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We Need Help: Prepare yourselves... (insert screaming face)

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Jun 09, 2013, 01:55 PM
We Need Help: Prepare yourselves... (insert screaming face)
So, I'm terrified to even show you pictures of the nightmare that is our house right now. We have SO MUCH STUFF, and nothing seems to fit anywhere, and... blah...

So if you are a regular, you might know we bought that antique roll top desk that is a beast... My husband loved it. We needed a place to keep all our paperwork, files, etc. Yet... We're the, "Let's buy it, oh shoot we have no where to put it," kind of people. And guess what? No where to put it.

And the place it is now is just terrible, temporary, and it's not useable. We need it in the upstairs part of our house and not in the lower "den/living room," to really use it effectively. But where? Our kids are super attached to "their" couch arrangements. They each have a couch, and really lay claim to them. Before we had kids, we used the lower, step down room all the time, and never used the upper living room attached to the kitchen. After kids, we never, ever use the lower room. I mean we never go down there. And we have the big TV, surround sounds, that nice comfy couch, the recliner which was displaced by the desk... We also have storage space for toys or anything else, that we aren't using right now.

The way I clean is to pull every single thing out: I mean all the toys, all the clutter, and stuff and then organize it and find homes for everything. Right how everything has a home, and we still have that storage space to use... And now a big desk... We're totally baffled... The house is a mess... We want to cry... We're fools, it's true... So... Here are the two rooms in all their trashed out, huge mess, Joanna's crazy and pulling everything apart, glory. What in the heck can we do with that desk?

1. Looking down stairs to lower living room #2. The stairs a stupidly shaped by the way, and it's a lame set up. DH's dad designed the house and it's a stupid design. We could change the stair configuration... My DH built the bookshelves and all that himself, but we could modify...

Jun 09, 2013, 01:56 PM
Looking down at the insanity of stuff...

Jun 09, 2013, 01:59 PM
Standing where the recliner is now, and won't recline of course, with back to french door, you see the stairs. (Okay, we never planned on leaving the railing like that with the wood half wall, then the top railing thing so didn't finish painting it, when it was hidden by this old built in. We wanted to rip it all off and put in a regular railing, or new stairs... Or something...

Jun 09, 2013, 02:00 PM
Standing in corner 1, we can call it. Where the under stairs storage is (in previous picture), looking at what we can call corner 3. (Corner 2 is at bottom of stairs, with desk right now. This room used to look nice... Frown

Jun 09, 2013, 02:01 PM
Corner 2.

Jun 09, 2013, 02:02 PM
Looking down at french door wall.

Jun 09, 2013, 02:06 PM
Okay: Here's the other living room... Again, it's a big ol' mess. If you are a regular you might remember we have a little built in playhouse the kids can climb up into, with a surprising amount of space and storage in there.

Straight on, as you come in door from "entryway." (The entryway is stupid by the way, stupid design. It serves it's purpose. You come in the regular door and come up stairs to the landing and the glass door behind me when I took picture. Or, you can stay on the same level as the main door, and there is some good space, and then the a couple stairs to the basement.

Jun 09, 2013, 02:07 PM
Another angle... The chair is usually in place, not pulled back like that... We're just... sigh...

Jun 09, 2013, 02:09 PM
Wow, that last one looked fabulous. My son put sticky notes on the wall that "mean something" and he doesn't want me to take them off. He is also only 6, and just looks like he's 10.

Here is the view from with back to little window.

Jun 09, 2013, 02:11 PM
My daughter is sick (previous pic... bucket, ice pack). The coffee table is what you see in the foreground, just covered with junk right now.

This picture is standing next to bottom of the stairs in the previous pic.

Jun 09, 2013, 02:14 PM
(Okay, I'm super embarrassed, but you all understand... What a mess! All the knick-knack stuff was placed around my my daughter. She likes to "decorate."

Sight from stairs... The huge wicker trunk thing was stuck there by my husband to make room for his desk in the other room. It is not staying there and I have stubbed my toe on it a million times.

