More Room Needed

I hate discussing my former marriage (either on this blog or in real life) but . . it happened and was a part of my life for 15 years and sometimes it just has to be mentioned.

I began sewing non-stop while still in high school so my sewing room/area has always been important to me. The ex and I had been dating for a while and we were talking about getting married and building a house. Like any optimistic bride to be, I rushed out and bought about 20 books of house plans. I had turned down some pages, made some notations and was sure I had the perfect house plan narrowed down.

Then . . the unthinkable happened! We broke up. My sister was married, with children and they were thinking about building a house so I said here, take these house plan books. I’ll never use them. I’m sure I’ll be a very old woman, without a husband, without children and without a home of my own. Just take the books . . get them out of my sight!

She took them, she looked through them and she kept them. After a while, the ex called. I was so sure he was calling to tell me how much he missed me, he couldn’t live his life without me and we’d run off at daybreak, get married, build a house and live happily ever after. Nope, not what he was calling about. He wanted to pick up those house plan books because he was going to go ahead and build a house. Knowing what I now know, I should’ve jumped for joy but I’m sure I retreated to my room and cried myself a river of tears.

I told him my sister had the books and he could get them from her . . which he did.

Not too many weeks before the house was finished, we did end up getting back together and he took me out to see his new home. It was nice . . but not very nice! He was so proud of himself because he had chosen a plan that I had picked out. Are you sure? Yes, look, it’s right here . . even has notes for some changes I had wanted and he made those changes. Wait . . that’s my sister’s handwriting! You built the house my sister liked! How could he have known? Our writing was similar and he wasn’t at fault for thinking it was my writing.

Well, you would think that little mess up still bothers me! It doesn’t . . I think it’s kinda funny.

We ended up getting married, and lived there for 5 years I think. But, the house was about 1,700 square feet. Not nearly big enough for 2 adults and a dachshund . . if one of those adults needs a sewing room with a place for storing lots of fabric!

The real problem is that I’m a horrible housekeeper and I kept telling him that I needed more room. If I just had more square feet, the house would be neater. He was kind of a neat freak and that’s one thing I’ve never been accused of being. So, far 5 years, my excuse was that I didn’t have enough room. The next house we built was about 2,800 square feet and it was perfect . . for a short time! Then the sewing room wasn’t big enough, the clutter was everywhere. Still 2 adults, one dachshund and now we have Chad. I explained to him that if I had more room, things would be ok. I was sure that with just a bit more room, I could keep the house neater. The next house was just a bit over 4,000 square feet and you’re getting the picture by now — it was still a mess and he no longer subscribed to my “need more room” theory.

There is a point to this story. For years I used a regular ironing board with my sewing. Several years ago, I made myself a big board of sorts. It was so nice to have all that extra room. Last night I was trying to iron binding . . you know — it’s cut 2-1/2″ and I press it in half so all I really needed was about 2″ of space on the big board. It wasn’t there!

There’s the current UFO I’m working on, there’s pieces and the pattern left over from Santa on Speed. There’s some knitting yarn there. Don’t ask me why *everything* is on the ironing table — maybe because if there’s a horizontal surface in my house, it is going to be covered!

As I was trying to press that binding, I said to myself, I need a bigger ironing table, and then I remembered that it doesn’t matter how big my table is, it doesn’t matter how big my room is, it doesn’t matter how big my house is — it’s always going to be cluttered.

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  1. 1

    Vicky says

    The story of your sister’s house being built is hilarious! LOL

    I personally think it’s impossible to be neat while you’re creating quilts! My biggest sin is pulling out fabrics and not putting them back in their place. They usually end up piled on my cutting table. You’re in good company here! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 2

    Evelyn aka Starfishy says

    Oh Judy, I WISH I were closer – I would help you get organized! It is so wonderful to have clear surfaces, peaceful places to rest your eyes and things neatly in their place so you can find them! I am not the best organizer, by any means, but I do a daily 10 minute sweep and that seems to help lots! I just got tired of always looking for things. I also don’t concentrate on the entire house – just ONE closet shelf or ONE junk drawer, etc. Slowly but surely I am making progress. Also – whatever comes INTO the house – an equal amount needs to LEAVE the house – you should have seen the piles that went OUT in order to get prepared for what was coming IN for Christmas this year! I see empty spots on the shelves under the ironing board that you can put to good use in order to clear off the top! Good luck.



  3. 3

    Mar says

    Yeah, I’m glad to hear this, cause I’m the exact same, if there’s a space I’ll fill it. Is there rehab for this?

  4. 4

    Shelina says

    Hey if you take off the iron, there is space where the iron used to be. Don’t ask me how I know. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve been on flylady mailing list for years now, and I do try to clean something everyday, which has helped tremendously. But we have a family illness called horizontal space syndrome, which makes us compelled to fill any open horizontal space, so it is a never ending battle.

  5. 5

    Katiejack says

    Ah, yes. My husband has the exact same problem! We’ve moved a few times and each house has been bigger than the last. I’ve heard the same story, too. If we just have a bigger garage, if we just have a basement, if we just build a shed. It doesn’t matter what size the house, we wind up crammed to the gills. I’ve take to calling this the “John Expansion Theory.” John will expand to take up whatever space he’s given. I think empty space is a challenge to him. LOL!

  6. 6

    Randi says

    I can sooooo relate. I get all cleared up and organized, then poof, there it all is again…and it’s mostly my doing. Now I also have yarn laying around….

  7. 7

    Anonymous says

    how nice of your ex to build your sister’s house! i agree bigger just means more stuff! kayp

  8. 8

    Caryn says

    It’s so nice to see I am not alone! My son bought me a little wall sign for Christmas that says “A messy home is a sign of character… (you should see the characters that live here)”.

