Struggles between hockey and lego

One thing I miss since the hockey passion has taken up all our head space around here is the children’s lego. We used to, when Ben was younger, sit on the floor and put together entire lego cities complete with fire stations and houses, construction scenes, and many little vehicles for his mini figures. We built buildings and connected streets leading to the police station.  I spent many a Sunday morning, in pjs with my cup of coffee, sorting and playing with him to a point where I considered it my own hobby, too. Then the kids got bigger, the house appeared smaller, and there was less room to spread the lego we built out in the basement rec room. Also the hockey gear needed a place to dry and air out…

hockey trees Continue reading

Packing, moving, renovating

It has been so long since I’ve been on this blog I had to look up the password.

Not sure where to begin since I’m trying to keep it together here, but barely hanging on a thread. We are moving into a tiny shoebox house for a couple of months in two weeks, 2 WEEKS, so the packing post-holidays has begun in earnest. It appears however that things are not quite as overwhelming as I thought, originally, since we do not appear to have quite as much useless stuff as I first assumed, but on the other hand, the way we store some of the stuff we want to keep has me ranting and raging on a regular basis lately.

I must find a way to train the entire family how to be more….orderly. Or something. Continue reading

Questions without answers

Me, this morning, to myself:

  1. How many carloads did it take us to bring our stuff to the storage locker prior to the start of the basement renovations? Because it seems that it is taking FAR longer to bring the stuff back. And many more carloads than I remember…
  2. Why do we have so much stuff?
  3. Why do we pay someone else rent to store stuff we don’t even remember owning?
  4. Why do we (he) keep a box full of old computer game we don’t have time to play?
  5. Where are we going to store the stuff we intend to keep once we bring it home? The new closets are mostly already full.
  6. Why are we storing stuff at all? If we don’t need it or want it or if it stays in a box anyway, why keep it at all?
  7. Would it make sense to throw out/donate/sell/give away/burn all seasonal clothing and buy new stuff every single time the season changes instead of storing stuff? (the answer can only be no since we don’t own a money tree, but it sure is tempting)
  8. On that note, why do I have 3 bins full of Xmas stuff? And another one of Halloween/Thanksgiving and Easter stuff? Do I decorate with this stuff? I don’t remember…

Plan today:

Unload the car on the front lawn. Unpack all the bins and boxes. Make 3 piles:

  • keep and store or display or use
  • leave on the lawn for anyone to take
  • throw in the garbage/recycling

Interior closet organizers

This has kept me sleepless for days now.

All I want is for my new, empty closets in the newly renovated basement to be functional. You know, so I can see at a glance what is in it and take out what I need.

Because if I keep storing everything in bins, labeled or not, I will have wasted precious time and money having these closets built.

Because inevitably, there will be challenges with other members of the family having to commit to the responsibility of keeping the bins organized. One in particulary would probably make somewhat of an effort, but inevitably he will get frustrated with having to move the top bin to get to the bottom bin, spend time searching for a particular item inside the bin, then having to put it all back in the exact position it as in before.  Knowing what I know, he would get frustrated and simply end up going out to buy an identical product. And I do not need duplicate items in this tiny house thank you very much.

The other members of the family can’t read yet, so that poses additional challenges. How do you tell your 3yo to go downstairs, find the middle bin in the small room closet, move the top middle bin without breaking a bone in the process, take out item X, then put the lid back on the middle bin, replace the other bin back on top, close the door and don’t make a mess while you’re down there for god’s sake?

Ain’t going to happen.

So I started looking around. I really like the California Closet ads, but that’s just a tad out of my league.

I started with Ikea. They have good (enough) products, great space-saving ideas, and usually decent prices. But the choices were too many, and it required things like arithmetic and measuring tape, so I went to Canadian Tire (or Home Depot, or Wal-Mart, they’re all the same) and looked at the Rubbermaid options.

I ended up buying the Rubbermaid option. The closet kit for 50 bucks seemed simple and straight forward enough, so I bought it and took it home.

Carried it downstairs.

Savored what my empty closet looked like.

Left it for DH to put up.

It remained in the closet, in the box, for several days. DH doesn’t have time.