Jun 09, 2013, 02:16 PM
Okay, what in the heck do you do with this area? I like to just leave it open, no stuff at all so we can breathe, but then the kids got an easel for Christmas... The windows are floor to ceiling. (Our house is passive solar).

Jun 09, 2013, 02:17 PM
We have this storage space in kitchen, under stairs, currently full of junk. As I organize the "stuff" the stuff I don't know what to do with goes here temporarily. There is a lot of space in both of these cupboards (my husband built all that too) to store things.

Jun 09, 2013, 02:21 PM
And this is under the stairs in the lower living room. A lot of storage space that is unused right now.

(Previous picture: The two bigger doors, you can see one closed, are chalk boards. Kids love them... The bigger door houses recycling, vacuum, broom, etc. My kids also love sticky notes right now... The sticky notes on the door depict: 1. "Our family tree" [daughter], 2. "Also some aliens" [son]).

Jun 09, 2013, 02:25 PM
Okay... That's it... Do you want to bang your head against a wall?

As I look at these, I see that we need to get rid of that half wall thingy on the stairs going down to living room. It's silly. We just didn't know what we wanted to do there.

We aren't attached to the multitude of chairs everywhere. (Oh, and there are more. My favorite, a green one that used to sit on the alter of a local Catholic church [my beloved Grampy John gave it to me], that you might remember used to be in one of the rooms, is now just in storage. Grrr...

We have an abundance of other furniture, and all this stuff you see... I mean, it's endless. We need help!
Jun 09, 2013, 02:27 PM
Take heart, you are NOT EVEN CLOSE to being a candidate for the Hoarders TV show. Smile

Your "lived in" home reminds me of growing up with lots of kids and stuff everywhere; which is why my mother would just shake her head and tell us "This is we can't have NICE things in the house."

One step at a time, jovt. One step at a time. I am not even going to give you any specific advice; just my sympathies.
Jun 09, 2013, 02:35 PM
Oh, thank you aychihuahua! Yes, that's exactly it: "This is why we can't have nice things!" Our twins are 6. I clean, they unclean. We do that every day. I can say, as I organize, we have places for things, so they can easily be cleaned up, and we have more space to store stuff we aren't even using... Yet I didn't clean up or store stuff for the pictures... Because... Sigh... I'm too tired today, with two sick kids, and don't know what the heck to do anymore.

I did pull stuff out into the middle of the rooms and all that, today... But the toys pulled out, etc... that's normal.
Jun 09, 2013, 03:59 PM
Jovtfam4,THANK YOU for showing a real LIVED in home with kids.Mine looked worst this weekend with my 5&7 yr.old grandkids.LOL.They went home late last night.My grands were riding their razor scooter in the house.It was fun but then I got enough and made them put it in the garage.LOL.

Everyones home has looked like this.It is a real home and you have young kids.Do not be ashamed of showing it.You have a very pretty home.I'd love to have 2 livingrooms.You have tons of storage space and nooks & crannys.Love it.just think we clean and yes the mess it up.That even goes with grands too.But with grandkids it's ok.My grand love to clean up,just not their rooms.

I buy somethings in spur of the moment and need it and then have to reconfigure the whole house too.Just ask my DH,LOL.

How about putting the 2 chairs in last livingroom side by side facing the tv with small table between the chairs.Then put desk in that corner,either flat or angled.That way kids have their couches and you & DH can sit side by side and all watch tv.DOes kids go use the other room?Or is it office for you & DH?Move chair to bedroom and place desk where chair was.
Jun 09, 2013, 04:04 PM
It's hard when your children are that age and like to be with you all of the time to create a serene environment. That won't last much longer, maybe two or three years. By the time they are nine or ten, they are spending more time in their rooms and off at after-school activities. At that point, much of the kid clutter disappears and you can have a more organized, cohesive design. Until then, breathe and enjoy the closeness of the little ones.
Jun 09, 2013, 04:25 PM
Thank everyone. I know, I did give in to the fact that this is how it's going to be for a few more years at least. I'm more exponentially more sad that my babies are growing up so quickly, than having a messy house, of course. They just grew up in such a flash. I joined this message board when I was a stay at home mom with them and they were just a little over one year old. Wow...

