Monday, February 4, 2013

Arranging Furniture (And Other Opinionated Activities)

Enjoy a guest post by Dianna Overholt, author of Guiding the House - a homemaker's planner.

Arranging Furniture (And Other Opinionated Activities) 

By Dianna Overholt

This story started because we couldn’t agree on where the clock should be hung. The baby’s name was settled within two minutes, but the hanging of the clock? We discussed it off and on for hours!

It’s one of those atomic clocks that are accurate to the second, also displaying the date and temperature. I suggested hanging it in the kitchen so that I’ll know exactly when to race to the bedroom to get ready for church, and that sort of thing. Michael, my husband, thought it should hang on the living room wall, opposite the stairway. “See?” he said as he found a nail waiting there. “This spot is superior because you can see the clock from five different rooms.”

“That’s true,” I replied, squinting from the kitchen. “But what good does it do if you can’t read the numbers?”

Later I noticed that the clock had reset itself in a different time zone and was now one hour off. We’ll find out how often he looks at it, I thought smugly. 

One day passed. Two days. Curiosity won, and I asked him if he’d noticed the inaccurate hour. “No, I didn’t,” he answered, calmly. “I just look at the temperature.”

Happily, our own temperatures never rose, for after two moves in less than a year the matter of furniture arranging has become rather amusing. I didn’t think, when we married, that men had much interest in furniture placement. Wasn’t arranging furniture a woman’s leisure? My mother only rearranged furniture say, during every other spring cleaning, and my father was content to never move things. I must’ve absorbed some of my father’s attitude, because it was Michael who announced, “We’re going to change this living room around!” one Saturday evening in our second year of marriage.

It seems that he’s absorbed some of his mother’s love of arranging. Every time we visit his family, there’s a new creative furniture arrangement or a different delightful display on the teacart. Michael likes to tell the story of how one early morning his father went to the living room to start his day, and sat down on top of the record player.

The only time I ever really feel an urge to change things is when I’m eight months and three weeks into a pregnancy. Then, the trapping of every dust bunny and the rearranging of furnishings become critically important. Somehow Michael knows that this is not his time to voice strong opinions. He’s more intrigued with how I could move the dresser when I can barely tie my shoes.

My criteria for furniture or accessory placement? Visual appeal and coziness. Michael’s criteria? He likes a cozy appeal, yes, but handiness even more. That’s why a black phone charger resides on our mantle beside a dark-blue pottery jug. I tried relocating the charger, but the mantle was just too handy; Michael moved the charger back. So I’m contemplating other options. Should I twine an ivy plant around it?

My father has a habit with his cap. When he comes inside he tosses it onto the floor beside the refrigerator. Mom tried putting pegs on the wall by the fridge, but that didn’t work well. For a while she hung the caps in the hall closet, but then my dad never could find one when he needed it. Finally she put a woven basket on the floor beside the fridge, and as far as I know, it’s still there, catching caps. 

I’d certainly choose phone charger furniture or bill cap furniture over a deer head looming from the wall. Neither my mother nor I has ever had to contend with one, but I wonder, I just wonder… If my mother’s kitchen sported a ten-point rack, would she use it to hang up my father’s caps?

Who is the furniture arranger at your house? Does it ever cause marital conflict and how have you compromised?

Dianna lives in the Ozarks with her husband Michael, where there's fresh inspiration everywhere: Five children, lost socks, atomic clocks, or dandelion bouquets! Most of all, there's Jesus, Who alone makes life beautiful. 

Dianna is the author of Guiding the House, a homemaker's planner that I'm using and  loving this year. If you missed getting Dianna's planner last fall when I reviewed it, they are now available for $9.95, while supplies last. Shipping is $4 for the first book, and $1 for each additional copy. Visit the Guiding the House website or email her at ozarkfamilybooks (AT)


  1. I've always had a sneaking sympathy for the wife whose husband simply could not manage to get his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, no matter where she put it. She quit picking them up, and once he'd put on his last clean pair of socks, she took an hour while he was at work and nailed all those dirty clothes to the floor.

    Not that I'd do it... but I would've enjoyed a video...


  2. Furniture arranging? I don't think I know what that is. I have lived in my house 4.5 years & the furniture is in the exact same spot it was when we moved in. I have ADDED furniture, and that is the only time anything moves. Lived in our last house 10 years. The living room furniture never moved. Except to be replaced or to clean under it! The husband don't care one way or the other! But I'm lucky like that.

