Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And the World is Made of Energy

First of all, yes, I'm a total PBS junkie. Absolutely.

Second of all, yes, I'm completed interested in anything that has to do with working on your home, especially if it teaches me how to do it myself.

Third of all, I love all things helpful to the environment. And the total notion of not all only reusing and recycling what you no longer need in your home, but reusing other materials to put into you home is just plain smart.

Which is why I am so very excited This Old House started a new series last weekend, doing a green renovation of a home in Austin.

As Aaron and I were watching the show (which he normally doesn't do, as His Domain in the home is mowing and dealing with electrical wires), I was pleasantly surprised that the family was adding just enough space. Noting grandiose, just enough to make life comfortable for everyone.

Which actually sparked a debate between me and Aaron.

I'm a big believer in use what you have, only buy what's necessary. The two things you can't have too much of are books and music.

Aaron's a big hoarder. He saves everything. Empty boxes. Newspapers from college. Stickers that come on cd cases. Twist ties that hold toys in the boxes. Oh, how I wish I were kidding.

One of the things I hope to accomplish this year is turning Aaron's "cave" into a family office.

[When we were dating, we happened to catch an episode of Oprah that had the author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" on the show. He claimed that men need their own space, something to call their own and it was dated back to the cave man. I told Aaron as long as we didn't need the space, he could have a room as his cave. Fast forward ten years later, and guess what, we need the space. Add insult to injury, his "cave" is nothing more than a glorified storage room, which occupies the second largest bedroom in the home. He literally can barely open the door. I should take a photo. It is horrible.]

There's a lot of work involved to do such a project. For starters, I have to clear out the basement and have at least one more garage sale. Once space is made, Aaron has to start moving his stuff to the basement, organizing and keeping only what is necessary. And that is just to get the room cleaned out.

Anyway, the debate that was sparked was the difference of living comfortably versus leaving large. If money were no object, I would want a comfortable home with an open floor plan, a large kitchen, a bedroom for each child, a family office and a good-sized yard. Aaron would want a five thousand foot home, with a room for each imaginable project, set on ten acres.

Of course, the first thought that popped in my mind was how much shit would he cram into that house? Because, seriously, we have a lot crammed into this one.

Snow day, no school. Woo hoo!

Where's the line of living comfortably versus living in excess?


Anonymous said...

Haha! He would fill his dream home up to the gills, I'm sure! My hubby's big time grouse is that he doesn't have any space of 'his own' in our house. Well, too bad, he is only inside the house alone for a few hours a week. The boy and I need the spaces that we ALL share. He should be happy that I stay off the computer in the evening so that he can get on it. And I stay out of the office so he can have privacy even though that is where all my crafting stuff is located. Heh, touchy spot.

Anonymous said...

If money was no object, the differences in what my husband I think is "enough" would be even more glaring. I grew up with not much money, lived on not much money while single, and am still kind of a tightwad. We do not, in fact, have enough $ for my husband to buy all the crap he'd like to have (but he doesn't always believe me).

He'd like to have a large, impressive mansion ... I'd settle for something a little less pretentious. In our case, I'm the one who has trouble dealing with clutter. I'm assuming that in this "money-is-no-object" world I'll be able to afford housekeepers and organizers to keep it all out of my sight. ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'd ever want a house that's bigger than the one we're in. Nicer? Sure. More original? OK. Bigger? No way. I can't keep this one clean!

MéLisa said...

I guess that I am somewhere between the two of you. I like your idea for the house, Who the hell wants to clean 5000 sq ft of house? That is always the first thought that I have when I hear that people have like 10 bathroom. Who wants to clean 10 figging toilets??!! Then I remember that these people aren’t scrubbing their own toilets, but still! I hate house work.

On the other hand I love the 10 acres & I am bad about hording stuff, but I think not as bad as your boy Aaron. Really twist ties from toys? What’s he gonna do with em?

LLA said...

I agree with you on so many points - but I am afraid that puts us out of sync with most of our fellow Americans. (not the lovely, charming, talented and reasonable crafty grrrl bloggers, of course. All those other Americans. The ones that consume conspicuously...)

I am way out of step for where I live - Atlanta does love the MoreMoreMORE-is-better credo. I won't say the McMansion was invented here, but I think they're working on perfecting it here.

For me - I would like to have one extra bedroom (to use as a guest bedroom/home office) and a second bathroom. (Our current home is a 2/1) But I don't think I want much more than that, honestly. I'm pretty sure that I want it under 2,000 sq ft, too. We'd need lots and lots of storage space - Aaron and Bubba could have been separated at birth, so similar are they hoarding instincts...

Ali said...

I'm with Alicia - who wants to clean too much space? I'm happy with the size we have now, which is good as we're unlikely to ever afford anything bigger.

And I have magnanamously given my hubby the garage as his very own ;)

Angelina said...

I love this debate! I am land greedy. I don't think I could have enough acres, but I suppose in a pinch, what I have is going to take me a long time to cultivate. I have a constant dream of having a couple of acres so I can have a decent sized orchard and huge fields of flowers and vegetables.

As to the house though, I know enough families that have (and still do) live in less space than Philip and I and have one more kid than we have. I think we're lucky to have around 2,000 square feet and though I don't like the way our footage is arranged, I can't imagine ever wanting more. I like smaller houses. I was happy with our last house that had 1200 square feet plus an attic.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. People are like goldfish: we grow in proportion to our environment.

