I’m Fighting Our Stuff. It’s Winning.

by doodaddy on August 21, 2007

Things always end up where they don’t belong, so I thought of this great system for containing the spread of stuff:


When Boobaby takes off her socks, transplants a toy, or adopts an empty plastic bowl in the living room, I toss it into the “back of the house” basket. There’s also a “front of the house” basket in our bedroom to collect books and bills for the office.

The theory is that once a day or so, I will take the baskets and distribute the out-of-place items back to where they belong: socks in the laundry hamper, toy in the toy basket, bowl in the kitchen cupboard.

In reality, though, I just get out another basket and fill it, too. There are now four baskets in the kitchen filled with various items that variously are out of place (crap, did I not pay that water bill?) or have no place (an old roll of film — where did that come from?). There are three more baskets on the dresser. What started as a time-saving organizational method has turned into — well, a basket aesthetic, I guess.

To illustrate, let me excavate one of the baskets for you — remember, this is merely a quarter of the crap that’s collected in the “front of the house” that belongs in the “back of the house.”

  • piece of Harry Potter toy
  • extra glasses (that were being used as a toy)
  • maracas
  • extra tube of Desitin
  • checkbook (crap, I was looking for that)
  • current New Yorker (like I’m gonna get around to it)
  • notepad
  • two sets ear buds
  • brag book of Boobaby photos from when she was six months
  • yellow highlighter
  • oven safety lock, not installed, to replace one destroyed by in-laws
  • stroller connectors
  • three bills
  • three C batteries
  • iPhone screen protector, uninstalled
  • haircut coupon

I know it’s my job to take care of all this stuff, but I just can’t get started! It’s to the point where I feel panicked and weepy just looking at it.

I’m a horrible at-home-parent. I do about 60% of the child care and 75% of the housework. (The other 25%, unfortunately, is mostly left undone.) I see other at-home moms around me taking care of their kids 90% of the time and keeping the house together and, you know, cooking once in a while.

Maybe I’m just blogging too much. I try to hold it down to one cuppa coffee’s worth of break time, but on days like today, that cuppa is a long cuppa. A procrastination latte, double foam.

People tell me a lot I’m a great dad. They’re just being nice. I think if I were so great, I’d be able to handle all this stuff once and for all.

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tagged as in housework,stay-at-home guilt ·

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn August 21, 2007 at 9:17 pm

Man, we really were having the same day. I have 1 basket for the whole upstairs/downstairs thing. But the basket sat at the bottom of the steps for a couple weeks and is now sitting in the spare room – still full.

Which is still better than when I took it from upstairs to downstairs and discovered a couple fuzzy, fermenting diapers in a bag of recyclables.


Just Powers August 22, 2007 at 7:16 am

Weepy and panicky – I feel your pain. I have fantasies of just selling/chucking EVERYTHING we own/have/horded and starting all over with a completely empty house.


mom, again August 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Just Powers, let me tell you, it won’t work.

We moved overseas last year, and only brought 33 boxes. That is, only the clothes, books and kitchen items remaining to us after much thoughtful sorting. Considering the cost per pound of an overseas move, and also subtracting the items lost to scavenging daughters age 20 and 22 who made me guilty they could no longer live at home due to home moving away. I gave them all sorts of stuff from my pack pile cause I felt so bad about leaving them with only each other, no parents fridge to raid or washing machine to use during a budget crisis. If anyone truly wants to clear out, call and get the costs for shipping your stuff overseas, then sort through and only keep what seems truly worth the price. *

And now, 18 months later? House full of crap. As full as before.

Admittedly, we added a son to the family 3 months after arriving. But I can’t blame him for anything stacked on shelves he can’t reach, no, that’s mommy’s crap put up there out of reach!

*10 years previously, we’d moved from east to west coast, and cleared out pretty well, I thought. I was shocked at the stuff appearing from the garage this time that never got unpacked from that move. The cost of moving those items coast to coast was a dead loss as they weren’t unpacked or missed for TEN years.


doodaddy August 27, 2008 at 12:44 am

Amen. The management of our stuff has become a major job in itself.

And not a very fun one.


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