Storage, closets and expansions

Cruising around in blogland this morning, I had a good chuckle over this post at unclutterer. Heh, welcome to my world of houses with no built in storage or closets. For the past eight years, I’ve lived in German houses, and the typical German house has no closets whatsoever and the bathroom storage, if there is any, is laughable.

As I understand it, homeowners are taxed based on the number of rooms in a house, and a closet is considered a room, no matter how small. A laundry room, however, even one so big as mine which is the size of a medium bedroom, is not a room because it’s “unfinished,” since the walls aren’t all pretty and smooth with wallpaper or beautiful paint, and the pipes are exposed on the walls and ceiling. Go figure. I’d be happy with an “unfinished” closet, thank you very much, and I’m slightly surprised that the Germans haven’t figured out that loophole yet. The pipes sticking out of the wall could double as wall hooks or closet poles.

Seriously though, I’ve spent the last eight years searching out creative storage solutions that don’t cost a bundle, but look half way decent, which is a pretty tall order really. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that JC Penney could deliver bookshelves and dressers Priority Mail. Instead of something nice that I might like to keep for a long time, I end up with this kind of junk, just to have something to use that’s better than nothing at all and doesn’t cost a small fortune.

Amy at MomAdvice penned a post that caught my eye this morning as well. I laughed a little at this one too, since I did spend a huge amount of time decluttering my house before the move, but the big holes I have in the house now are more because I have 30-40% more space here than I did in the other house than because I got rid of anything. And I do have holes; as a matter of fact, I have an entire room that I don’t really know what to do with.

The room on the side of my studio, dubbed “the Library” since that’s where we thought most of the books were going to live, is kind of purpose-less at the moment. We’d also planned to put the sofa bed in there if family every came to visit. (snort. Like THAT will ever happen.) The majority of the books ended up elsewhere with Plan B, some in the dining room and some in the office, and since I’m not anticipating a horde of relatives at my door, well, there it sits, a fairly big, empty hole in the house.

I didn’t really mean to take over nearly a third of the house…

Every morning I walk in there and think, “Wow, the natural light in here is just wonderful” and every afternoon I wander in there and enjoy the relatively cool temperature when my studio is feeling like an oven, and it’s only the middle of May. The lighting is better in there all afternoon as well, probably because it’s a smaller room and the light reflects off of the white walls. So what’s a girl to do? Start moving furniture, of course!

And even if I eventually resort to purchasing an air conditioner to keep from baking up here come August, it’s cheaper and easier to climate control a smaller room as opposed to this wide open studio. Come to think of it, keeping warm in the winter will probably be easier as well. And the Library Little Studio has something else the Studio doesn’t have: a door to close off noise from the rest of the house when I really need some quiet, and keep the cats away from my work if needed.

Oh, the irony of it all: I have a 450 square foot studio, and I’m moving part of my work area into the 126 square foot cubby hole/annex on the side. It’s kind of a bummer when what you think is going to be so perfectly wonderful doesn’t turn out that way in reality. I really can’t fit everything in the Little Studio, so obviously this is an expansion rather than a wholesale move. I didn’t really mean to take over nearly a third of the house, but it seems I’m about to do just that. I feel no guilt though, it’s all in the name of comfort and functionality…

3 thoughts on “Storage, closets and expansions

  1. Given the high level of efficiency at which the Germans operate, well that has always been my opinion anyway, it is surprising to me that they could function without closets. We in the US are all aout storage. That’s what garages are for, right? How many people actually park their car in it…

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  2. Well, efficiency is relative to what you’re used to, I think. Germans have “closets” they’re just not built in to houses like in the States. They’re more like free-standing wardrobes, and the best ones are very elaborate, somewhat like the California Closet type of thing. When Germans move house, they take everything with: closets, kitchens (right down to the bare walls, including the cabinets and appliances), light fixtures, etc. So whether it’s efficient is based on your point of view. Americans who are only living here for a relatively short time end up being forced to buy wardrobe type things that we probably won’t take back to the US when we leave.

    And funny you should mention garages; I’m still waiting (not so patiently) for the owners to get their household goods out of my garage and ship it all off to Canada. I can’t wait to park my car in the garage and keep the sun and weather off of it!

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