Monday, 5 December 2011

The State of The Nursery

Yesterday I made a start on clearing out the spare room.  The spare room that will become our son's nursery.  It is tiny and impossible to photograph.

Seriously, my walk-in closet in my apartment in Dallas was bigger than this room.  It's not unusual here in the UK for bedrooms to be small.  Real estate listings describe bedrooms as "single" and "double" indicating the size of bed they will fit.  Queen and king-sized beds are a rarity.

This room is plenty big for a twin-sized bed and other essentials, but it isn't the size of room that Americans are used to.  You can see in the picture the industrial shelving unit that Ross and I made into an improvised wardrobe.  There's a third half-shelf unit farther to the right that you can't see.  All that clothing needs to find a new home.  Yikes!

The beige thing piled with stuff in the middle is a twin-sized bed.  It needs to go away.  We've been talking about getting a hide-a-bed for the living room (our couches are dying a slow death anyway) so that we can still have guests.

The red bookcase is in an awkward little nook in the room.  It's moving to another wall, but actually staying in the nursery.  The books on it, however, need a new home.  And we don't have another bookcase.  I guess we'll be making a trip to IKEA soon.

So what is all that junk, you ask?  It's falls into 3 categories:

1.  Ross' clothing.  He has more clothing than any person (especially a male person) should have.  He loves a good "bargain" so will buy things when they are a good value, regardless of whether that item fills a hole in his wardrobe.  Combine this with his dislike of getting rid of things and you've got a problem.  Well we do.  I've started implementing a new technique where we discuss things "going away" instead of getting rid of things.  For some reason, it doesn't upset him as much.  What can I say?  He's a special man...

2.  Odds and ends from work.  As I mentioned previously, we end up with odds and ends of lines. Ross brings home samples and then they never leave.  I'm working on a system to help with this also.

3.  Family stuff.  Now this is the hardest category.  I've mentioned previously that Ross sister and parents are all deceased.  That means we've got all the family "stuff".  His mom's tea sets (man she had a TON of tea sets), crystal, and knick-knacks.  All of that childhood stuff that is safely stored in your parents basement/attic. Pictures that were framed in his family home.

Giant (like poster-sized) portraits of Ross' great-grandparents
It feels wrong to throw them away, but what do we do with them?!

This third category is the hardest to tackle.  I can only do so much of it without Ross' input.  I don't know what is junk and what is important.  It's tough for him to work on because every box contains potential emotional land mines.  None of it is as simple as it should be.  I've tried to clear things from this category out (obviously keeping important and sentimental things) since we got married.  It's hard to be encouraging about letting go of things that aren't needed or wanted, whilst remaining encouraging and supportive.  The good news is that having the baby as motivation for working on these things seems to make it easier for him.  Which makes sense.  There is a positive reason to be going through these memories.  

Early in the process, I was really wrestling with hopelessness.  I felt like there was just too much stuff and it would be impossible to get rid of/find new places in our home for all of this STUFF.  But once we got going, I started to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Don't get me wrong.  There is still a fair amount of work.  A room like that doesn't get sorted out in one session.  Once we do get it cleared out, we've still got to get a crib and a dresser.  Ross and I both feel strongly about having a nice room for the baby to come home to and that will keep us going.  Let's do this!

Did you have to do a lot of work to prepare your baby's room?
Were there any special challenges you faced in getting rid of stuff?


  1. how can you want him to get rid of things from his family?!?!
    Storage... find somewhere... don't throw away his memories!

  2. First of all, you can't throw away memories. They live on forever inside of you, as they are memories.
    Secondly, I would never and have never encouraged Ross to get rid of anything that holds sentimental value or that he wants to keep. I'm talking about getting rid of things that have no real meaning to him and are just STUFF. Not every tchotcke or photo is a keeper, just because it once belonged to someone else. I absolutely honour the memory of Ross' family and he knows that.

  3. Everyone knows you end up with tons of "stuff" from the family. Most of it really doesn't have a great memory attached to it. I've been thinking of this thing lately too...moving also tends to make one wish for a good clean-out. I try to find things that I'll use often to keep and remember them by. I have a huge tupperware bowl from my grandmother and a metal planter (from a flower arrangement at her funeral) that I keep the remotes in (actually super cute!) It's more about the quality of the memories you keep rather than the quantity of stuff you have.

  4. This is a challenge, and it is the kind of thing you can't tackle in a day. It sounds like you're making good progress over time.

    Also, do commercial mini-storage units exist over there? That would be a great way to get all the extra STUFF out of the house, and then you could go through it at your own pace.

  5. @Brenda They do have mini-storage units, but sadly that is not the problem. We actually have a huge warehouse that has even more stuff in it! Hard to believe... Once things get sent to the warehouse they are even less likely to get dealt with. We'll get through it, little by little, as you said! :) It's actually looking miles better already!

  6. I think it's tsatske not tchotchke, he was in love with Joanie in Happy Days.