Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Modern Living in a 1950s Cottage



It is no secret on this blog that I sometimes get frustrated with this little cottage bursting at the seams.  Recently, I have been thinking about how families in the 1950s would have managed in such a small house.  There are neighborhoods not too far from me filled with post-war houses not much bigger than my own house.  In these houses families were raised, families much like my own, in two bedroom, 1 bathroom houses.  Some of these houses don't even have a dining room, just a small eat-in kitchen.  Thank GOD for my dining room!

So, I started considering what in my house wouldn't have been there in the 1950s, or would have been different.  Would the lack of these modern items improve our living spaces and our lives?  Or would it be a detriment?

For example, my fridge is a monster.  Next time I need a fridge, I am getting a smaller one.

All those DVDs!  So many DVDs!  The Mister is a movie buff, and the kids have plenty.  I have placed most of them in CD cases to make room, but hubby prefers his more favorite ones to be in their original cases and easily accessible.

We have a LOT of books.  Working Class families in the 1950s likely wouldn't have had so many books because books were largely bought retail.  Most of the books I have are hand-me-downs and yard sale finds.

The microwave and coffee maker.  I could manage without either, but again, I am not the only one living here.  I also have two toasters, my vintage toaster and a modern toaster oven.  I keep the modern toaster oven because the vintage toaster doesn't fit bagels.

I'm omitting the CDs and CD player because they sort of represent LPs and a record player.

Clothes and toys....we have a fair amount of both.  The kids have been abundantly blessed with ample hand me downs.  I have whittled them down but I am sure they still own more than the average 1950s child.

Hobbies.  Now, I am quite sure that people of the 1950s had their hobbies and some more than others, but living history was pretty much unheard of.  They didn't have trunks upon trunks of 18th century reproductions stashed away.  Granted, we haven't re-enacted in 6 years, but The Mister holds out hope that we may return to the hobby when the children are older.  I omit The Mister's models and my sewing because both are common 1950s activities.  But, chain mail?

(Keep in mind, I am not picking on The Mister for his hobbies.  I think they are wonderful.  I am just contemplating how things may have been different in the 1950s compared to now and how it impacts how we manage in our 1950s cottage.)

Computers, tablets, cell phones.  We have multiples of each.  We have a charging station, we need desk space, not to mention we have a vintage typewriter, too, so that needs a home.

Homeschool supplies.  My children would have been attending the schoolhouse across the street in the early 1950s.  They would not have been homeschooled and I would not have needed to find a home for all these supplies.

It is a challenge living in the modern world in a vintage little house.  A part of me would love to just go back to the relative simplicity of that era, but I have a husband and children to consider, and modern life to consider.  However, I do think I can glean something from this thought process and perhaps find some change and minimize to a more mid-century level of possession.


2 comments:

Rebecca Mclellan said...

I love your little look back into history. I'm old enough that I lived through some of that history. We lived in a small house too and made it to adulthood just fine. We had 1 bathroom for 6 people and learned to share. We spent a lot of time outdoors and not inside when it was nice. I remember the time as happier that family times seem to be today. Maybe we should go back - but I get to take my coffee maker with me !!!!!

Kate said...

Thank you for your comment. My heart lights up whenever I experience anything reminiscent of the past. That includes making my coffee using a stove-top percolator. However, we do own an automatic coffee maker. I can easily make the concession to keep it when should I set it the night before, in the morning, hubby brings me my coffee in bed. :-)