January Challenge!

How about a little challenge to get a good start on 2021 ?

This subject has come up a number of times around me recently.

“My house is too small” or “There’s mess everywhere, I don’t have any more space”… comment often followed by something along the lines of:

“How can I store the empty boxes of the stuff I think I’ll resell later?”

“I have a closet full of boxes of stuff from when we emptied Granny’s house… I can’t remember what’s in them and I don’t know what to do with them”.

“I have space so I can afford to store things” like Granny’s stuff , empty boxes, things that have no use to me but that I keep “just in case”, “I have a project and bought all the stuff but it’s been 10 years and I still haven’t managed to get to it”.

Yes, you can stock stuff.

But what could you do with the space if you didn’t have anything to stock? I hear you staying that that’s not really possible but just go along with it, would you?

Close your eyes and let your imagination run free…. If you like to create things could the attic become a creative workshop? Could that space be a home office since we’re in the era of telework? Could that area there become a yoga/meditation corner ? What about that there ? Could it become a rentable space that will earn you money?

The possibilities are just about endless and wouldn’t it be a shame not to make the best of it?

I hear you saying « yes but… »

So here’s the challenge.

Take a piece of paper and a pen and walk around your house.

Make an approximate list (don’t waste your time on details) of what you currently store in all those spaces, for example:

  • the empty boxes to sell stuff
  • the boxes of Granny’s stuff.
  • the “just in case” objects that haven’t seen the light of day in a decade.
  • The memories that, when you look at them, bring up unease and insecurities,
  • Clothes you haven’t been able to fit into since you were 3 months pregnant with your eldest who is in secondary school now.
  • Gifts you don’t like so you hide them away out of obligation to keep them.
  • All the things you keep but use less than 1x/year.

Ok, ready ?

Under this list write down :

  • Your monthly mortgage payment including insurance and whatnot.
  • The total number of m² of storage space you have (garage, cellar, attic, shed, etc.)

Now calculate: how much do those m² of storage space cost you a month? Trust me, it’s edifying, you’ll see!

Circle that answer several times to let it sink in.

Now multiply it by 12…

That’s what that space costs you a year.

What does that number do for you?

You’re this close to a burnout, or, at best, short on time and energy, to be able to store all that.

So what are we going to do? If you really want to keep all that then that’s fine but maybe you don’t…

Me ? I’ll confess that our storage space costs us +-1/4 of our monthly payments.

The workshop is becoming a photography darkroom… my job in a previous life which I want to do for pleasure now but its not exactly space saving.

The laundry room will get done when we’ve finished the more urgent things that need work. I can see a small shower room there because there is one bathroom for 5 people…

The cellar is not usable as it is too damp but we pay for it anyway.

The attic has the Christmas decorations, clothes still slightly too big for my daughter passed on from a friend’s daughter, stuff that is waiting for us to finish the renovations to finally be unpacked and what doesn’t get used can leave the house. Maybe once we’re finished it can become a Lego room for the kids (they are super fans and I’m dying to sort those blocks) , a reading corner for them…

The garage houses building supplies, garden tools, the darkroom supplies until the workshop is done, everyone’s bikes. We can’t, for now, put the car in it even if it’s main function but the plan is to get to that over the next few months. So for now we waste time scraping frost off the windows in the morning instead of spending those extra 5 minutes in bed.