Let's be honest, our kids use any part of the house they darn well feel like! My son had all his Legos down in the lower living room for over a year, and then he was down there a whole lot. My husband moved them up to his bedroom, but I think kids should have their toys where they can play with them and interact with us, and maybe we should bring them back down. He doesn't play with them half as much now that they are upstairs, and he loves Legos.

We are open to moving things anywhere and using any space for anything. Do you mean move the desk over in front of the bookshelves in the lower living room, when you say where the chairs are? I like the idea of having the two chairs next to each other in the living room upstairs and we tried that, and it was really nice, but (Hey sound familiar?) we moved one to the corner so the kids could use their scooters and run around with less obstruction this winter. Smile We don't use the woodstove ever, but it's nice to have if there were a big emergency. I thought of putting the desk under the TV in the upper living room, but the husband says there wouldn't be room for the TV then, and we'd have to move that, blah, blah... The dresser under the TV now, is just storage for kids stuff, like art supplies, toys, blocks...
Jun 09, 2013, 05:13 PM
If this was my home,I would like the desk in lower smaller livingroom.That way it's more of an office library quiet area.But I would also like it in upper room too.I was meaning move the desk upper room by the tv & mini window corner.

Ok this might sound weird and not normal.LOL
How tall is the back side of desk?
Ok,in upper larger room,if the 2 chairs are beside each other facing the tv.Could the desk go behind them.Kinda as a divider with back of desk facing the backs of chairs.Then you can place a small lamp on the desk for added light at chairs.And have desk for bills ect.

Just my weird thought.LOL...I have to visual see how things are placed.DOnt change it for me.Just a thought,ok.I change my rooms a lot.But hey I can say that is exercise.LOL

This message has been edited. Last edited by: jackierenette,
Jun 09, 2013, 05:52 PM
I love it when people put furniture back to back like that and create little separate spaces. The back of the desk is lovely too, because it used to face the customers at the pharmacy. There isn't a lot of room with the chairs and then the door coming in... Although, if we slid the big couch down the wall towards the window... Hmmm... But then you would walk in the house and see a rolltop desk, boom, right there.

I like the desk downstairs too, although I've always thought that now that the kids are older, they should inhabit that space more, and then when we have company, and they have a mess, we can just shut that door! Wink I don't know... We shouldn't have bought the desk, really. It was a weak moment on our part. We have entirely too much furniture.

It wouldn't fit in that corner... Unless we move the room around entirely. We have rearranged that upper living room at ton of times too, and what we have now is what seems to be the best so far... But, it has had many different arrangements. When my husband made the built-in bookshelves and TV area downstairs, we really couldn't arrange anything any different than how was before we plunked the desk in there. And it was okay, we liked it... Of course we never really, ever watch TV down there and it has the nicest TV setup... We're weird.
Jun 09, 2013, 06:51 PM
lady of shallot
I don't have any specific advice except to say that things don't look nearly as bad as you are describing them. Your house looks lived in and comfortable if a bit crowded.

Of course I come from the dark ages where a kid would not declare that he or she has a right to their "own" couch. That is one issue. I also see two t.v.s that need seating. Why is that necessary? My dd raised two kids with one t.v. in the l.r.

They now have one in their bedroom that DSIL and DGD play those video games on, but not when the kids were six.

You have four people in your family. You have at least seven seating places in the "upper" living room. In this instance I would remove, hide, store the love seat by the stairs. Put the desk there. Have the sick child lay on the sofa and her brother sit in one of the chairs.

Store, sell, move etc the chair in the downstairs living room or get rid of that t.v. or move it to a bedroom, wouldn't the desk fit where the console/bookcase piece is now?

If you have two t.v.'s on at the same time how can you hear either?

