Piles of stuff and boxes of crap

We have an incredibly organised filing system in our house for important documents and miscellaneous items. It goes a little something like this: –

  • The lift up lid box (aka foot stool) – lint rollers, tea lights, dusters, broken sunglasses and the digital thermometer
  • The kitchen scales – nail files, keys, clip safe things, bits of lego and used batteries helpfully mixed with new batteries
  • Kitchen table – magazines, nursery day sheets, unwritten thank you cards that will never get sent, gaffa tape and the latest Toys R Us catalogue
  • Blackboard key tidy thing – parking permits, chalk, safety pins, blue tack, party invites, hair bobbles and Calpol sachets
  • By the Printer – generally just a huge stack of various papers including bills, forms that need filling out, to do lists, the kids ‘art work’ and seasonal related goods such as the a panini world cup sticker album
  • The ‘to file’ box –  important documents that needs to be filed
  • The actual file – a bunch of old documents that need removing from the file so that stuff that actually needs to be filed, can be filed


I can just about cope with the above, within reason, but I find my anxiety levels start to rise incredibly quickly should the piles start spreading beyond acceptable levels of width or height. Or to other non-approved locations such as the shelves or mantel pieces.

I do no wish to see items such as sun cream, egg box craft projects, camera’s, samples of moisturiser or bottle openers on top of the DVD’s. It makes me quite cross, even though they are probably there because they were put there by me.


I’m not really sure what the precursor to a full on clutter related meltdown is – I can actually co exist with accumulating crap for an unspecified amount of time before it suddenly and inexplicably becomes wholly unacceptable.

Everything is quite normal one minute and then the next…


J, the voice of reason will reply along the lines of ‘Ok, fine well lets not get stressed about it. Lets just sort through it shall we?’


[Everyone exits the room in silence]

You see it’s terrible thing to be both anal and lazy – you are in a constant battle with yourself. Every few months we do manage to get on top of things; the piles of stuff get cleared away and boxes of crap are sorted though and organised. The feeling is euphoric, but it’s bittersweet because obviously feeling euphoric about the fact that you no longer have suncream sat on top of your DVD’s is pathetic in itself.

If you are like me and it has gotten to the point where you start going round other people’s houses and seeking out chaotic admin malfunctions just to make yourself feel better about your own chaotic admin malfunctions, that you can’t be bothered to address – it’s time to pick up a community chest and follow its advice to the letter.




P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


41 thoughts on “Piles of stuff and boxes of crap

  1. brummymummyof2

    I threw away my kitchen scales as it just was a place to put crap. We have a drawer of doom which recently broke as it was so so so so so full of utter shite. But then when you chuck it all? That’s when you realise you have thrown your birth certificate away. True story :( xxx

  2. belledubrighton

    I think my kitchen table rivals yours… we’ve not eaten at it since christmas.
    Stuff is very annoying isn’t it? Plus it breeds overnight to create more stuff. But I think my house would be boring without all the stuff….

  3. Mummy Says

    A year after we got married I realised we had ‘lost’ our marriage certificate. Since then, I’ve been better about not letting the piles of crap get out of hand. However, I still find bits of lego and Jasmin’s teeny hair clips EVERYWHERE. Great post as always – made me smile x

  4. mylittledreamworld1

    So funny! We have kitchen shelves that just accumulate stuff that never decreases – I don’t know how it happens. And I feel exactly like you – I can cope with it for a while then I just get completely frustrated with it all. Great post xx

  5. Kerrie McGiveron

    You have just described my house to the tee! In fact I was going to write something about this, but ours involves various ‘crap’ drawers. i.e. drawers filled with crap that seem to multiply. Glad I’m not the only one xxx

  6. Jess @ Along Came Cherry

    Haha this sounds just like me! I can tolerate all kinds of mess until a certain point where I just flip out and start chucking stuff everywhere while screaming about how I can’t live in such a pig sty. Then I just get over it and carry on until the next time. I am terrible at starting to sort out crap piles though only to get bored and give up half way through, Mr C hates it! x

  7. lifewithmunchers

    I know what you mean! If I can make a route to the bed through endless crap…cope. The second I can’t find something all shit breaks loose! I’m hoping a house move will make or break me

  8. Mark

    My OH can produce a receipt for a sandwich she bought in 1986. Yesterday’s letter from school? No idea.

    This house has a layer of dust over 12 months of clutter over the most analy organised 20 years of scrap paper, colour coded and in chronological order. There will be Woolworths receipts, but this years MOT certificate …

  9. mummydaddyme

    Ha this is similar to our house. Our favourite filing place is the kitchen cutlery drawer, that has pretty much everything that we can’t be bothered to put in a proper place. x

  10. Rachel - 3yearsandhome

    I’m ruthless so we have no hiding places in this house. My husband would love a junk pile but I bin anything that he leaves lying around. I blame years of working in a manufacturing plant where we were indoctrinated with the phrase ‘a place for everything and everything in it’s place’. I tidy up in other people’s houses for them too. Whenever I’m up my mum’s, I clear all her crap up and put it in a box (mainly ornaments that she’s threatened to bequeath to me) but she always puts it back.

  11. Notmyyearoff

    My house is like this. I now just seek out storage baskets wherever I go. The other day I got excited because a company asked if I’d like to review storage baskets. I’m not sure how I have SO much crap but it multiples each time I buy yet another storage box. It’s some kind of voodoo.

