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Ugh...I hate to ask this again - Page 3

post #41 of 67
I don't know that going bigger is going to automatically mean that you'll always need to go bigger. When we were in our 900sqft apartment, I said repeatedly that we'd be comfortable with all our stuff with 300 more sqft and we fit perfectly into a 1200 sqft house. Our next house, I'm hoping to have a baby and we'll be looking in the 1000-1100sqft range, but with some specific ideas about floor plans and closet usage. (Dh and I have some space intensive hobbies that we aren't going to give up, which is why we have so much space for 2 people.) We didn't grow to fit this space, we had all the stuff crammed into a smaller space.

Anyway, my point is, there comes a time when you need to say, "this is the space we need for people, this is the space we need for things" and make.your.husband.figure out how to make it all work. He's the one that's convinced your current house works for your family and will allow your children to grow and have space for themselves and their interests, he's the one who can figure out how to make it work.
post #42 of 67
Try not comparing yourself to other people. It doesn't matter if someone else is happy with 3 people in 247 square feet and it doesn't matter if someone else lives alone in 5,000 sf and complains it's "too small". Don't worry about others, think about what *your family* needs.

Have a go at the suggestions here and maybe you'll find it is that you aren't doing all you can do. But also, maybe you'll find that you just need more room. Only the people who live there can make that decision.
post #43 of 67
Maybe you could build a new entry/mudroom? Just having a place to leave shoes, boots and jackets will go a long ways to helping out.

I'm going to look at the pictures again. Will edit later.

So I checked out the pic of your front door. Adding on a mudroom would be tough without moving windows. Does your DH have any access to an architect? Is there another door into the house?
post #44 of 67
Hey sweet mama...hang in there. It's tough trying to "get settled" into a small space. It takes time and energy. There have been so many wonderful ideas already...I'll just recap the ones I think are absolutely essential:
  • Do more decluttering.
  • Install more vertical shelving.
  • Never go to bed without cleaning the house.

Let me expand a bit. I know you have gotten rid of tons and tons of stuff. However, the main reason that I get frustrated in my space is because I've let the stuff creep back in. OR, it's not in it's designated space. Decluttering has to be an ongoing thing. At least weekly, if not more. I have a box constantly being filled for the thrift store. Your photos look like my house does if I let it go for even a day. It's harder to stay on top of cleaning in a small space. However, I really do think that if you got rid of some more things, your life would be joyous That includes your HUGE couch. Honestly, it's way to big for that space. I would look into one or two SMALL couches. Futons are nice because they are low, usually small and can sleep people. Also, I did notice from the photo on a recent blog that you have several larger toys. I've had to get rid of or say 'no' to many toys because they just aren't small space friendly I try to avoid things with a lot of pieces and anything that can't fit in her small toy box. Can you re-evaluate your toy stash?

I see tons and tons of space for shelving. We love shelving. Shelving and baskets. I'm always asking Matt for more. You have lots of empty walls. In the kitchen, to the left of the door. A simple white utility cabinet with space for coats/shoes by the entry would do wonders. I do agree with the mudroom idea. It's great to have that. However, we got by with just building a closet right inside the door...I'm sure you saw in the photos of our place, it's where there are logs and the white tension rod curtain. It's great.

Lastly, living in a small space is really hard work. You can't "let it go" for even one day. You have to constantly pick up and put things back in their "home". I am at a point of madness right now because I let it go over the weekend and now it's a disaster! I have to make the choice to just tidy up every night...no dishes in the sink, no books out, no clothes...no nothing. It's hard, but believe me, your mental state will love you for it.

I'm sure I'm repeating a lot of what has already been said...but you are on the right track! You are not a princess. You are a beautiful, resourceful, woman of God who is desiring the best for her family. Pray for wisdom and a diligent spirit! God will honor you in your request. Believe it or not, housekeeping is a spiritual battle...Satan wants nothing more than to keep you at your wits end and feeling bad about life...because it's pretty hard to minister to your family or to others when you are constantly frustrated with your home. : Hang in there...you can do it mama. I think you are amazing. I love you and your family. Of course, I can't even imagine having THREE little "un-organizers" in my house! One is enough to make me crazy! Smile!
post #45 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
Believe it or not, housekeeping is a spiritual battle...Satan wants nothing more than to keep you at your wits end and feeling bad about life...because it's pretty hard to minister to your family or to others when you are constantly frustrated with your home. : Hang in there...
I'm totally right here. I battle a lot with it and my hardest days are when I don't leave time in the AM for prayer and quiet time. I also find when I don't keep up with the house, I'm on a short fuse with my DS as well.