Don't worry we all over indulge in furnishings if they sort of fall in our laps.

Actually I guess I do have specific advice. Oh, well as Emerson said "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds!"

This message has been edited. Last edited by: lady of shallot,
Jun 09, 2013, 10:27 PM
Ah, yes, I agree LOS. We don't ever use the TV downstairs, even though it is the biggest one in the house. We kind of ended up with two "living rooms" because I wanted the kids upstairs when they were little, near the kitchen. Our bedroom is on the first floor, so when they were newborns, the twins had their changing table and dresser and all that right in the living room. With the way we had it set up, it looked nice. It was baby central for a little over a year...

We/they got used to using that space more often. As a family we use it to read books together, and sometimes have "picnics" on the big coffee table, but it's primarily used by those monkeys. The only people who EVER watch tv in the upper living room are the kids. The DVR only has PBS shows recorded (and Modern Marvels, History Channel - Michael loves that stuff), and we have it set to only show a few channels. Is that weird that we have a kid TV? We're probably weird.

Anyway, that upper living room kind of became their space, their little snuggle spots, and since they were toddlers Stella kind of claimed the loveseat as her own special spot. She's very sentimental about things, but when she was little, she was just a magpie. She would collect things under the pillow, and keep all her special things on her own little couch. As she got older, she started to decorate her own couch, with pillows and blankets. Michael doesn't have a care about it in the world about where he sits or lays down.

Before they were born, we used the lower room all the time. It's great for watching movies, etc. If we ever have time to watch a movie, we do use the lower room. That's where we had all our board games and stuff too. The desk just added another big thing to a house with already one too many things. (I have to say, my husband builds a lot of our furniture, or we get it for free... He has a friend who gets rid of stuff [like that huge Pier 1 wicker trunk) all the time and Sam always says he'll take it no matter what]). We just need to haul out the house. I am sick of all the extra furniture. Although we are slowly moving things around and making sure each piece we have has multiple functions for us.

The desk would be perfect against the stairs, if we totally did a life-change and made the kids use the lower living room. It's just not natural to us right now. My husband and I only watch TV in bed (I know, it's supposed to be a terrible thing for the bedroom). We never sit and watch TV during the day unless we are sick or something like that.

Our newest idea is to change where you enter the living room, get rid of the french doors, which we never, ever use unless we are moving furniture into that room (and goodness knows we need to stop doing that), with big windows, have the stairs come down along that wall, where the windows would replace the door, from the corner of the upper living room... Then, close off the other doorway, rip out those stairs, and make an office on that side of the room. We both have jobs that require some sort of office, we realize, and we've never had one.

Oh, so that would mean my husband would move his built in bookshelves and console to the other side of the room and the couch to the other which will now be where the stairs are...

Yeah, that's how we think... "Let's remodel our house to accommodate our new desk."
Jun 09, 2013, 10:43 PM
I don't think things are at all as bad as you feel they are.

What I see is a lot of kid clutter. One thing that worked for my family was we had whole family declutter time at the end of each day. After dinner, we took 5 minutes and picked up our own stuff. The kids knew that if they didn't put their things away it was a signal to me that they no longer wanted what they left out - and I could throw it away. It gets to be a good habit.

The next thing I notice is that you have some nice furniture. It seems though, that you might be "finding a spot" for the pieces instead of "sticking to a plan to find the furnishings you need to complete a room".

Take some time to think out how to best use the spaces in your home, and include some areas for adult activities (the desk) that don't include play areas (with toys).

Not that you would actually do this, but I have a vision as I look through your pictures of emptying every room, and placing everything outside in your yard. Then deciding how to use the spaces. I would then love to "shop" from your things to put together nice rooms, and then everything else that is leftover gets taken to a charity shop, or put in the trash. You definitely have the makings of a beautifully furnished home in all the jumble!