Oprah did a show last week on getting rid of crap - it was the guy from clean sweep.

I keep nothing. I am a travel light kind of person. My dream home is an old house on lots of land

We are about to buy a new house. It's 3800 SF - which is 2200 SF bigger than where we are now. I have mixed feelings about it. I LOVE all the space for the kids and the fact that I will have my OWN studio.

But I also see two negative things: a hell of a lot to clean, and I HATE cleaning.

And lonliness. Too much space creates too much space.

Anonymous said...

Gah! With Simon it is outdated electrical/ computer stuff.

When we first moved here, we had nothing for a year, and so we lived on borrowed things: four chairs, one table, one bookshelf, three mattresses, two pots and a skillet...

I was thinking today how grateful I was for that experience. And wishing I could do a major downsizing of the "stuff" we have accumulated. The problem of course, is that someone is always attached to each thing. But I really want to go through and say "If I don't love this, if I don't use it at least once a week and it doesn't make me happy every time I use or see it, out it goes."

diana said...

I am with you... I only want enough space to be comfortable. I love the cozy feeling of a smaller house. The more space ya have the more junk ya buy.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, when my kids were little I dreamed of a huge mega-house with rooms for the staff. Eventually we ended up in a large family house where everyone had heaps of room.Now that they are teenagers we own a small townhouse and I LOVE it. I don't want a mega-house anymore. I wonder if I wanted one when they were small so that I could GET AWAY FROM THEM!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ps the secret to getting rid of crap is to move every two years! Preferably to a different country. It's amazing how much you DON'T need something when you have to pay to keep it!

Anonymous said...

why do we all suddenly need so much space? what happened to kids sharing bedrooms? I really like a smaller house, apart from the cleaning aspect, I want to spend time together as a family - am I nuts?1

Kim -today's creative blog said...

I bet he wouldn't even know if you got rid of half of it.
The more space you have, the more you fill it up. Trust me.

lera said...

empty space is too tempting for hoarders! (my father is not a hoarder, but keeps those twist ties from toys, too. he uses them at work and home.)

and we had a snow day today, too. and possibly tomorrow.

MichelleB said...

We moved from a 4800 sf house to a 2200 sf house. Believe me - everyone is right. You find stuff to fill the space - stuff you don't need.

I love the smaller house because it's easier to clean - I hate housework. Here, two bathrooms are cleaned in no time - there we had five bathrooms (one HUGE master bathroom) and I had given up on them - believe me, not a pretty sight! Plus, as a family we're closer. You can't get away from each other as easily, so you spend more time with each other.

And though I had my own "craft" room, I never spend time in it, because my family was never in there. Here, I share my room with the computers and someone is always in there with me, and I get more things done.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. My husband isn't as much of a hoarder as a "save it for later" kind of guy. We are in the midst of renovating our too small home (840 sq ft thank you very much) and when it comes to buying paint my husband always begins the trip to the Home Depot with, "What about all those paints we already have? Can't we just mix them?" Oh, please. Yes, it's true we have 340 half gallons of paint, but really, can't we just bring it to the local recycler on Earth Day?

Unfortunately, the worst person to commiserate with my husband is his step-father. Now he is an Olympic Champion of hoarding. He can't throw anything away. When I got into canning 5 years ago, I asked him if he had any spare jars. He didn't just have a box, he had an entire shed with at least (I'm not kidding) 5,000 jars of all kinds. The thing is, he doesn't even use the masons he gives me. He reuses commercial jelly, pickle and olive jars, over and over and over again! Last year he was ready to part with some homemade soap his grandfather left him and I had to turn him down because the lye was too caustic an ingredient for my family! He said it hadn't killed the rats that nibbled on it yet so it must be okay!

I tell you, the man's cuckoo for coca puffs.

Chickenbells said...

Oh yes...we've been a bit hoardy in my family too. We do so much second hand shopping that it's easy to get buried under "stuff"

And the McMansion debate? I live in a smallish Norther Town, and it's being overrun by people building HUGE homes...like 5000 sq.ft for 2 people. It's very sad really...I live in my 1157 sq. ft mansion...perfect for me!

Anonymous said...

you can always threaten him with another yard sale!

I think women are more realistic because we live at home. We do not go out all day in an office. WE DO know what's needed, what's not.


Renee said...

We live in a house a little under 2000 sq. ft, and it's just a tad too small for me. Of course, we do own far too much crap. Mostly, my kids, not us. I do wish their rooms were slightly larger, and I could live with our room being a little smaller, but I wouldn't want anything huge either.

amy h said...

Our house is 1400 square feet, and I've always said that if it ever feels too small, then we've accummulated too much crap! I don't think I'd want anything much bigger -- maybe a two-car garage instead of one, and maybe enough room in my bathroom to have a countertop. But otherwise, I think the size keeps us in check.

I'll have to check out This Old House -- I haven't watched in a while, but I'd love to see a green remodel.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm - My friend told me about that show and then I forgot to even watch it. In my own town too. Boo hoo.

David has his own private cave too though it is usually pretty much tidy but it is far from minimalist/serene if you know what I mean and if you imagine 3 monitors and 2 computers then I think you will...

Good luck with the rearranging. In the grand scheme of the world, just about any home in the US is grandiose...