Storage Wars

Thing about downsizing is that you don’t know how much you really have until you move into a smaller space. We’re onto week three after moving into our condo. Having nearly 1000 square feet less than before…it’s a bit chaotic still.

The kitchen is unpacked and nearly everything fits. I say “nearly” because ideally, I would like all small appliances to be tucked neatly away in some cupboard. Our clothes…wow we have a lot of clothes…are also all hung or folded away into the closet, dresser and storage bin depending on the season. I’ll attempt to coax Skywalker into doing a fourth purge of clothes with me. We’re trying not to turn the second bedroom/office into a storage dumping area either. Still figuring out the linens, but the extra blankets are stowed in under-the-bed boxes. There are all these boxes of miscellaneous knick knacks needing a home too…still not sure about those either.

And then there’s binders and textbooks. Sigh. Why could we not bring ourselves to just recycle these? Well I know why, it’s namely because we spent thousands of dollars getting these paper goods for our education and to chuck it away without getting a dime back is just so anti-Asian-frugal mentality! I know you’re asking why didn’t we sell it right after university…well that’s because bookstores were buying it back for less than 50% of what we paid (read: Bad Deal) and you just never know when you might need to look something up again. I know. Now it’s too late to sell the books back and we’ve found in the last 10 years we haven’t needed to look anything up. Sigh. (Younger readers take note: SELL YOUR TEXTBOOKS ASAP.)

It’s really not as bad as I was initially imagining our storage situation to be though. For that I’m thankful. I was thinking we’d need extensive (and expensive) custom floor-to-ceiling shelving built in our living room. And while some more shelving/cupboards will probably make its way into the condo, I think what we’ll really need to do is to decide whether there is space for something before we buy it. If we can’t envision where it’s going to go, or if we can’t decide on what to give/throw away in order to make room for it, then it’s not coming home with us.

It’s not actually war on storage….but war on consumerism and clutter. Hopefully we’ll win.
Do you have any storage/anti-clutter tips you live by?

Win-Win?

So I continue to realize difference between men and women…nothing horribly new of course, but it’s still somewhat a surprise when I realize it’s happening. And again, this is a broad generalization as I’m sure the reverse situation happens, however based on the shared experiences of various wife-friends, I think there’s a valid observation here.

It’s how guys view time with regards to how long it takes to do something.

We’re down to the last week of packing and cleaning in preparation for our move. I am definitely a little more stressed than Skywalker is about what we’ve got left to do. What I notice is while women immediately think about all the other things that need to get done, as well as contingency plans for all the “what if’s” that might happen, as well as take into consideration moods, motivation and how Murphy’s Law always finds the most inopportune moment to apply itself….it seems men see a task as isolated in its own box. The time it would take to complete is also viewed in its own box. “Cleaning the bathroom – 1 hour; vacuuming – 30 min; mopping – 45 min….easy! We’ve got lots of time.” And so, they take their time.

Certainly I could learn from them in not over complicating simple tasks…but I KNOW life is never lived in isolation of distractions or ever free from varying wrenches that get tossed in my direction. My SIL also shared that even if her husband promises to handle the situation himself, it always impacts her as well. Nothing is EVER in isolation from each other.

The question is, then, how do we balance each other out in this regard? My pushing to get things done earlier stresses him out. Him insisting that we can leave it until later stresses me out. Is there a win-win?

Clutter = Stress

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I had a mini personal revelation: clutter = stress

Generally, I’m not a messy person. Cupboards are organized. The bed is made. The closet is sorted and functional. I fold socks AND underwear and place them in their respective drawers according to category. Everyday comfort wear in the front left. Fun or “specialty” ones in the front right. Last-resort-because-I-need-to-do-laundry ones in the back. Yes this applies to both socks and underwear.

But attempts to organize my desk just doesn’t seem to take. There are all sorts of things I plan to put into folders/boxes/drawers/files…eventually. It’s been over a year since I’ve had my desk and this filing thing still hasn’t happened. I have little piles and stacks of paper everywhere.

A simple part of Graves Disease treatment is to minimize sources of unecessary stress…and this would definitely be unnecessary stress. I just have to look at my desk and feel this low-grade unease spread across my chest. I shared this realization with Skywalker as well as the realization that my cheapness frugal-ness perpetuates this low grade stress. I don’t want to spend the money on filing systems and storage boxes and a desk with drawers when I could be spending it on better things like travel or food. But a nice desk is so pretty! 

Skywalker affirmed that I need to do what I need to do to reduce unnecessary stress. If that means getting a few desk organizing tools then just do it! Well then…don’t have to tell me twice! Heading to Ikea tonight! ……or maybe tomorrow.

Did I mention I’m a procrastinator?

I Wish I Knew…7

…Toilets are not self-cleaning

This one is fun. ha ha. But in seriousness, this is something that could lead to a lot of unnecessary marital strife if it’s not discussed early on. Again, it’s related to your growing up home environment. If it was always your dad cleaning the toilets, you may think your husband lazy for not doing so now…but he might think you’re lazy for not regularly taking out the garbage since his mom has always done it. It boils down to what gender/marital roles you’re familiar with….in combination with what you’re skilled at or enjoy doing. It’s certainly not as rigidly defined as in our grandparent’s day….and this is for the better. =D

Skywalker and I completed an exercise in our premarital course (and I HIGHLY recommend all couples do a premarital course…heck, even pre-engagement is a good idea) that deals exactly with this (and is also recommended in this book) so that there wouldn’t be any surprises later. It goes like this:

  1. Each make a list of EVERYTHING that needs to be taken care of in a home (interior, exterior, budget, maintenance, cleaning, etc)…then combine the list into one big list
  2. Individually go through each item and initial whether you or spouse or both will likely take charge of it
  3. Sit together and go through the list. Share opinions and do negotiations where differences occur.

Revisit the list every now and then because we are constantly changing…and maybe six months or __ years after marriage (especially as you have children or aging parents to care for) you’ll find something’s not working so the roles need to be adjusted. It’s a good reminder for myself that it’s not about splitting the list down 50/50 either….in a previous post about “Counting” it really is about putting in your all to make your marriage and household work.

Looking at Skywalker and I…
First, I TOTALLY appreciate that he’s a clean guy to start with and that we don’t have major discrepancies in definitions of cleanliness to deal with. Second, I’ve mentioned this, we learned he’s actually more thorough in cleaning than me! I totally got schooled in the art of toilet bowl scrubbing….and bathtub scrubbing. He’s got way more cleaning supplies than I did when I lived on my own. I had a swiffer, pinesol spray, glass cleaner spray, toilet brush, scrub sponge and rubber gloves. Skywalker had a swiffer, pinesol spray, lysol spray, windex spray, oxiclean spray, toilet duck, ajax powder, toilet brush, scrub sponge and rubber gloves. Umm…yeah. Well, I’m a much better cleaner now. Third, I bring organization skills to the table. Like arranging pantry and cooking ware for more efficient storage in the kitchen and closets. I’m pushing for additional shelving in the basement next. =) We’ve also successfully done garden work as well as household repairs together. I think we make a great team. (^_^)