Sunday, November 15, 2015

The mountain

If there was ever a lesson plan 101, of how to make a mountain out of a molehill, the first chapter would have to be titled, "simple life". This quaint, little molehill is inconspicuous at first, giving a sense of security, that molehills aren't that big of a deal. Unless those molehills are attached to a warren of holes, and you have to dig them up, one by one, leaving a huge pile of dirt afterwards!

 Start with a pile of dirt

Take, Exhibit A, for example. We are not digging up molehills, but displacing excess dirt from Exhibit B, instead.

 Then add a wall

What is Exhibit B, you may ask? It's where we are starting to build another retaining wall, so we can expand the vegetable growing area. This alone, would be simple enough to deal with, but then enter, Exhibit, C:

 Mix in, the spare room

This is the mother of all molehills, because Exhibit C, is the contents of the "spare room", spread around the rest of our house. Oh, this "spare" room is cleverly deceptive, as its where you tend to keep all your "spares", that won't fit anywhere else in the house. They're harmless, so long as they remain in the spare room. But if you ever have plans to use these rooms again, out comes another pile of proverbial doo-doo to deal with.

Line the rest of the house with "spares" too

This has been the reality of our household, since early November. We started the wall project first, then the rain set in, which put those plans on hold. So we started to remove the contents of the spare room, into the rest of the house. Why would we suddenly decide to do this?

Well, the spare room, is not all we're dealing with. That would be too much like a quaint molehill. This has to be a proper mountain, something you need climbing gear for.

 The lynch pin

Maybe that's something us parents have to concern ourselves with (climbing gear, that is) because our son has now developed the skill, and curiosity, to climb out of his cot, all by himself. What did we expect, at two and a half, years of age? Because with this new dexterity our son has discovered, comes the reality, he's sharing the room with my sewing/crafting hoard.

I've seen pins, needles and scissors dragged out, and I count my lucky stars he didn't decide to stick them into the power socket. This situation had to be addressed in a serious way. So two rooms had to be gutted and reorganised, leaving the rest of the house in chaos. But haven't we made some progress though...

A safe place for little people

Our son, has the most spacious room in the house at present. He loves it, as we hear him waking in the morning, with a squeal of delight, that all his toys are in his room now. There is no longer a hug pile against the wall, which he knew wasn't allowed to be touched. We feel relieved too, he can now escape the confines of his new toddler bed, and be curious without too much risk involved.

Don't ask about the rest of the house though, as its still a work in progress. But this is the reality, I'm sorry to say, of living the simple life. There is no borrowing money, to build an extension or a much needed garage space. We could really use these right now! Truly, everything is piled upon everything. You've just got to live in a rollicking mess, from time to time, and still find a way to go about your daily business, like a sane person.

 Things to be recycled

We've had to share the dining table with stuff, until we've been able to sort through other stuff. Sometimes I just want to make dinner, without something falling off the bench. Or if I'm in a hurry to get things done, I hate having to play dodge the boxes and still find I collect something with my toe anyway. This is not my element. But its the necessity, dictating terms at the moment. There are plenty of good things to come out of this process though.

Like the realisation, the "spare room" was really being used to put things, we didn't want to deal with. It kept our inner hoarder appeased, even if secluded to one room. We fed it occasionally so it didn't have to leave completely. Well, there's nothing like running out of space, to force the choice of what's worth keeping in your house, and what isn't.

Go up!

So as I search for more room, I find I am hanging things which have never seen a hook before. This is a spare key holder, which holds all our spare keys. Not for the house or cars (those keys live somewhere else) but all those spare ones which came with other items.

I don't want to throw those keys out, in case they open that stray box or padlock which suddenly turn up. This key holder, formerly took up bench space, I no longer have available. So up it goes.

Practical items

I have also discovered I prefer the large candle holders, as they're more economical. Tiny tea lights, while cute and romantic, don't throw a lot of light and run out, relatively quickly, for the price you pay. In a power outage, you want something to throw enough light to prepare food by, and last a while.

So I've ditched all my tea light holders. Some were beautiful, bent wire sculptures, but just not practical or economical in the long run. If I'm going to live with limited space, I want it for things I actually WILL use, not what looks pretty on a shelf.

Some sewing stuff

I've also learned, that since all my sewing gear has been brought out of hiding in Peter's room, I am sewing more. I repaired some of my husband's work aprons recently, and I have a pillow re-covering project, in line, next. This has made me rethink how I had my former sewing room, before Peter came along. It was too small, for what I had to do. I remember bumping into things, just to move about.

It makes sense therefore, to use the living area as my new sewing space, with a dedicated cupboard for all my gear to live. It gives me incentive to keep the dining table clear to use as well.

