Things are in turmoil at my house right now. We are not talking your run-of-the-mill after-Christmas jumble of wrapping paper and ribbons. No, no. Topsy-turvy. Utter chaos. For those of you who think this is the normal state of things, I will add, more so than usual. Okay, not like it used to be back in the day, but it feels like it’s getting there.
What’s happening? Well, we are happily renting our basement to our friend Greg. He will be staying here for a year or so, and keeping our house lived-in while we are in Europe. This is good. Very, very good. We are glad to have him at last.
The difficulty, though, lies in what Peter Walsh calls “The Math.” He says if you have shelf space for 100 books and you have 99 books, no problem. If you have shelf space for 100 books and you have 102 books, you have a problem.
I have a problem.
Our house tops out somewhere over 3,000 square feet. I know this is insanely large and I am constantly apologizing for it. We succumbed to the lure of the Good Deal. We were looking at two other houses in the neighborhood (both in the far-more-reasonable 2,000 square foot range) when this baby popped up on the MLS with 1,000 more square feet for less money. Anyone who knows David and Lori knows that those kids like themselves a Good Deal. We could save money and have more space? Sold! The house hit the market at 10 pm on a Sunday night and we had seen it and put down the earnest money by 10 am on Monday morning.
So, tons of space, right? What’s the problem? Ah, you must take into account the dark side of loving a Good Deal. For fifteen years, whenever we found something for an amazing price, we would buy it.
Our daylight basement, which we are now renting to Greg, accounts for over 1,000 of our house’s square feet, and it was full. To the brim. With stuff. When I say full, I mean it. Besides an apartment’s worth of furniture (sofa, loveseat, coffee and end tables, a big old-fashioned entertainment center holding a big old TV and a stereo, a table and chairs, two bookcases filled with books, a bed, nightstand and dresser) that basement was home to a foosball table, 3,000 record albums, about 1,000 CDs, and more DVDs and videos than your local video store. Stored in the three closets were more books, over 300 European-style board games, boxes and boxes of fabric and crafting stuff, and a lifetime supply of Creative Memories scrapbook supplies. (Any other former CM consultants know exactly what I am talking about here.) All acquired at very good prices, and all neatly stored, but pretty much everywhere.
Don’t worry. We don’t shop like that anymore. We have seen the light. This is what we have been working for the last six months to purge. We’ve been making slow but steady progress, but the sheer mass of stuff to deal with is daunting. Short of a house fire or a robbery, I can’t think of any way to make it go any faster.
Oh, wait! Yes, I can! I can rent out the basement!
Yep. This is where The Math comes in. Did you know it is difficult to fit 3,000 square feet of goods into 2,000 square feet of space? (Now you do!) We keep bringing stuff upstairs, but all the rooms were pretty full already. Now we are stacking it everywhere. The garage is filled with boxes of stuff we have decided to get rid of, but the lure of the Good Deal makes us want to have a garage sale instead of giving it all to Goodwill. (Although since so much of it came from Goodwill, perhaps that would be appropriate.) In November, we made $750 selling stuff on eBay, so our bedroom is filled with stuff we think we can make eBay money on so that we have more money for our trip.
Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. I think I will go eat ice cream for stress-reduction purposes and watch my Blazers beat the Lakers (fingers crossed!).
Okay, I am back. We beat them in all senses of the word. We now have the best record in the Western Conference. We are very happy.
I got off my train of thought (and I am sleepy), so I think I will close this with an unstaged look at some other rooms in their current tidy state so you won’t think we should apply for Hoarders. Here’s the living room:
… and here’s the kitchen. David walked in to rinse dishes right as I took the picture. I warned him he would be in it and he was glad, so here he is:
- I’m grateful! for the Blazer win… and for Charles finding my lost earring.
- I’m lighter! I got rid of 22 books and 45 DVDs tonight. By “got rid of,” I mean “put in a box to leave the house at some point.” They are not actually gone yet, but at least I have broken up with them.