Thanks Delight for that reminder - that was my blessing for today.
post #46 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
because it's pretty hard to minister to your family or to others when you are constantly frustrated with your home.
:
As I like to say, "empty pitchers can't pour".
post #47 of 67
Delight to the rescue!:
post #48 of 67
Wow, I'd love to have that much space!

We use wardrobes, under bed/crib storage bins. Vertical space as much as possible.
post #49 of 67
I'm sorry that I don't have any brilliant suggestions, but I read the OP and part of this thread the other day and it's been bothering me a bit ever since.

I am not a subscriber to the "smaller is better" camp. Just as I don't think that we need to aspire to live in ever bigger and bigger spaces with more ample storage so we can keep mindlessly accumulating material possessions, I also don't think that continually downsizing is inherently valuable or a sign of virtue. If you are living in a place that is more than what you can afford and want to downsize to pay off debt and have more financial freedom and that is the only way to do it, then it makes sense. But it isn't going to make you happy or a better more virtuous person any more than living in a bigger place. So don't beat yourself up over it! I mostly share a bed with my DD who is 17 months, but I sure as heck don't want to be sharing a bedroom with her when she is the age of your children! What works at one time of your life might not work at another time, so don't compare yourself to anyone else and make yourself feel bad.

I moved from an 800 s.f. apartment to a 1943 s.f. house. One of the things that I discovered is that when you rent an apartment, you don't need a lot of the stuff that you need (or need access to at the very least) when you own a house. There is a certain amount of storage and square footage that is taken up just by the things needed to take care of the house. For example, here are just a few of the things that I have from my house that I *didn't* need in an apartment where the landlord was in charge of the maintenance:
1) weed whacker and extension cord for it
2) string for weed whacker
3) rake
4) painting ladder
5) ladder to get on the roof
6) air filters for furnace
7) tools for fixing things in house
8) hardware--nails, screws, picture hangers, etc.
9) shovel
10) stuff for plant maintanance--liquid seaweed, mulch, etc.)

This is just a sampling, but especially after I got married and had a baby, we've discovered that storage space really is important! Unless you really want to have your weed whacker in the living room! We don't have a garage or a basement or an attic for storing stuff, so that has been a complaint we've had with our house. I think it comes down to lifestyle, and not everybody has the same one. We don't like having a lot of stuff around in our house out in view, so adequate storage is important to us to prevent that scenario. We are moving cross country for work, and one of the things that was important to us when looking for a new house was that it have some kind of space for storage of things like baby clothes/gear that we are saving for the next one, home maintanance stuff, and just stuff that we want to keep but don't necessarily want to have out all the time. We actually just put an offer on a house that has 400 less square feet above ground, but there is a finished basement with some storage space and also a garage.
post #50 of 67
Oh, one thing I did think of that's specific--

Do you need the guitar case? Because I've seen guitars hung on the wall and they can look really decorative as well as being out of the way like that. If you don't need the case you could just get rid of that and hang the guitar.

I also saw something in the sky mall catalog on the plane yesterday that I thought might suit you--it's a long skinny rolling storage thing that will fit in a close space, like between a fridge and some cabinets, and it rolls out so you can access it. Don't know if it could help but I'll see if I could find a pic to link to.
post #51 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavita View Post
I am not a subscriber to the "smaller is better" camp.
Them are fightin' words 'round here, ma'am! Hee hee! Totally kidding...I can definitely agree with what you said about needing more storage space when you are owning a house...all the things you listed, however, would go into a garage space or outside, not in the house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavita View Post
But it isn't going to make you happy or a better more virtuous person any more than living in a bigger place.
I think a lot of people on this forum might disagree...living smaller, with less stuff to move around, less stuff to clean, less to worry about makes a lot of people (including myself) VERY happy. I've lived in a big space and although it was convenient and easier sometimes, I dont' want to go back to that. Nor do I feel that I am a more virtuous person for going smaller. It's just what works for us. I think everyone should live in the size of space that fits their family PERFECTLY...no more, no less. And what seems too small to one person might actually be great for another. OR...one seems to small in one situation might actually be great if things are adjusted a bit. I think that might be what you are getting at...you are saying that one thing may work for one person and not another...and that as life changes, so do we (and our living arrangements). I agree.

