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  #1  
Old 05-17-2011, 07:07 PM
The Bith Shuffle The Bith Shuffle is offline
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Constant Rearrangement of Furniture

My mother has been constantly rearranging household furniture for at least a decade. I'm twenty-two years old, so it is quite possible that she has been rearranging furniture constantly for her whole life, but I just haven't known about it. I moved back in with my mother a couple of months ago, and will be moving back out again in three months or so. It's not making things that difficult, but her constant concern for the arrangement of household furniture is amazing.

Here are a few facets of her activities:

- The improvements are almost always hallucinated, although she insists they're real.
- No commitment actually exists to getting rid of unnecessary stuff. There is never enough room in her apartment and she has tons of stuff she never uses, but it seems that literally everything has sentimental value to her. An unremarkable cookbook she has used once and will almost never use again--that's the sort of thing she cannot separate herself from.
- You can't confront her about it. She will get defensive.
- You can't make your own suggestions about how the apartment should be rearranged. She will not take them seriously. She has a plan, although it will be different in a week.
- The house never actually reaches a state of immaculate arrangement, or anything even close to it. Do not think we live in a constantly shifting but pristine apartment. We live in a constantly shifting but invariably scattered and unimpressive apartment.

Like I said, it's not really that bad for me, although she often asks me to help her move furniture that in no way needs to be moved. But she wastes hour after hour week after week of her life with the endless pursuit of a not-even-remotely-achieved feng shui. It's amazing to observe her living a significant portion of her entire life just moving shit around.

Why would anyone have this sort of lifestyle? Is this some sort of recognized psychological condition, or part of one? She is a capable, warm mother who has worked full-time at times and can speak intelligently about a wide range of subjects. But I have a feeling that this modus operandi is never going to stop. She may go until her death devoting hours per week to meaningless rearrangements and occasional purchases. What could be behind all this?

Last edited by The Bith Shuffle; 05-17-2011 at 07:08 PM..
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2011, 07:11 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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Sounds like she has OCD or something similar to that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessi...lsive_disorder
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:42 AM
furlibusea furlibusea is offline
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If my family is anything to go by, not only has she always been doing it, but it is genetic. My grandmother did it, my aunt does it, my sisters do it. My mother does it to a lesser extent. I used to think I missed it until my mother pointed out my home improvement projects were essentially the same thing. She says I go one step further and use saws. Just wait.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:32 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Considering her resistance to getting rid of even minor old things and her defensiveness, she might be a mild hoarder who's in denial but can still recognize that something is wrong with the situation. Rather than face that she's got too much stuff, she seems to think that if she can just find the perfect way to arrange it all, suddenly that will fix the situation and everything will be better. Having a plan to arrange stuff and then spending time doing it makes her feel better for a while, but then that nagging sensation creeps up again and she makes more plans to fix it this time, no really.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:50 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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My parents re-arrange their furniture a lot. I'm not sure why, but I am not there having to sit on their furniture and think about its arrangement.

They don't do it every week but it's more often than I think most people do. My SIL, who doesn't come over that often, said that every time she comes over it's different.

They're not hoarders, tho. Pretty sparse when it comes to stuff. They just can't get comfortable with their furniture arrangement.

Me, I've never moved anything in my house since I got here almost 5 years ago.
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:53 AM
control-z control-z is online now
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Yeah, it's something my grandmother did and my mother to a lesser extent. Me I pretty much leave everything where it sits. I guess rearranging freshens your environment and also lets you clean all the dust and spiderwebs that collects around furniture.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:26 AM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is offline
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I like a change every few months myself. I just get bored with the way things are laid out. I guess it's cheaper than redecorating. I have one friend who changes out everything every year or so, depending on what's in style. Or whatever's in style at Pier 1, where it seems she buys most of her decor. I can't afford such things so I just change the stuff I have around.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:27 AM
rpinrd rpinrd is offline
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I used to be married to a woman who did this all the time - except this was in a 3,000 sq ft house, not an apartment. I actually used up all of my friends who were physically capable of helping me move armoires and eliptical trainers up and down stairs, and she eventually resorted to hiring movers to do the work (which was surprisingly inexpensive). Did it bug the shit out of me? Absolutely. However the end result was always nice (not that it wasn't nice before), and if I stopped to contrast the situation with my grandparrents house, where NOTHING had moved in over 30 years, I decided that the moving was better than absolute stagnation.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:12 PM
Caffeine.addict Caffeine.addict is offline
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We seem to do this every two years in our living room. We wound up moving the couch and all the other furniture. Getting a larger TV prompted us to rearrange the room since the new TV stuck out into the passage between the living and dining room. We aren't packrats so it just takes an hour or two to move the furniture around. It gives an opportunity to clean under and around the furniture.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:49 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Do this: Take a picture of the arrangements every time it changes. After a few months worth of pictures, show these to her and ask her why something that worked on such and such date isn't working now.

