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Hooray Cardboard Furnishings

I’ve been moving apartment for the past few weeks, packing, repacking, jettisoning kit, repeat. Ikea furniture is quite terrible for non-drivers, its heavy, often one-time use, and in switzerland its difficult to get rid of.

Swiss apartments often have built in cabinetry and closets with shelves in the walls.  This makes purchasing bookshelves and clothing closets superfluous.

Desks and chairs which are foldable and thus stowable (on the balcony for instance) make limited floorspace accessible, cleanable, and reusable.

Beds are typically heavy, but if one restricts themself to mattresses which can be stowed upright during the day, the floorspace is again available.

For random things like stereo and lamp fixtures, the idea is to have the item at hand/eye level and nothing more.  However, accomplishing this in a car-free lifestyle has been difficult, as most commercial solutions involve plywood or other heavy, wasty materials. 

I’ve grown fond of using cardboard for this type furniture, for instance, prefab ikea-boxes to seat my stereo unit, 2 boxes near the door to prop up keys and wallet, etc. Its good to keep things at eye-level to avoid the situation of hiding things rather than storing things. Using empty boxes is ideal as well, because they’re easy to acquire and dispose during any move.

Cardboard is also craftable at home, enabling people to make custom solutions for their own needs, not being manipulated by the designers at IKEA labs in Jönköping or Beijing.  For instance, I saw this prop-up stand for a macbook and was very inspired:
DIY Laptop Stand

Check out the prop-up stand for the IPOD next to the laptop pedestal, wowsers.  Cardboard furnishings, coupled with foldable “hard” furnishings like folding chairs and tables, clever apartment design (large built-in closets), and a minimalistic approach to bedding (mattresses), render a completely car-free lifestyle entirely possible. 

Some of these great ideas and more are available at unclutterer.

This post written in part for the group writing project “design you love” contest at DESIGNER-DAILY.

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