by Susan McCarthy
Growing up I often heard that if we lived in a bigger house then we’d be organized. I was an adult before I realized that this was a lie.
When I was nearly nine, my family moved into an 800-square-foot 1950s ranch house (with a basement, attic, two-car garage with its own attic, and a shed). Yes, the living space was small. We didn’t have a dining room and so the only option at mealtime was to sit around the kitchen table.
Because the kitchen had just a handful of built-in cabinets, after we moved in my parents bought a freestanding pantry cabinet to store dry goods and cans. Over the years, they bought a larger cabinet, twice the size of the original (which was relegated to the basement to hold things like bug spray).
Then, they bought a second large freestanding cabinet to hold more boxes of cereal, cake mix, pasta, and rice as well as cans of soup, vegetables, and pasta, etc.
Adding these storage closets to the kitchen made the room even smaller
Allow me to add that we were a family of four and we lived a mile from a grocery store. With all we had, my parents still went grocery shopping every other week, scanning the flyers from two local stores so they could get the best deals.
Years later, after my brother moved out and I started shopping for and preparing my own meals, my parents still stocked those two large freestanding cabinets and a cupboard under the basement stairs with food. (And I understand that they grew up in and after the Great Depression; what bothers me is that this hoarding resulted in food being wasted.)
I shouldn’t say that both cabinets were filled with food. The less accessible bottom shelves were crammed with extra plastic food storage containers, empty pill bottles and other things (cleaned margarine tubs) that could get reused.
The kitchen was packed with stuff (food, dishes, containers, cleaning supplies, knickknacks, pots and pans, magazines, and storage boxes stacked beneath the kitchen table) which made the small room even smaller.
But because this stuff was stored in things advertised as ‘organizing solutions’ my parents saw themselves as organized. The problem, they said, was the small space (not the stuff making the space smaller).
Hi, I’m Susan.
And I’m here to help you clear the things cluttering your life so you can do and have more of what’s important to you.
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