By the way... having raised 4 children myself, I know how fast a house can fall apart when they are "busy". Just accept that and do the best you can. Mine are all grown and gone now, and I have a perfectly tidy house, and I think I would rather have the noise and the struggle to manage the mess that came with my little ones.
Jun 09, 2013, 11:23 PM
Thank you cocok, we are terrible about keeping things and just buying things because they have a story, or history. The desk was from a local pharmacy, from the early 1900's, and my dad remembers it being there, when he went to get malted shakes or something like that. Wink

We do try to clean up the clutter, and the kids know where things go and it's not hard for them to do it, but actually getting them to do it before bedtime as a routine... Wow, we need to do that for sure. It always seems easier for me to clean the next day, when they are at school. They are great kids, not spoiled, and will help if we ask them to. They like to clean, and I try to make it fun and stuff...

But gosh darn it, we have so much stuff. I would love to empty the rooms completely and start over, one piece at a time. I wouldn't know what to do, totally, though. We seriously have so much lovely furniture that is in storage, (don't know if you can see it in the pic, but near where the desk is now, there's a deep shelf and a door and those both open revealing an very large storage space with low ceilings. It is full, from back to front, (and it's big) with furniture, rugs, bins of fabric, bins of other stuff like picture frames, art, lamps, (Tons of baby stuff)... If we could pull all of that out, all the rooms out and just start from scratch, it would be Heavenly.

Hmmmm... We need professional help, I think!

I'll keep you all posted. If I find a stretch of good weather, one weekend, I might be posting a picture of all our furniture in our yard... And then empty rooms... And me saying, "Oh no, what now!"
Jun 10, 2013, 04:51 PM
lady of shallot
Stella kind of claimed the loveseat as her own special spot. She's very sentimental about things

I don't know who I am to talk Jov, my grandkids are now 17 and 20 and I still have all their toys and books in the attic and fear to change them because the 5 or 6 days A YEAR they are here they want things to be the same!

I think Cocok has some really good advice, I never thing in such expansive terms.

This bookcase completes the set up in our d.r., one desk, one china closet, one table, 6 chairs, and a tea cart. The bookcase no way fits there in any way, wood, room etc. DH practically cries when I mention moving it. So we all have our road blocks in arranging furniture.

We did finally get rid of the doll house DH brought home from the town swap shop. Why do we need a dollhouse? Luckily gave it to a 2yr old neighbor.

It is hard when people give you things or you find free things.

Jun 11, 2013, 10:14 AM
Beau's Rose

Your posts reminds me of those days with toys and "stuff" from our kiddies too. The time flies so quickly and you will be wondering where the babies have gone. My last one just flew the nest so we are at a different place now. Treasure every day with them.

It is hard to organize spaces if you are the only one on board with it. Then it's even harder if you are dealing with space issues for your belongings. As my DH tells me** the house isn't going to grow bigger** LOL. So that meant I had to part with some stuff.

I often refer back to the "flylady" concepts when overwhelmed with tasks. She has some ideas that were helpful for me in similar situations. If you can find a balance that works for you and your family that is key.

Is there any room for the easel in their play room? Would that work for you? Is there one wall where all the book shelves could be placed? Could they be painted all one color? Art work could be arranged above them to fill any differences in their sizes.

Most of all be kind to yourself and know you are not alone in this decorating dilemma. Good Luck!

~Like sands through the hourglass
~So are the days of our lives
Jun 11, 2013, 10:15 AM
Don't sweat it. Your home looks lived in, homey and obviously your children are comfortable.

Trust me, you'll get through it, they will grow up and you will have your clean house back Smile

Jun 11, 2013, 11:51 AM
You have happy, playful children and a lot of nice things. I think you're doing everything right!

But if the clutter is getting to you, maybe it's time to consider a storage unit for a few of the pieces you love but don't have room for. And there's always the attic or the rafters in the garage for storing a few boxes of treasures.
Jun 11, 2013, 10:06 PM
Aw, you all are too kind. Well, we made a big decision, and thank you LOS and cocok for making us think differently: We stopped thinking about our stuff "stuff," and instead thought about how we want to live. We don't need two TVs or two TV rooms. We don't ever use the lower room, which is really cozy when it's all set up normal and nice (no desk shoving all the other furniture into a mess), because we have the TV upstairs. We used the lower room before we had children because it was the only room which housed a TV! Duh. I'm slapping my own forehead.

