Puzzles and games

I thought I would show you a little bit of the Big Ugly House that I think you've never seen, and it will give me a chance to talk about game and puzzle storage. Is this a never ending battle at your house as much as it is in mine? Homes for the games and keeping the games in their homes and returning the instructions to the proper games. Ugh, the instructions! It's as if my children purposefully go about removing game instructions and putting them as far away from the game as possible.

Many of our nicer, older people games live on the top of the armoire in the front living room.

It stays looking like this for a while, but then the games never quite go back as nicely as they were before and I will have to come along, empty it, and stack them all up nicely again. If the games could live in shorter piles, it would make the whole thing easier, but they can't, so we deal with it.

Small games or games that live in plastic bags because their boxes were lost or games that have silly containers live in the drawer underneath. This quickly becomes a mess because it gets riffled through and then the games are thrown back in. I ignore it for as along as possible and then have to empty it out, put all the pieces back in the right game, and make it look nice. It holds too much to be truly organized.

But we have more games and puzzles than this. I don't know about you, but I don't find piles of boxes in various states of disrepair particularly nice to look at, so as well as storage the trick was to find a place I didn't have to stare at them. Here's my solution.

I don't think I've ever shown you this part of the house. Can you see the door?

Here, I'll crack it open for you.

This little oddity was the servants' entrance. If you look down the half flight of stairs, you can see what is left of the exterior servants' entrance. It is sealed on the outside. When we bought the house, this door led to a full bathroom which was down that flight of steps. It was odd. Very, very odd. I can tell you that no one in our family ever used the bathtub that was in it, and only used the toilet in desperate circumstances. When we redid the kitchen, we moved a small working kitchen to the basement so we could eat. But, how would we get down to it? The only flight of basement steps was going to be part of the remodeling. We decided to demolish the bathroom and then J. and a friend constructed new stairs down to the front of the basement.

Now, it is not only a second entrance to the basement, but serves as useful storage as well.

This is where we keep the younger people's games (and the overflow of older people's), puzzles, and various other things.

There is the white cabinet and a black wire shelf that hold a bunch of boxes as well as insulated coolers.

On the wall opposite hang ice skates and our painting bags.

Then a little further down, on the top of a shelf that holds luggage there are even more games and puzzles. If by some chance we were ever snowed in for weeks at a time, we could entertain ourselves with no problem.

The room that the stairs lead down into also doubled as B.'s room when he's home. He decided living down here in a little cave seemed more appealing than bunking with a very early rising and energetic little brother.

The last category of games are those that are pretty and can double as a decorative object such as this Chinese chess game we brought home from China.

Would you believe that all of these games and puzzles are the ones that make the constant purging cut? I've decided that no family, regardless of how many people they are, need more than this. Pretty much, if the games and puzzles exceed this storage, something has to go. It is a never ending process.


I need to purge our tray puzzles. The youngest permanent resident at our house is 6, so we probably only need a couple of tray puzzles for preschoolers, not the overflowing shelf of them we currently have.

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