View Full Version : Is it you or lack of storage?

01-14-2009, 08:39 AM
I've been pondering this. I think 25% of my clutter problem is due to my own tendencies, but 75% of it is due to inadequate storage.

We live in a home that was built in the 70s and there is a severe lack of space and what space we have has no built in storage (no linen closet, small coat closet over the stairs and the floor is not flat, it's at a 45 degree angle).

I know there are some people that can live very minimally (survive on a can opener, 4 cups and plates, and utensils for 4 -or however many live in the house). I've downsized and downsized my kitchen stuff, but there was still no good storage for the little piddly things. But I realized when I bought a new storage island at Target (45x25 with 2 shelves underneath that was clearance for $209 instead of $299), that the little things that had no homes now have homes. And there is still room for more (not that I'd want to put more there, but it's good to know I have it).

My cutting boards are easier to put away, my phone book has a spot to live, I have a couple of baskets underneath for semi-important papers instead of on TOP of the island. I have room for my recipe binders that used to live in the family room on a shelf.

I can't believe how easy it is to put things away when there is a sensible spot to put things. It's amazing.

So how many of you blame yourself when it's really your lack of GOOD storage that at issue?

hey mommy
01-14-2009, 08:59 AM
It's both. We have the same problem as you.

I'll have to come back later & explain more. I have to get C off to school.

Okay, so we downsized from a 1505 sq. foot house to an 1188 sq. foot house. Wouldn't be too bad, except this new house has NO storage. There is a garage, but that doesn't do much when you are trying to find a place for towels, sheets, etc. The sheets are folded in a wicker basket on the floor of my closet. The towels are in(and on top of) C's old toy box in my bedroom. I also bought one of those shelf things that goes behind the toilet to put in my bathroom to hold towels.

I have those plastic rubbermaid-type drawers all over. Most of the stuff I need is still packed in boxes in the garage b/c there isn't enough space to store it in the house. A lot of my kitchen stuff is still packed for that same reason. I just do not have the kitchen space to put it. :(

01-14-2009, 09:23 AM
We're dealing with the lack of storage problem too. Our house has two closets--a linen closet and a closet in one of the bedrooms. Yes, our bedroom has no closet--which makes it technically not a bedroom. We have stuff piled all over the place. We're trying to do a big declutter this month, so we're getting rid of lots of stuff.

01-14-2009, 09:31 AM
I have PLENTY of storage. My clutter is down to laziness. No one in my house (myself included most of the time) is willing to put something up correctly right away when we're done with it. :sigh

Mother of Sons
01-14-2009, 09:33 AM
I can't blame it all on storage but in the areas where I have good storage, it is MUCH easier for me to keep things tidy and clutter free.

Mama Calidad
01-14-2009, 09:38 AM
Mine is a space issue. My pantry is completely organized. I could go in there blindfolded and come out with a can of tomatoes or some lentils or whatnot. We're just squeezed in right now and there's not room for "a place for everything and everything in its place". One day....

01-14-2009, 09:41 AM
Storage is pretty much non existant here I down size like mad and kill my self finding places for things its draining so yes a big part is the actually storage but its alos me I CAN find places its just not how I feel it should be like I hate we have to keep bathroom towels and pillow cases/sheets in the bottom of our dresser drawers because there is no linen closet. I hate havign an ugly falling apart coat rack cluttering the living room because there is no hall closet or havign to put the vaccum in a corner cause thats the only place it can go. Honestly I just get tired of it tired of it always feeling cluttered no matter how much I try but I can make it better I can keep it neat. More organized space would make it easier but I can do it.


01-14-2009, 09:50 AM
The storage I have is used for silver and crystal. It is not organized, takes up a ton of space, and is in need of cleaning. :yes I can do more with the kitchen, but I am usually too tired to deal with a project when the boys are in bed. :shrug

01-14-2009, 09:54 AM
ITU. It's amazing what a difference buying a new bookcase made for us in our living area. Suddenly an area that had caused huge headaches was clean and never had that amount of trouble again. I've discovered that in other areas of the house, too. I know some of the problem is from just not putting things away, but I've discovered that housekeeping is so much easier when there's actually somewhere to put the things.

01-14-2009, 09:57 AM
We do, in point of fact, really really need another book case. I had to get rid of two boxes of books recently, because of space.

If I could get my husband to get rid of every box that every piece of software in our house came in, we would have a LOT more shelf space.

01-14-2009, 10:07 AM
If I could get my husband to get rid of every box that every piece of software in our house came in, we would have a LOT more shelf space. :rolleyes

my dh "has to" keep boxes, too. It's ridiculous. I put them on the floor in the storage room stacked on top of each other and told him if they got wet in another flood -- so be it -- they'd be tossed.

I have lots of storage space downstairs --- i wish i had more furniture pieces that had storage -- or built-ins in the main living areas.

