or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Ugh...I hate to ask this again
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ugh...I hate to ask this again - Page 2

post #21 of 67
Thread Starter 
wow...so many great responses...thank guys!!!!!

Ok..I'll have to take some more pix and explain some of the spaces that frustrate me.

I'll be back in a while...
post #22 of 67
I just had to say I think your home is sooo cute!

* I second the bench under the window.
* Get your hubby to toss those clothes in the hamper!
* I put a coat hanger on the back of our door, can you do that?
* I love all your wall colors, I would maybe take down the quilt if you want a
cleaner/less cluttered look.

What is the size of your home?
Do you have pics of your rooms? We are building a 800sf home and I love looking at small spaces for ideas.
post #23 of 67
I haven't read all the replies yet ( I am going to read them) but just wanted to say...

It is much more difficult to keep a place picked up with three children than with one.

As the kids get older and BIGGER, a space that seemed sufficient before may start to feel a bit crowded.

Not everyone likes small spaces or is comfortable in them. And that is okay. I like small and cozy. My husband does NOT. He just has a different idea of how much space he needs and how much privacy he needs.

Our house right now is fairly big, but I have an 18 year old and a 12 year old...they both are wanting some privacy now and sometimes the house seems "small" because of the layout.

When they were younger, the house seemed really big. Does that make sense?

If you choose to stay and love your small space, maybe you could declutter some more. Maybe you could use some of the things you love as decorations, and so instead of storing them, they are displayed?

Good luck!
post #24 of 67
Thread Starter 
I am aware that I have a family legacy of discontentment. My mom NEVER feels her house is large enough or good enough- so we have always wanted to break that sort of thinking. But, we live in CA and this little house in an inexpensive mountain town was ALL we could afford.

I love this house, but my brain races with thoughts of more space. Will can add on but we have no $$ to do so, and I feel like we are not good candidates for that. We have an acre, but it's very sloped and I'd also love a property with more space and some flat places to garden and for the kids to ride bikes.

My friends- who are awesome and I trust their opinions believe that even a slightly bigger home would help us tremendously. They have helped me get this place in order so many times. They agree with me....there is just no place to put anything.

Dh will not budge on the issue. He feels moving would be subscribing to the kinds of "bigger is better" mentality my mom is stricken with and I see his point, but he is not home very much and he doenst have to constatnly deal with all the crap!!!!! I love his spirit, though. I think he also feel financialy trapped.

Ok, that all being said...here's a picture of my most frustrating area:

Sure, if I had even the tiniest of foyers or even another foot of wall space, this area would rock. But...I dont. Argh!!! We hang our jackets in the stairwell.

As far as putting in a bench area around the kitchen table- that was our idea from the start. But the front window goes so low, the bench would have tobe above the window or we'd have to change the window.

Same with the upstairs window- it's huge and low to the ground- thats why we keep ourr bed on the floor. But thats ok- the bedroom works, actually. Its the reast of the house thats screwed.
post #25 of 67
Good for you for being open to suggestions.

At your front door-- move the light switch to the other side, where there's no room for anything anyway. Build storage on the side where the switch is now, as high as you can go and wrapping under the window if you can. MAKE THIS SOMETHING WITH A DOOR because your family has lots of stuff and even when your house is neat it probably looks kind of, well, stuffed.

Kitchen-- Look at the cabinets that are open in the third pic. They're practically empty while all hell has broken loose on every flat surface. Figure out why this is happening. Do you need to make the cabinets easier to use (adjust shelves, maybe? Stick strange shaped stuff on top and use the closed door space for items that stack or nest?)?
post #26 of 67
I think you've received a lot of good ideas!

My two cents: I see a lot of areas where you could add shelving. Tall shelves, short shelves, standing, wall mounted, on and on. In the kitchen especially! You could do 2 short shelves under the windows and then a tall shelf/corner unit in the corner. That would help out tremendously!

Another thing to think about: hidden storage. Someone mentioned a trunk. You could use a trunk or hollow ottoman as a coffee table. You can stash all kinds of things in there. Also, your white end tables are cute, but if you could get something that had a cabinet you could stash stuff there too.

