My husband and I recently purchased some new furniture for our living room. It's been many years since we purchased living room furnishings and I had forgotten just how differently we approach this task than my non-military friends and family. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of civilians do not go through the same exercise that military families do when they're furniture shopping.
Oh sure, we all go through the comfort and pricing test, but that's probably where the similarities end as civilians, generally speaking, don't have to move as often as we do.
We've been in our new home only three weeks now. It has one of the most open floor plans we've ever had. So really, anything we purchased would work in this house. Anything. A sectional, a sofa and loveseat, any combination of over-stuffed chairs and ottomans, or sofas and loveseats.
While shopping, I was drawn to pieces of furniture that were very substantial. Works well here, but they might not even fit in the door at the next place. So, my first choice was out. You know where I'm going with this, don't you? We'll be leaving in two or three years. And we really have no idea where we're going, what our next house will look like or how much room we will have in the house, so rather than my first criteria being to find something that I absolutely love, it was to find something that I thought would be reasonably transportable and fit most anywhere. Absolutely loving it wasn't going to be enough.
I remember going into my girlfriend's brand new house several years ago. The one she plans to retire in. All of her furniture and accessories were purchased to specifically fit the house, and only that house. And they do, and it's gorgeous. We both went through the longevity test when furniture shopping, but we had different types of longevity in mind. I wanted something that would last, but fit anywhere I went. She wanted something that would last, too, but it only had to fit in one house, where it would live until the Goodwill truck comes, many years from now, to cart it away.
We passed on my first choice, a hefty sofa and loveseat, and opted instead for a sectional. The sectional is assembled in a big U-shape right now, but it can be dissembled and separated into various configurations, so it was a practical choice. Max seems to enjoy it:
I spent two days furniture shopping and narrowing down the choices. When I finally had them narrowed down, my husband went with me from store to store to test them out. At each stop, he would say, "will this fit in our next house, do you think this would this work?" I think the salesmen were a bit confused by our conversation because it was obvious that we were talking about a non-specific, could-be-anything house. Actually, several non-specific, could-by-anything houses.
Our other dilemma - Do we purchase bar stools for the bar here, knowing that we may not have a bar in the next house, or do we just leave the area glaringly bare because of the unknown? No decision has been made, but one things for sure, furniture shopping, military-style, can be a challenge.....