That said -- it's mostly me. our last house was small, w/ little storage and I managed to keep it neat and tidy. I just have to take the time to do it and do the upkeep regularly, since I relate to Allison's other issue, too.

My clutter is down to laziness. No one in my house (myself included most of the time) is willing to put something up correctly right away when we're done with it. sigh

01-14-2009, 10:39 AM
Well, I know at least it's partly me. But I also know that there is no joy when things aren't stored where they are used or having to go into another room to put them back. Just acquiring that one piece of very useful storage in the kitchen has made me go through all the little nooks and crannies where I laid receipts, kids artwork, lost buttons, a pair of swim goggles from last summer ( :jawdrop :blush) and has inspired me to keep the counters free and go through the little things and get rid of them. I can't believe my kitchen is 90% clutter free now.

I am thinking now of getting some small storage boxes for the things I need to keep at least temporarily (like store receipts until I know we don't need to return things), recipes I want to keep until I can decide if I want to keep them in a binder or put them on recipe cards.

I feel like having systems to handle these little things will keep my kitchen much much better.

I feel so much happier knowing I have a plan and not let things stay out because I don't know what to do with them.

I put the pb and j and bread away IMMEDIATELY after making dd1s lunch today because I didn't want it sitting on my island for 1/2 the morning.

I don't know, I think it's going to help me tremendously to have things easier to put away. It's a very good feeling indeed.

01-14-2009, 10:44 AM
My storage issues are a lack of sufficient bookshelves and no good way to store my copious amounts of fabric.

I'd say that's 10% of my clutter problem... the rest is all me. We have WAY too much stuff. We should probably cut down our belongings by a good 50%. I know I could reduce the kids' clothes by 50-60% and hardly notice the difference. :bag Unfortunately, the kids' clothes aren't really the problem... it's just a bunch of stuff. Junk. Nonsense. And I can declutter a few pieces here, and a few pieces there, and do a big sweep and get rid of a whole bag... and it doesn't make a dent. :bag

Big changes coming in the next couple of months. :yes Big changes.

01-14-2009, 11:36 AM
Still, for any of us who considers ourselves lazy (I do at times). I'm not sure I buy it as much as I think it's more so as I feel easily discouraged, so I give up trying.

I am easily discouraged when the same areas pile up over and over again. Even after getting rid of a considerable amount of stuff, some of the same problems crop up. Most of it is due to the original problem - things aren't where they logically make sense,and having a work area far away from where things naturally go back makes things harder to put back. Some simple modifications make this easier to do.

For instance, and this is a small thing...but about meal preparations in the kitchen. I decided to move my sandwich making area from the sink side of the kitchen (where the silverware is) to the fridge/pantry side of the kitchen. When I made lunch this morning for dd1, and lunch for dd2 and dd3, it was easy to turn around and put things back into the fridge and pantry. And if I forgot something in those places, I was able to just take 1 step to get to them instead of 4-5 steps. Believe me when I say I can forget what I'm looking for in the space of those 5 steps (can we say easily distracted?). At any rate, the reverse was true too. It was easy to put things away right away, simply because I was right there where they go.

I was also thinking about my laundry situation too.

Until I got a high capacity washer and dryer, I hated washing clothes. It felt like I was washing clothes forever. Now it takes 1/2 as long. But my problem now is folding them. It's not that I hate the act of folding clothes, but it really gives me a pain in my neck and head to be sitting on the floor and folding clothes. I start getting dizzy because I have to look down to do it. I know it's literally less painful to stand up to fold clothes. Guess what will make a good laundry folding area? I'm thinking the kitchen island would make a perfect place. It is large enough to hold the load while I fold. I'm excited about that. So hopefully now I won't be dragging my heels on folding laundry.

So...I really feel the problem not merely lies with us...but with things that are hampering our efficiency.

I googled "famous efficiency studies" and found a really interesting link (http:// www.archive.org/stream/newhousekeeping00fredrich/newhousekeeping00fredrich_djvu.txt) . It was a link to a book called, "The New Housekeeping: Efficiency Studies in Home Management". The publication date? 1913.

I have not read the full "book", just the preface but it really hit home with me:

" A moderate income, two babies, and constant demands on my time, was the situation that faced me several years ago.

I liked housework, and was especially fond of cooking; but the deadening point about the whole situation was that I never seemed to finish my work, never seemed to "get anywhere," and that I almost never had any leisure time to myself.

I wanted to read a bit, or write out some ideas I had been thinking about, or take a half hour for personal grooming. If I devoted my day
to cooking, I was appalled later at the confusion and dirt I had neglected. If I specialized on cleaning, our meals were hurried and ill-pre-
pared. If I tried to do justice to both cleaning and preparing of meals, I quite certainly neglected the babies and myself.

My husband came home only to find me "all tired out," with no energy left to play over a song, or listen to a thoughtful article. I was con-
stantly struggling to obtain a little "higher life" for my individuality and independence; and on the other hand I was forced to give up this in-
dividuality to my babies and drudgifying house-work.