So I opened the box myself. The instruction sheet indicated that I needed to drill about a gazillion holes in the wall to accomodate some of the shelving. It was just daunting. I mean, I’m pretty handy, I can DO things, but this was just too time-consuming. I got babies for crying out loud. Finding 10 uninterrupted minutes is a luxury, but this kit would require several hours, if I’m estimating things correctly. And the baggies with the hardware? I’m not an engineer you know. I just want to put some shelving and a clothesrack in there, not reinvent the wheel. Or closet.

So back into the box it went.

Now I’m pouring over Ikea catalogues. Actually, I like some of their options, but the choices there are pretty daunting too.  Pax, Hopen, Stolmen, Komplement and Broder, to name a few of their funky product names. I think I’ve narrowed it down to Broder, but who knows what will happen when I get there.

I will need to buy each piece seperately, since that is the way of Ikea, which is fine, if you have time to do things without incessant interruptions. But the planning part too will take some time. It will require measuring tape, stud-finder gadgets, and some pre-visualizing of the final product. Then, it will require the actual shopping trip where one hopes that all the items one so carefully selected will be in stock.

Perhaps I will volunteer DH to take care of it. Bribe him with “I’m taking the kids for a playdate, go to Ikea and buy yourself a $1 breakfast, then buy me the friggin closet organizers, this is what I want, feel free to install it when you get home, yada…”. We’ll see how that pans out.

But it is kind of exciting. So exciting in fact that I spent the bulk of today organizing various kiddie clothes, making piles of “keep for future”, “donate”, “sell”, “send to nephew” and “keep for friend’s kid”. Now I have 3 empty (EMPTY!) bins, a few bags with clothes I will throw in the car to drop off here and there, and eternal hope for organization.

Maybe I’m kidding myself, but it’s worth a try at least.

Oh, and on that topic, I bought one of those storage-vacuum-bag thingies, that promises to reduce the size of the contents to mere inches. Can’t wait to try that out on all the heavy winter coats!


Basements are for potatos

I have basements on my mind. Then, I stumbled across this:

It doesn’t matter that most of us can now buy potatoes any day of the year. Tradition has a long arm. For most Canadians, a house is not quite a home without a basement. So in one sense, even modern, finished basements are still used to store potatoes. Nowadays, any worthwhile basement potato bin needs wall-to-wall carpeting, a big-screen TV, and a plush couch for the two-legged potatoes that lounge in front of it.

Read the rest of the article here.

Well, isn’t this funny. Back in the days of the post-war era, many Toronto homes were built with basements that functioned specifically for utilitarian reasons, such as storing winter vegetables, or huge, ugly oil tanks.

Today, basements function as living space.

Converting ugly, old, uninsulated basements into functional rec rooms take time, effort, money, stamina, a sense of humour, and hours of blogging (to bitch and complain and moan and look for support).

Eventually, the basements get done. I’ve seen some nice ones, some not so nice ones, and everything in between. Even the McMansions in the McSubdivisions have mostly unfinished basements which eventually get converted into rec rooms, weight rooms, play rooms or separately contained apartments.

Our basement will have closets and space. Something that is not very abundant on the main floor of the house.

Looking forward to it.


Why I need bins…

This is only part of the reason.


We spent Christmas eve at my parents’ place and got all this stuff. We had to leave the dog there for an extra day. Poor Rusty. Not that he minds…he loves it there. No babies crying, no kids making strange and loud noises, no toys flying through the air…only peace and quiet with two seniors and a cat.

Maybe I’ll stay behind next time…

Then we went to the other side of the family for Christmas day and got more stuff.

Which is all fine, since none of the stuff was junk. The kids got great toys and nice outfits. Nothing needs returning or exchanging.

But this is adding to my never-ending dilemma on how to store stuff. Because of this:


I will have all kinds of nice new big deep closets when the renovations are done. But until then…bins.

That is my new four-letter word.

But they serve their purpose, those bins. The good quality ones could technically speaking be stored outside on the porch in the middle of a blizzard, should it come to that.  It hasn’t yet but you never know.

But…there is progress…


Taping has begun. Yay.

PS so now I will also need a new mop, more Swiffer stuff, and a case of wine to get me through the next few weeks.


clear ones
coloured ones
large ones
small ones
medium ones
with lids
without lids
with wheels
without wheels
narrow ones
tall ones
short ones
flat ones

I don’t care what they look like or who makes them.

I need them.