Home Furnishings: Bags of Clothes and Piles of Toilet Paper

Like anyone with a house, we have a fair amount of furniture around our place. Most of it is the usual stuff anyone with a family has under their roof.

There’s a dinner table. The living room has a sofa and a love seat. We have a couple of coffee tables. In the bedroom, there are beds, nightstands and dressers. We have a small office with a couple of desks. There is a piano off in the corner of the living room. These are the kinds of furniture that have purpose, that you actually use, and often on a daily basis.

And then there are those things that, for various reasons, are…well…just there. I call these things “furniture” not because you use them as such, but because they take up space and are now part of the home environment just like that TV console that is full of DVDs. If you have kids, like my wife and I do, then you really know what I am talking about.

A great example of this involves our younger daughter, who is 10 years old. She plays softball. She also carries a good-sized backpack with her to practice. Inside of this bag are her glove, batting helmet, ballcap, visor and a few softballs. She also uses this bag to carry her bat and water bottle. When she isn’t using the bag, we hang it up in the garage, where it belongs.

Our cat doesn’t know what to make of our daughter’s softball bag.

Where it doesn’t belong is on the living room floor, propped up against one of the piano’s legs. Which is where it spent three days last week after our daughter got home from softball practice Tuesday evening. I saw it. My wife saw it. Both of our daughters saw it. And, yet, for three days, the bag sat there, taking up space along with all the other furniture in our house. I finally picked up the bag and hung it up in the garage.

But, the fact that it took three days to do so got me thinking about all the other things around here that, because or our obliviousness and/or inaction, have unintentionally turned into pieces of furniture. Many of these are ridiculous. I am sure you know where I am coming from because I am certain that you have a few similar things around your living space…

A Broken Vacuum…

This is actually in our garage, and out of direct view most of the time. But, those two qualities might just make this vacuum the ultimate piece of furniture. We put this in our garage at least two years ago, with the intention of taking it to a repair shop. We even taped a piece of paper on it saying what wrong with the time. In the photo, you can even see the tape, and a small piece of the paper that we attached to the vacuum. Somehow, the paper got ripped off, and now we don’t remember what broke in the first place. My guess is this will still be in the garage after our kids finish college a decade from now.

An Easel…

Since all kids like to draw, we got this thing for our girls. A roll of drawing paper goes up top, one side has a dry erase board, and there is a chalkboard on the other. We got this when our older daughter was about four, which means it has spent eight years going from our living room, to the garage, and most recently, to our front deck. One of the girls friends wrote on the white board in permanent ink. I think it has been at least five years since the kids used it to create any kind of art. They never ask about it, and we still can’t throw the thing out.

Christmas Cards…

One of the few things we mail out every year that aren’t bills are our Christmas cards. Like a lot of people, we take the cards we get and put them on display. Unlike our Christmas tree and lights, which we took down around New Year’s Day, our cards from last Christmas have turned into artwork like photos that you put up and forget about for 20 years. These cards have now been up for four months and the photo only shows half of them.

A Jewelry Box…

My wife has a lot of earrings that end up bouncing around our bedroom and bathroom. So, she asked me for this jewelry storage box for Christmas in 2016. What neither of us counted on what the actual size of the box and that we really didn’t have a place to put it. Like what happens with many toys that kids get on Christmas, my wife opened the thing up, checked it out once, put it back in the box, and…Never looked at the thing again. The box has been sitting inside of the box it came in in front of my wife’s dresser for more than four years, now. However, I can’t say we haven’t gotten any use out of it. As you can see from the photo, the box has served as a nice shelf for a pair of sandals that, for reasons unknown, are inside a plastic bag.

A Small Dresser…

Now, here we have a piece of “furniture” that actually IS a piece of furniture. My wife took this out of her late aunt’s basement almost two years ago. The plan was to strip it, re-paint it and then take the thing up to what I call our “Shackteau” in Mariposa, which is near Yosemite. Instead, the dresser has taken up residency at the end of our kitchen counter and has served as a wonderful target for me to smash my shins unto on numerous occasions. About once a month I’ll ask my wife if we are still going to take this to Mariposa. My inquiry is usually met with a “Yes…eventually…” through my wife’s gritted teeth. (Honorable mention goes to the green box where my wife, a kindergarten teacher, has kept supplies for her Zoom sessions at home over the past year.)

A Guitar…

Or, specifically, my guitar. I got this for a gift 20 years ago…Which was probably about 20 years too late for me to ever stand a chance of turning myself into a guitar god. I took lessons for while, learned a handful of chords, and can actually play the majority of a few songs, (Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”; Big Star’s “September Gurls”), but, like anyone with kids and loads of laundry to fold that the kids won’t fold, I just don’t have the time to wail on the axe like I would like. I pick it up a couple of times a year, dust it off, tune it up and tell myself that I’ll practice for a few minutes a day. But, then I see that pile of laundry that no one else is folding…

A Bag of Clothes…

Speaking of laundry, this trash bag full of kids clothes is the newest addition to our extra furniture that is becoming part of our everyday scenery around the house.

My wife went through our older daughter’s clothes to cull some of the stuff she has outgrown, and now we have this. A bag of stuff our younger daughter is supposed to try on to see what fits before we make any Goodwill donations. This has been in the corner of our kitchen for about a week now, and the kid has been busy with school and sports, so there is a reason she hasn’t gone through this stuff, yet. But if past history holds, there is at least 75% chance that this bag will still be in the same place, with the clothes still waiting to be tried on, five months from now, and when everything will definitely be too small for the girl. (Bonus points for those boxes you see there behind the bag that include past years of taxes and other paperwork that I have yet to put elsewhere or shred.)

A Mountain of Toilet Paper…

Like a lot of people, when the Covid pandemic kicked into high gear last year, we loaded up on toilet paper whenever we found some on the store shelves. A lot of this came from Costco, as you can buy a 30-pack of TP there often for less than it will cost you for a 12-pack at your local grocery store. As time went on, the pile began to get smaller. And then, my wife saw something on the news one day about TP going into short supply and she told me to get some on my next Costco trip. And the one after that. And the next one, too. And now we are back to having a mountain of almost 150 rolls of toilet paper in our bedroom. I mean, we needed some place to put that Star Wars blaster, right?

A Honey Bucket…

We live on a hill here in Oakland. And with earthquakes
rattling the area once in a while, my wife felt it was time to take some preventative steps to better secure our house. As such, a couple of weeks back, we had a group of guys spend about four days crawling around under our house, putting in shearwalls, bolting things down, and in general, doing stuff that is far above my pay grade or desire to do. As such, they brought their own Honey Bucket to use so they wouldn’t have to tramp through our living room when nature made its inevitable call. Well, they finished the job, but have so far left behind this reminder of their time here. I assume they will come and pick the thing up, but in the meantime, I have taken to calling this our Third Bathroom.

Not all of these unlikely pieces of furniture will be permanent. The earthquake repair guys have already said they will pick up the Honey Bucket by the end of this weekend. And the mass of TP has also started to erode as 5I have committed to not buying another roll until we use up the last on on the mountain. We’re also going to have a fashion show this weekend for my daughter to go through that bag of her sister’s clothes. That will get a few things out of the way…at least until the next box or bag shows up.

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