About this time I became acquainted, through my husband's interests, with several men in close touch with the new movement of indus-
trial efficiency. From them I learned what the new science of work was accomplishing for the office, the shop, the factory. At first it
did not occur to me that methods which were applicable to organized industries, like shoe factories, and iron foundries, could also be applied to my group of very unorganized industries in the home.

Yet the more I studied it, the more possible it seemed, and I determined to try it. For once I found a use for some of the college training I
had despaired of ever putting into practice. I applied to the task of bringing the science of efficiency into the home, the same detailed
analysis that I had applied many a time in " Zoology A." or " Physics B."

I confess that it was discouraging at first, due to the distractions and disturbed routines necessary in a home where there are small children. But gradually definite results began to come the most definite result and the most valuable benefit being the development of an efficiency attitude of mind.

Once this attitude became thoroughly organized all the household problems, large and small, became invested with entirely new interests and new possibilities. Instead of becoming something upon which to slave, they became objects of keen mental interest quite the same, I am now sure after investigation, as the tasks of the business and industrial world which men tackle with zest and results.

I put out this book, therefore, with a deeply earnest hope and belief that the beginnings made in the application of efficiency science to the
household (however modest and inadequate) may yet assist in cutting from women the most dreary shackles of which they have ever complained. "

Now... the thing that struck out at me is that the same problems I face here in 2008, this woman faced in 1914 - she longed for more time for leisure and also if she focused on one thing, other things fell by the wayside. The other thing about it was that she was college educated and she wanted to apply what they were learning efficiency in industry to her work in the home.

I am totally struck by the parallels of our two "worlds". I am not really much different from that woman. She's not an uber-feminist (that I can tell), but still wanted some degree of independence and personal development aside from just doing housework. I have no idea what the rest of the text will say, but it really is fascinating me to find out.

So, part of it is the fact we may have too much stuff, but really even in 1914 (when you'd suspect there was less emphasis on stuff), women faced some of the same problems as us. I really think it's a lack of knowing how to make the small changes that have the most impact.


Tee-hee. Of course, as I'm reading the table of contents, it talks about the "new" appliances that saves time, like a "Washboiler with Rotary Wheel Saves Rubbing" ( I guess that would be like a pre-cursor to the washing machine?).

But the point is that I'm sure that there are many things holding us back from being efficient. Mostly because it's discouraging to be bumping up against the same obstacles to efficiency.

01-15-2009, 05:39 AM
We have a combination of factors. The biggest is that dh is a packrat. We have at least 10 paper storage boxes of old software in their original boxes. The vast majority of the software is completely unusable now with current technology. The ones that are still usable at least half are games that dh has already played once so he won't play again. If he dies before me those boxes are among the first things to go. :shifty He also has three paper boxes full of old t-shirts that are "special" that he won't part with. :sigh

I really believe that if we got rid of all the *junk* that is totally unusable that we would have plenty of storage space. I need to go through the storage areas (basement & garage as well as some closets) to free up space, but I really believe the space is fine, but we have too much stuff. DH disagrees, he thinks we need a bigger house :jawdrop (ours is already huge & I can't keep up with it) with more storage.

01-15-2009, 05:52 AM
Kimberly, I could have written your post myself practically word for word. Especially the software and t shirts!

We've gotten rid of a ton of stuff as we prepared to move, but now that we're pulling things out of the storage unit and putting them in the new house it feels like we're getting buried in junk again. Why, why do we need all these golf balls? We don't golf! :ph Despite all the decluttering we've done I think we've moved boxes that were never unpacked from when we moved into the first house seven years ago! We have more storage space in this new house, but so help me I'm not going to stand for all this useless stuff filling it up.

:phew :O :shifty [/vent] Short answer...it's us more than storage, I'm convinced.

01-15-2009, 06:00 AM
Amy's dh & Kimberly's dh are peas in a pod. We have a bunch of golf balls & two sets of clubs. He hasn't golfed in years & years. And the last time he golfed he rented clubs b/c ours aren't good. :sigh And more fishing stuff than any family could ever need. In fact, half the fishing stuff we own we have bought recently b/c it was *easier* to buy new than to dig old stuff out of the garage. :sigh Tools, too. Every job has the appropriate tool, we can just not find them b/c of the mess. And there are several boxes that dh moved from his parents' house when we got married in 1996 that are his that he has to keep.

I threw away several boxes of magazines this summer. He won't miss them, but if he *knew* about them it would have *insisted* that they were necessary to keep. Like 20 year old "new tech" magazines have any real use?

01-15-2009, 07:42 AM
It's dh. :shifty The only cluttered areas in the house are the garage, his office, and his closet. ;)

We do have a lot of storage furniture, though. I've bought a lot of it to keep my sanity.

01-15-2009, 11:55 AM
for me it's both--but now that I have provided us with AMPLE storage . . . it's mostly dh and the kids :shifty Me a little bit, but them a LOT :P