Thursday, June 23, 2011


When Snoodie was born David and I lived in an 800-square-foot three-room apartment. And the stuff -- it was overflowing. Everywhere you looked there was stuff. Office stuff. Baby stuff. Clothing stuff. We were drowning in stuff.

Allow me to demonstrate using the following photo:

That's me working at the "dining room" table (also known as the table in the only room that was not a bedroom or bathroom). In the background you can just make out what had once been my desk. I'm not working at my desk because by the time this shot was taken, my desk had been entirely devoured by office supplies, wedding gifts awaiting thank you notes, baby toys, and stray coffee mugs.

The rest of the place had not fared much better. By the time Snoodie was 6-months-old, David and I lived in constant fear of being buried alive under the mounting pile of baby swings, exersaucers, and vibrating chairs. A simple trip to the bathroom involved a JENGA-like exercise in relocating items in order to make it to the toilet without being crushed by the avalanche of ensuing debris. 

Our only hope was to move, which we finally did when Snoodie was almost a year old. We bought a lovely little two-bedroom house with a small yard. I couldn't believe our luck in finding a home that suited us so perfectly, and I couldn't imagine what we were going to do with ALL THAT SPACE.

The house had two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room and playroom. It also had a sizeable storeroom out back. As we toured the space after closing, the expanses of empty space gleamed before me and I allowed myself to dream that a clutter-free life might finally be mine. I was vigilant about which items would make the move. My Muppets lunchbox bought from a nostalgia store six years ago and never used? TO THE TRASH! David's long-neglected Millennium Falcon replica with several missing pieces? TO THE GOODWILL PILE! This dress that has not fit me since 1987? OK, that I had to keep - I'm totally getting back into that one of these days.

I had the eye of the tiger and I was gaining dominion over the stuff!

But then I remembered our rented storage space, filled to the rafters with a whole bunch of stuff I had forgotten about. Stuff we were saving for "when we got into a house". It came along with us and as we unloaded the moving van I found myself amazed at how quickly our new home was filling up.

The closets in each room were standard 1942-construction (three feet wide) and before we were even finished unpacking the one in our bedroom was already overflowing. Between my husband's work clothes and golf shirts and my assortment of maternity clothes, pre-pregnancy clothes, and post-pregnancy clothes we needed more room. 

And so we moved extra clothing into the closet in the second bedroom, which was already packed tight with diaper boxes, clothes the Snood was just growing out of or just growing into, and various boxes of children's toys and stuffed animals.

The kitchen, though three-times larger than our old one, was next to full. I went from not being able to imagine how to fill the space to trying to figure out where to stuff my gardening shears (for the record: in the small drawer next to the microwave along with the stray rubber bands, Sharpies, and unused recipe cards). 

Not long after we'd gotten settled in, our second baby arrived and the infant apparati came back into the rotation. Joining the toddler toys in the playroom, they managed to fill the room wall-to-wall. 

Even my final line of defense, the storage area, is starting to strain at the seams. The giant Christmas tree (that we bought "since we had the space to store it") is now wedged up against the two bicycles that used to live in our apartment's sizable garage. Boxes of holiday decorations tower next to my neglected sewing machine and bolts of unused fabric. The end table from the old apartment is barely visible under my two boogie boards. Our suitcases (we now have four) teeter precariously near the doorway.

Even the yard is full. The plastic slide that we started with has been joined by a full-sized swing set. Then there's the playhouse we inherited from our neighbors when they moved away. There's the charcoal grill we started with and the gas grill we've replaced it with.

I fought a good fight, but these days, I no longer even attempt to conquer the stuff. For I accept that the stuff cannot be vanquished.

I can only hope to contain it....