More sewing stuff, where the new built-in, will go

Realistically, we can spend the money building a built-in cupboard, instead of considering extensions or garages. It would be nice to have those things, but they aren't a high priority, compared to the vegetable growing area. Besides, I only want to keep things I will use, and a four bedroom house, should, be large enough to accommodate our growing family. We will reorganise until it works.

So my ode to the simple life is this...there will be plenty of time to uncover a lot of mountains under those molehills. But they shouldn't set you back, completely. We're two weeks into this particular mess, with no real end in sight. But we're dealing with the pieces as we can manage them, and its a life not wasted on wanting more. We're together, we're happy and sometimes exhausted too - but isn't that diversity, what makes for a rich life anyway?

Did I mention we're hosting Christmas in a months' time too? Christmas is the perfect time for miracles, though, right? ;)


  1. You can get this organized by Christmas! I believe in you! And in miracles.
    I also have my sewing space out in the open but our living space is open concept. I could use a spare room upstairs if I desired-infact I paint in one of them, but sewing takes up a lot of space that open concept living offers up so I take advantage of it. Keeping it looking organized is the key and that not that easy for me sometimes but its a constant goal.
    Our home is too big for us but just today, I took something out of a closet that I am purging and put it in the spare room. As I walked through another spare room-I wondered why I have so many storage rooms?! Three. NOt all full but 3! So I am going to figure out why an average household needs so many things in it. Its kind of silly on our end I feel:)
    Good luck to you my friend-purging isn't easy.
    BTW, I have decide to post under my old google name in order to get notifications from you so that will make me a more timely visitor.

    1. I knew there had to be other people who used their living area, as a sewing space. I'm hoping that organisation will be key for us too. The dining table is so much more accessible and easier on the back, for cutting out patterns, etc. I want to be able to have my sewing machine, and overlocker (serger) on a small trolley, which can be wheeled out of the cupboard, so I don't have to carry them out. Or at least, that's the plan. ;)

      I find I tend to store stuff that I don't want to deal with, or I think, I better keep that in case I need it in the future. Problem is, you forget they're there, so cannot ever use them in the future, lol. I think a well placed cupboard can store many things, without the need for a whole room. Being a cupboard too, everything is able to be seen and accessed. :)

    2. I wish we lived in the same country and town-I was just given two hospital tables-the kind that patients eat off of. One is in Garry's work shed and I have one but I don't think I need it-I will give it to my neighbor. It would hold a sewing machine easily and its on wheels.
      You do need to think about your storage solution carefully when you are putting it in full view. I am still working on mine-keep most things in one of the spare bedrooms but bring them out as needed. Every that is used commonly from project to project goes into a console cabinet near the workspace.
      I store stuff for "just in case" scenarios or to sell but then I don't get myself motivated to actually try to sell beyond a garage sale. I did promise myself that I would work harder at that part this winter:)

    3. That hospital trolley would be so handy in the work shed! Especially for moving tools around. Put them on the trolley and move it to your project area, as opposed to carrying them. Some tools can be quite weighty.

      Not entirely sure about the trolley design for my two machines. I was thinking of something made out of wood, with fold down sides. So when I roll the trolley out of the cupboard, I can lift up the sides to extend the work space, on both ends. I will have to experiment with designs on paper.

      About putting things on display, the new trend is having open shelving everywhere. However, it can look awfully junky, and I notice with the pictures online, all this open shelving has virtually nothing on it - to make it look more spacious, lol. So my tactic is to have cupboards, so I can shut away all that clutter that comes with sewing gear. Which is a similar idea to your console cabinet.

      I've been meaning to motivate myself with sewing, to get through my material supply too. I really want to do it. But I must clean up all this clutter first. Good luck with your winter sales. :)

    4. I don't like open shelving. I have tried it and just want to get doors for the shelves after a few days. I think that if you have nothing to put on the shelves and are using them to add design elements then you are better off getting nice art! lol. I do have some amazing pottery that I could display however and those do need shelves of some kind. But for storage reasons, open shelving doesn't do it for me either.
      I think that yoiu really just need some space behind the machines and some to the left but I also think it depends on what you are going to sew. have you looked at sewing tables to get an idea of a standarized work space? Not the sewing tables that house machines but the ones that are bought separately. I think you know what I mean.

    5. I've toyed with shelves over doorways, for things that have memories but aren't used. We have a standard door size, so its not too high. Some of the older houses though, have really high doors, and it wouldn't work. Though I have seen a photograph shelf placed all around a living area once. It was designed with moulding, and sat above the wainscot boarding below. It was now low, like most wainscot though, it covered 2/3rds of the wall.

