Family room storage

I inherited a little oak washstand from my grandparents, mostly because nobody else wanted it. It had lived for years in the upstairs bathroom of their house, storing towels and toiletries and serving as a resting place for generations of dripping toothbrushes. When it came to me, the top was covered in water rings and was lifting away from the base. I nailed it back together, sanded and filled the holes, and gave it fresh coats of stain and wax. I love having it as a side table in our family room. I doubt that it has much value, but it holds good memories for me.

You like the things hanging out of the overstuffed drawers?

But in the couple of years that I’ve had the washstand, the drawers have filled up with all sorts of nonsense. Framed pictures that we took off the wall, yarn from the kids’ experiments in finger weaving, Bibles and workbooks from when Mr. Ten was studying for his First Communion two years ago. I found odd game pieces and toys, broken crayons, and a bunch of candles.

I cleaned it out. I sorted, threw away the garbage, put away all the other stuff where it really belongs. It took all of 10 minutes (I’ve now spent more time writing about it than actually doing it.) But now what?

I never had a plan for what to store there. I still don’t really have a plan. Instead, I have a list of possibilities jotted on a Post-It note. I have designated one drawer just for candles, and I moved the box of tapers and bag of tea lights so they’re all consolidated in one place. I found a basket to hold my knitting projects and some mending supplies (pin cushion, scissors, seam ripper, needle and thread), because when someone needs a button sewn on, I like to do it in front of the television (preferably while listening to The West Wing on Netflix). Anyway, the front runner on my list seems to be “extra office supplies,” which is mostly reams of paper for the printer and maybe a box of neatly labeled charging cords (the bowl they’re currently in is overflowing). Unless I come up with a better idea. If I leave the drawers empty, they’re just going to fill up with junk again. I speak from experience.

In other decluttering news, I’ve been slowly working on the piles and bags that always seem to accumulate around my desk. I believe it’s what they call a “clutter hotspot.” It’s more like a black hole with its own gravitational pull. The whole family leaves stuff there, which explains the hairbrush and the thank-you note that have landed here this morning. I still have one big bag of stuff to sort and a file box that needs to be organized. But I treated myself to a two-pocket hanging file for the kids’ homework-in-progress (their spelling lists, reading logs, and weekly homework packets). I used to have homework clipped to my memo board, but I was annoyed by the space it took up, and sometimes things got too heavy for their magnets and slid down onto the desk.

I also finished one little project whose materials have been stacked–you guessed it–next to my desk for the past several weeks. I took this cute Coca-Cola crate that I bought at a garage sale and attached some casters to it. I intended it for Little Five’s room, but he still doesn’t spend much time in there during the day and doesn’t keep toys in his room. I debated using it for Lego storage in the family room, but it really isn’t big enough, and the containers we’re using now are working well. But a rolling cart for reading material (usually a couple weeks’ worth of the New York Times and a few magazines)–that’s what we need! When it starts to overflow, it will be time to recycle.


Eventually it might find it’s way back to Little Five’s room, but I like putting it to use right now. Here’s hoping that by next week, I’ll have finished sorting through the rest of the desk mess and can move on to more exciting projects.


3 responses

  1. Love that washstand! Very pretty and functional–a perfect combination.

    I, too, have found that unless a drawer or cabinet has designated occupants, anyone and anything just comes to stay. We have an empty cabinet in a hutch because I can’t think of what makes the most sense to put there. Unless I make a concerted effort to put things in other areas, they tend to migrate to that empty cupboard simply because it is easy.

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