In addition, we talked to the kids and we all decided the upstairs living room does not need a TV. We will pull the furniture in that room into a more intimate and conversational setup, which will be nice for playing board games, and reading books together. They also have their playhouse up there, and all of their books, and they have toys in the playhouse in baskets that they can pull out, but can easily be put back away when they are done. So often one would want to watch TV and the other would abandon his or her dolls, action figures, or blocks to watch TV too. Then we'd get the "I wasn't done with my game, mommy, I can't pick it up yet." We'll have kids who can play and not be distracted by the TV! If they want to watch TV, they can go downstairs. No background noise or distractions for anyone upstairs and we can easily limit the TV consumption that way.

We're going to move the desk upstairs, probably against the stair wall so we can conveniently file paperwork and not throw it all on the kitchen island.

We had never really considered the fact that we had two rooms set up for exactly the same purpose. Honestly, I know that sounds stupid. And we kept wondering why we only used one living room...

You all are the best on here. I do treasure my babies, and I already feel the pangs of them growing up much too quickly, as they leave kindergarten in just a few days. It's been a source of great sadness for me, but I know I have to focus on them now, in the present -- enjoying every moment with them -- and not spend my time mourning the time that has already passed us by.

(Photo 3 1/2 years ago)
I never thought I'd miss the cheerios all over the floor...

Jun 11, 2013, 10:08 PM
And the tea parties...

(Stella at 2 1/2 already developing her look of disapproval for her brother's scandalous lack of propriety).

Jun 11, 2013, 10:15 PM
And boom, first day picture, and now the year is already over... Wow.

I'll take updated pictures of our "new" rooms. We are going to take everything out, like cocok said (or as much as we can) and just clean everything completely, and then place things back one at a time as we go.

My daughter will also be redesigning her bedroom, apparently, inspired by our talk of moving stuff around downstairs. Should be fun! Wink

Jun 12, 2013, 09:49 AM
Awww, cute kids Jo. And yes, they do grow up too fast. I can't believe my granddaughter is going to be two soon, it seems like she was just born!

Anyway, I'm glad to hear you've come to a decision regarding your rooms and I can't wait to see what you do with them. It does really make sense to have one room as the "play" room and one for just t.v. It should keep the toys and games to at least one of those rooms right? Storage spaces like a coffee table that has drawers for instance, can also serve as a place to play games or draw or build legos. Wall units can hold books, etc.

Good luck and have fun Smile

Jun 15, 2013, 05:58 PM
I actually like your house,it look homey and your kids look happy. Maybe have a garage sale to get rid of some extras but it looks kinda boho chic to me!
Jun 16, 2013, 07:44 AM
Originally posted by jovtfam4:
If I find a stretch of good weather, one weekend, I might be posting a picture of all our furniture in our yard... And then empty rooms... And me saying, "Oh no, what now!"

Nice family, Jo, and homey spaces!

Was thinking when reading your initial posts that pulling everything out would be your best option.

To avoid the "What now?" possibility, you might want to measure your major furniture pieces (any definite keepers) and also do scale drawings of your rooms before taking the plunge. Simple software programs are available for this purpose.

Good luck with your project!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: AguaBella,
Jun 24, 2013, 10:05 AM
AguaBella! Yes, we do need to do that. Luckily, we have had nice weather these past weekends, but we were otherwise occupied--setting up our "pool" (Those really big blow up versions of pools are worth every penny!), celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary.

I was giddy about pulling everything outside, but realized the disaster that was my husband and I trying to make a decision with our twins running around. We need a bit of a plan first before pulling everything out.

Thank you for the compliments. You know, our house does look nice when it's clean and stuff! We just need to pare it down, and made better decisions when it comes to purchasing (or accepting free) furniture.