Creeping into my space.

Listen, there are five of us and not all of us are fully grown yet. In fact two of us are quite small (for now). So, our four bedroom house with a basement but no garage (this will come up later) should be an adequate amount of space for a bunch of reluctant suburbanites. Let’s take a closer look at that concept, shall we?

I have three daughters. They share a bedroom and another reading/play room of the same size across the hall.

Our basement has a series of bins filled with toys, a shelf of board games, the toy kitchen and all of the accessories with it as well as a table and two chairs, a TV, a defunct Wii (or so my husband claims. I think he just hates setting it up. I too hate setting it up but that’s because it enrages me to see all of the cords tangled and find discs scattered everywhere courtesy of said aforementioned husband who is of the “out of sight – it doesn’t matter mindset”.), and an Ikea futon-style sofa/bed, In the middle are mirrors, a ballet bar, a mini balance beam and several gym mats on the concrete floor. Our girls practice dance routines, tumble and generally goof around in the space. Closer towards the other end is a large folding craft table, a tower of bins with craft supplies and anywhere from 1 to 3 chairs. Behind that is a workout area. Like everyone, this workout area was created with the best-of-intentions and is one of the least used spaces in our house. My husband – a far more devoted dad then he gives himself credit for being – is about to sell everything in that space to give the girls the run of the entire basement. Personally, I want to drop some serious coin I don’t have on building a three-piece bathroom down there.

Based on that highly detailed description I think you can agree that our girls have more than there fair share of dedicated space.

So why, how and when does all of their stuff start to creep into the shared family spaces and the not-so-shared family spaces? I’m not referred to a book lying on a chair in the living room. I’m not complaining about homework being done at the dining room table. I’m talking about the piles of books, papers (I don’t think they or their teachers are as environmentally conscious as they claim to be!), trinkets, kits, equipment, art supplies, toys and colouring books (which since the whole “colouring for adults thing took hold, my kiddos seem to have five million of despite not being adults, one of them never actually colouring since birth and one of them preferring to draw). They are in the office – a space that I do actual paid work from 5 days a week. They are in my room – a space I barely want to share with my husband but allow him half of the bed because he’s a good snuggler. They are in the kitchen, on the stairs, at the front door and all over my freakin’ living room and dining room!


When C started school last year, we moved all of the toys from the office and living room into the basement. I’d kept them in multiple places so that wherever I was she could be. In fact, from the time we moved here when L was born until just before C turn 2, we used the dining room as a play area and just ate in the kitchen. (This isn’t C in the photo; it’s L.)


So I’m totally on board with adapting space for a young family. But they aren’t that young anymore (I totally, am still that young, obviously.)

A few people have suggested we give them each their own room. This suggestion has been met with the removal of the alcoholic beverage from their hands and a withering look.

My approach is going to be to give them less space but more clearly defined areas. Along with the massive purge of useless crap we started this week. I’ll fill you in on the details and welcome any suggestions that don’t involve catering to their needs. I’m sure one day, they will pay the mortgage here and relegate me to corner of the house, perhaps a room off the kitchen they’ve built for me, but until then…we are all just going to have to learn how to put it back where you got it or lose it.

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2 comments

  1. Listen. We live in a tiny house (compared to the McMansions out in the ‘burbs) with one bedroom (ours) and two rooms the size of closets (theirs) in the basement. We still have very little space post-renovations, but at least now it’s functional space.

    That is all you really need for the stuff you use. Functional space.

    What do they really need? Tell me, WHAT? I find that our problem, pre-reno, was that we couldn’t find stuff we know we had (lack of functional space), so we (he) went out and bought more. Didn’t want to spend time looking for stuff, easier to pop into Canadian Tire for some tool he needs twice a year. Would you like to know how many screwdrivers we own? (You really don’t, trust me).

    And the paper, omg the paper. School is the worst offender of paper.

    I police and control everything that comes into the house. It’s annoying to them and I don’t particularly enjoy being this way either. But, what I enjoy less is to suffocate under useless stuff. Growing kids come with a lot of stuff, right? Sigh. Hence, I became the queen of control for the stuff that enters into the house. Example, when he buys a new fleece sweater, I say ‘which of the two other one are you getting rid of?’…and if he doesn’t donate or throw out one of them, I do it.

    If I don’t do this diligently, we end up back at my mental breakdown pre-reno. And no one wants that to happen again. 🙂

    It’s exhausting and I fall off the purge wagon all the time, but perspective over your stuff’s ownership is everything. Right? Just think of how much you’re adding to the landfill every day.

    • It IS exhausting being the person that has to reinforce the “crap stops here” at the door! If be explained to the few family members we have who give the girls presents not to give them toys because I have a one in and two out policy and the giver will have to deal with the tears.

      There have been SO many tears by the oldest child over
      colouring books! When I flipped through her extremely reluctant purge pile to see if there were any cool pics she’d coloured that I could take a photo of for her…they were completely blank! And with one or two pages so were the ones in her keep pile!!! Ack! I am not a pack rat so this is very confusing to me.

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