On Suddenly Living in a Big House With Lots of Stuff

Well, hello there!

It’s been a while.

We have just been over here… hanging out… taking huge gulps of normalcy.

We’ve been doing normal people things that we either couldn’t or chose not to do while living in the bus.

The girls are participating in activities like choir and soccer and ballet:


We got a Costco membership  (the savings on milk alone are enough to cover the cost of joining – this is about two weeks’ worth):


I’ve actually been putting some effort into our homeschooling now that we have the space to really stretch out:

library whiteboard

It’s been, for the most part, really, really nice.


See how relaxed we look?

I know that after living for two years in a tiny space with a dearth of all sorts of things I’m supposed to have gleaned a better perspective on how our copious amount of belongings actually trap us into a mindset of consumerism and complicate our daily lives more than we realize.

I know.

But you guys, after living for two years in a tiny space with a dearth of all sorts of things, I have actually come to realize that I will probably never be the minimalist that I thought I would. I like stuff just a little bit more than I thought I did, sorry.

What I am feeling overwhelmed with, at this point, isn’t so much the amount of stuff that we have so much as the amount of space.

Twenty-two hundred square feet is a BIG jump from four hundred. Even before the bus, we hadn’t lived in anything bigger than one thousand square feet. I could vacuum our entire last rental from one plug and there weren’t any ceiling fans to dust.

Now, I’m starting to realize that when you have things like “baseboards” and “multiple bathrooms” and “a staircase” you have also keep those things clean. Otherwise you start to live in squalor and people judge you. And there’s probably some health and safety concerns in there somewhere too.

Quite frankly, friends, it’s kind of overwhelming. I feel like we might have bitten off a bit more than we could chew at this point in our lives. We have an acre and a half of land and a large house to maintain, plus four kids who are absolutely determined to undo all of our work. Between cleaning and cooking and homeschooling and running errands I feel frazzled and tired more than I would prefer. And a lot of those feelings stem from trying to keep this brand new house from being destroyed.

Since we moved in 6 months ago:

-the top lid of the powder room toilet has been dropped and cracked

-someone had scribbled all over the side of the white bathroom vanity with purple marker that I can’t get off

-irremovable superglue has been spilled on the kitchen counter

-the fireclay farmhouse sink that I love has been chipped in two places (thankfully, we were able to call in the warranty and get a replacement that is sitting in the garage until this one is officially ruined in the years to come)

-the laundry room flooded and leaked into the kitchen and wrecked part of the flooring

-the front of the house and porches have been colored on with with chalk, crayon, markers, mud and paint

I could go on.

And you know what? A lot of these things happened while I was trying to clean some other part of the house.

Here’s the thing: when I was younger, I read a lot of great books that included great mothers and idyllic households (not that there was anything missing from my own mother or household, these were just *perfect* ones). My two favorites were Marmee from Little Women and Anne Shirley when she grows up and has her own children in Anne of Ingleside. (Affiliate links).

I wanted to be  just like them: loving and kind and caring and to have a tidy, put-together home filled with warmth and love and laughter and grace. Sure, there would be some busyness and chaos, but it would be fun and the “little scrapes” my children would get into would simply cause me to roll my eyes to the heavens and laugh. Hahahaha!

It wasn’t until recently, as an adult that I made the connection that both Marmee and Anne had housekeepers! They weren’t doing everything themselves – all the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the errands, the schooling – they had help! Not to mention, Marmee had all girls, which counts for quite a bit.

In any case, all I’m saying is that from now on, the only thing I’m asking for my birthday or Christmas or Valentine’s day or Memorial Day or St. Patrick’s Day is a house cleaning service.

That’s all.

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16 thoughts on “On Suddenly Living in a Big House With Lots of Stuff

  1. I was just wondering how you were doing, and Ta-Duh! your post popped up.

    And as I was reading it, I was thinking about all the help that Marmee and Anne had (Hannah and Susan, right?!?) and, yes, sexist though it sounds, having girls to help in the house. Modern mamas just have themselves, and all those labor-saving devices have to be maintained and special soap bought for them (I just got back from the store, because I was out of laundry soap, dishwashing soap and dishwasher soap. I feel like a slave to the petroleum companies.) I just finished reading the Anne books again a bit ago, and, seriously, to have a grown woman helping is just an amazing luxury! And how much more fun to “turn out a room” if you’ve got someone helping – maybe that’s why you never hear of people doing it anymore, let alone spring cleaning…

    So good to hear from you again! Maybe someone will start a go-fund-me for your Christmas present…..

      1. I know! I find it amazing that so many of my problems are not problems at all when I look at it in the perspective of the rest of the world.

  2. Holy Cow! I can’t believe the milk you go through;0)

    So glad to hear things are going well for you in your new house! There is a lot of upkeep, for sure, and never a moment where something doesn’t need to be done.

    Have you tried finger nail polish remover on the super glue? I remember as a little girl, my mom super glued her thumb and finger together. The only thing that worked was finger nail polish remover. Lol!

    Our home is currently on the market and I can’t wait for the day where we have a home we can truly ‘live’ in again. A home that doesn’t have to be show ready at a moment’s notice.

    Enjoy living!!!

  3. I can completely relate. Those were my exact sentiments when we moved into the last house. (Your wedding house ?) I tried to have it clean for company, but daily it was a struggle!! One of the happiest moments I’ve had lately was in my tiny condo…I vacuumed the entire downstairs, from one plug. In five minutes. I was giddy. But here’s the deal, I would not change a thing about the stress of owning our “Big” house. It allowed us room for many gatherings filled with friends and family making amazingly wonderful memories!! Lots of space for all of us to do our own thing, with nice family space to hang out in together and not feel cramped. I read a quote the other day that said “Real” moms (not sure why we all aren’t “real”, I’d choose a different word, but that’s just me) anyhow.. They have dirty floors, and sticky counters and messy cupboards, and such. I’m paraphrasing but you get the gist. So I’ll add in that the true measure of a Mom is the happiness of her family and you guys are one of the happiest bunches I’ve ever seen! I seriously get a big grin just thinking about my recent time spent with you guys and it fills my heart. Your plate is full raising wonderful little people, they are busy but they won’t be forever. I promise. (I can’t vouch for the boys here. Lol) You do things (homeschool!!!) most of us wouldn’t dream of. Let yourself off the hook for the small stuff. You are doing a great job!! ? (Also tell Noah his big sister said to get you a house cleaner! ? A happy wife, and all that business!!)

  4. I don’t have a clue how a Mom can homeschool and take care of 4 kids, cook & clean. You are amazing to take that on!
    Have you tried Purell handsantizer on the marker? I’ve used it to remove black permancent marker.

  5. Right now we have multiple loads of unfolded laundry on the dining room table, an odd smell emanating from the stairway carpet that I’m just hoping will go away on its own, and so much dog hair wafting around that I could knit us a whole other dog. Not that I knit of course. And there are just two of us now (sniff). It’s certainly a first world problem, but it’s also only one stage of many more to come. Soon enough the girls will be going on sleep overs, and the boys will try to hot-wire your car. Or vice versa. They’re all good times. You’re both doing a really great job raising a wonderful family, and as for anyone who feels the need to judge, send them my way and I’ll straighten them out–because that’s what big sisters are for! XXOO

  6. It’s a lot to be sure! Add in working 30 hours a week from home and you have described our household. Just keep plugging away at the training until they realize they can help out more than mess up! That’s what I tell myself, anyway, on those dark days when it is all so overwhelming. 🙂

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