to have people over to hang out.  "Having people over to hang out" is one of our main hobbies, fostering community is one of our core values, and it's free.  When you're inviting someone over, sometimes it's nice to have the option of adding, "to play some table tennis."  Think of it as an oversized ice-breaker.  You can also trash-talk chat while you play (depending on how serious you are about your table tennis, I suppose).
  3. Most of our furniture is lightweight and easily moved out of the way or swapped around depending on the occasion (like a party or a table tennis tourney!)
  4. We fold it up and wheel it to the guest room when not in use.  There's not much furniture in there either so there's plenty of room, and our kids already share a bedroom.
  5. It's multipurpose! We have a small, lightweight dining table, but with a couple of table cloths, the ping pong table doubles as a portable banquet table! (net optional).
  6. We decided that it would be worth 200 Euros for us to just rent a ping pong table for a year.  So even if we decide to keep it for awhile and then sell it or even give it away, it's worth it to us.
  7. Buying a ping pong table for our apartment living room was definitely an oddball move, especially considering we are a "family of four" and not "a bachelor," but the more we thought about it, it just seemed very "us" and the right thing to do.  Lining up your possessions with your personality and values is core to minimalists thinking.
So there you have it.  Come play!


Anonymous said...

Well, I would trash talk about whipping Pete in March but he is going to be playing and I am not so.......


Renay said...

Nice choice. I've been honing my skills at work. Will defintely have to play some pick-up Ping Pong when we meet again.