Too Much Storage

A welcome effect of living by the William Morris quote and creating an intentional home is that eventually you reach a point where you have too much storage. I know, crazy-talk, but unless you live in a home without closets, it is possible. Possible with sweat equity and capital, but possible nonetheless.

Take the Leksvik, for example. We kept this in our dining room to store many things. Last week we finally bought a dining room table (hurray!) and that meant there was no longer room for what officially became the clutter-catcher. No matter, since I already had it placed on Craigslist. I knew by looking through its cluttered glass doors that whatever it contained I could keep more organized somewhere else. I moved it to the back porch and hoped for the best. As luck would have it, someone offered to buy Leksvik only two days later. SOLD!

They gave me two hours notice on the coldest, windiest day of the season, but beggars can’t be choosers. I thought I could tackle the Great-Clutter Catcher Purge of 2012! before they arrived, but it was so cold and windy I was afraid all the loose photographs and paper would go flying.

Also, I didn’t feel like it. It looked like a lot of work.

I put everything inside an old laundry basket and placed it in the living room. Then I wiped everything down and gave Leksvik a quick polish. You so want to buy furniture off me on Craigslist. I pretty them up like they’re on their way to their first day of school.

The laundry basket of clutter stayed in my living room for only 24 hours before I sat down to toss/donate/keep.

[Pause. Wait for applause.]

I separated everything into groups, too. Both cookbooks went into a kitchen pile. I had an unusual amount of Christmas items, so those went into a pile, too.

Oddly enough, this introverted recluse who hates to socialize owns an obscene amount of party supplies. I like the idea of parties, or so it would seem.

That’s it! It took me less than an hour to place everything (haphazardly) in their new homes. This was good. I planned to tackle my wrapping paper storage issues, so I’m glad I was able to first uncover the last of the hidden supplies.

I can’t end the post with such a mediocre image, so I thought I’d share something else I found during the Great Clutter-Catcher Purge of 2012!

It’s a picture of the Mister when he was Nicholas’s age. I can really see the resemblance. People often say Nicholas looks like me, but I’ve never seen it. I’ve always thought he looks just like my husband.

Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Let’s hear it with a link or in the comments.

A few guidelines:

  1. Please link to a specific post, not a general blog address.
  2. No links to giveaways, please.
  3. A link back to this site is always appreciated. There are buttons to add to your post or sidebar, too, thanks to the lovely Alex, of Type A Calligraphy. Just copy the code and insert into your blog post or sidebar while in html mode.
  4. Let’s use this weekly link up as an opportunity to gather inspiration and motivation. Click links. Discover new people. Say hi and good job. I know I will.

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Comments
58 Responses to “Too Much Storage”
  1. “I like the IDEA of parties” – I laughed out loud. Yes, yes, I totally understand that feeling. Oh, to be the hostess with the mostess, but alas, in the end I’m usually just happy to see the last person walk out the front door. :-) Nothing personal against people, but entertaining doesn’t come naturally for me. I still do it, because I think we should open our homes, but I’ll never be like my mom who lights up like the 4th of July when people are coming to her house. I pin all kinds of party ideas on Pinterest because they look like they would be such FUN parties to attend…but the reality is that I won’t be doing anything like those grand ideas…at least, not any time soon. ;-)

    In other WM (William Morris, NOT Wal-Mart) news…the office is coming along nicely and I’m happy to link up an update today! The Great Purge of 2012 is also going well, and I’m continually stunned by how much stuff I had stored all over the place that.I.NEVER.USED.BUT.I.HAD.TO.HAVE. Sad. I would rather have afforded a trip to Europe by now. That’s what I look at my donation pile and say…”You could have been Europe”.

    • Jules says:

      “You could have been Europe.”

      +200 points.

