Your Butt-to-Chair Ratio

We rented a mountain cabin for a few days off amidst my book/lecture tour. And like any good scientist (or babysitter), I searched the house looking for hidden stuff. Upstairs in a tiny cove I found a doll house. And next to the doll house, I found a box of stuff for said doll house.

We hauled down the box and my kid and I unloaded all the stuff one would need in order to play “house.”

I pulled out a fridge, a sink, a TV, a computer desk, a record player, 2 toilets, 3 dolls, a pony, and, to my chagrin, 13 chairs.

THIRTEEN CHAIRS. For a family of three gals (a barbie, a princess, and a witch). Oh, and a pony. Which makes me think that playing house has more to do with arranging furniture than it does with inter-personal (i.e. fairy-pony) relationships.

With all we know now about sitting and the increase risk for disease, it may be time to take a closer look at where the chair/sitting paradigm is being reinforced, even subtly.*

I was blown away by the butt-chair ratio until the Huz said, “Well, that’s a pretty normal ratio of chairs to family member, don’t you think?” He was right, of course. I counted the chairs in the rental: Twelve. For a rental that “sleeps 2-3.”

What is the butt-chair ratio in your home? You can count each main cushion on a couch, but you don’t have to count the toilets I guess. Although they are a regularly used butt-rest stop, hopefully.

P.S. When you don’t have chairs or couches in your house, your children might develop a fascination with them. Seriously. This kid needs to sit in/on EVERYTHING!

*There is currently no data on the effect sitting has on pony health. A huge hole in the research, for sure.

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36 thoughts on “Your Butt-to-Chair Ratio

  1. I’m not going to count the old sofa upstairs because it gets used regularly as a balance beam instead of for sitting. 🙂 That being said we have a 1:1 ratio. 3 barstools, one comfy chair for the grandparents to sit on, and an office chair for the hubby who won’t give up chairs.

  2. I’m not going to count the old sofa upstairs because it gets used regularly as a balance beam instead of for sitting. 🙂 That being said we have a 1:1 ratio. 3 barstools, one comfy chair for the grandparents to sit on, and an office chair for the hubby who won’t give up chairs. And there are 5 of us.

  3. Six inside, three outside. For two people. But two interior seats are included in the couch. Does it make a difference that I only sit cross legged on the couch, or lie on it? Also I sit on the floor, cross legged, at the coffee table to eat supper each night. I sit in a chair to eat breakfast on weekends cuz my Huz hasn’t swallowed the kool aid yet. Butt, he’s gettin there!

    An interesting observation about FV fascination w/ chairs. Maybe he’s channeling George Contanza (of Seinfeld fame) who emphatically stated: “conformity is an obsession with me!” :o)

    1. Even varying your sitting posture has benefits! This was just a way to quantify a paradigm one may or may not have paid attention to. I’ll have to check out that Seinfeld episode…

  4. We have one diningroom chair and one couch cushion for each member of the family. We have extra chairs (and table) in the attic in case of dinner guests. However when we have our next baby we will have one less couch cushion than butts to sit on them but since we usually sit on the floor anyway (couch=company) we won’t be changing our seating anytime soon.

  5. Wow. Inside my house there’s 21 “seats” for big people, and 3 little chairs for “little” people. (and I don’t mean midgets or dwarfs, I mean children.) But in our defense, we never sit in more than one seat at a time. Ever. And most of the seats hardly ever get sat in. Interesting.

  6. Does it count if we use the chairs as storage? for example, i don’t like to leave stuff on my floor because i like to use the floor to dance and sit and stretch. so currently, my couch is being used for a ukulele, 2 baskets of laundry, some clothes, a bag of exercise stuff (straps, bands, halfdome, etc.) and some books. sadly, the other couch is currently being used for my 2 year old at the moment…

  7. I counted 4 places I could sit, not counting the floor or the toilet. 2 chairs for the kitchen table that no one ever sits on, they seem to have stuff on them all the time. A couch in my husbands man cave that I never use but he tends to use way too much, and my bed, I really don’t have room for more sitting places, Yeah for me!!!

    Brenda

  8. I counted 10 for 3 of us, but four to five stay piled with various objects (or occupied by dogs) that prevent sitting. There’s a high chair that does get used by my my 15-month-old for 10-15 minutes, 5-10 times a week; because Momma needs to eat, too, and containment lets me eat what I cooked it while it is still warm! Otherwise, it is a climbing structure and purse containment away from those curious little hands (not for long, see the climbing). Pregnant me is usually on the floor and DH is more and more often on the floor to counteract commuting to/from his 40 hours at a desk.

    1. Word! I love the highchair. I never wanted one, but my sister brought it over and DS loves it. So, for 15 minutes a day, he dines in altitude 🙂

  9. I don’t want to count because I want to get rid of them all and the rest of the family doesn’t and if I actually count I’ll get mad…

  10. Im not going to count chairs, but if I ever go missing, the cops just need a pic of my favorite chair and put out an APB for the butt that fits it….kinda like the Cinderella story right?
    brings a tear to my eye…

    I really enjoy your articles,

    Mike <—– sensitive guy

    1. I wonder if the “b” in APB stands for “bottom”. I’m pretty sure it would — at least in your case. You should make a butt-print and leave it on file just in case.