Also, good mention on the guitar. Ours is on the wall...it makes a nice decoration and it's up out of the hands of little ones.
post #52 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
I think everyone should live in the size of space that fits their family PERFECTLY...no more, no less. And what seems too small to one person might actually be great for another. OR...one seems to small in one situation might actually be great if things are adjusted a bit. I think that might be what you are getting at...you are saying that one thing may work for one person and not another...and that as life changes, so do we (and our living arrangements).
ITA. We live in a 750 sq. ft. apartment. To me, it's perfect. Sure I have days (usually the clutter days) where I feel like going crazy and want a bigger place, but then I declutter, straighten up a bit, and think it's perfect again. So many people ask, aren't you going to move out of that apartment once the twins are born? Not if we can help it. We like it here. We own it, we have it how we want it. My mom is constantly making snide little remarks about how small of a place we live in (she says she's all for environmental living, but 2 people living in 2200sq ft makes no sense to me if that's the case). The longer I'm here, the bigger it seems. Maybe someday we'll live in a bigger place, but I don't see that someday for quite a while.
post #53 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaRabbit View Post
(she says she's all for environmental living, but 2 people living in 2200sq ft makes no sense to me if that's the case).
That's where my guilt comes in. There is only four of us and we live in a 2300 SQ FT house. So I've just decided that our environmental footprint doesn't need to reflect the actual footprint of our house. Some of it is size and some is your way of life. I've made quite a few changes in the last few months -- keeping lights off, adjusting the thermostat, hanging clothes outside, hanging them in the laundry room (I'm working on a more useful way to do this with the space I have), purchasing less prepackaged food, driving less and with more fuel efficiency (I have a manual transmission so I've adjusted my driving style a bit to get better gas milage), using environmentally friendly cleaners, recycling more efficently ... the list goes on. I know there is more I can do so I keep reading and researching and listening to you other mommas.

Now what this has to do with Carolyn ...
Well, it's about space, about organization, about mindset, and about reality. Five people in her little house is no doubt overwhelming on the best of days. But it's all about function. I was just reading last night how the first task is to determine exactly what you want of your space (for me, lately it's function and environmental friendliness) and then go from there.

So, Carolyn, do you want your living room to be a haven, a playroom, a place to fold laundry ... you decide then plan around that. Shelves are your friend, hooks are your friend, baskets are your friend.

And, on one very minor point ... I think you should take the trivets down from above your stove. I have found that in my most overwhelming moments, it brings me peace to have a place to look that doesn't have something on it. And since space is at such a premium in your home, that may be the only spot you'll get!

I know you are compacting but in order to save your sanity, you may have to break from it for a bit and purchase some pieces to make your life better. Maybe an armoire or two would be great. I know you like IKEA. Something like this could really make a difference. Maybe one for each child? Or this could be shared -- and it's wood.

Or, hell, just splurge and pay Sara to come and give you some ideas. She's not only a great designer but a wonderful space planner.
post #54 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
Them are fightin' words 'round here, ma'am! Hee hee! Totally kidding...I can definitely agree with what you said about needing more storage space when you are owning a house...all the things you listed, however, would go into a garage space or outside, not in the house.

Not necessarily -- unless you have a shed or garage all that stuff would be in your house. (especially if you lived in a city). And I know from experience -- tools are not best kept in the garage in cold climates. We've broken 2 socket wrenches by using them before they are unfrozen.
post #55 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
Them are fightin' words 'round here, ma'am! Hee hee! Totally kidding...I can definitely agree with what you said about needing more storage space when you are owning a house...all the things you listed, however, would go into a garage space or outside, not in the house.


I think a lot of people on this forum might disagree...living smaller, with less stuff to move around, less stuff to clean, less to worry about makes a lot of people (including myself) VERY happy. I've lived in a big space and although it was convenient and easier sometimes, I dont' want to go back to that. Nor do I feel that I am a more virtuous person for going smaller. It's just what works for us. I think everyone should live in the size of space that fits their family PERFECTLY...no more, no less. And what seems too small to one person might actually be great for another. OR...one seems to small in one situation might actually be great if things are adjusted a bit. I think that might be what you are getting at...you are saying that one thing may work for one person and not another...and that as life changes, so do we (and our living arrangements). I agree.