Even things like baskets can add extra storage and even look nice too. It looks like you have a pile of blankets on the back of the couch. Maybe find a large basket to put those in?

Another thought: go one room at a time and do a thorough cleaning first. I def. see plenty of things that "should" have a home such as dirty clothes, dishes, trash (coffee cup?). Maybe if you get rid of those things first you can get a better handle on the things that truly don't have a home and you can decide how to create a home for them....does that make sense?

I love reading your blog and think you guys are doing an awesome job. All in all, you guys are the only ones who can truly decide if living in this space is doable. I (and I think many others here) would just hate to see you move to a bigger space just to find out it's not really a space issue at all, ya know?

post #27 of 67
About your entryway:

I would take down the picture to the left of the door, and install a rack like this one as high as you can for all your coats and bags. You can still use the light switch, but it might be hidden unden the coats.

I would also take down the IKEA organizer below the photo. It looks like a catchall and seeing all the little objects in there makes it feel disorganized. I would also take down the small rack where you are currently hanging your bags, and maybe put it on the back of your door, below the window, for extra storage.

I would then put a small drawer unit or bedside table like this one below the coat rack. You can put keys and other small things in the little drawer, and put all your family's shoes in a basket (like this one) on the bottom shelf. You could have an inbox for mail on the middle shelf. I wouldn't put anything on the surface of the table, because it'll get knocked off when you take coats off the rack.

I would then keep the guitar on the other side of the door. My DH's bass takes up a ton of room, too, even on a stand: I feel your pain.
post #28 of 67
Much of what I might say has already been said.....

one thing that sings out to me
I don't like the rug in the living room -- it's not a good size/shape/something for the couch. I feel like it hangs way out (of course I can't see much from here) and makes the room feel disconnected.

Another thing that strikes me -- the entryway could be its own area but the dining area flows into it. There's no visual differentiation there. a rug might help. I know, I know a rug in the dining area is nuts with kids.

Or maybe a low counter type object perpendicular to the doorway to help define some entry space?

I love your sense of color. Love the couch! Could you drop it off at my house next weekend, that's exactly the couch we're looking for for our new space.
post #29 of 67
I don't have much to add to the excellent suggestions you've gotten already, but I wanted to say: you're not a princess. Please stop thinking that. You're working on solving a very frustrating problem within a really specific set of ideals, and that's tricky. It makes you the opposite of a princess, though.

Investing in storage - island, more cabinets, even bookshelves from Ikea to stretch the kitchen storage - seems like a really good first step.
post #30 of 67
It looks/sounds like your kitchen's your biggest concern.

First, consider what can just go, if it's not in the house you don't have to find a place for it. I have to say I totally disagree with the suggestions to get rid of the trivets, they aren't in a space you'll be able to safely use for anything else and they look good.

Then, look at your existing storage and decide what would be perfect in each place. Dishes near the sink/dishwasher for instance so they're easier to put away. Pots near the stove, that sort of thing (incidentally, the hanging rack is terrific, but is going to automatically make you feel things are super-cluttered just because it's open storage. Recognize that and move on, or have a regular polishing-party with your kids.)

Then, when you've put everything away you can and there's no storage room left, figure out what you'll need to make homes for the stuff you've got left over.

My one specific suggestion is that you move the decorative things from the storage space above the cabinets. I know that magazines always show a plant or something up there, but it's really a waste of good space. If you've got a decent stepstool, I'd say go ahead and put things you use less than once a week up there.
post #31 of 67
Your dining area looks like mine. We added this http://www.ikea.com/webapp/wcs/store...umber=80099790
(oops I hope I did that link right ) under the low window between the door and dining table to store our shoes. Maybe something more like a cubby shelf would work better for you. Or even adding baskets to something like the one we have.

This may still look messy, but perhaps taking down the framed artwork, wire basket, and low hooks. Then replacing them with 2-4 large hooks up high and 2-4 large hooks down low will provide enough hanging space without looking overcrowded?