There are only so many ways you can arrange a giant couch in a living room, or a bed and dresser in a tiny bedroom. Sooner or later she'll arrange it to something she's already arranged before. Ask her why and show proof it was like that before
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:52 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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I had a roomate who did this. She rearranged her bedroom at least once a month. She spoke in contemptuous tones of her sister who hadn't moved her furniture in the whole six years she'd been in her house.

I just basically want to know where things are if I'm walking around in the dark. I add and subtract as necessary, but I don't see the point of shuffling things around when they fit/work just fine where they are.

I mean, isn't familiarity the whole point of home?
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:26 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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I bought my furniture specifically to fit into the rooms in my home and decorated around them. If I moved anything around, it either wouldn't fit, would be constantly in the way or would just look silly.

The whole concept baffles me.
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  #13  
Old 05-18-2011, 02:38 PM
gallows fodder gallows fodder is offline
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Some people like change, and changing your living room around is cheaper than moving to a new house.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:09 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Considering her resistance to getting rid of even minor old things and her defensiveness, she might be a mild hoarder who's in denial but can still recognize that something is wrong with the situation. Rather than face that she's got too much stuff, she seems to think that if she can just find the perfect way to arrange it all, suddenly that will fix the situation and everything will be better. Having a plan to arrange stuff and then spending time doing it makes her feel better for a while, but then that nagging sensation creeps up again and she makes more plans to fix it this time, no really.
This. Plus perhaps some OCD.

There are sensible reasons for many people to rearrange or redecorate now and again. That's not (IMO) the motivation or the scenario the OP describes.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 05-18-2011 at 05:09 PM..
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  #15  
Old 05-18-2011, 06:04 PM
ratatoskK ratatoskK is offline
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What's wrong with it? Who cares? I don't do it, but what's wrong with it?
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:43 PM
The Bith Shuffle The Bith Shuffle is offline
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Originally Posted by ratatoskK View Post
What's wrong with it? Who cares? I don't do it, but what's wrong with it?
What's wrong with it is that it is a massive ongoing expenditure of time in an unnecessary shifting of household furniture.

I take your "who cares" as a sign that you find the subject irrelevant. It's obvious who cares: anyone who observes or lives with this sort of behavior. It is particularly attention-grabbing when it is one of your closest relatives, and it is even more attention-grabbing when you live with that relative.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:17 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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I tend to do something like that once a year at least, but it's usually linked to either spring (turning "nesting" into "redecorating" seems to be quite common among women), family visits or both.

I think Ferret Herder hit the nail so hard it went through the wall. Your mother likes buying house stuff like my mother and sister in law like buying clothes, she turns arranging it into a neverending puzzle like they do with their own clothing ensembles. If she had a bigger house (they bigger closets) it would rapidly be about as full as the one she has now, and she'd also spend a lot of time rearranging it. Hey, I have coworkers who get nervous when they see me put my desktop icons and documents into folders, I get nervous when I see their computer desktops full of virtual stuff - think of it as your mother's hobby.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
I mean, isn't familiarity the whole point of home?
Not the whole point, for some of us. For me the important things organization-wise about having my own place are that things are where I left them and that I can bloody well put whatever I want wherever I want and if I want to poke holes in the wall it ain't nobody's business! *revs up the BnD*

Last edited by Nava; 05-19-2011 at 12:21 AM..
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:26 AM
BetsQ BetsQ is offline
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Originally Posted by The Bith Shuffle View Post
What's wrong with it is that it is a massive ongoing expenditure of time in an unnecessary shifting of household furniture.
But is this time expenditure taking away from other things that need to be done? Is she so busy moving chairs that she's not getting enough sleep or eating well or going to work? Or is this just a free time activity, like watching TV or collecting stamps or knitting?