Also, good mention on the guitar. Ours is on the wall...it makes a nice decoration and it's up out of the hands of little ones.
Well, in our case we don't have a garage or a storage shed or a basement, so that kind of stuff ends up in our interior closets. We have a tiny storage room outside, but it's just big enough to keep our bikes in and then you have to move them every time you want to get a screwdriver if the tools are stored in there--not good.

I guess I feel that a smaller living space isn't exactly the same as having fewer things and doesn't necessarily equal living simply either. A person can "declutter organize and simplify" without dramatically downsizing! We have a bigger space, but still not a lot of clutter in it or a ton of knick knacks or possessions, but there are things that we don't want to get rid of because we enjoy having them for whatever reason. We could cram all the stuff that we have into a much smaller space, but we wouldn't have a lot of "negative space" and we find that restful and attractive to have. If a person has to spend all their time rearranging things and strategizing to accomodate the things that they need/want to have because if one thing is out of order their whole space arrangement, how simple is that? I guess it depends on your reasons for smaller or simpler living--is it based on a spiritual/religious belief or mandate? Concern for the environment? Personal preference? Financial necessity? If the point is just to have more peace and spend less time cleaning and maintaining the space, it doesn't seem to be working out so well as it currently is going in the OP's space! She doesn't sound like she is feeling very happy and peaceful about her home. Maybe that can be fixed by arranging, but then again it's a matter of spending effort/time/money to figure out how to arrange the things she and her family need or want, which is taking time away from enjoying life at this point and things are kind of just all over which makes cleaning and maintaining everything a pain. I think there is a point beyond which some of us can't/don't want to declutter. After all, a Buddhist monk only owns a bowl for alms, a prayer wheel, a razor for shaving the head, a robe, and a needle and thread for mending the robe. That is a viable lifestyle choice for many people--but it would not be one that most of us would make at this point!

Also, one point I want to make--I think that owning a home is a very different experience than renting. When you own a home you can't just upsize or downsize easily or frequently if your space isn't working for you, so I think giving careful consideration to not only your current needs but future needs and possibilities is more important when you own. And also resale--for instance, we would be fine at this point in a 2 bedroom, but it's much harder to resell a 2 bedroom house, it limits your pool of potential buyers a LOT.

When we were recently house hunting, we found a couple of houses where one had the same square footage as the other, but one felt much bigger than the other one, and part of that is how your space is laid out and your floor plan and how much storage there is . . . there is a lot more to consider than just size alone. Also, we had to consider when we were looking at houses--given the same square footage, do we want bigger bedrooms and smaller common living space, or smaller bedrooms and a larger common living area? How do we live? And how is that likely to change or stay the same over the years? Like we saw houses where one of the bedrooms is in the basement--well, at this point in our family's life or the next ten years or so, we wouldn't feel good about sticking our toddler or our potential as yet unconceived future baby in a room in the basement while we're on the ground floor or a second floor! However, if we had a preteen or teenager, they/we might really love the extra privacy and distance of a basement bedroom! I think that we have a decent idea of what would work for us--there are some places that we looked at that I felt were too small for our family and the way we like to live, or just had a layout that was not good for us. And some places that were too big or looked like they would require too much cleaning or maintenance or would look bare without buying a lot of furniture, and we nixed them too! So I guess it all depends, and it's highly individual. I just hate to see anybody feeling like what works for one person is a prescription for how we *all* should do it.
post #56 of 67
We have 1500 square feet. While I occasionally dream of a Tiny Tumbleweed House, I know in my heart that would never work. Then a bunch of folks were talking about yurts on another thread. I started looking at them, thinking wow that's neat, it would be fun to live there. Then I come back to reality. I could downsize the size of my house, but really it wouldn't be good for my family. I like the fact each of my kids have their own room, and can have their own space /privacy when they want it. I also like the fact dh and I can have our bedroom on the main level and kids all upstairs. Downsizing my house isn't an answer for my family. Downsizing my household stuff to what we truely love and need is great. Our space is only going to be more needed the older and bigger my kids get. That is not to put down anyone who lives in a small space. If that's where you are comfortable that's great.