      Katy <------ Smart A$$

  11. 2 recliners
    1 love seat
    4 chairs at the table
    And an exercise ball I use as a piano bench occasionally.
    I guess that’s 9 total, for two adults plus a little one.

    Sheesh…counting them up is kind of scary.
    I know that ‘0’ is the right answer… But, in a classic dragging-your-feet sort of way, might I ask if there are some better alternatives to the conventional furniture (ie. bean bags, exercise balls, benches rather than chairs)?

    1. There’s no “right answer” just quantifying something you might not have thought about before! You can search the blog and see what my living room looks like. Pillows, bolsters and a few ‘stretching cubes’ are the staples in our house.

  12. So, Katy are you serious, you do not have chairs or a couch in your home?? Did I miss the lesson on this?
    Ty-Katie

    1. You must have! Search “furniture” and see what comes up (on the blog) — there’s a picture of my living room spread, I’m sure.

  13. Oh my…we have 26 chairs for 5 people in this house. Seems a bit excessive. Although…in fairness some of the chairs came with the house and are “too good” to just throw out so I’m in the process of rehoming them. Which is harder than you’d think. Turns out most people don’t want used chairs.

  14. Incidentally when I read “butt to chair” ratio I thought you would mean the portion of chair covered by my butt. I was worried I would be coming away from this article feeling bad about the size of my butt. I’m so glad I just feel bad about the number of chairs in the house instead.

  15. We have 1 love seat which can fit 2 people and 3 chairs. We primarily sit on meditation cushions and on the floor. My husband is from India and he always sat on the floor and when I was getting ready to go to India I needed to get used to it also. So we got rid of the couch in my apartment before we got married and now have the love seat only for guests. There are 3 of us here also.

  16. Thanks for this. I’m going to move to Cleveland soon to be near family and I have to make decisions on what to ship. Guess I now know what to do with the chairs!
    I’ve been following what you said to do to keep moving. I’ve just spent the last 10 days crawling in an out of a pup tent. After about 4 days it became much easier on this 70 year old body.

  17. Right I think I can beat all. We have 2 chairs in bed rooms for clothes storage, 1 office chair 1 piano stool, a 3 seater sofa and 2 arm chairs, a 2 seater sofa for storage and used as guest bed, 4 chairs around kitchen table, 6 chairs around dining room table, 1 2-seater sofa and 2 arm chairs for conservatory and 2 kiddies chairs for kiddies table (they mostly stand at as they chairs are filled with art projects 🙂 and 1 exercise ball, that is 28 seats for 4 people (there are six more chairs in the garden but with summer so short in Englad they don’t count). With all these chair my kids have no idea how to sit “nicely”, mostly with feet on chair or half standing etc. We love our bosu and beanbag in the living room (mostly sat on not sofas) and I caught my husband at a standing work station the other day and not in his super-comfy office chair. What do you make dens with or motorboats/bridges/rockets, hid behind or jump off if you don’t have any chairs/sofas :-)?

  18. Help! Everytime I click a link in your posts to the alignedandwell pages, it says 404 the info you are looking for can’t be retrieved. Or some message of that sorts. I NEED that info! How do I get to it? I.e. sleep positions, sitting on the floor positions, and lots more “I answered that ? HERE…” links.

    1. Sorry Ashley — we just moved to this site and are working on replacing old links — it takes awhile. I’ve just come back (today) from a 3-week tour, so I’ll be getting to it. Until then, all you have to do is use the search box to find topics you are interested in!

  19. We’ve got 10 chairs and a boat for a couch…I don’t know it could probably sit 4-5 adults, depending on how big. That couch is a jungle gym for than anything else or a place to take afternoon naps(it’s better than a bed). There are seven in our family. Most of the time the chairs are only used for eating.

  20. I got Christine beat, unfortunately. I counted 48. For 3 people now. 2 couches, 1 loveseat, 5 rocker/recliners, 1 stuffed chair, 2 wood rockers, 10 desk/computer/arm chairs, benches at kitchen table(8 butts), 1 piano bench, 1 exercise ball, 2 old grandma/grandpa rockers(sentimental), sewing chair, backless chair, shop stool, and 5 dining chairs(from mother-in-law’s estate and about to be put on craigslist with the table), plus 2 old wood chairs in the garage that need refinishing. Gah!!! Used to have 7 people in the house. We have a family room and living room, plus lots of desks.

    Not counting the outside lawn chairs and camp chairs, lawn swing or picnic table. Oh, and 4 folding chairs. Yep, definitely can pare down. When I have extended family over, we do use a LOT of them(big family), but definitely need to purge. Son is moving out end of the month and will be taking a few things with him and one rocker is going to daughter, but won’t make a dent. Thing is, other than sitting to eat, and using the computer, I rarely use any of the other seats! But, the guys do.

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