I’m Living in an Armpit.

My house is a disaster.

Not a pretend,  Oh look!  I’m mortified.  The can labels aren’t straight disaster or a Golly, who left their keys on the table disaster.  I mean a REAL disaster.

Living in a hairy armpit disaster.

Case in point:


This is where I keep my pressure canner …


Basement 1


And my drill …


Basement 2


And somewhere in here is a 1932 Studebaker, Amelia Earhart and the cure for hiccups.




There are a variety of reasons for this mess.   Too much to do, too little time.  An insatiable curiosity for what it would take to make myself go completely mess crazy, running and screaming up and down the street with hairpins flying out of my hair.  (I’m not there yet)

But mainly it’s because I’m getting some spray foam insulation done in my basement.  So I had to shove everything in the basement to the centre to allow the workers room to spray.  My basement is about the size of a very large box of instant potatoes.  Conversely the contents of my basement could fill most of Ireland.

No excuse for the last picture, (the potting shed) really.  There was some reason for the mess, but I can’t remember it anymore. Mainly I’d just rather play with the chickens than clean it up.

So this weekend is the weekend of getting things back in order.

Because I am organized.  I am neat.  I am an accomplisher.

And I really need my pressure canner.

The good part is you’ll all be getting a post on how to build VERY fast and easy basement shelves in the near future. Well … I guess that’s only good if you’d like to build VERY fast and easy basement shelves. In that’s not the case … there really is no good part for you.

You see, if I’m putting my basement back together I might as well make it better than it was before. In its best shape it basically looks like the pictures above, only everything is more spread out. So I’m custom building shelves to go around a lot of the perimeter of the basement. Cheaper than buying shelves and this way I can make them the exact size I need them.

Have a good weekend. I will be having a miserable weekend. If you’re going to the beach or on a picnic or reading or BBQing or going for walks or riding stallions I DON’T want to hear about it.  Shush.  YOU.  YOU THERE WEARING THE CHAPS, HOLDING THE MEAT THERMOMETER.  SHUSHHHHHHHHH.  SHUT UP.

Don’t wanna hear it.


  1. Barbie says:

    No, it’s in my attic above the garage 1000sq foot MESS! LOLOL

  2. Barbie says:

    Your pictures are NOTHING compared to my 4000 sq ft warehouse that looks exactly like that!!! ha ha ha! I can’t seem to get the get up and go to do anything about it! I just want to play all the time lately!

  3. Sondra says:

    This post reminds me of the episode of FRIENDS where Chandler breaks into Monica’s hall closet and laughs at her because she’s not perfect, she’s secretly messy. HILARIOUS!

  4. jenn says:

    Oh Karen. I love you just a wee bit more for having shown is your stinky, hairy armpit of a mess! I – not my husband… ME – recently cleared out our attic and turned it into a 3rd bedroom. Of course, it’s because we’re taking in a 15-year old German exchange student in a week, but that’s a whole other batch of bat shit crazy.

  5. Lonelle says:

    So funny, I read through your post and looked at the pictures, but just “looked”. Then I read the comments and had to go find all the cool things everyone else found in the picts!! I missed some good stuff in there!! lol

  6. Cathy G says:

    Once again, Karen, thank you for making me literally laugh out loud. I don’t usually have time during the week to read your blog, so you are relegated to Saturday mornings in the backyard with a cup of coffee. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy(er) when they see me sitting on the yard swing in my pj’s with wild hair, cup of coffee in one hand and tablet in the other….laughing out loud at 7am.

    Now, I have a challenge for you. I’m having hand surgery in 2 weeks and will be right hand challenged for a month. Have you ever tried to take care of your “personal” stuff with your non-dominant hand? Not pretty!!!!!

    Normally when I have rare time off work, I just putter around. You know, build a deck, re-roof the back of the house, simple stuff like that. Well, I will be off work and not able to do anything!!!! I don’t even really know what that means, but it doesn’t sound like something I can do. Help!!! Need one handed crafts/projects/anything to keep me from actually having to relax ;)

    Your ever faithful fan – the lady with wild hair that laughs out loud while alone in the backyard with her pj’s on.