Personally, I like to rearrange stuff occasionally. Clearly not as much as your mother, but enough that I can't understand the appeal of built in furniture. What good are bookcases that you can't move?
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:19 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Other than when we went from a double to a queen sized bed, we haven't rearranged furniture since we bought the house 20 years ago, other than spring and fall cleaning frenzies. [hardwood floors take periodic maintenance to keep up and you sort of have to move stuff to expose the floor]
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  #20  
Old 05-19-2011, 10:25 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bith Shuffle View Post
What's wrong with it is that it is a massive ongoing expenditure of time in an unnecessary shifting of household furniture.

I take your "who cares" as a sign that you find the subject irrelevant. It's obvious who cares: anyone who observes or lives with this sort of behavior. It is particularly attention-grabbing when it is one of your closest relatives, and it is even more attention-grabbing when you live with that relative.
My most attention-grabbing moment was coming home from a massive 30-hour proposal production session only to do a header over the sofa which didn't used to be 3 feet from the front door.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:14 PM
nofloyd nofloyd is offline
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My dad took this up after my mother died. She was the decorator by default, so I found it interesting that he actually cared enough to move some pieces around.

It didn't stop though. 7 years later I'd come over (he was in his late 80s then) to find he moved the bed to the other side of the room. Or all the living room furniture to new spots. Every few weeks he was moving something around. Was worrying he'd hurt himself at his age. Never figured out if there were other motivations involved. Did the apt not feel homey without mom? Just boredom? Dunno.

He's in a nursing home now, where he doesn't move anything in his room. So it didn't translate to a new location.
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:52 PM
ratatoskK ratatoskK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bith Shuffle View Post
I take your "who cares" as a sign that you find the subject irrelevant. It's obvious who cares: anyone who observes or lives with this sort of behavior.
By "who cares" I mean what's the big deal about rearranging the furniture once in a while. I honestly see nothing wrong with it, unless it's something totally neurotic like moving everything about every week for years and years. If that's what they're doing, then yes, I would see that as a problem.
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  #23  
Old 05-19-2011, 03:09 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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The OP makes me miss my mother, who also had a habit of rearranging furniture all the time. I think her thing was that she was simply not satisfied with the life her finances allowed. That's not to say she was unhappy with my father: just that she wished she ahd a bigger house and the room to be elegant.

I really miss her.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:13 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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I just wish I had the time to vaccuum more often. I can't help thinking these are folks who could do some volunteer work. It just seems an enormous waste of time and energy.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:14 PM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
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Originally Posted by ratatoskK View Post
I honestly see nothing wrong with it, unless it's something totally neurotic like moving everything about every week for years and years. If that's what they're doing, then yes, I would see that as a problem.
I'm guessing you didn't actually read the OP, because that's exactly what he's describing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bith Shuffle View Post
My mother has been constantly rearranging household furniture for at least a decade.

But she wastes hour after hour week after week of her life with the endless pursuit of a not-even-remotely-achieved feng shui. It's amazing to observe her living a significant portion of her entire life just moving shit around.