      But it had really high ceilings so it worked. It was really handy to place things on this small ledge. It had beadboard so nothing would slide off. Being high up too, you didn't get to see the dust either, but you could display items in view. That was in a rental we lived in once, and I thought it was a clever idea, to wrap all the living room walls with a moulding shelf. It looked like decorative moulding, but it was actually a narrow shelf.

      I've been looking at a lot of projects to do with sewing machine tables, but not tables which you work fabric on. Our dining table is a six seater, so it has quite a bit of room. I've had to cut most of my patterns on it, even when I had the sewing room. On bigger projects, I had to use the floor!

    6. I know the shelves you are talking about-they are plate rails or something like that. My neighbor has them in her dining room and she keeps decorative plates there.
      The tables I meant can hold a machine too-but I'm talking about the dimensions in general since it seems like you will design and build it yourself if I am correct. Unless you are going to quilt, you probably don't need tons of space really. People have worked with a sewing cabinet and nothing more for eons.

    7. Too true, about only using a sewing cabinet in the past. The enthusiastic can always make do. ;)

  2. There's nothing like a deadline to make things happen! We have had a couple of them, and somehow the place is neat and tidy by then - just!
    We went through a similar purge (minus the toddler!!) when our spare room was supposed to be a bedroom, and we were sleeping in the lounge. We got serious about the stuff we *really* needed, and made a room available just for us, it was lovely! So worth the initial pain of giving stuff to the opshop, and you know, we don't even remember or miss anything!! What *was* all that junk??
    Having only a 3 room cottage made us have to deal with the stuff issue pretty quick, but I knew it was weighing us down, making us both feel just a little more bleh.
    On the sewing note, I have reduced my collection down to my favorite two, but can only use the 319 on the treadle at the moment, and that is in the bedroom with supplies in a plastic under-the-bed tub, and fabric in a suitcase stored in "the shed" (the sleepout, I believe they would call it). Not ideal, but I do love my sewing machine! Finally got some repairs done, and finally getting the hang of using the treadle. lol

    1. We always meet our deadlines by the skin of our teeth too, Manda. ;)

      It does make you feel bleh, doesn't it. My husband didn't want to get rid of stuff initially, but now he's loving all this space, he's already agreeing to purge the things he held back. So letting go of things that you won't miss, or even forgot about in the first place, is quite liberating. We are keeping some special treasures though, and making plans to display them, so they don't ever get hidden in a box or cupboard again.

      Good luck with renovating your new mud brick home, and enjoying the process as you go. :)

  3. My spare room looks just like your spare room. I feel so much better now ;-)

    I'm glad the vegetable growing area has high priority. My feelings exactly!

    1. Showing mess is quite liberating, in that we all know we have some tucked away in the house, don't we. ;)

      Vegetable growing is definitely a shared passion, which other vegetable growers understand completely. I have a lot of learning to do in how to succeed at it, and this season has already shown me some new lessons I better pay attention to.

  4. Ah... Pete keeps asking if he thinks I can stack things any higher... every wardrobe and bookcase and kitchen cabinet and the fridge has a row of boxes stacked on top. Problem is that we keep things that we "might be able to fix" instead of just accepting that the vacuum sealer that doesn't seal and the incubator that doesn't hold temperature should probably just get chucked out, as much as we hate to waste things, if they don't work why do we keep them? I have started cleaning out for when we move to our new house (months and months away), even though that house is actually larger and I am planning lots of cupboards, I don't want it filled with useless clutter, so I am giving away and throwing away all sort of things that haven't been used since we moved here over 5 years ago. Anyway, I feel for you and the toddler's room looks great, so you just have to keep sorting and you will gradually get there :) Those plastic tubs are great... you can stack them... :)

    1. I know what you mean about keeping stuff, to fix or tweak, but then we don't have the time to spend on such wonderful endeavours, I have also been given quite a lot of things from relatives, that years down the track, we still don't use. They will find new homes, or a place at the local op-shop.

      Agreed on keeping those new cupboards, clutter free. It's so hard though. I find we have a first cull, then a second and maybe by the third, its in better shape. Anyway, good luck with your sorting and moving gear over to the new house, when its time. :)

  5. I think this goes in the "needs must" category. And I can so relate! Our house is in a constant state of chaos due to repair and upgrade projects. Now it's the dining room and just in time for our Thanksgiving! Anyway, I love how you think and I think you're doing a super job of dealing with all your stuff.

    1. That's right - you guys have Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas. I'd be in trouble if I had to host that too! ;)

      We haven't even started the built-in cupboard renovations yet, unlike you and Dan, who are always renovating your old bungalow. Where else to make home though, right? Good luck with your little miracle getting things organised, as we will endeavour with ours. :)


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