We have the low windows going on in every room of our house too! I can commiserate with you. We use Japanese style futons instead of traditional American beds. Everything gets rolled up against the walls in the morning giving us living space and forcing us to clean up at night in order to actually roll the futons back down to sleep

BTW I've been reading your blog for a couple months now. You are not a prissy princess .
post #32 of 67
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post
About your entryway:

I would take down the picture to the left of the door, and install a rack like this one as high as you can for all your coats and bags. You can still use the light switch, but it might be hidden unden the coats.

I would also take down the IKEA organizer below the photo. It looks like a catchall and seeing all the little objects in there makes it feel disorganized. I would also take down the small rack where you are currently hanging your bags, and maybe put it on the back of your door, below the window, for extra storage.

I would then put a small drawer unit or bedside table like this one below the coat rack. You can put keys and other small things in the little drawer, and put all your family's shoes in a basket (like this one) on the bottom shelf. You could have an inbox for mail on the middle shelf. I wouldn't put anything on the surface of the table, because it'll get knocked off when you take coats off the rack.

I would then keep the guitar on the other side of the door. My DH's bass takes up a ton of room, too, even on a stand: I feel your pain.
: I think that would really help that area! You've gotten some excellent advice so far, and I don't really have anything to add. I would do as others have suggested and try to clean up and get rid of as much as you can before trying to rearrange things. I know it takes some time, but really go through all of your stuff and see what can go (often times we're so used to seeing the "stuff" everywhere that we don't realize how much space it's taking up).

I love your home and I think it's very cute and cozy! I also started reading your blog the other day and I love it!

post #33 of 67
Oh, do I feel your pain. I think your house is adorable, but I know what you mean. Our house is a nightmare. We have an open floor plan- one giant room downstairs with NO storage, 2 bedrooms upstairs and our closets are so small we can't hang a coat hanger in them... it is just awful.

Our house used to be a post office so our kitchen is basically a big room with a few cabinets on the walls. We have 2 cabinets for food. Our lack of counterspace doesn't help either.

I didn't mean to go on about my own house but I wanted you to know you are not alone!
post #34 of 67

You aren't a princess but you sure are cool! I love your blog and I really admire and find inspiration in what you are trying to do. There have been some great suggestions here -- find a few that work for you and I think you'll be on your way. It's a constant struggle but you are making remarkable progress.

And, FWIW, it's easy for me to sit back -- my house is HUGE compared to yours. And I still feel like you do -- so I think that makes ME the spoiled princess!!
post #35 of 67
Sorry I didn't get to read everyone's replies but here are my quick suggestions.

My husband and I are trying to only buy used, but with a recent downsizing of houses we came to the reality that getting our house in order so it could be the peaceful place we desire meant a temporary breach in our used policy. That said we've gotten some great pieces most that are dual purpose of storage and function.

First thing I see is that in your kitchen in the corner you could get a corner cupboard. They usually have great storage underneath hidden by an all wood door and then the top half would have either open shelves or



If you or your DH is handy you can build a larger pot rack. My DH has built me 2. The first one got reused in the garage. Basically he has built a strong wood frame rectangular in shape. He then routed out on the top areas to lay the wire closet shelving you get at hardware stores. We have two pieces that give us about 2ft by 3 ft of extra storage above the rack.

We switched fairly early on from our high chair to a booster seat the fits on a kitchen chair so we didn't need a place to store a high chair.

You've got great space under your windows for benches that could store bags, etc. Or you could consider a second strait cupboard where you currently have your bags hanging.

I'd opt for a smaller sofa or perhaps love seat and chair seating. We have a coffee table in front of our sofa that has a shelf under it. We put baskets under it and that's where our games, some DS toys, and all are kept. Our end tables which we got at yard sales, each have a drawer or two in them so remotes, note paper etc. gets tucked away in there.

Depending upon how big the wall is where you TV /entertainment stuff is, you could get a dining room server. We have one and it has 3 drawers in it and 2 sideboard cabinets. It holds ton and can hold 3 large baskets underneath. We keep CD's, DVD's etc in one drawer. We keep art supplies, craft supplies in another drawer. One side served as our changing station supplies until DS was out of diapers.
post #36 of 67
I think the problem with going really high up with front door hooks (Melanie, Thalia) is that there are only two people in the house who CAN reach the hooks, and one of those people has been taking his pants off in the kitchen. Having hooks and storage lower down where the kids can reach them/it makes it everyone's responsibility, not just mama's.