She may go until her death devoting hours per week to meaningless rearrangements and occasional purchases.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:19 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Didn't Dave Barry address this?
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Originally Posted by Dave Barry
without women, virtually every piece of furniture in the world would still be in its original position. Guys do not have a basic need to rearrange furniture. Whereas a woman who could cheerfully use the same computer for fifty-three years will rearrange her furniture on almost a weekly basis, sometimes in the dead of night.
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  #27  
Old 05-24-2011, 07:31 AM
pope_hentai pope_hentai is offline
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Any time my ex-wife would move my furniture, i'd move it back when she was out of the house.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:18 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Originally Posted by pope_hentai View Post
Any time my ex-wife would move my furniture, i'd move it back when she was out of the house.
LOL! the operative descriptor there being "ex" I presume? That would make a great sitcom episode. He walks in, trips over the sofa, she walks in, breaks the eggs when she drops the grocery bag where she put the sofa. . .
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:36 AM
Dano83860 Dano83860 is offline
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You are a guest in her home. MYOB
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:55 AM
No umlaut for U No umlaut for U is offline
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
LOL! the operative descriptor there being "ex" I presume? That would make a great sitcom episode. He walks in, trips over the sofa, she walks in, breaks the eggs when she drops the grocery bag where she put the sofa. . .
Or he trips over the giant ottoman in the middle of the floor or not, depending on the week.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:11 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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My ex-Darling Marcie would sometimes get up and move stuff just because she couldn't sleep and had to have something to do. Her real mania was painting; she would sometimes leave a particular color on the walls but generally she'd repaint a wall she had painted just a month previously. It drove me insane; it's peculiar that I miss her the way I do.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:12 PM
miss elizabeth miss elizabeth is offline
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It sounds like she is dissatisfied with the way her home looks, and is trying to fix it. It's probably a mild compulsion. It sounds pretty harmless. As a guest in her home, I would help move a couch occasionally and ignore it otherwise. YMMV
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:47 PM
brendaunsworth brendaunsworth is offline
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Constantly rearranging furniture

I am so glad to read this. My mother is 84 this year and she is still doing it. Every day. If she doesn't go out she does it in the evening. I know she hates being on her own but she has family visit every day and this has been going on for as long as I can remember. I am 57 years old. Mother also changes curtains constantly and if you say something to her she gets upset. I am now frightened she will hurt herself but that wouldn't stop her. Someone out there must know what it is. If it's a compulsive disorder which it sounds like Please help as I fear for my mothers welfare. I wish I could help this poor lad but i can't but I'm glad we are not on our own. Thankyou for sharing it with us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bith Shuffle View Post
My mother has been constantly rearranging household furniture for at least a decade. I'm twenty-two years old, so it is quite possible that she has been rearranging furniture constantly for her whole life, but I just haven't known about it. I moved back in with my mother a couple of months ago, and will be moving back out again in three months or so. It's not making things that difficult, but her constant concern for the arrangement of household furniture is amazing.

Here are a few facets of her activities:

- The improvements are almost always hallucinated, although she insists they're real.
- No commitment actually exists to getting rid of unnecessary stuff. There is never enough room in her apartment and she has tons of stuff she never uses, but it seems that literally everything has sentimental value to her. An unremarkable cookbook she has used once and will almost never use again--that's the sort of thing she cannot separate herself from.
- You can't confront her about it. She will get defensive.
- You can't make your own suggestions about how the apartment should be rearranged. She will not take them seriously. She has a plan, although it will be different in a week.
- The house never actually reaches a state of immaculate arrangement, or anything even close to it. Do not think we live in a constantly shifting but pristine apartment. We live in a constantly shifting but invariably scattered and unimpressive apartment.

Like I said, it's not really that bad for me, although she often asks me to help her move furniture that in no way needs to be moved. But she wastes hour after hour week after week of her life with the endless pursuit of a not-even-remotely-achieved feng shui. It's amazing to observe her living a significant portion of her entire life just moving shit around.

Why would anyone have this sort of lifestyle? Is this some sort of recognized psychological condition, or part of one? She is a capable, warm mother who has worked full-time at times and can speak intelligently about a wide range of subjects. But I have a feeling that this modus operandi is never going to stop. She may go until her death devoting hours per week to meaningless rearrangements and occasional purchases. What could be behind all this?
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  #34  
Old 05-24-2011, 04:05 PM
melodyharmonius melodyharmonius is offline
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
My most attention-grabbing moment was coming home from a massive 30-hour proposal production session only to do a header over the sofa which didn't used to be 3 feet from the front door.
Sorry - this made me chuckle.

My ex roommate/landlord jokes that her house was actually several inches smaller on the inside than when she bought it from all the coats of paint. She too used to rearrange the room constantly.

