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How $16.84 Saved My Sanity

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So, here is a truth about my sister and I. We hate “stuff”. We don’t do knick knacks, or cutesy things in our house(s).  Clutter needs to die.  Crap underfoot drives us crazy.  My friends joke that my house usually looks like the “after” version of the show Hoarders.  I’ll live in a place for at least a year before hanging photos on the wall because I just don’t want extra junk around.

For you see, we are the spawn of people who have a lot of “stuff”.  It’s not that my parents love stuff, it’s just that they’re horrible about editing what they bring in to the house, and what goes out.  I think it’s their gimpiness; it’s harder for them to get around and organize.

We try and intervene, but the piles return, and seem to triple.  Once, when my parent’s went on vacation, I flew up from Los Angeles, and my sister and I spent an entire weekend going through their house (the one Troy, Jack, and I live in now) and throwing about 50% of their stuff away.  My (now) brother-in-law helped us load the truck (cause he had one), and drove it to the dump; all under protest.  He kept saying “this is so wrong.  Please don’t let them know I was a part of it”.

We so ratted on him the second they came home.  Cause we’re nice like that.

So, it was an eye-opening experience when I came home the other day to this.

“I learned it by watching you ok, I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU”.

Sigh, just looking at it makes me twitch a little.

This is the table that is in our foyer.  We come through the garage, but somehow, all the stuff gets dumped upstairs on, and around this table.  It’s a magnet for crud.  And it makes my eyes bleed.

I had clutter fever, and the only prescription was more organization.  You might remember my love of organization from this post.  Walking into the Container Store or an office supply store gives me a chick boner.

I filled my prescription to cure clutter fever at a Goodwill this weekend.  I walked around the corner and found a hideous little wooden beast.  It was kitschy, tacky, and I knew instantly it must be mine.  The price tag of $12.99 was right up my alley.  The top was hideous (almost like a countertop laminate, but shiny.  Fugly), but neither Troy nor I have enough time right now, or say in the next 5 years, to refinish it to my liking.  I resolved myself to the fug, paid for the item, and headed off to the fabric store.

The previous weekend I had been at Joann’s, and a woman was buying a fabric that I fell deeply in love with.  I had no need to buy it at the time but knew that someday it would find a place in my life.  Luckily, this opportunity presented itself a mere 7 days later.

While Troy unloaded the fugly cabinet from the truck, I quickly sewed a table runner to use as a bandaid until some day in a magical world where unicorns poop glitter and my family has enough time to recover this cabinet.

Since I was declaring a “no stuff on top of this thing” rule, I wanted something in addition to the table runner for decoration.  I remembered a cool milk bottle I had purchased at Goodwill last year that was hanging in my garage just waiting for a purpose in life.  While still in the garage, my eyes quickly fell on some peacock feathers that “Boy Boy” (named by Jack), our neighborhood peacock had molted on to our deck.

Within about 5 minutes, my entryway became a well-organized place that didn’t make me want to punch a nun every time I saw it.

Ahhhh.  Peaceful.  Next stop, the garage.  Any room that houses both antique milk bottles and feathers from a peacock’s ass might need some tidying up…

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28 comments on “How $16.84 Saved My Sanity”

  1. Your posts make me laugh! I must admit, I am unfortunately living a cluttered life. Your blog is helping me to see the error of my ways. Keep up the great work. 🙂

  2. I too am anti clutter. My own house makes my skin crawl. Being a pregnant crazy ass isn’t helping any. My husband isn’t a pack rat, but close. He’s got no clue I’ve been sending things to the dumpster for weeks. “We might need it!” Nope. No, we won’t.
    I’ve made every surface I possibly can clutter free by making it serve a purpose. Can’t crap up a counter if it’s designated for 3 big mason jars of snacks.
    I should have this house organized and in order- just in time to move in June. 😉

  3. You really paid 12.99 for that? From the picture it actually looks like a beautiful piece. Is it solid wood? I am jealous. I never find anything Good at my Goodwill.

    • Yep, $12.99 plus tax! The base (drawers, etc.) are solid wood. the top is awful. I think it used to be part of bed set, and this was a bed-side table because one side is unfinished.

      I fell in love with the quirky drawer pulls.

  4. it is still a free flat surface; i wana see a pic of it in a month… and no cheating!
    it IS pretty thought.

  5. I’m jealous of your $12.99 furniture. I want! You should post a picture of the ugly top. I don’t believe you.

  6. Love your sense of humor! The cabinet looks great! In my next life I’d like to be almost clutter free. 🙂

  7. Horray for a fellow anti-clutter crusader! One time I threw away some of my husband’s clutter and it was not a pretty scenec afterwards. Now that we have 2 dogs (who destroy cluttery things left laying around) and a toddler the husband is much more tolerant of my constant tidying.
    Your Goodwill find has reminded me that I need to stop into Goodwill more often. It is less than a 1/2 mile from my house, on the way ot the grocery store, Target, all of my favorite weekend stops. There is no excuse for me to no shop Goodwill.