I am curious, Delight, if you are reading this...what is your family's long term plans? As in if in the next year you had another child would you stay where you are or move bigger? Your home is SO cute. But you've said yourself you couldn't imagine two or three mess makers in the space. What type/size of space could you see yourself in then? What if you soon decide you don't want to co-sleep? Where would your daughter sleep then? I am asking because I am trying to wrap my head around the logistics. Also because I live with three boys and a man who all seem to take up lots of space My 12 yr old is bigger than lots of mommas on here. He is 5'2" and weighs 130. 9Yr old is 4 1/2 feet tall and weighs 70 lbs. 6 yr old is 4 ft and weighs 50 lbs. Then you throw in my 6'2" dh. :

Lots of thinking out loud and rambling in this post
post #57 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
You are a beautiful, resourceful, woman of God who is desiring the best for her family. Pray for wisdom and a diligent spirit! God will honor you in your request.
I know you weren't talking to me, but that's the nicest thing I've ever heard. With your permission, I'm going to write it down and tape it up somewhere!
post #58 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
While I occasionally dream of a Tiny Tumbleweed House, I know in my heart that would never work.
Ooooh....now c'mon You could totally do it Just put three of them together with connectors and voila! You have 1500+ sq. feet They are so cute. I love those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
I am curious, Delight, if you are reading this...what is your family's long term plans? As in if in the next year you had another child would you stay where you are or move bigger? Your home is SO cute. But you've said yourself you couldn't imagine two or three mess makers in the space. What type/size of space could you see yourself in then? What if you soon decide you don't want to co-sleep? Where would your daughter sleep then?
We don't have a plan Living in the moment is where it's at No, seriously. We have thought about it. We would build a loft above our bed for Bella if she wanted her own bed. Easily done. I'm not planning on staying in this home for 5 years. I'm sure we need a new project before then
But...it's definitely do-able. We could do 3 kids there. Would it be hard? Yes. Chaotic? Probably. But do-able. People all around the world live in one room with 7 people. I think we are all spoiled. Not that I want to live anywhere else, but it brings a certain perspective. Check out the book Material World to see it in action. We are doing what works for us right now. And because we don't own...it doesn't have to be permanent...and I love that
post #59 of 67
Kavita, I'm just nodding along at your post there

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavita View Post
We could cram all the stuff that we have into a much smaller space, but we wouldn't have a lot of "negative space" and we find that restful and attractive to have.
Is that the official term for it or did you make that up? "Negative space". Yeah, that's what I like too. I want more of it! I'm decluttering so I can have more empty room to just, I dunno, put my arms out and spin around if I feel like it I'm not a minimalist and don't want a spartan decorating scheme (I like a cozy amount of clutter ) but I like having lots of room to move. My house is perhaps huge by MDC standards - 1800 sf for 4 people - but I love it. I love that my kids can run (literally run!) around the house like the wild nuts they are

Quote:
If a person has to spend all their time rearranging things and strategizing to accomodate the things that they need/want to have because if one thing is out of order their whole space arrangement, how simple is that? I guess it depends on your reasons for smaller or simpler living--is it based on a spiritual/religious belief or mandate? Concern for the environment? Personal preference? Financial necessity? If the point is just to have more peace and spend less time cleaning and maintaining the space, it doesn't seem to be working out so well as it currently is going in the OP's space!
I agree everyone's reasons are different. If someone is downsizing because of environmental/religious/financial (etc) reasons then yes, it makes sense for them to spend more time and energy on their house and housekeeping so they can keep their foot print or bills smaller.

I do that with some things. I cloth diapered my son and while it was not hard, it was definitely not as convenient as when I used sposies on my dd. But I wasn't doing it because of simplicity, I was doing it for health and environmental reasons. And because I enjoyed it

For my house, I do want to simplify and for me, simplifying my house means to "have more peace and spend less time cleaning and maintaining the space". So, again, "for me" that means having less stuff but it does not mean having a small living space. That would not be peaceful for me even though it is for others.

Quote:
So I guess it all depends, and it's highly individual. I just hate to see anybody feeling like what works for one person is a prescription for how we *all* should do it.
post #60 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavita View Post
We could cram all the stuff that we have into a much smaller space, but we wouldn't have a lot of "negative space" and we find that restful and attractive to have.
It's interesting that you make this point, Kavita, because the "negative space" in my house is what makes me like it so much! It's wonderful to have spaces to look at that have no stuff in them. I find that peaceful.

However, I think some people (not necessarily Mommas around here) find the idea of empty space a bit daunting or frightening. I mean, it's so un-American, right?
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