If Pretty Won’t Work, How about Better?

Accepting What Is Never Going to Happen at

Happy birthday to me, y’all! I’m 42 today!

All week, I’ve been trying to think of something birthday-related to write, like I did on my 40th and 41st birthdays.

But y’all, it has been a hard week around here and birthday-related creative juices haven’t been flowing.

So today, I decided to walk around my house and get rid of some things I have outgrown. I was going to call the post, “Things I Outgrew By My 42nd Birthday.”

It was on okay idea. I found a few things, but none of them were very funny. And then, as I opened drawers in my breakfast nook and decided I did want to keep both staplers and all the hotglue guns and realized I wasn’t ready to admit I’ll probably never have a fancy enough dinner party to use those individual-sized, cute-as-they-can-be salt and pepper shakers, I realized I was finally ready.

Before Giving Up On the Dream that this could be a decorated area at

Ready to do something else.

Ready to act on advice given by you, dear readers, many times.

The struggle: My breakfast nook has built-in cabinets that look pretty in pictures, but end up being used for storing cereal boxes and paper towels and chips and snack baskets.

My justification: No one sees this breakfast nook. Really. It’s back behind a corner. I’ve actually had friends come over and ask to see it after watching me declutter it in a video. These were people who were in my home, even in my kitchen, on a weekly basis and didn’t know this nook existed.

The advice: Take away the decorative items. Storing random non-decorative things on a shelf that I obviously once hoped would be a decorated spot just makes it look messy. Accept that it’s a space for storing, but not for decorating.

So I did it. If there’s anything I’ve learned with age, it’s that I might as well accept reality.

My reality.

Not pretty, but not cluttered (really, did you see the before picture) at

I removed almost everything decorative.

The candlesticks and crystal bowl went in the cabinet below, where I’d look for them first. Other things were taken to the most logical places, and I stuck the blue plate-clock, the chipped yellow platter, and the fruit picture in my Donate Box.

The pickle flavored Pringles went to the trash. (Oh my word, don’t buy pickle flavored Pringles.)

I kept the big serving dishes on the top shelf where we put our chip bags. I wasn’t ready to change that yet.

It looks better. Bare, but better.

I’ve accepted that cabinet for what it is right now, in this stage of life. Accepting things like that is a very 42ish thing to do, don’t you think?


Note to self: Buy cereal.

P.S. This before picture could be so much worse. I actually have another post, almost ready to go, that talks about straightening this area. It will come out soon.

Sometimes, I have to stop fighting and accept that certain areas in my home are going to be used in certain ways.


--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    Happy birthday! You share a birthday with one of my oldest friends, and my work partner. Funny! I agree it looks better as a straight storage area. If you want it to still look cute, maybe this is the place for decorative storage containers? Or little curtains on tension rods to hide the not so pretty stuff that needs to be there?

  2. 2

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a lovely day and take some time out to do something you love.

  3. 3

    That does look much better. I think it would be great to put doors on it and make it an official storage space. I like the idea of curtains too. A café rod would be easy to install across the top so you could hang some pretty curtains in front of the shelves.

  4. 4

    Yeah. I agree. It look better as the storage space it really is. I don’t know that it needs doors or curtains. I’d probably be tempted go to place a bigger pretty basket on the bottom shelf and hide the bags of chips in there.

  5. 5

    Read it it looks much better as the storage space that it is. I don’t think it needs doors or curtains. However I would be tempted to get a larger pretty basket and hide the chips in there perk. Personally I think that would make all the difference

  6. 6

    Agreed that it looks much better as the storage space it really is. I don’t think it needs doors or curtains. However I would be very tempted to get a larger pretty basket for the bottom shelf and hide the chips in there. I think that would make all the difference

  7. 7

    Happy Birthday!

  8. 8

    You found a lot of extra storage space and you didn’t have to move. I’d say that’s a very happy birthday, Dana!

  9. 9
    Marybeth S. says:

    Happy Birthday! Eat lots of cake and enjoy your day.

  10. 10

    Happy Birthday!

  11. 11

    Our little girl is growing up!
    I am so so proud of you-
    Living the life you have now!
    Right now, busy mama needs stream lined storage and convenience
    Good Girl!

  12. 12

    Happy birthday!! I love that you are honest enough to take your before pics without editing what’s there first. I feel not so alone now, and building some habits has been SO helpful to me. Yes, I still have a (glass) pumpkin on our dining room table. My only excuse is that we traveled for the holidays, so I skipped the Christmas decorating. But I really should get the fall decor out of here before Valentine’s Day…

  13. 13

    Happy Birthday! It does look less clutter without the decorative stuff.
    I think the above curtain idea wouldn’t work for me, they wouldn’t be closed and tidy looking at my house.
    Meanwhile, where did you put the pumpkin cookie jar? We can’t help you remember if you don’t tell us!

  14. 14

    Happy 42nd Less Slobby Birthday!!
    Your gift to yourself, facing reality, and making that space better! What a perfect present!
    How did you know?? 😉

  15. 15

    Happy Born day! You know, bare spaces used to make me feel uncomfortable, like they were some untouchable, unlived in show room. Now they are my goal. My main motivator being I hate dusting and this house of ours is the dustiest house I’ve ever lived in. I think your shelves look fabulous and I’m with Annie on the chips, I want to put them in that basket. But you use that for containing other snacks don’t you? I also want to put your utensils into a prettier container. Why?? Because this week I’ve been actively trying to do that in my home. I had some cute little wooden bowls in my donate box and I had my hair ties in an ugly clear plastic container. Cute bowl has now replaced ugly container.

    I hope you get spoiled by your family for your birthday.

  16. 16
    Lydia purple says:

    I am with the hide the chips comments. I would suggest to get another two baskets just like the one you have and put the chips and paper towels in there. It looks like you could store everything on the bottom shelf and have 2 empty top ones. I know you are generally against buying new bins but in this case it would streamline the appearance of the shelf… I would then leave those empty until you figure out what they should be.

  17. 18

    Happy birthday!! You know more about decluttering and organization at 42 than I do at 72!! Keep up your mission to help us declutter!!

  18. 19

    Congratulations! And it looks so good in the after picture, it’s all minimalist-y! That was some great advice, I’m gonna have to remember it, I love beautiful things so much I forget about the practical things… (As in, I would probably throw away the snacks, cereal and paper towels and keep the decorative items… Not a good idea.)

  19. 20

    I just read your second/first post about this area and had an idea. You really don’t have many pantry items you’re storing on these shelves. They would easily fit on the bottom shelf with room to spare. A tension rod with fabric could be installed on the bottom shelf for your chips/paper towels/oats, etc. and the top two shelves could be used for your decorative items. The storage would be “contained” on one shelf behind the curtain, and you could make the rest pretty!

    • 21

      Dang. That’s a good idea! I kept looking at it and wondering what could be done. I didn’t even think of that! I was thinking like the other posters that the stuff could go up top, but moving it down makes even MORE sense!

  20. 22

    I’m going to dissent and say that I liked the decorative items there! But it’s not my space, it’s yours. 🙂

Speak Your Mind


© 2009 - 2015 A Slob Comes Clean All rights reserved. | Blog Header and Button design by Many Little Blessings.