Monday, May 23, 2011

Too much!

Too many books, too many art supplies, too many pieces of vintage Pyrex, too much dinnerware.

How could there even be such a thing?

Alas, it's true.  Our not-so-big home is bursting at the seams again.  Add to the above list too much clothing, too many toys, too much yarn and fabric, and too much junk.  I know it is too much because Papa has started expressing a discontent with our home and has even taken me out looking at homes a few times.

It's fun to dream, to walk into homes that aren't ours, either empty or carefully purged and staged, and imagine ourselves living there.  It's easy to believe that a bigger home would take care of the problem of too much ~ except I know that it won't.  It might give us more space for gardening and outdoor play, but I firmly believe that stuff simply expands to fill the space.

And so I ask questions, thoughtfully and carefully.  What did you like about that house?  What about our house seems insufficient?  What do you think we could do to make the home we have now the home that we want?

After all, once upon a time this was the home that we wanted and it is still very much a home that I love.  It's true that we couldn't imagine what it would be like to have bigger boys and we didn't know what they would want to do with their outdoor space.  Our yard isn't quite big enough for baseball or football, but it isn't tiny either, and big kids can take themselves to a park or schoolyard if they need more space.

Always it comes back to liking the clean, uncluttered spaces in these homes as well as the carefully curated decor.  Those are things I like too, and I do try to make our home warm, simple, clean, and decluttered.  But lately, well, I've brought home a lot of children's books, vintage Pyrex, and other kitchen items.  I've also been going through my grandmother's things and my dining room table is simply overflowing.  It isn't what I like to see either; it simply is what it is for now.

I remember when we bought this house and as part of our loan agreement we had to secure a tenant for our condominium.  For two weeks we scrubbed, cleaned, decluttered, and did all of the little repairs that needed to be done.  When we finished the Saltillo tile floors were gleaming, the doors were fixed on the laundry alcove, the faucets didn't drip, the patio was clean, the roses were well-tended, and honestly, if I hadn't wanted yard with grass for my children I would have been tempted to stay in the condo.

What is it that makes us put off repairs in our own homes, thinking they are too expensive?  Or stops us from purchasing furniture and artwork that we love (not necessarily new).  Why do we put off the projects that we dreamed about in the beginning, redoing the back yard or tearing the carpet out of the family room?  Why do those things seem so expensive, and yet we contemplate taking on a larger mortgage to by a home where these things have already been done?

And so, I suggested a few things to Papa.  One, that we should do a real, deep decluttering.  A ruthless decluttering.  A peeling back so far that maybe it hurts a little decluttering.  Two, that we should once again reconsider how we use the rooms in this house and decide if we should move things around.  Three, that we visit some antique stores and find a few pieces to replace those that we really don't like.

Just as importantly, I think we should go ahead and spend the money on the projects that mean the most to us, like redoing the backyard, putting in new flooring in a couple of rooms, replacing the doors that the Girl Dog destroyed, sanding and refinishing the trim in the dining room, repairing the damaged wainscoting in the front bathroom, putting up window coverings, having the outside trim painted, and hiring a handyman service to fix all the little plumbing issues that bug us.  The list seems endless, but each thing that we accomplish will add to our contentment here in our little suburban home.

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