Monday, December 15, 2014

Stuff. Grrrr....

When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a mommy.  I envisioned cradling tiny babies, putting them down for naps, feeding them in a high chair, changing diapers, and even nursing them (I had four younger siblings who ate that way- not all at once, of course).

But never did I imagine all the time I would spend managing STUFF.  It is (as of right now) my very least favorite part of managing a household.  I don't mind cleaning very much (when I have the time to get it done) and I don't mind doing laundry.  I wax and wane excitement regarding cooking these days and don't really mind paying the bills.  What I DO mind is all the time, brain space and energy that goes into dealing with stuff.

Now granted, I am thankful for the stuff.  I am not complaining about the *actual* stuff.  The stuff we have is stuff we need and are blessed to have in our possession.


When you live in an old farmhouse with very few closets, managing stuff is hard.

When your attic's access is just wide enough for your husband's hips to fit through (forget about bins, Christmas trees, etc.), managing stuff is hard.

When you are over-the-moon fortunate to get beautiful hand-me-downs to clothe your children but have to pile bins of clothes in your bedroom, managing stuff is hard.

When you homeschool and need to save each year's books for the children who will grow into them so you don't have to sell and repurchase books every year, managing stuff is hard.

When your children's ages range from one to just shy of twelve, some toys and books will naturally accumulate for said ages (and in between) making it hard to manage all the stuff.

When you delight in organization, tidy rooms and open spaces, managing an overabundance of stuff is hard.

When your "attic" is an old, detached-from-the-house smokehouse that is mostly sound but not sound enough to trust storing said clothes and books, managing stuff is hard.

When the only exercise you get some days is rearranging and lugging around bins and boxes, managing stuff is hard (even though the exercise is good).

I don't wish this stuff away. I am doing my best to keep us organized.  Yes, an addition would be nice as we seem to be bursting at the seams but it's not in the cards right now.

So I live with the stuff.  I walk past and around the stuff.  I sneer at the stuff and try to will it invisible.  I resent how it makes our spaces look cluttered and hope no one thinks me a budding hoarder.  I am constantly trying to think up ways to house it more discretely but the cold, hard truth is that as long as I have a family and means to clothe, entertain, and school them, I will have stuff.

So, STUFF, BRING IT ON!  I'm armed with bins and I'm not afraid to use them.  Like it or not, I will kick your butt into organized submission.

The end.

Merry Christmas!!

Jane Pin It


  1. I love your subject at least your stuff is neatly packed away. I have crawl space that no ones hips could fit through it and I have never been up there. You are making the best of it. = lots of people where I live rent out a storage but that cost money and then you have to drive to the storage.

  2. Oh, that looks like our place. Boxes piled everywhere we can fit them. 800 square foot cabin-slowly-becoming-house with two bedrooms, ONE single, badly designed closet in our bedroom, no basement, and the attic isn't usable. And six people. :D

  3. oh my goodness! I could have written this. I am constantly shuffling stuff trying to find a better way to get it organized. I guess thats just life in an old house.

  4. And as we look forward to celebrating the Savior's birth, we have to deal with anxiety about MORE stuff entering our home! I am also thankful for the stuff we have, as you said, and for the family who loves us and wants to bless us with gifts, but it stresses me out! Mostly because it distracts from what we want to focus on.

  5. Sounds like a shed or barn guarded by a few cats might be of great benefit. Pack items in 5 gallon buckets or sealed plastic bins that you don't use very often or cannot use until some point in the future. Don't put anything that heat or cold would damage. Maybe a friendly or elderly neighbor or relative has some extra space they might share for a time in trade for mending or cooking.

  6. Jane, I think you are doing a great job! Your boxes are NEATLY stacked and your piles and stuff are very well organized.. :-)) Six of us (4 kids, ages 18 -5) live and home school in a small double-wide mobile home w/ an added bedroom and I feel your pain! :-)) Living this way has caused me to take a hard look at our "stuff". Praise God for that! Keep up the good work.

  7. If this is not a temporary dwelling for you then I would suggest adding on. Children only get bigger, their stuff you need to store gets more and more. Old farmhouses are meant to be added on to...ours has at least 3 additions. Or what about building storage up into the rafters of the garage? Do you have a separate school room? You could build shelves along one wall or under the windows and put the books right on the shelves. That would be better looking than boxes you have to look at all the time. I know your husband is handy as you have mentioned him building things in the past.

  8. I feel the same way! Check out She is great for organizing inspiration. :) I've found that even if it never all gets organized, a little tweak here or there can help settle the "grrr" feeling.

  9. hahaha...I feel the same way about 'stuff'', right now I should say though that my problem is much more manageable because my house has roomy closets and my family is smaller and younger than yours. I realize your not exactly asking for suggestions, but you never know if you haven't thought about a couple of these things: raised/bunk beds with cupboards/ bins underneath, yes shelving in a garage-I've just learned of 'pest chasers' a thing you plug in that emits sound to deter mice incase you store stuff in a garage, creating a nice partition using a pretty curtain etc in a corner/end of large room to beautify/hide the cardboard boxes. You're creative, I'm sure you'll think of something!

  10. Is there anyway for you to add a new or bigger attic access? In my sewing magazines they advertise a roof access that has a pull down ladder for easier access to your stored goods.

  11. I think an organizing/getting rid of stuff craze is sweeping the blogging world. Lots of folks seem to be talking about this very problem. Hubby and I wanted to get all our storage areas (most small and inadequate or unhandy) clean, sorted and organized this summer but it didn't happen. So we have been pushing on into these not-so-friendly winter months up here in northern Minnesota trying to get it all done by January 1st. (He's more optimistic about reaching this goal than I am.) I once read that a family doesn't need a large living space . . . IF they have adequate storage areas. Whadda HUGE "if!"

  12. hahahah, LOVE this post! We are currently shuffling two bedrooms and an office and there is STUFF everywhere and I hate it. We are not buying our children any THING for Christmas this year, but just a family trip in January. I'm sure they are getting loads of stuff from extended family, but I will deal with it (says darkly).

    I bet it was quite cathartic to write this post :)

  13. I am SO WITH YOU. We have a very small (960 sq ft) home with tiny closets and not much more storage space. Our on car garage is full, our storage shed is full, I've got bins and boxes piled here and there, they've almost become end tables! I purge and purge but still...there's so much STUFF. lol Like you, one day I WILL get a handle on it. Maybe this summer? I do get about 5 weeks off and need a reason to stay cool indoors...? Not to mention, I KNOW there is so much MORE I can get rid of... like the piles in our room, or behind the living room chair...sigh. You're not alone... :)


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