    • Karen says:

      Pajama girl – Hmm. I’ll think about it! Chances are I won’t be of much help to you. For obvious reasons. I cant’ even relax through an entire television show. ~ karen!

  7. Tigersmom says:

    I can’t help thinking that this is less about organization and more about permanently entombing your entire basement population of centipedes.; )

    I’m an organization freak, but freeing my space of creepy crawlies would be priority number one.

    We don’t have basements here in Texas and I always feel jealous of people that have them. It’s bonus space that can equal the entire footprint of your house! (Of course, here we have cockroaches so it would end up being a waste for me as I would never set foot down there.): /

  8. AnnW says:

    I can’t believe the number and length of the comments! You’ve hit a nerve. It almost looks like you live there because of the pictures on the wall. I’ll have to come back and read all the comments when I have time.

  9. Christie says:

    This post made me actually laugh out loud. I hope you make it out alive!

  10. Ryan says:

    dont know what kind of shelves you are building, but I built shelves for my garage last weekend. Didnt do a lot of measuring…..8 foot 2x4s and 8 ft long plywod. until I started to put the plywood on and realized the cheap 2x4s at Home Depot arent all 8 ft long. just as an FYI. Also, love your wit. wish more women had it…..

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Ryan. I’m doing similar shelving using a ladder style. 2x4s from a local lumberyard and probably plywood. Only 6′ high though since I have a mini basement. Attaching to the above floor joists and cement walls with tapcons. It’ll all be revealed in a few weeks time. Easy though … nothing fancy. ~ k!

  11. Janet says:

    You have some really good junk. For some reason other peoples unk always looks way more cool than my junk.

  12. Sam says:

    Oooh, oooh… I Forgot about the attic… Where you have to be under 3 apples tall to fit… Spray foamed above the kitchen–so “aquired” another 200 sq ft of storage for seasonal “decor”–i’d use the rest, but it’s too damned low! –feather wreaths, giant glittered grapevine pumpkins, and my beloved hot pink xmas tree…

    It’s not hording when you write for a magazine is it? No, that’s not hording, it’s just design ideas and tax-deductable portfolio… Right? Right? Oh crap–I’m a crazy horder lady! Lol. Son of a bitch… It’s weird to keep a rubbermaid full of old hot sauce bottles and jam jars isn’t it. Stupid hording!

  13. Sam says:

    Apparently a lot of us have similar armpit problems! I left the mound of debris in my tool shed (donated by “pop” to sort out the garden debris), hit the dollar store for hooks, and ran the tools along my deck instead of fighting them out of the crap… Then stuck an antique looking garden sign on the door, and try to never go in there again.

    My “junk room” looks like your basement… The “We don’t go in there” room… Luckily, I used to rockclimb back in the day, so I can monkey my way around the perimiter shelving to get to piles of chili pepper lights, empty embossed frames, lasso rope and the box of 60 bud vases… (Really, no one else can get in there–no grip strength, wooses!

    Who the heck has time to clean in the summer anyway? Seriously! Most of us don’t even get the big bits of dirt off our toes in the summer! :).

    You’re awesome Karen! Now I feel less alone with my armpit sanctuary!

  14. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK..When I read the title I thought this was going to be about sleeping with the Fella..After reading this post I suggest this is a good time to have a yard sale..I will be there around 8:00am..How much for the chandelier..oh yeah and the penguin..I love me some penguins..You will be selling breakfast sandwiches and coffee right..also could the Fella carry my stuff to the car?? I’m still not allowed to lift anything heavy..K..See ya then!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hah hah hah! Wanna know something funny. (other than the pink chandelier which I can’t bear to part with for some reason … most of the stuff is tools, cooking stuff and HOLIDAY DECORATIONS. Easter, Halloween (I have 2 REALLY good Halloween decorations coming up for this year by the way), Christmas … ) I can’t WAIT to get it back to where it belongs. ~ k

      • Nancy Blue Moon says:

