Head Space - with Smart Storage

Update: August 2014
I looked up this old post because I've been thinking about getting some more "Smart Storage" and I wanted to send the link to them.

I was very amused to find the post was dated in August too. (August is the longest non-school month in the Northern Hemisphere) 

What is it about staying home with kids for the summer that inspires us to want to organise our home and possessions?

For me its about control. When life feels a bit messy, it helps to get a grip on what you can control. I've noticed that my kids become most rigid in their behavior when there is an aspect of life that they find challenging, like a change of classroom or teacher in school. I know I consciously look things to move and tidy in my home, when what I really need to tidy is my brain. This year I sorted Liam's massive video and DVD collection on to home made shelves in the attic.

And it works. Those neatly stacked shelves are a metaphor for the re-organisation of my work/life balance and social business plan. I am going to put a few things away (in those new attic drawers!) but I think it will add clarity to my real purpose. The thing I most want to do.

So back to August 2010:

This summer was supposed to be a good one! We've had 4 really ordinary ones in a row so I was willing it to be sunny enough to sit out in the sun re-reading my favourite book. I love re-reading because you can put it down easily, every time you need to go butter toast or clean up cereal (or worse) then pick up easily.
Summer didn't work out that way so for the sake of my mental health I resorted to that stalwart of closure and control; Home Improvements.

Seriously, when I am stressed and feeling pulled apart and jagged and frazzled and caught up in a Tsunami of behavioural amplification that happens during any long holiday from our Blessed School,  I find clearing things out, moving furniture and finding new places to put things to be immensely comforting.

It must be something to do with taking control and seeing a project to fruition from start to finish that refreshes my mind and keeps me sane enough to get through a few more days. I'm not being flippant here. I am seriously conscious of maintaining strong mental health. In any situation where you run at a constant level of unusual stress, your body actually becomes accustomed to using a lot of adrenaline. And you have to find a safe way to wind down.

When we rented I use to move furniture around because what we owned didn't always fit what we were renting. As a home owner I have stopped that most of the time - partly because it freaks the kids out and partly because I have eventually bought the right stuff to actually suit the house we have.

But a couple of times of year I might decide to replace stuff, move other stuff around and then work out better places to put stuff. And this is what I have been up to this year.

Boo took over the Attic almost completely, so we moved Gracie into his corner bedroom, and I took over the smallest room to be my office/spare room. I've been making little trips to Ikea with measuring tapes and then returning home to rip out skirting boards and adapt the spare bed gaining another ten centimetres of space for my planned new wardrobe.

Downstairs, I cleared all this crap out from under the stairs and put it in the bathroom:

While a nice polish fellow called Eddiss came to our house for an afternoon and 'e did this -:

This is how they are supposed to look.
Yes folks, I actually clicked on one of those ads that pop up on facebook which for once it wasn't Breast Aug or Hair Removal - and I bought it.

And now I'm spending many happy hours rearranging all the things that are stored there.

(while sneaking a lot of the other stuff down to Vinnies in Greystones

Update: 4 years later this is how they really look:

Top drawer is the "swimming" drawer at the moment. I keep the Mia Tui Amelie in there with all the hats, membership tags etc ready for our daily swim at Shoreline in Greystones. Hooks on the back of the toilet door have our dressing gowns drying. I like a one stop shop for getting in and out of the house for daily activities. Nothing gets forgotten that way.
In Autumn winter this drawer becomes the Scarf and Hat place. 

Bottom drawers show the boots. There are two layers of boots in the back drawer as those that are resting for the summer are hidden at the bottom. We love our Blunnies and RM boots and the drawer has the height to store those easily. The front drawer shows my Tool box (MY toolbox, not my husband's) and bits of DIY crap. I also keep some trans-seasonal shoes there, away from the muddy boot drawer. All our summer shoes are in an "active" shoe storage unit at the front door. 


Anonymous said…
Wow. I wish my stressed-out default was home improvement. I usually just pout. Those under-stairs drawers are SO COOL, though! I adore anything that resembles secret compartments.
Jean said…
I am so with you on the house re-arranging thing. It's become a bit of a running joke in our family.
My thing is to re-arrange where everything is stored in the kitchen, so basically no-one can ever find anything.
I just feel so much better when I have something in my life in order.
Nutty, but true.
Those storage units are the envy of every OCD mammy in the country (principally, me) XXX
Petunia said…
You have brought out my green eyed monster lol... I sooooo want one of those cupboards under my stairs!! Unfortunately my dream of living clutter free in a white house with simplistic lines is never going to come to fruition but hey, I can always ogle others attempts to declutter :) xx
K.Line said…
LOVE the title, L! Perfect for the post. And I fight stress with home improvement too, as you know. Yet another similarity...

That under-stair storage is fantastic.

I feel for you about the crap summer. Till this summer, we'd lived through 4 crap summers (each one worse than the last). When you add that to our winters, which have also been harsh, it seemed we'd been in purgatory for years.

It sucks tremendously. This summer has been remarkably restorative, for all the challenges of heat and sun (laziness, heat-ick). I'm not complaining, of course. I hope you get a mild winter and a great summer next year. It will do the same for your spirits as this one is doing for mine...

PS Word ver. is ressess - as in "All grownups need a ressess to restore themselves!"
Lisamaree said…
Sal: We had a break in earlier this year (only took gold) and I am seriously considering converting the whole house to secret compartments!

Jeanie: I used to push all the furniture around myself - all my sisters do it. But now I am a bit wiser about self preservation . Maybe I will try doing the kitchen instead?

Petunia: you look fabulous by the way, won't ever be clean lines or minimalist. But clearing stuff out and donating it is very good feng shui for the brain.

K-Line: "ll grownups need a ressess to restore themselves!" yes. And more!!!
jazzygal said…
Those storage drawers are fab! I guess re-arranging things gives you some tangible thing you can actually control.

I wish i could re-arrange. And put things away. My house is as cluttered as my head....or maybe my head is cluttered beacause yhe house is. Seriously, I can't tidy up! I NEED to thow out THEN tidy up. Maybe that's why I lose things. A lot.

Hope you get through the rest of the summer ok. xx Jazzy
Storage solution looks fab :) And this seems a very healthy solution to holiday stress, hope the rest of the summer goes well x
Nan P. said…
Harry Potter in reverse order? As in: going back in time, in childhood? Interresting thought!

The Australian iced coffee sounds nice: can you give more details? I'd love to try it.

And then I am sending you a big Virtual Granny Hug, just to help you keep going for the next few days...
Jen said…
Oh, now I get it. I have gone on a rash of home improvement over the last few months and a good dose of decluttering too, now I know the reason why :) Oh well, extension and new kitchen planned next, I will use my OCD tendencies (ala Jean) and my adrenaline wisely :D

So wanting a set of those unders tairs beauties, bet your wardrobe plans will be even more fab!

Tricia said…
Those drawers are brilliant, if we had stairs I'd so be on it - we are woefully buried in our junk!
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