OP-- Can you describe specifically what's piling up in the kitchen (table, counters, etc)? I've looked at your photos and I'm still not quite clear on what types of stuff it is.
post #37 of 67
my suggestions for the problematic area:

remove everything on the left-hand side. the picture is lovely, but it's taking up valuable storage space. the storage container sitting just below the picture doesn't have specialised storage, and so it creates a problem where everything is just dumped there. the bag hanger is also not working where it is.
what do you usually put in there when you get home? keys? mail? hang your bag up? nothing else should really go there.

i would first take down everything and do some serious de-cluttering. is everything that is put in that storage basket actually used? is that where it belongs? do you always need to grab whatever is there, just before you've stepped out of the door? do you need 3-4 bags? etc

you desperately need some sort of specialised storage - you know, where everything that is truely neccessary, has a home. how many sets of keys do you have? two? great! get two hooks like these, and place them up high where the kids can't reach. http://www.ikea.com/webapp/wcs/store...umber=90059010
your keys go there, no if's and's or but's.

now you need something like this to hold your coats, bags etc:

you have three bags that are hung up (as far as i can tell). hanging them up like that makes it look crowded and disorganised. if you buy a hanger like the one above, you can put two wicker baskets on the top portion of the shelf. one to hold 3 neatly folded bags, and one to hold hats and mittens (in winter) and caps (in summer). each hook holds a coat for one family member in winter.

and right at the bottom, you need a shoe rack. i see shoes just piled up on the other side of the door.. something simple like this will do the trick:

i just had a look at your other pictures, and i don't know how much de-cluttering you've done so far, but i must say that you need to do another session. even if you just bring it down to the bare essentials like 10 plates, 10 cups etc (2 per person). my home is pretty small too (650sq ft) for four people and i find that the more i just stick to the bare essentials, the more our home is livable. it sounds scary at first to get rid of so much, but in the end, it's very liberating. just a thought to consider.
post #38 of 67
There are some great ideas here. My ideas:

Use a lot of baskets on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. All the same colour and size so that it looks clean and stream lined. Then pile all kinds of stuff in there that you don't use as much or that you don't have space for. Also, if everything is in a basket, it's easier to access. Instead of picking through little items, you just pull the basket down, take out what you want and put the basket back. I use baskets in cupboards that are hard to reach.

Also, I have a wardrobe that is fantastic. It holds *all* my clothes and has an extra drawer for pics and mementos. Just took a quick look. I think it's roughly 3 feet wide and 1 1/2 feet deep. There's one long drawer running across the bottom, then the rest is split in half. The right side has a long door with mirror on it that opens up and has a rod in to it hang hangers on. (With enough room for shoes to sit on bottom) Left side has 3 deep drawers where I put clothes and at the top left, a door that swings open and has 2 shelves.

I doubt there's enough room beside your door for it, but it would have been perfect. : I got the wardrobe free from my neighbour who was tired of having it but didn't want to carry it down 3 flights of stairs to get rid of it. I think you should keep your eyes open for similar types of furniture. There's so many things you can put into it, but when it's closed up, it looks neat and tidy. Out of sight, out of mind.

Another idea is to build a separate shed to store stuff in. It can store: seasonal decorations (Christmas stuff!), clothes out of season, items that aren't used often, large toys. If you think your kids have to many toys, put some away in the shed for a month etc then rotate them. My Mom used to do that. We didn't have a lot of space growing up. It was like getting new toys all over again. (Just don't have your kids around when you pack some up).

A shed is easier and cheaper to build than an extension on the house. If can be fairly small, or a bit bigger. You could even have a work bench out there or writing desk/reading chair to get away from the kids now and then.