  8. You are too much like me. I love memories, but I hate, hate knicknacks. Also, every time my parents go out of town, I go bag after bag of clutter and either trash it, or label it and throw it in the basement (with hopes to trash it later after they’ve completely forgotten about it). I’m totally the first one to trash other peoples’ clutter. I should really stop, though.

  9. Oh, I hear you. I am paired with a man who finds sentiment in every item in the house. IT MAKES ME CRAZY.

    If I weren’t so nice, I would have rented a dump truck and just CHUCKED everything while A. was away hunting. But, I am not that ruthless. Plus, he is trying to meet me halfway.

    We are in the process of making some changes, and they may involve (God willing) a move. Now, whenever I am annoyed by something, I ask him, “Do you want to go through the effort of packing, moving, unpacking and paying for it when we move?” I usually get the answer I want. 😉

  10. I love the fact that you are not afraid to use words like fugly and ass in your blog. My blog is visited by so many thumpers that would take offense so I keep it as clean as my brain allows. Keep it up. It’s funny

    • They visit mine too, but usually leave pretty quickly. Some like to leave judging comments on old posts (passive aggressive much?) and others occasionally email me. My standard response is that my blog is an extension of my life. Not writing about it honestly would be disingenuous. Nor would they have the balls to come in to MY home where I’m free to do what I want and tell me to clean up my language.

  11. Love this post – I so would do something like this, & constantly look for ways in our own house to declutter. We’re “sparse” (as we’re often called) as is, but things have a way of creeping in. Especially with two boys & all of their toys. We do a lot of decluttering pre & post holidays & birthdays.

    The only area of the house that needs a serious clean out? The garage. My husband just can’t commit – I think the size of the project intimidates him.

    • Our garage has been on the to do list for over a year. Troy’s bench, and my zombie pantry are well organized, but the rest…not so much!

      What about if you and your husband tackled one piece at a time? Like set a time for 30 minutes, and when that time is up, you don’t have to work on it for another few days. It will take longer that way, but won’t seem overwhelming.

      Our issue is lack of time. Troy was working every single weekend last month, and we’re finally celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary this Friday…3 months after our actual anniversary!

  12. I love the new piece, and the fabric is crazy good. I had a piece with that kind of top on it and I ruffed it up and decoupaged tissue paper on it to give it texture (wrinkles) and then antiqued it. I had it for years and got many compliments on it throught the years.

  13. How come I can never find anything when I go to Goodwill?! I think it looks great! You and I were separated at birth. We are canning hippies, gardening fools, thrift store treasure hunters, and we HATE clutter. 🙂

  14. Love it! Also love your blog. You crsck me up. I think it’s your great posts with a few obscenities mixed in…I don’t know. 🙂 Anyway, love it!

  15. it is BEAUTIFUL!!! I – on the other hand – have lots of STUFF!!! My daughter – like YOU – not so much! My stuff is organized into pretty decorative themes and – believe it or not – doesn’t seem that cluttered – to ME!!

    GREAT buy on a GREAT table for a GREAT purpose! WIN! Win!!

  16. I feel your pain regarding clutter! I feel like the more stuff I own, the more it owns me. Nothing gives me more pleasure than throwing stuff away!

  17. Right on with the organizing chick boners. lol I have to wipe drool off my chin as I peruse Container Store. I’m usually too cheap to buy more than the one thing I HAVE TO HAVE, but I’m waiting for the day that I’m rich and can buy every organizing device ever to grace the shelves of that store…that should be approximately, around, never. :/

    My parents trained me to purge as a kid, but I still keep even less stuff around than they do. Their garage kills me. Two car garage, only space for one car. AHG!

    • I used to work in the same complex as one when we lived in Los Angeles. When I was having a sad day, I’d just go an wander for 30 minutes and it would cheer me right up.

      I was always depressed though that the clothes in the fake store closets were always so much cuter than my real ones!

  18. as a young girl growing up with a sister and two brothers, and being poor as dirt, mama kept a very austere, uncluttered household. if there was no use for something then out it went. we learned real quick to be sure to make our beds first thing in the morning, to always put our clothes and toys away in their proper places when finished with them…otherwise, they would be gone. my sister and brothers have over the years become quite the collectors..but not me. i like the clean and simple….i can always find what i may be looking for and need, i dont fall or trip over things, and have less dusting to do. i hate dusting!

  19. You make me laugh. I too, get a chick boner in office depot or staples. I don’t know what it is, but organizing makes me happier than receiving a present on Christmas day. I love your blog, and you’ve saved me a lot of money and heartache (love the straight to the crap writing). Anyways, as a struggling college student who is about to marry yet another struggling college student, you have been a blessing to me! Thank you so much for the inspiration, and for the laughs. Nobody laughs at my fart jokes, but I bet you would…yeaaaah.

    Victoria,
    from Oklahoma! Yeehaw!

  20. My boyfriend is the same way; his family kept everything, so now he keeps nothing. we barely even have any furniture! unfortunately, I have major hoarding tendencies that I struggle to keep under control. I hate clutter, but my room looks like a tornado hit it and I don’t know what to do about it! I can clean and organize rooms for other people, or any other room in my house, but when it comes to my own room I’m at a loss. can you do some sort of magic mojo and pass some of your organizing abilities my way? 🙂