This Year, Resolve To Do More With Less

Every year, around this time, I feel squeezed.  The influx of presents, all of which come with space requirements in our modest 1300 SF home, leaves me feeling drained.  Where to put all this holiday shrapnel?    Where do I put my new snowshoes?  Where do we put the new dollhouse for my toddler?  Where to put the umpteenth doll that our toddler has now received?  We are seriously considering giving the dolls out as hostess gifts to our friends, so be warned.

On top of that, we still have other logistical space issues in our house.  For example, the mountain of winter gear that perpetually overflows our three tiny basket bins in the kitchen.  And the overflowing coat hooks.  Every morning when we have to get out of the house, it is a ‘where’s Waldo’ festival of finding matching gloves, a hat to wear, and bickering about how someone else put their coat on your hook.  How can we solve our new space problems when they are compounded by our already existing ones?

It is times like these where I will find myself dreaming of the greener pastures of another house, another layout, that would solve ALL of our space problems.  I’ll even surf the MLS (multiple listing service) properties to pipe-dream about a ‘new’ house that would fit the bill.  So far, I struggle to find anything that comes reasonably close to solving our current space dilemmas.  There was a particular listing recently that seemed promising, but a drive by the property burst the water main on the pipe dream.  Apparently realtors know a thing or two about manipulating cameras to show the best sides of properties.  This one had severely peeling paint and had ZERO yard.  While I would give anything to lessen the amount of yard work currently on my plate, I’m not quite ready to settle for ZERO yard.  Especially one with no sunny space for growing food.

There’s also the question of increased $$$ every month for new digs.  The recent property in question would have added $500 more to our monthly mortgage.  I don’t know about you, but I can do a lot with $500 a month.  Recall the 6 week trip our family took to Greece last summer?  Yep, if you are wise about your money, you can make almost anything happen.

So we are back to square one.  What to do with the space we already have.  Everyone has lots of spaces that get used so infrequently, they might better be utilized for other purposes.  It just so happened that I spied an image on Pinterest, my latest addiction, of a project in which a closet was remodeled in order to function as a home office (from Jen @  I was salivating.  We just so happen to have a closet adjacent to our dining room that is easily twice the size of the one on Pinterest.  An easily accessible space on the main floor of our house that I could office in?  Without putting an addition on our house or paying real estate transaction fees while moving to a new one?  SOLD!!!   Of course, it does require I do some deep purging of items clogging up our basement storage space, in order to make new homes for things we can’t get rid of, like golf clubs.  It would be one step toward my husband filing for divorce if I did.

Tackling the closet:

The closet, itself, is a really a sore sight.  The interior had probably never been touched up since the early 20’s when they first wallpapered it in what only now resembles coffee stained plain newsprint.  It has been horribly overstuffed with things like golf clubs, mementos from the kids schoolwork or projects, camping gear, backpacks, bowling balls, etc.  All things which do not get used on a regular basis.  Plus other random knick knacks, like candle holders we never use, cords for various electronics, and empty boxes.

The closet has now been emptied.  All hardware and nails have been pulled from the walls.  I wish I could say it is ready for paint and all manners of organizing hardware that could accommodate my myriad craft/art projects, in addition to a surface for my laptop when I write, and a permanent home for our printer.  But our house was built in 1889.  And the plaster is horribly crumbling in places.  So I need to take a step back and decide how to remedy the situation.

I love demo, and can really see myself getting some free therapy by releasing built up angst ripping out those awful plaster walls.  But then it begs the question.  If we are tearing out the plaster, what’s to stop us from moving the wall IN just a bit to open up more space in the kitchen (and use the wall to enclose the unsightly main sewer stack)?  I’ve even seen a ‘closet office’ project that takes up half the space of my initial Pinterest find.  We have a serious pinch point in the kitchen, on the other side of the closet wall, that makes it nearly impossible for two people to inhabit the same space without elbows and hips being jostled.  Three people is out of the question.  And with a fifth family member about to join us in May, what would be the wisest choice?

I think the real answer is that there are no easy answers when it comes to space.  Your household will have new demands and requirements throughout the years, so even if you change something now, you are bound to wish you had done it differently later.  There are no perfect solutions.  And walls aren’t really temporary solutions.  So I remain with asking myself what to do now…hoping it will pay off in the future?  I really do need an office space on the main floor, so that I am not persistently clearing off the dining room table whenever we want to eat.

I will continue to mill over this while I reorganize and purge the basement in order to make new homes for the ‘keepers’ from the dining room closet.  A great resource I have used many times in the past is this, from Fly, to help me declutter.

I want to know:

What projects have you tackled that have enabled you to do more with less space?  Send pictures so I can repost!

How do you deal with clearing out clutter?

Have you ever thrown in the towel on solving your space problems, in past digs, and moved to a home with more space?  How do you feel about that now?


~ by urbanwandernlust on January 12, 2012.

2 Responses to “This Year, Resolve To Do More With Less”

  1. I often find that just by rearranging the furniture the house feels ‘bigger’ and ‘new’. There are only so many different configurations one can make though… My dad really helped open up our house with the finishing of our basement.

    Our kitchen is really too small for our family of five, but I think we have finally arranged it to a point where it is starting to work for us. I’ll post pcs if I can figure out how…

    • And the configurations are limited by existing furniture stock too, right? At least that is how it is for us.
      You can email me photos instead of trying to figure out how to put them on my blog, and I can do a mini-post of your kitchen. Do you have “before” photos too?

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