      We just bought a dining room table, as I mentioned. The search took us years, mainly because I was trying to find something in our small budget. Along the way, I bought 39483848 placeholders that were too small, too cheap, or too ugly. Had I been patient and not bought them, we could have bought Oprah’s dream table with all the money I would have saved. In the end, I plunked down good money for a table that will last us years, which is what I should have done all along.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I still say your living room looks very swanky sexy. I love seeing the picture of the mister as a kid. I have to say though that If someone asked me to pick out his childhood picture I wouldn’t have picked it. I just don’t really see him in that picture for some reason.

    • Jules says:

      He is so weird when it comes to pictures! I don’t think he looks like himself in ANY picture. I guess part of that is because he is so uncomfortable in front of the camera. I mean SO uncomfortable. But, yes, as a child and teenager, every other picture looks like a different person.

  3. Ris says:

    @Carrie: We’re saving HARD for a summertime trip to Europe right now and every single thing I buy (even items like extra salad dressing!) I think to myself “Is this essential? Do I need it more than I need that money in my Europe account?” I’ve been surprised at how drastically our spending is reduced when I approach buying in that way!

    • Jules says:

      I completely agree. We are saving up for a china cabinet, and I am 49% there. I question every purchase I make, and it makes such a difference! I’m hoping some other stuff I have on craigslist sells to push me over the top.

    • @Ris: Right now our financial goals are 1) Pay off the mortgage within the next 16 months, 2) Finish work on a rental property that we purchased, gutted, and then left-for-dead for the last year. I’ve totally taken on the mindset you talked about when I shop…”Do I really need this thing that will end up in a yard sale, or do I want to be mortgage-free?” Once those two goals are met, we’re saving for Europe. No more extra junk to take care of for me, I’m aiming high! :-) Best of luck with your Europe fund and thanks for the encouragement!!

  4. Ms. Amy says:

    I desperately miss Craigslist. Yes, we “have” it in our area, but it’s more like a Yankee Swap than the fabulous online thrift store it is in big cities.

  5. Susan G says:

    Your comment about wrapping supplies reflects my approach perfectly. Our 80-year-old house has very little storage; consequently I had stuff of the same category stashed wherever it would fit all over the place. The result? I ended up with MORE of that stuff than I needed. So my approach begins with “consolidate”. I went around and got all the sheets and blankets from all the various places I had them stored, piled them up (consolidation), was shocked at what I had (that isn’t an official part of the process), got rid of some of it (culled), and then put it away in a place (or in some cases legitimately places) that made sense. (At the time I had a list of “c” words for the steps, as alliteration makes me happy, but I’m blanking right now.) Anyway, I’ve used that approach several times already this year and it seems to be working. The shock may not be an official part but it sure is effective – putting all the “stuff” together is the best way for me to get rid of some of it. And then the realization that in a home with bad storage I could end up with EXTRAS because I had it all over the place – that was big. So – thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Agh, I have several of those laundry baskets filled with stuff emptied from some other organizing project. They’re all cluttering up the basement (which I’ve been avoiding because I need to replace a bunch of flourescent tubes so I can SEE down there). I guess if I want to finish the pretty stuff (sew some pillow covers with my pretty new fabric!), I’m going to have to deal with those baskets first. Funny how all these projects are intertwined.

  7. I want to see the new table!

    • Jules says:

      I will blog about it soon. I was hoping to finish selling off some other furniture, buying the china cabinet, and having a finished room to show for it, but we’ll see how long it takes!

  8. Wittymermaid says:

    “Now I have too much storage.”
    Only the Devil says things like that.

  9. Teri says:

    I’m new to your blog and I’m really enjoying it. Love the idea of the “William Morris Project”! It’s something I’ve been working on myself without actually “working on it”.

  10. Lisa says:

    I live in a 100+ year old house that has one teeny linen closet and two bedroom closets that do not actually close on a modern size hanger, so I have to say that “too much storage” is a concept I am unfamiliar with. “Too many Ikea wardrobes” is more my speed these days.

    I just got home from Target, having bought a bunch of stuff that could possibly qualify as useful (we are going on a trip! The kids need new swimsuits!) but reading this I am feeling like “no, you really don’t need new swimsuits, take all that crap back to the store, they can squeeze into their old suits.” Counterpoint: they will need new swimsuits by this summer, won’t they? Counterpoint: we are going next week, and they will be useful this summer!

