Monday, May 12, 2014

We don't have a TV [in our living room]

Every time I see a news-y post about not having TV, it's kind of smug central.  So this is me, writing about that same topic, but from a I-hope toned-down slant.

We don't have a our living room.  In fact, we don't have one downstairs at all anymore.  We're tentatively done with that.

We've never owned a nice big flat-screen TV.  I know they're the norm now, but we've been using our big-back old-school TV from the thrift store for years, and it was working just fine -- we watched shows we liked via Netflix (no cable, no thanks), our Roku was compatible, and that was that.  But for a while, it was becoming our habit to make dinner, then move it to the coffee table in front of the TV, usually while hitting play on either HIMYM (RIP) or Parks & Rec, maybe Always Sunny if we felt like dinner filled with 22 minutes of shrill screaming.  It was a habit and as time wore on, we tried to break it by moving dinners to the kitchen table like civilized people.  This sort of worked, and sort of didn't -- our batting average was not all that great.  

Cue moving.  We'd set up most of the living room, and were looking around for the best place to set up the TV and the speakers.  And then it dawned on us.

We didn't have to set them up at all.

So we didn't.

That TV has been sitting in a closet for about a month now, and so far, we haven't missed having TV downstairs.  We don't have anything mindlessly playing in the background of our lives anymore.  If I sit down on the couch to work on the laptop, the work gets done faster without the temptation of the TV sitting right there, because of course I can multi-task efficiently (no, I can't, because my workflow gets interrupted).  Our dinners are always eaten at the table now, and we talk, and it's not talking over Charlie Day.  It feels peaceful.

But I don't want to sound smug about this particular choice, even while I sing its praises in our lives.  We still own a TV.  We still have our Roku and our Netflix.  How else am I going to watch Marriage Bootcamp: Bridezillas?  We just have a smaller TV upstairs, and if we want to veg out, it's there (and when the baby arrives, I expect this to be nice to have around -- trying to avoid bad screentime etc but I'd like to have the vegging options open).  Simply removing the constant downstairs temptation has been a really nice shift.  By removing it downstairs, it's lessened our overall TV consumption and desire for consumption, and when we go upstairs, we'll end up reading books just as often as we'll end up clicking over to Bridezillas.

Let it never be said I was a snob about my viewing habits, dangit.  ;)

Caveat: If you regularly host TV viewing parties for you and your friends, this would probably be a bit more of a bummer choice, socially.  But, we don't, and haven't in the past, mostly because our TV was older, suckier and smaller than everyone else's anyway!  Your mileage may vary & I don't mean this to be prescriptive.  Just a post on what's been working nicely for us in our lives lately.  


  1. When we first moved into our apartment, we ate dinner at the kitchen table every night like real grown-ups. Over time, between the kitchen table filling with stuff, enticing Netflix options, and eventually some broken chairs, our norm is now 100% eating in front of the TV. (Well, in front of our computer-as-TV.)

    I know this isn't really a healthy option and at times still feel guilty about allowing the habit to continue (I do feel we watch way too much). However, I'm comforted knowing that in a new place we'll hopefully have a different set-up, where table dining will make more sense and we can arrange our living spaces with or without the desktops. I kind of hope we DO get a TV, and relegate the computers to an office-only area, or something like that. I think I'd be less prone to turn the TV on than to just click over to Netflix on an already-running machine. We'll see, though.

    1. Yeah, I think a lot of it is about finding out what your habits are, and what you do you reinforce or negate them. In our case, having the laptop downstairs isn't as much a temptation, but having the TV was!

  2. We're thinking about doing this too and just wheeling the projector in for GoT nights/movie nights. We veg out a little too much around here!