Walls closing in

We live in a pretty small house for five people. Most of the houses on our road are bigger than ours. And most are occupied by widows living on their own. We love our house, but we really need somewhere bigger.

Lately, it’s really felt like the walls are closing in on me and I’m starting to get desperate to get out. It all started with a new dining table. The old dining table had a dodgy leg and, although it always stood OK on three legs, there  was always the worry that it wouldn’t. That it would come crashing down all of a sudden and spill stuff everywhere or, worse, land on someone’s toe and break it. So we got a new dining table. The new dining table is bigger than the old dining table. The dining room is where we dry our washing for 90% of the year (maybe more) on two clothes horses. The new dining table doesn’t leave room for clothes horses. There is only one place those clothes horses can go. Our bedroom. The one room which has a little bit of space. The one room where I can go and clear my head away from noise and mess. I don’t want to share it with two clothes horses full of damp washing.

For a while the old dining table was leaning up against the walls in the dining room, until my husband could make the necessary adjustments to the very full garage to put it away. (It might be dodgy, but we weren’t actually going to get rid of the thing! The kids might want it one day.) This enhanced my feeling that the walls were closing in and also made it difficult to hoover the dining room. Now, I don’t like hovering, but I do like to see the house looking reasonably clean and tidy once a week, but it’s getting harder and harder.

The kids seem to endlessly acquire STUFF – birthdays and Christmas, things they buy themselves, things they make or draw at school. We are surrounded by stuff. The boys share a bedroom, which is overflowing with stuff – out of the drawers and onto the floor. If they can’t quite reach their clothes and they knock a few others on the floor, they don’t bother to pick them up. Like they don’t bother to pick up the clothes they take off at night or the pyjamas they take off in the morning or the school uniform they take off before changing into Cub uniform or football kit.

They kick their shoes off in the hall, put another pair on, go out, come back in again and kick their shoes somewhere else. They move cushions around, they get games and DVDs out, they get paper and scissors out. They  leave them on the floors and on the arms of chairs, they leave them on the windowsill and next to the telly. They never, EVER put them away.

By Friday it can feel like the house has almost disappeared under their crap – and that I am continually going around in circles picking up and putting away. We ask them, we tell them, we nag them, we shout at them. Nothing makes a difference. They just don’t get the message.

Then there’s the kids themselves. You try to get two tween boys sharing a room in a bungalow to vacate the lounge and stay in their own bedroom at 8.30pm. It doesn’t happen. Their stuff is under my feet and they are under my feet.

After nearly nine years in this house I have reached my limit. In that time our kids have grown from toddlers to tweens – and we’ve even had another one. They have acquired more stuff and generally take up more space. I am convinced that the key to happiness and tidiness lies in a bigger house – one where you don’t have to dry clothes in your bedroom, boys have separate bedrooms with their own televisions and, if they are going to drop stuff on the floor, they have the decency to do it in those bedrooms.

I guess I’m going to have a long wait. And if, after all that waiting, I discover that it isn’t the key to happiness, I don’t know what I’ll do.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. We never needed kids to have a house like that. My husband and I are the kind of people who don’t put stuff away because “we’ll need it again in a minute”. That minute never comes as soon as we think, and when it does, the item has disappeared under a mountain of other crap we left out because we’d need it again in a minute. Then we can’t find what we need because it’s not in its place. GRARGH!!

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  2. Ahh I can understand that. We keep wanting to move even now and always wonder how we have accumulated so much stuff. I did a massive declutter recently but I think it’s starting to breed again!! We can’t really afford to move anywhere though just yet so think we’re going to be here for a few years yet.

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  3. I feel you pain, but it’s so expensive to move. What about adding a conservatory for a dining room, or even a summerhouse for more play/toy storage area? I also Freecycle loads, and use the free ads in the local paper to sell items for £20 or less.

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  4. I’ve just introduced a new ‘planner’ for each of my kids and one of their jobs at the end of each day is ‘tidy up’ and by that, I mean going around the house, putting everything back that you got out, into its rightful place. Obviously we all have to adhere to this but I think it will make for an easier job at the weekend when it’s the big bedroom clean up! Not an easy task and I’m not convinced this will last but anything is worth a shot!

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  5. I know how you feel and mine are still little. I’m thinking the key is to have a clear out but that is easier said than done! I read a post recently about getting rid of everything you don’t really need and what a huge effect it has on you – just need the guts to do it….

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  6. I completely sympathise, and I have an adequate sized house with only 2 toddlers!

    I look at the end of the day and go, here we go again, MORE tidying – it’s endless! Another baby on the way and I have given up. If I can keep it reasonable for the next year, that will have to do!!

    I keep dreaming of our home when the kids have grown up and I only have one big kid (my husband!) to tidy up after! Bliss!lol!

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  7. Thanks very much, everyone! We’re on a decluttering mission now. It’s hard work, but it’s good to see the results. Like your idea, Suzanne – you always have the best ideas! It seems like whatever we do or however fast we work, the kids are always making more mess than we can clear 🙁

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  8. I feel your pain Sarah – have 2 messy teens here and sometimes it gets so bad I threaten to scoop up all of their stray belongings and throw them outside!

    They’re off to university in September (grades permitting) and I have a feeling that I’ll probably miss the chaos and the relentless picking stuff up!

    Good luck with the decluttering x

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  9. I do feel your pain….
    We lived in a 2 bedroomed flat the girls shared a room and it was cluttered so we moved to a big 3 bedroomed house….Now it’s getting to the point where I’m feeling cluttered again….I think if you have the space you’ll fill it…
    Good luck with the decluttering mission x

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  10. We have a pretty large house and I find it a nightmare keeping my tweens tidy! Kids are designed to be messy. #PoCoLo

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  11. STUFF has been banned from our new house! Grace has a room of her own and larger than her previous – all her things stay in there. Ross and I have a bedroom of calm and we both have our own office (me for the first time). I completely and utterly sympathise with you Sarah. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo xx

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  12. Thanks very much, everyone. It’s true that kids are designed to be messy, Coombe Mill, but it’s still exhausting! It’s better in the warmer weather when they are outside more and we also have the windows and doors open.
    Izzie – I think I’ll miss it too! How stupid is that?
    Good luck with maintaining your no stuff rule, Tori! Would be interested to read how you’re getting on – maybe after Christmas when it’s had time to build up again! 😉

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