Friday, October 15, 2010


Our house is about 900 square feet. Not a lot of space for a man, a woman, a dog, a new baby, and a zillion big and little things that either entertain, clean, clothe, feed or soothe said baby.

It wasn’t so bad when Max was a cooing infant. I could organize the chaos around us, create a manger of inanimate onlookers with my swaddled miracle in his bouncy chair smack dab in the middle. (Our black and white pooch also bears a striking resemblance to a cow. Bonus.) There were breast pump attachments curled up on tabletops, receiving blankets and teeny tiny facecloths stacked to the sky. It wasn’t necessarily clean, but it was neat. Even the dirt was categorized into perfect little piles: cooties here, scuz there, crud up there, gook and gunk over there. Everything had its own spot or shelf or basket. I even have a basket for orphaned socks; as we all know, the dryer eats them.

“Another fuckin’ basket?” the husband would scold when I’d bring home yet another wonder of wicker weavery. He just didn’t understand. “It’s not a lowly basket, honey. It’s a cozy home for a bunch of CRAP!” As my dad used to say, even Moses was a basketcase.

Then, my perfectly immobile baby turned into a wrecking ball. I remember when I first declared on facebook that he was walking. A co-worker and father of three boys commented, “Take it from me, push him down, push him down!” I quickly understood what he meant. I have scratched “trip wire” off my shopping list at least twice.

He skipped the walking stage and graduated right to running, his tootsies chauffeuring his hands to the next item on his list of “Things I Must Destroy”. He climbs the couch, King Kong style, and throws the remote behind it, where adult hands fear to forage. He hurls toys into the bathtub, then stands there, watching them lie facedown and helpless at the bottom of the porcelain ravine. He jabs his mini hockey stick at the flatscreen TV, a frequent cause of Daddy Angina. As soon as I put his wooden blocks into their designated basket, he dumps them out. And God forbid I try to build a tower with them. It’s crashing down before I get to two, which means it’s never actually a tower but a pathetic block on a sticky floor.

Around his first birthday, sitting amidst the clutter, compounded by the dread of going back to work, I snapped! I needed to simplify this house and this life – pronto. A clutter-free home is a clutter-free mind. Amen, Oprah, amen.

I realized the key to this endeavour was having less. Getting rid of the excess. Not necessarily spending less, but buying fewer - but higher quality - things. Things that last. Overall, I needed to have less “stuff”, and, in turn, lessen my carbon footprint. (Eco-Mother of the Year award imminent.)

So I started giving things to charity. The guy driving the truck with the clothesline on the side - my hero. And I started saying no to charity. Do I want your hand-me-downs? Nope. Stuff with stains on it? Dude, we’re in Torbay, not Bangladesh.

I was getting things under control, embracing my newfound simplicity. Then, a couple of months ago, I met someone, and my Sort-of-Utopia began to unravel. His name is Thomas. The cheeky one. And he wasn’t alone. He brought his whole red and green and brown and blue posse with him. There are trains and tracks everywhere. On the floor, in the couch, in my butt crack. Max goes to bed with a smiling locomotive in each hand, and wakes up with them, still in his death grip, often with a chassis impressed into his face. By Christmas, our living room will have morphed into the Island of Sodor. If Sir Topham Hat walked into my front door right now, I would not be surprised. But he would get a startle, because he’d be getting a swift kick in those high-waisted pants.

And apparently this is just the beginning. Next up? Dinkies, then Transformers, then Legos, then what? Little parts and doodads and gadgets up the yin yang. Clutter-free simplicity up in smoke. But hey, while my matchbox home is chock full of stuff and toys and trains, my beautiful boy is brimming with joy. So what are ya gonna do? Buy more baskets, that’s what.


  1. Hi there, fellow basket hoarder here, mommy to a Max much like yours, only mine is almost 4 now. We have moved onto dinkies and puzzles. Lord how I hate puzzles! I wish I could tell you my Captain Destructo has calmed over the past 2 and half years, but I wouldn't want to give you false hope. I blog as well, but mostly pictures so my DH who is working away can see them. Feel free to drop by though. Hope you keep at it, I have enjoyed reading! :)

  2. That doesn't link to my current blog, it's at :)

  3. I'll raise my hand to that as well, girls - baskets rule. But try telling that to DH and DS 1& 2! Despite my best efforts, we constantly trip up on toys in this Dinkie-turned-transformer-turned-who-knows-what Heaven. :-S

    My dear, you are a riot! I heard about you on my boys are 6&8...

    After Transformers, they move on to Star Wars, Marvel Heroes & Bakugans (I don't mind them though - they're fun!) ... so you've got that to look forward too :-S

    I just recently started blogging too - - would love to have you drop by.

    I'll be back - you're hilarious :-)

  4. I'm into the primary coloured rubber tubs myself. Hardly works with my earthy coloured decor but what can you do?! You have no say anymore. Ryan has taken over every single room in the house. Including the bathrooms. Transformer-ville. Anyone know where I can get an Optimus Prime toilet seat cover? ;-)

  5. Vic, I laughed my ass off reading this! Keep it up! Its very entertaining. Nice diversion from doing work.

  6. Loved this!!! sounds so much like my home!! although with more space comes room for more crap!! and with a girl and boy i've got boy crap and now girls!!!! but they are both happy kids and i would not change a thing!!!