Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Functions, No Spaces

One of the things I've learned from Susan Susanka, author of the Not So Big House books, is that our houses have not kept up with our lifestyles.  This is true in many ways, but one of the most practical is to find spaces for "new" parts of our lives.  In other words, we have new functions, but no place to practice those functions.

Look at your kitchen counter.  What is it that is cluttering that space besides the dishes that actually do have a space, you just have to get off the dang computer and get. it. done.?  If you are like me, which I know you are NOT because I know you DID do your dishes today and you DON'T allow your children to cook, your counters  have things like unsorted mail and a pile of phones and chargers.  Also, there is a bag of dog food in your coat closet.  You have a place for your garbage can, but you have another can sitting right in the road because there is no where to put the recyclables.

Many of these functions (recycling, charging cell phones, the need the shred mail) are relatively new, but our houses have not made the transition.  In my Someday House, I hope to plan smart spaces for these recently developed life functions.

Mail.  I envision a mail sorting center, not in the kitchen, but right off it.  In the mudroom, say.  It will consist of a small, standing-height shelf/desk; not big enough to really sit down and dig in, but big enough to sign a quick note, write a check or address an envelope.  I'd love to have an outlet there because I can see-- someday--a small netbook living there where bills can be paid upon arrival.  Under the shelf is a shredder to instantly satisfy the desire to shred those credit card offers.  Next to the shredder, a basket for paper recycling--especially for the catalogs and unneeded ads.  Above the shelf, appropriately tagged mail slots and a place to write messages or pin permission slips.
And a phone . . . with a cord . . . that is attached to the wall . . . where it can't be misplaced.  Just one phone in the whole freaking house that is always where it is supposed to be!

Device Charging.  I saw this idea in a magazine once and have never been able to find it again.  It was a small cabinet with a row of outlets hidden inside.  Every night, every device sits inside the cabinet, plugged in.  It is tidy, everyone knows where to look for the thing, it keeps the cell phones out of the teen's hands late at night and it gets the job done.

Dogs.  It is hard to "have every thing in its place" if there isn't "a place for every thing."  Ta Da!  No more tripping over, and spilling, water bowls and food dishes.

No more having the entire pantry or coat closet smell like pet food.  Though, honestly people, what is with the white kitchens?  Don't you have anything better to do than to clean and clean and clean?  Even if you don't have children, you obviously have pets and they are even dirtier than children!

Garbage Center.  I keep referring to this because it makes me excited.  It makes me happy to think that I can do my part without the clumsy way of doing it!  It doesn't have to be fancy, but it would be SO useful!  Here is another example.  What a cinch.

What function do you keep moving around, looking for a place for it to go?


  1. very much the mail. I would love to set up some system like you propose. The garbage/recycling is a good idea as well. Someday. . .

  2. OK, since you seriously write about everything I think about in our someday house...will you just give us your complete plans when you are done. That would make my job so much easier. You've thought of everything!