  9. 9

    Vicki W says

    Which is exactly why I said a big NO when Chris offered to expand my sewing room another 8 feet. I would fill that space too!

  10. 10

    deputyswife says

    That’s a funny story about your house!

    For some unknown reason, my ironing board is completely cleared right now. Usually, I am ironing pieces on a little 4 inch square area because all the junk is piled up around me. (My husband has a terrible habit of piling up the mail and newspapers on there.)

  11. 11

    tami says

    I have the exact same problem with horizontal surfaces. If there is one it will be covered. I move piles off my cutting table to my ironing board to cut, then back to my cutting table when I need to press. It’s a sad, sad thing. I came to the same conclusion that no matter how much space I have I will fill it. You are definitley NOT alone.

  12. 12

    Catherine says

    I laughed out loud when I read this! It’s exactly the same here — horizontal space syndrome and we guard our own horizontal spaces quite well! My sewing table has to have no space or else some of DH’s items somehow manage to land there.

    I have a pile of fabric I’ve been moving from ironing board to sewing table for a couple of months. I don’t want to put it away, because I want to use it; just don’t know in what!

  13. 13

    Susan says

    This story sounds amazingly familiar – the space part, not the house-building part. I found that very amusing. =) Did you tell *him* he built your sister’s house?

  14. 14

    Mrs. Goodneedle says

    That’s very funny, and a common trap. I like cleaning and organizing, weird, I know… but I’m afraid if I gave myself room for clutter to accumulate I’d never get it back under control! Like it’s a one-shot deal.

  15. 15

    Judy says

    Man I wish I had 1700 sq feet. I live in 1000 sq ft condo with 2 adults and 2 cats. I’d kill for one more room! or 700 more feet!

  16. 16

    Erin says

    Oh that was just too funny!! my husband just finished helping me clean up my sewing room again..three times in one week .. it was so cluttered..I know how you feel…

  17. 17

    Marianne says

    Thought you’d appreciate this, Judy. Don’t know who said it, “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?โ€ *LOL*

  18. 18

    SusanB says

    I also have horizontal space syndrome. I live in 2700 square feet and I’ve filled it all by myself! I’m tired of heating all this space and want to downsize. First, I’ve got to declutter. A major goal for 2008.

  19. 19

    Morah says

    OMG you have me laughing! I took over the bigger of the two “spare” rooms for my sewing… I was sure I’d put a bed in there for guests….DH just laughs and laughs about this! Between you and me, he’s right!

  20. 20

    Melinda says

    I hate to admit that my sewing room is so cluttered that I set up my travel machine in the kitchen and took over the kitchen table. I have way too much stuff and it is everywhere.

  21. 21

    Diane says

    I was just thinking today while I was trying to sew the borders on a quilt that if I would quit covering every single inch of space with stuff I could sew easier and ironing without so much frustration. Oh well maybe with the move to the new house I will get organized and be able stay that way. Hope springs eternal.:^)

  22. 22

    Anonymous says

    Sometimes I think we’re really sisters or something, Judy. I cannot control clutter for the life of me.


  23. 23

    KathySWFL says

    Judy, your ironing surface looks like my cutting surface! Nice to know we aren’t alone in our clutter.

  24. 24

    Bon says

    Sounds like my kitchen table, counters, cutting table… hmmm seems like the horizontal syndrome. And you should try living in a really small house — less than 1500 square feet counting the basement.

  25. 25

    Mary says

    I’m getting ready to go do some piecing and first I have to clean off the ironing board. I managed to make my New Year’s postcard on the sliver showing but the blocks will take up more space.

  26. 26

    Shellie says

    I can so relate to this. I am just as bad and it drives my dh nuts. Things around here stay uncluttered for about a day, if that.

  27. 27

    Beth says

    Judy honey, you’re not really writing about yourself. You’re writing about me … ha ha .. or rather, the me I used to be! I was that cluttered person who always needed more space and always needed more room until I realised the lack of space wasn’t the problem, *I* was the problem. I realised that I CHOSE to leave things out when I had finished with them, I realised that I CHOSE to pile stuff up on every horizontal surface, I CHOSE not to put the laundry away when it was dried … and then I decided this was not going to happen any more and I CHOSE to put things away when I have finished with them, I CHOSE to find a place for all my “stuff” – and when I decided to CHOOSE to be tidy instead of lazy and messy all of a sudden I had so much more room I didn’t know where it had come from! Good luck if you CHOOSE to get yourself straight in 2008. Beth

  28. 28

    Owens Family Adventures says

    The story about your ex building your sisters house was pretty funny! I wish I could send you my friend….Walker Leigh…I need to get some pics to put on my blog about how organized she is. I like to just go and sit in her craft room and soak up the neatness. ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay as wonderfully messy as you are!! It’s part of the Judy we all know and adore!

  29. 29

    Anonymous says

    LOL, if you ever came to my place you would recognize my closit in a heartbeat. It’s a walk-in closit, but there’s only 2 sq feet to ‘walk in’.


  30. 30

    jettstream says

    How funny about your sister’s house–did she like it?

    I use a folding ironing board and I notice that when it is up, it gets piled. But when I finish a project it gets cleared and folded and put away. Maybe that would help you? Except that you have a constant project in the works, so I guess yours would never get folded and put away, huh?

  31. 31

    Lynette Anderson says

    ‘You cant be creative and tidy” that is something that I have always said when I try to find space in my workroom, its good to know that other people have the same problems!