I remember seeing a picture of your yard. Well, the sloped wooded area behind your house. I still think a garden might be doable back there. If you can find something to use as a retaining wall and build large "steps" going down (think Aztec gardens)... I've seen it down with old railroad ties, old tires, brick/stone etc. (Just make sure that the material used doesn't have bad stuff leaching out into garden.) I can't remember if there would be enough sunlight, but you could always trim out a few trees. And while you're at it, you could make a flat patio area. Sounds like a lot of work, but wouldn't be too bad. If you're able to do it yourself with the help of friends, and use reclaimed materials, it wouldn't cost hardly anything.
post #39 of 67
I definately think that the ideas for helping your entryway are really good. But, I've got to say, if you are planning on staying in this house until your kids are in their teen years, you've *got* to add on. You're going to need at least one more good size bedroom and, if nothing else, a mud room.

Our mudroom saves me from insanity most days. Hats, coats, shoes, bags, purses, recycling, brooms, slings, mail- all of it is in the mudroom. And the mudroom is small, about 6'x8'. But every square inch of wall space is covered with hooks, there are shelves for shoes, big dishpan for hats and gloves, and small dish for keys. It's really easy for the mudroom to get out of control, but because we have a good underlying organizational system and the room is small, it's quick and easy to clean. And it keeps the rest of the house neat.

You are NOT being a princess. I think that your house is workable in it's current incarnation while your kids are small and if you get the entryway problem solved.

You obviously care about your space- your house is adorable. I think that you can, and should, continue to declutter, and that the decluttering will help. But I don't think that it is the entire long term solution for a couple with three kids.

I don't think that you would have to upsize to an enormous house. You just need a house with at least three bedrooms, a basement/garage/attic for storage and flex space, a good entryway (mudroom!), and a sizeable laundry area.

I don't think you should stick a for sale in the yard today, but if you want to stay where you are, I would start planning the addition. As a builder's daughter, let me tell you, you cannot start planning such a thing too early. This will also give you lots of time to get the financing (if neccesary) in order.
post #40 of 67

Today's novel brought to you by my love of home organization shows.

My suggestions echo a lot of the ones already posted: corner storage in the kitchen (LOVE the colors, BTW!), baskets & decorative bowls on top of the cupboards (but not necessarily all the same, but I like the eclectic look), shelves shelves and more shelves, a coffee table that doubles as storage - either a trunk or an apothecary table or a hollow ottoman, hooks for stuff, baskets for other stuff, and more shelves. Hooks under the cupboards for mugs, shelves under the cupboards for other stuff. Sign up on your local freecycle, if you haven't already, and look for people wanting stuff that you've got. Think about whether you can part with it, and that might help slowly get you over the plateau. Likewise, search craigslist for people seeking stuff you have but could maybe part with.

My next suggestion comes from years of hearing from my mother, "A place for everything and everything in its place." One night when the kids are asleep, go through the house with a basket and put everything that doesn't belong where it is in that basket. Then get a bottle of wine, your husband, and your favorite music. Go through sorting everything into where it goes (a clue: dirty clothes don't go in the kitchen, DH!). If something doesn't have a place, either create a place (shelves! baskets!) or give it away. Do this once a week, and eventually everything will have a place and you can gently remind whomever didn't put something away of where it goes (hey DH! Pants belong in the hamper! sorry, my husband used to do the same thing, but he'd put the clothes next to or on top of the hamper instead of IN it and it drove me nuts).

Can you hang hooks (I love the doorknob idea! Since your husband works construction - yeah I read your blog - you can get these salvaged, I'm sure) in your room for things like bags & coats? Hang a few in the kids' room and teach them that's where they go always. Have a basket for shoes next to the door. Even if the kids' room is small, you can build a closet along one wall. Not to nitpick, but if you ever DO sell the house for any reason, a room without a closet technically isn't a bedroom, it's a "bonus room," so even though you're planning on staying there long-term now, who knows what life/G-d will throw at you later, you know? Might as well help yourselves out now and take care of that possibility at the same time.

I totally respect you for taking this journey, btw. We just went through a HUGE purge when we moved from Eugene to Seattle and it was liberating, to say the least.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Organize & Declutter
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Ugh...I hate to ask this again