  12. wrymummy

    I blame guests. Years of tidying up for them AKA shoving random stuff off the floor and surfaces into less visible areas is at fault here. Reduce number of friends. Or get them way too drunk to notice while they’re still on the doorstep. Alternatively, go away for the weekend to BritMums Live leaving a giant rocket up J’s behind saying if that vintage Nivea sachet is still on the DVDs when I return, I am WALKING STRAIGHT BACK TO ALL BAR ONE, LONDON! Brilliant post sugar x

  13. Katie

    Haha – I have very similar tantrums, but about cleaning rather than tidying. I quite (ok, really) like tidying, because scooping armfuls of crap out of the way instantly makes a room look better, but I don’t like cleaning. However, every now and again I have a WE LIVE LIKE PIGS breakdown, and woe betide any speck of dirt in our house. xxx

  14. Dean B

    Sigh. I’m in the same boat as you. You should see our shelves. Let’s just say you’ll find lots of odds and bits on top of the books – lots of it! Not to mention under the coffee table, the bureau, the basket on top of the microwave…

  15. claireb1234

    He he! Same here – I think that I’ve got OCD in my head but I’m too lazy to actually carry out what I’d like done. I flippin love things to be neat and tidy, I feel calm and reassured when things are lined up properly and in the right sized/coloured/alphabetical order but I hardly ever sort them so I just feel kind of crabby every time I look at my plate rack with the big plates muddled up with the small ones and the dvd’s all over the place and not in their boxes and the piles of half opened letters in a big mess with leaflets, nursery letters and telephone book (who the hell uses a phone book? ! Why do they still exist? !) But I pretend that i’m not bothered that there’s a watering can, tub of chilli powder and a nozzle from the hoover on the table by the front door until I build up to a fevered sorting out session that makes me feel like I’ve just had a massage or a big cry and I’m really happy…until I realise what a big loser that makes me!! And yeah I LOVE going round to people’s houses who are messier than mine! Xx

  16. cariemay

    we have a couple of official man drawers for random clutter and I’ll neither admit nor deny the existence of a box on my landing filled with unopened post – clearly you’re not alone!!

  17. thenthefunbegan

    Oh my god I am so like you – ‘anal yet lazy’ – yes! I have ‘de-clutter room by room’ on my ‘to do’ list since January and I haven’t done any of them! It used to depress me when I went round the houses of my NCT buddies which all seemed immaculately decorated and organised but I do at least have one friend who is much, much, much messier than me so that’s always nice. :0)

  18. jennypaulin

    . LOl great post :)
    I shove stuff in my drawers when people visit to make my rooms look tidier, then I move the drawer crap to a carrier bag which I move to a cupboard. But they never get emptied! I have a problem – too much crap!! I often wonder where other people keep theirs because surely i am not the only person who does this.

  19. Eeh Bah Mum

    I have a solution for you! You can move in with my fella – he’s addicted to buying chests of drawers to tidy all my very important piles of crap away. Personally I like filing my documents in the fruit bowl, it keeps the bananas happy.

  20. josandelson

    I see from your video collection you’re a comedy junkie (you see I had a really good snoop through your collection) – surprised to see you watch it as your family seems to be a live situation comedy most of the time ;) Bet you get a ton of comments on this, everyone’s house looks the same except the frantic 2 hours before the relations from abroad come to stay. That’s us anyway. Hilarious post Katie why aren’t you in the Laugh section too? Actually scrap that, i’d have zero % chance if you were … Roll on Friday and bestest of luck :))

  21. mummyofboygirltwins

    Ha ha love it! Although I’m terribly ruthless, I throw away things that are lying around and my hubby goes mad. I can’t relax if there’s stuff everywhere!!!! So I bin it and then freak when I can’t find whatever it was I needed so desperately!!!! I need help…! x

  22. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper

    Great post, but I can’t believe no one has mentioned your One Direction DVD! ;-)

    I get seriously twitchy if things are out of place in our gaff, especially toys/puzzles in the wrong boxes. I had a toy blitz last week and took loads of stuff to the charity shop, it felt so GOOD and I could breathe again!

  23. Adria P

    Thank you for this post. It’s always a relief to know we’re not the only ones. I live by the motto “a well-kept house is a sign of an ill-spent life”.

  24. Lifeblooming

    haha! i’m exactly the same – love order but find myself surrounded by piles of utter crap. whatever game that community chest card came out of i wanna play!

  25. Jenny

    Hahha Katie, I love this, so true. I have a few of “THOSE” spots that stuff that is random just piles up and up and up until I have a panic attack and throw it all away without looking through it. Talk about stressing myself out. hahahah I am the same and can relate so much here. I have a cupboard in the kitchen I call the junk cupboard. I would die if anyone ever opened it up!!! lol

  26. Toddler Slave

    I am SO glad this is not just me! Being both anal and lazy describes me to a T! I’ve often longed to have OCD so that things would just get sorted without me moping over them for weeks! And I’m always on the hunt for other people’s dirt and clutter- and actually always find that it doesn’t ever seem so bad in their houses, even if they have more than me! So I’m sending myself to the gin cupboard right away on your orders! X

  27. Bod for tea

    “Everything is fine one minute and then the next…” OMG this is the exact same thing that happens at Bod Towers. I swear that the detritus of our lives gets together while we’re asleep and plans an assault on any unsuspecting areas that are clutter free. And my reaction is exactly the same. *Turns over Community Chest card and opens wine* (P.S. so glad to have found you – Sophie from Franglais Mummy told me I absolutely had to visit – she was right.)

  28. @hell4heather

    Absolutely brilliant! I have a funny things drawer in my kitchen. It’s where we put everything that has nowhere else to live. Actually, they are growing… think I have three now ;)

  29. Amy Ransom

    Just brilliant! I want to BURN my kitchen table. We never eat at it. Just store crap on it. We also have a DVD shelf that looks scarily like yours.

    Every now and again I just throw it all away even the stuff I know I will need again. I usually do this when hormonal or hungover. Then 3 months down the line spend a day looking for said item. Because I’d never have thrown THAT away…


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