  3. I am not a big one for rearranging furniture. Once I get it how I like it I leave it. I have no problem moving it to clean underneath but then it all goes right back in place. My aunt thinks this I am so funny. She rearranges her furniture every 3 months. Funny too how a man will suddenly develop an opinion about somthing that really doesn't matter much. Especially to him. :)

  4. A great story, well told. I read with much laughter.

  5. Oh my! This post reminds me of my husband and I at times.

    It is truly funny how it can go sometimes.

    And the above comment. That sure made me laugh as well. I think I'd enjoy a video of that. Then again, maybe not. ;)

  6. I am definitely the rearranger in our home. Every few months I just get this unsettled feeling..I have come to recognize it as the que to rearrange. But for me, moving furniture is so much more; as I move things, I dust, I vacuum, I wipe the marks off the walls. I often find things I didnt know were lost! :-) It also gives me a chance to swap out rugs, quillows, candles, etc. if I want to. When I get done there is a feeling of accomplishment and cleanness. People who spring clean probably feel this way, but I can never wait for once or twice a year! Maybe it comes from being a preschool teacher for 20 years. Maybe its because cleaning is more fun to me when it looks different after I am done. (which is the only way to get me to do it sometimes) My husband doesnt mind the rearranging as long as he doesnt get roped into doing too much, so I have found the things I need help with and only ask him when I need to. I love to find new ways to make space or make a room feel different. My friends tease me because it seems I am always moving something around. :-) Speaking of which, it does feel like today might be one of those days. So if you'll excuse me, I have some *ahem* cleaning to do... ;-)


  7. What a great post, and such a fun read. My husband and I go head-to-head over hats, boots, pocket stuff (his wallet, pocketknife, and all the clutter he collects during the day). I want things to look pretty, he just like convenience. At least we agree on furniture arranging--that's totally my territory!

  8. I constantly move things around... I think because its a cheaper way than getting and buying furniture, and updates a room quickly, like painting does too for me.. I chuckled at the husbands response of I just loot at the temperature.. LOL

  9. I'm laughing-this is so funny! My mother rarely moves a thing and my mother-in-law almost always has something arranged differently! My husband enjoys helping to rearrange, and, strangely, we have an unhung livingroom clock. When we remodeled, we couldn't agree where it should go. It's been forgotten for awhile; I should dig it out and see what we think now, several months later! BTW, don't put the ivy around that charger. It may just end up on the other side of the mantle, or at least somewhere else that is empty of decoration!

  10. My husband has some conflicting views on furniture arrangement and we have to do it his way most of the time. I move the furniture inch by inch away from the walls to make a slow change he won't notice so I can clean behind things easier in our tiny home. So your story hit a nerve and we too have a square atomic clock (lost the instructions, eek) that is hard to set. Husband put in in the kitchen (doesn't match my color scheme at all. Then he unset it while showing it to his friends, and it took my a few days to sort of figure it out. It is all my fault for buying it a few years ago. I do have a clock framed in red for my kitchen but it will have to live on another wall if I can bear to hammer a nail in my new kitchen walls.

  11. My Mom's kitchen does have a 10 pt. rack in it, and my dad does hang his caps on it! :)

  12. Just went on and bought the planner! So excited! This is just what I have been looking for!

  13. ha! This rang some bells in me! My husband is an architect so he is VERY interested in what our home looks like. I wish he would leave it to me, but no, everything is a battle. We have learned to compromise a bit over the years, but once the furniture is in place, it never never never moves. Too many windows and pictures and doors in the way.

  14. None of us are furniture arrangers. We have lived in this house for 10 yrs now. Everything is where we put it on the day we moved in. A few pieces have been added but basically all is the same. I guess we are like your dad. My mom was like your husband's mom. She loved to rearrange things. Well, you know, to each his (or her) own. God bless.

  15. When it is something you will use and look at everyday, it may be difficult to come to an agreement on where to place your clock (or furniture). Glad to see you solved the dilemma. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Well, for me arranging a furniture or arranging my house is a fun thing to do. I do lots of thing with it.
    Stickley Furniture

  17. My mother is obsessed with rearranging, frankly I let her get on with it, if that's how she gets her kicks!


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