    Arg. Its a constant debate.

    • Jules says:

      Yeah, the 100 year old houses aren’t known for their storage. If you are going to use the swimsuits for the summer, and the old ones don’t fit, I don’t think you are wasting money to buy ahead of the season. It’s smart!

  11. Our old house was virtually closet-less, and now that we live in a ’50s ranch with giant closets and cabinets everywhere, I actually keep more than I need to, just because I have room to put it away. It’s hard to clean out things that you don’t see! Thanks for posting, as always!

  12. I’m not very William Morris-y this week. Our poor apartment feels disorganized and I haven’t even been keeping up with the dishes (normally the dishes are my THING – there can never, ever be dirty dishes in the sink). I need a little shot of energy, I think. And I need to do a round of returns/thrift store drop offs.

    Meanwhile, I’ll live vicariously through you!

    • Jules says:

      I’m feeling out of sorts this week, too. Nicholas is having a birthday party soon, which I’m a little nervous about. More on my mind is the boys’ rooms. THEY ARE A DISASTER. We are tackling them this weekend in hopes that I get my sanity back.

  13. Kelly says:

    I love that fabulous trunk in your living room (and I spy again that coveted tray table in the background). I got nothin’ this week. I HAD something in the works, but it didn’t work out and all I have to show is my return receipt. Hope to be back in the game next Thursday.

    • Jules says:

      That runk was from one of those import trading company store places. We bought it when we first got married. We used to keep our dog supplies in there, then blankets, now it’s stuffed with books! We moved it there during Christmas, but it’s so heavy I haven’t moved it back!

  14. chrissy says:

    i have always lurked and loved your blog but have never felt so inspired as when you share your ‘william morris’ posts. i admire your dedication.

    i made several attempts to add the button to my post but i think blogger may be having a bad day. i promise to continue trying. pinkie swear.

    chrissy

  15. jeanne says:

    I like that piece you sold?! What is the origin and does Leksvik mean something? Never heard the name, term or manufacturer. Also PLEASE tell us about the new dining room table!

    • Jules says:

      What, you mean not everyone knows the IKEA catalog frontwards and backwards? That’s just me? :) Leksvik is the product name for this IKEA buffet. The dining room table is simple, traditional! Nothing fancy. I posted a picture to what it sort of looks like on my FB page, but I’ll do a blog post about it soon!

  16. April says:

    Wow, you are so becoming a pro at this de-cluttering thing! And I can’t wait to hear about that new table!

  17. Karen F says:

    I have maybe 5 laundry baskets like yours of “stuff” (as in “people are coming over! quick, clear the kitchen table!”) in my basement that I have yet to go through. I always feel like the stuff just can’t be that important if I let things go that long, but then when I start going through them, it takes me for-ev-er. I definitely could have the problem of too much storage in my house (it’s a 100 year old house, so we don’t have a ton of closets but we have a large attic and basement) if I just go through everything. It will take forever, but (hopefully) it will get done.

    • Jules says:

      Just do one basket. Or, like another reader did this week, set a timer for 20 minutes. What you do in 20 minutes is what you do and that’s that. No guilt allowed. I feel the same way about folding laundry. I feel like I couldn’t possibly do it in less than 12 hours. But it never takes as long as I anticipate, especially if I have something good to watch on TV.

      • Karen F says:

        good advice! Also, I was thinking of you today when I returned something at Target and another thing via the UPS store – it felt so good!

  18. Pamelotta says:

    I’m so impressed that you cleaned out that basket in one hour! At my house, the basket would have sat there a good two weeks. Or until I needed to dig something out of it!

    Loving this series. I told my husband this morning that I don’t care if the rest of my blog goes to pot, I’ll always try to have something to post for Thursdays. That means that at the end of the year, my house should look very different. Thanks!

