Claiming Back Home Space

Whenever I think of my small house I can’t help but remember one article I read a long time ago (by Bo Sanchez?) where he describes his house as ’so small when he opens the refrigerator he gets centralized air conditioning’, or something like that. Well my house is either just a little bigger than his or his refrigerator is a lot more powerful than mine. Based on general standards, my whole house can fit in a regular American bedroom. And when me and my wife fight and argue over something, all 3 adjacent neighbors (one on each side, all separated only by a 4-inch concrete wall, the front being the only free side) hears every word we say and can even butt in on the ‘conversation’ should they choose to.

Just yesterday, my wife decided she’s had enough of walking sideways and on tiptoes whenever she ventures into the kitchen area. When I went outside I was surprised to see a lot of old unused or defective appliances, obsolete programming books, outdated engineering reference books, maps and building plans (duplicates of appraisal reports attachments I made when I was still working in a bank), forgotten toys, floppy diskettes, zip disks, a flatbed scanner, a couple of 1995 editions of Grolier Dictionaries, etc. that she hauled out unto the front yard. There was even an old Japanese air conditioner and its accompanying 110V transformer. And there of course were the endless reams of print outs of information I gathered from the internet since 1995, ranging in topic from brainwave entrainment, to hypnosis to eft to visual basic. I can’t help but wonder how all these can fit in what little space we have inside.

Anyway, after quickly sorting some things out and tossing back inside some things we believe we can still use (or just refuse to let go), I had some fun building a big bonfire and tossing things into the blaze. I thought it would have been more fun if I could do this at night. It took me an hour more or less to burn everything into fine ashes.

The rest of the things we decided to keep were packed into tight boxes and brought to my in-laws’ house. They got more space out there to store these things at least until I miss and feel like building bonfires again.

Getting back into the house later was like breathing fresh cubic meters of air for the first time in years. We can now walk around without stumbling over something. Me and my wife felt good about it we decided to make this an annual event instead of a decennial one. I vaguely remember an Oprah feature a long time ago where she focused on people who have kept a lot of things inside their house in this manner. This must be how those people felt after recovering back home space. Of course I didn’t get Oprah-paid clean up service and home make-overs like they did though.

(Author’s note: Not the topic you expected? I’m sorry but every now and then I do rant about very mundane things here 🙂 )


  1. Hi Noel, each year when the winter cold leaves us (it gets very cold and snows here in Michigan) we set out to do exactly the same thing. Here it’s called ‘spring cleaning’ and I know the feeling of ‘claiming back your home space’. We have a good sized home yet that just means we can pack a lot of junk in it. Funny how we save all that junk we never use.

  2. I love a good spring or fall cleaning to make everything feel roomy and fresh again, all though parting with some of those things can be a real tear jerker. Haha.

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