Going Overboard

Going Overboard

Remember a few months ago when I mentioned our obsession with stuff? I’d like to believe it grows out of good intentions. The fact is, when you buy something big and expensive, you want to show it off. You’re proud that you were able to acquire this big, expensive thing, and you want people to know about it. Ever notice how old black and white family photos tend to be taken in front of the car? That’s because cars were expensive, back in the day, and families who owned them were proud of them. How did they showcase that pride? By making sure the car was in the important family photos!

Today we take pictures of our big expensive prides and post them online. And while it may highlight how ‘stuff’ obsessed we are, that isn’t always a bad thing. For instance, many people take pictures of their house and post them on places like Pinterest (because houses are big and expensive and we’re proud of them). This puts a plethora of amazing design and organization ideas at anyone’s fingertips. A few years back, when we bought our first house, I started pinning nifty things I wanted to do one day. We’ve since sold that house, and haven’t yet bought another, but I still squirrel away pins that might be useful one day when we have a house to decorate and organize.

Thing is, people go overboard. There are many pins that look amazing at first glance. But then I stop to think for a minute and wonder.

My mother-in-law is a bit of a neat freak (not in a bad way). She’s passed a lot of this on to me over the years. Because once you notice the things that bring dirt and grime into your life, and subsequently remove them, it’s hard to stop noticing. Now I can’t count the number of pins I look at and think how would I ever keep that clean? So I couldn’t help laughing when I came across this buzzfeed post a few weeks ago, comprised of several popular pins, called 31 Insanely Clever Remodeling Ideas For Your New Home. There are several awesome ideas on this list, but a few just make me shake my head.

Like number #15, which recommends stretching a hammock across the upper section of a room if you’ve got high ceilings. It’s either a really awesome idea, or a disaster waiting to happen. Especially if you had kids. How much bouncing before one of those gives out? But that’s a minor one. Here are my real gripes.

#7 Make space for two dishwashers instead of one.”
Really? The article suggests doing this so that you can ‘load one dishwasher while the other is running.’ Who ever accumulates so many dirty dishes they can’t wait until the dish washer finishes running? More intelligent advice would be to run your dish washer during off-peak hours to save yourself a bit of electricity costs. The double drawer dishwasher (which ends up being the size of a single dishwasher) I can understand. But who would ever need TWO dishwashers in their house? Have you got fifteen people living there? I’m pretty sure there were families who raised a dozen kids without a single dishwasher. Just imagine, for a moment, you’re in the midst of a kitchen renovation. Maybe it wouldn’t cost a lot extra to have the kitchen set up for two dishwashers, but doesn’t that kind of assume you don’t already have space for one? And what’s the point of having an extra dishwasher so that one can sit with dirty dishes in it while the other is running? Surely you’d never run both at the same time.

In other words, someone obviously thought wow, two dishwashers would be really handy but if you think it through a few minutes it starts to seem silly. Or, to be precise, wasteful.

#17 Install chutes in your kitchen for your trash and recycling.”
Another idea that looks fabulous at first glance. One of my biggest complaints about the kitchen is containing the smell of the garbage. There are several things you can do to mitigate this, but it’s inevitable that you have a stinky bag of trash in the kitchen at some point, possibly hidden in a cupboard somewhere. How fabulous if you could just get it out of the kitchen right away!

Except all you’re doing is transferring the problem. For one, if your trash is going straight to the garage, it’s just going to make the garage stink instead. Which may or may not bother you, I suppose, depending on how much time you spend in there. And how is this chute supposed to work? One assumes you put garbage bags down it, so you’re still going to have stinky garbage bags in the kitchen at some point. If you’re putting the garbage through it outside a bag then… eww?

How would you ever keep that clean? Even if you’re putting garbage bags through it. Seriously. Have you ever lived in an apartment building? Have you ever used the garbage chute? It’s dirty, icky and smelly. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, garbage all over the place in our building. We lived right across from it and never had any problems. But that’s because it was located in a little closet to keep the smell contained. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to have to CLEAN one of those things ever. Not even a miniature one built into my wall.

For recycling, it might work, but what about clogs? Something might get stuck in there. And you’d still have to find a way to keep it clean. Even if you meticulously clean everything that goes through it, there’s going to be dust and grime in there at some point. Especially if your garage isn’t handily located on the opposite side of the wall from the kitchen.

#28 Swap out your boring old ceiling for a star-gazing sunroof.”
The funniest thing about this one is the couple sitting in bed pointing outside to illustrate how rocking awesome this idea is. Sleep under the stars!

Except that if you sleep under the stars, the sun is going to shine smack in your eyes the next morning. So unless you want to be up at dawn, one of you is going to have to pull a curtain across that sun roof before you go to sleep. And if you have to pull a curtain across it, you’re not really sleeping underneath the stars, are you? How is that any different from a regular window? And let’s not start on the topic of bird poop.

#27 Bring the outdoors IN with these accordion glass windows and doors.”
This may be the North American in me. I’ll admit it. I love the idea of a big open space where people can move in and out of the house. I love the idea of bringing spring and summer inside. And here in England, it seems common that people have large windows without screens.

Except in our first month here, we had two bees fly in through the window because there weren’t screens to keep them out. I tried to get one of them back outside by trapping him between the inside and outside portion of the window, but he never did find the opening, despite many tries.

I was one of those children who grew up being asked if I was born in a barn and told don’t hold the door open because bugs will come in. And I hate having bugs in my house, I really do. I’m perfectly fine with bugs outside. I’ll walk around them when I see them. They’ve got every right to live. Until they come into my house. Then they’ll be sorry.

#29 Install a two-sided fireplace between the bathroom and the bedroom.”
Okay, okay. This is a minor gripe too. It’s actually a really great idea. I’d love to lounge in my tub beside a fireplace. No kidding. It just seems like an awfully big expense for a small bit of luxury. It isn’t overly practical and I guess, at heart, I’m a practical person.

Ever encountered a pin that made you think twice? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

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