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Friday, September 24, 2010

Hello Felix, Goodbye Oscar!

Generally speaking, I'm a Felix.  I am happiest and most productive when things are neat and organized.  It makes me crazy when I waste time looking for things. My husband is a Felix too. We both have Oscar lapses. Mostly, of the weekly small type. Newspapers, magazines, books, mail, a pile or two of folded clothes, that for whatever reason didn't get put away.

Our children have always been expected to keep their rooms clean and put away their stuff. I never understood the whole concept of hiding a teenagers mess behind a shut door.  Hearing "what can you do?" from friends confuses me.  At the A&A house a room that is not clean equals not going out with friends, not using the car, etc...It works.

I've had two major lapses in the last 2 years.  Now, I could rattle off a whole bunch of circumstances excuses that led to this lapse, such as 3 blizzards, 2 busy teenagers, work and doing a two year stint as a single mom while my husband was out of the country working.  But the fact is, I knew things were getting out of control and I let it.

Traditional Home- October 2010, Photo by John Bessler

The above image is Felix euphoria and Oscar madness. It is impossibly perfect and yet, I find it calming. Our mud room has beautiful custom shelving complete with cubbies, baskets and a bench that I designed. Ours lacks wallpaper, our family doesn't wear matching coats, carry the exact same umbrellas and wear similar shoes. Our baskets are labeled...otherwise there would be daily confusion about who's it is and where it goes!  But, still I can't help finding this space desirable.


In the past, I've always had this rule for our house and that was every room and closet had to be cleaned out once a year. Typically, I would tackle them in August before the kids went back to school. Donate toys and clothes that they had outgrown, mostly to clear space for back to school shopping and inevitably what Santa would bring in December. Keeping all the other spaces and closets organized was fairly easy. You all know the mantra: if you haven't used it or worn it in a year, it goes. This worked flawlessly for years.

Then in 2001 we moved to a smaller house and a new rule had to go in effect. Now when the once a year clearing took place I pretended that a move was imminent. It worked great and kept the clutter completely under control. Plus, this smaller house was along a basement! I avoid attic storage. It's not temperature controlled and I can never remember what's up there.

Then after 4 years of small house living, we moved back to our home in Northern Virginia. Things were fine initially. Until we finished the BIG basement. The storage space that once was about 1,200 sq. feet became 200 sq. feet. That's when Oscar initially begin moving into our storage room and garage.


Here is what being an Oscar will get you...


A&A Garage Before
Storage room:

A&A Storage Room Before

Why show this awful mess? To inspire hope perhaps navigating through your own Oscar carnage!  And, of course, who doesn't doesn't love a good before and after?  We've been very busy at the A&A house! First up...the garage...almost done...dramatic changes...look for it next week.

Wishing you a  productive first weekend of fall!


  1. Cute post. I have a lot of Oscar issues. I love a neat clean house, but behind closet door and storage room doors is a whole different story. I have told my husband we have got to get some shelves to get stuff up off the floor and we need to do some major clearing out.


    Normally I am Felix, but during this last 6 months of renovating, I have alot of Oscar going on. I was just thinking the other day, I had better start sorting some of the mess and getting rid of it, as the kitchen won't be done until close to Thanksgiving and I won't have time to sort/get rid of things then.
    Loved your post.

  3. I'm definitely a Felix too. Can't stand messiness!!

    Great post.


  4. I am a Felix, hubby is an Oscar (only because of limited time prevents him from being Felix)Husband loves Felix because Felix is such a help-meet. (I laughed so much at your post.)

  5. Hooray for you! A perpetual motion toddler has kept me from getting to my "Felix" chores and we are moving soon! Aggggh!

  6. I'm laughing so hard ...I'm such a Felix but every once in a while I have an Oscar moment. This only occurs in my office or bedroom especially when i get home from a business trip the clothes pile up on the chair and I really need to put it away. I spent the entire morning the other day cleaning my room. Now it's my office. As I type this I have a pile of paper work that just get moves from place to place. Part of my pet project this weekend. However, everything else is pretty organized...lately, I've been doing the Pure Style HOme thing and going room to room so it's not so overwhelming. The real test is the garage. Your's looks like Felix compared to ours...Everytime I go in ours I get anxiety and yell at my boyfriend...I spent all this money to organize it and he still hasn't done it. One of these days - I'm plowing through there and I'll be sure to post before and after pictures. You got me inspired to finish my office :)

  7. You would die if you saw our garage! What a disaster! You are inspiring me to get it organized. Loved your post--very funny. Felix or Oscar, hmmm, maybe a little of both!

  8. My Felix husband has turned Oscar and I was Oscar but have turned Felix. Either way, I have some major purging to do so I like your idea of pretending to move. I am going to use that. Good luck with all your organizing. XO

  9. R: You've said
    it so well!! I
    also walk the Felix-
    Oscar line. I moved
    often as a child and
    for the first fifteen
    years as a married
    person, but since we've
    settled down longer,
    so has our STUFF. Can't
    wait to see your "afters!"
    xx Suzanne

  10. I'm a frustrated a completely clean and organized home, but I confess it's not always that way - can't wait to see your afters!!

  11. My husband and I are sort of an "odd couple"- he is uber organized and I am an artist, so I love things a bit more natural....but we do alright. He is on top of closets and alpha-betizing the storage closet. Very often, I hear a few superlatives used when it comes to cleaning out closets etc.

  12. This post is perfect timing for me. Things have been SO busy since school started that I have not had time to tackle some of the projects that are lining, I am going to transition the spring/summer clothes out and bring in the fall/winter clothes, and also clean out the closets.

    While avoiding this task, I decided to tackle my 'secret closet' where I store gifts and miscellaneous stuff. I have 13 years worth of Traditional Home and Architectural Digest in there, so I went through hundreds of magazines and threw most of them away. I got some good tear outs for future blog posts!

    I am an Oscar when it comes to 'stuff' - and a Felix when it comes to data. I would not want you to see my garage or attic (or even my bathroom drawer!), but when it comes to being organized about project plans and calendars and schedules (even my blog), I am very organized and know where everything is located. Often people I work with are shocked to hear that I have the Oscar side to me!

  13. I am a Felix..for the most part...just don't look inside my car! But I married an Oscar, crazy! :)

  14. I am definitley a Felix. My husband is an Oscar...he is a consultant who travels a lot and I swear if I weren't around he'd die from a house filled with papers and binders that are discarded after each he is rarely in the local office to leave this stuff. We have a massive storage room and when we move, no basement so I did a huge purge of our storage room before we listed our house. It still isn't perfect but so much better than all of the "stuff" we had shoved down there. Organization feels so good to me....I sometimes go down there just to look now and it makes me feel good. Yes, I am strange...but organized spaces really do make me happy.

  15. Oh my, I need that laugh! Thanks! I'm a Felix in a home full of Oscar boys/men. For stress relief, I organize cabinets. My one Oscar area is my too small closet with my pile of shoes. I tell friends that I need to go on an archeological dig for the right shoes.


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!