        OK..Just keep it all for yourself..I really do want a pink chandelier for my bedroom though..seriously..it doesn’t surprise me that you would have that much tools and cooking stuff..I love Halloween decorations so I will be looking forward to seeing your new ones..Night

  15. Krikit says:

    No basement here….but a garage with 29 years worth of “stuffing” into it. Eegads! ~:Q

    I, too, can say it isn’t all mine. That daughter that went away to college, came back, moved out, came back, moved out, came back, and moved away…? Her stuff is still in the garage. ~:S

    Add to that a former business partner’s business and personal stuff — they needed a cheaper storage rental and I could use the few extra bucks — when they “temporarily” moved out of town…7 years ago.

    I need a bulldozer. ~:}

  16. I have just cleared our armpit and I don’t want to put anything in there at all. Ever. It looks too good bare.

    Triage = other people/Salvation Army/dumpster, but not my space, but then again I don’t have a penguin. I can’t WAIT to see how he fits into the great scheme of things.

  17. estee says:

    Just so you know I’ve been sitting on the porch reading a great book, dozing off every now and then to the sweet sound of crickets. I figured you’d wanna know..

  18. Alex says:

    This is my basement. I need a basement just to store the stuff in my basement. Which will be more challenging once we actually get the basement done. OT – congrats on appearing on Apartment Therapy today! That basket is awesome!

  19. Leona says:

    Thank GAWD, you’re not perfect! I was starting to worry. I have this room. This exact room….errr, two rooms. I call it my “99 projects to go” storage. My solution is a garage we’re building in a few weeks. Power Tools will be out EVERYWHERE, plugged in, ready to go. Watch out world! Wheeeeee……!

  20. Karol says:

    I am giddy with relief that you are a closet slob. I see photos you have posted of incredible rooms in your house, even your chicken coop is incredible, and now we see the behind-the-scenes real you. Slobster. Love it.
    My garage looks like your garage but mine has snake skins under some of the bins. Not snake skins that I put there on purpose, mid you. Snake skins deposited there by, well, snakes. So no freakin way am I going to go organize. Not gonna happen. When I need something from a bin, I send my big brave husband out there.

  21. Karen says:

    That’s why we live in an 800 sq ft apartment now with no basement… clutter,clutter gone away.

  22. Lesley says:

    Its not a disaster. Its the Room of Requirement from Hogwarts!

  23. Shauna says:

    Too bad, gonna tell you anyway – I’m going to Palm Springs this weekend for my birthday weekend;) I’m sure you will inspire me to clean my own carriage house & then you can stick your tongue out at me while I’m toiling away and you’re drinking a nice cold drink, eating chips & dip in your pristinely organized garage.

  24. Susan says:

    ‘K, since I can’t fit in the chaps anymore, and all the stallions are gone (only have a gelding now), I guess I’m forced to photograph my very last wedding AND THEN I GET TO RETIRE!

    THEN I’ll ride my gelding bareback cantering on a sandy beach with the wind blowing back my long glossy hair. Wanna join me? ;)

    • Karen says:

      Susan. Shut up. Susan, you’re an asshead. Yes. Yes, you are. I’ll be cleaning my basement long after you retire. ~ karen

  25. sera says:

    Did you have to waterproof your basement at any point? We are in the middle of a major remodel including a new gas furnace, new duct work and a new kitchen. By November we should have heat and a working kitchen, but still have exposed walls in 2-1/2 rooms and potential water intrusion issues in our basement. I also wonder, how do you keep the basement free of spiders? I have cobwebs surrounding my icky laundry sink. What do I do??

    • Karen says:

      Sera – My basement is actually really dry so we’ve never had to waterproof. As for spiders … every so often I spray the basement. Maybe twice a year. I spray everywhere spiders congregate as well as the walls and ceiling. Just Spider Blaster. Now I’ve found out that there’s a new type of spider in Ontario, it’s clearish .. kind of white. I forget the name. They’ve popped up the last 3 or 4 years and when they bite they can cause damage. Not deadly damage, but bad reactions. So spray away. ~ karen!

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