    • Jules says:

      Yay! That makes me happy. :)

      If it’s any consolation, I have two baskets of folded laundry in the family room that have been sitting there for two days. I hate laundry.

  19. Monica says:

    You got a cowhide! I have been eyeing one for the office or living room. Are those Lladró figurines in the cabinet? I have a total soft spot for them.
    You are really plugging along. I met my match this week with our entry closet. I thought it would be easy until I starting taking the lids off of the photo boxes. Upon which as mass of “When did I turn old?”, “Was I that thin?” ensued. To make a short story shorter, I am still working on the closet.

    • Jules says:

      Yes and yes! The Lladrós are all from my parents. You can’t see it, but I also have two large ones of the matte variety (they are my favorite style and less popular) in a separate cabinet. I have a soft spot for them, too, because my parents always loved them and collected them.

  20. Alexis says:

    OK, that’s it, you’ve inspired me after 30 plus WM posts… I’m going to start to tackle my stuff. Really, I am, I promise! Have just posted a taster of what I’m up against. I normally read your blog in my reader… and have just come by ‘properly’ for the first time in ages and looked at your ‘unread library’… read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes soon – it’s soooo good. There has just been a brilliant updated/adaptation of the Sherlock series on TV here in the UK and it’s much more enjoyable if you’ve read the stories.

    • Jules says:

      That’s great, Alexis! We’d love to have you aboard. You know, I should read Sherlock. We just watched the movies a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll bet it will be great to compare the books with the movies.

      • Donna says:

        My husband’s been reading an facsimile edition of the stories as they were originally published in the newspaper/magazine, whichever it was

  21. Jenn says:

    This has been a tough week.
    Glad to see that you got another project finished. Impressed that you were able to clean that basket out so quickly. The momentum is really building, you’ll break land-speed records cleaning the boys’ room. Love the photo of the Mr, and there is definitely a resemblance there. Love old photos, and seeing how much and how we resemble each other (who has my nose, and who has Steve’s eyes, who takes after my father…).

    • Jules says:

      It’s been a tough week for me, too. I think it’s the weather. Blah. I doubt VERY MUCH I will be as fast with the boys’ rooms. They are absolute disasters.

  22. Liz says:

    Chiming in as another reader impressed by the speed with which you emptied that basket. My childhood was filled with, “people are coming over, clear off the table/counter. Just throw it in a shopping bag/laundry basket!” There are STILL grocery bags filled with old paperwork in my parents house. Yikes!

    Can’t wait to see the new table/finished dining room!

    • Jules says:

      The new dining room is going to take a while. We need to save for a rug, new china cabinet (49% there! Maybe more if we sell something this weekend!), window treatments. Huh. Now that I think about it, I might as well share it bit by bit, because who knows when it will be done!

  23. May says:

    I never heard of a Leksvik but I think I am in love! I hope it found a really good home.

    Amazing! You are on such a roll. I have something to post tomorrow (I hope, I hope!). Just couldn’t get it all done today. Even at that I am so encouraged by how well the Wm. Morris Project is keeping me motivated and accomplishing things. Thank you for thinking of it!

    • Jules says:

      It did! A young couple bought it, and they loved it. Just what they were looking for. I’m so glad the project is motivating you! It does the same for me, too. :)

  24. Amy says:

    Funny story . . . I read your post and then got sidetracked with all the links. I forgot to comment on your post! :)

    Needless to say, the 24-hour turnaround is quite impressive. And the photo of The Mister. . . priceless!

  25. Cara says:

    Jules-I used an image off of your blog and then linked up…is that okay?? :) My whole thought process on the beautiful and useful is a little different right at this moment….so I linked up different AND my post might be a bit different. LOL If you don’t like that I used the image the way I did, let me know! I wanted the whole quote on my blog though….

  26. William says:

    Hmm? How should I apply that Morris advice?
    How many is too many beautiful/useful things? …too many artworks? …too many tools?
    What of things that were useful, could be useful again, but aren’t in use right now?
    What of purchased but unused space that might be storage space?

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.