If I was psychoanalyzing it - I would say it springs from a general dissatisfaction in her life - but I'm no doctor.

I tend to change things around as needed (new furniture, party/guest accomodations, etc.). I have been in my place for a year and moved in with very limited furniture, so I'm still re-arranging everything as I add things.

Now you have me curious how often I actually change things around. I kind of move a lot, so y'know, it's all relative.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:38 PM
Pigs in Space Pigs in Space is offline
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Originally Posted by The Bith Shuffle View Post
- No commitment actually exists to getting rid of unnecessary stuff. There is never enough room in her apartment and she has tons of stuff she never uses, but it seems that literally everything has sentimental value to her. An unremarkable cookbook she has used once and will almost never use again--that's the sort of thing she cannot separate herself from.
This makes me wonder about a variant of hoarding. The book Stuff is excellent if you want to understand it better.
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:36 AM
pope_hentai pope_hentai is offline
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
LOL! the operative descriptor there being "ex" I presume? That would make a great sitcom episode. He walks in, trips over the sofa, she walks in, breaks the eggs when she drops the grocery bag where she put the sofa. . .
yeah... tripping on the furniture is only funny on tv.

and honestly in the 4 years since the divorce iv'e only moved the furniture to clean under it, putting it exactly back where it was.
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Old 03-30-2014, 04:45 PM
ninemusen ninemusen is offline
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It isn't genetic

I read one of the posts where it said that you should try taking a picture of it every time it's new and then confronting the person about it. I think it's a great idea. Anything could help.

I have been drawing all week to find out how to arange my single 12m^2 dorm room. And i'll be honest it's not easy.

sometimes i think it comes from the fact that back home my parents would never allow me to move anything around. But i did it anyway. because i couldn't just Not move things around. When i see something i think could be improved i start by drawing it on a piece of paper, and then i do it. The worst thing is, I get this feeling deep down in the pitt of my stomach when i don't do it. The worst is that when i think of it i think i know why i do this.

We have moved around a lot in my younger years. Every new place involved the opening of boxes. LOTS AND LOTS OF BOXES. And the older i got the more my parents stoped helping me with the rearanging, so I just started doing it all on my own. I havnÝt been neglected. if i needed something heavy moved somewhere else my mom or dad would help me, and they also loved hearing my out about my plans.

But the problem is that now i do it all of the time. Sometimes i have to neglect homework because i can't handle sitting in the same part of the room. I find small flaws in all the placements of my furniture a week or something after I've put it there.

So as i said. I come from a home where no one ever moves anything around. The moment my parents stoped moving countries they stped moving furniture. But i didn't i do it all of the time. I can't handle the things being the same place! It hurts deep down inside after a week. And i don't know what to do about that.

My boyfreind helps me. And he thinks it's cute. But we don't live together and he is a soldier so he is only here in the weekends. But he wants us to move in together and i fear that since he is so much of a home boy, and the type who likes things to be slow and nice and comfy, would find it irritating if i didn't. But I also know that if I am not allowed to move my things around then i irritated and sometimes stressed by it and i feel hurt and stressed and out of controle.

It doesn't have to be genetic, but I think any help would be amazing. I mean if you know you sortof have a problem then something like reading some print outs of people who have written about their own experiences would be helpful, just to see if you feel like that too. But telling them straight up that they should stop wont help. It will just be very hurtful and unconsiderate.
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  #38  
Old 03-30-2014, 05:01 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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zombie or no

it minimizes carpet dents.
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:51 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Our furniture might as well be set in concrete. Once we put it down somewhere, it stays there for the rest of eternity.
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  #40  
Old 03-31-2014, 02:23 PM
Doctor Jackson Doctor Jackson is online now
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zombie or no

it minimizes carpet dents.
So does tile, without the extra work!

Last edited by Doctor Jackson; 03-31-2014 at 02:24 PM..
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  #41  
Old 03-31-2014, 04:20 PM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is online now
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Could be some hoarding to some extent, could be some OCD. It could also be she's got the wrong furniture that, regardless of arrangement, just will never seem right to her. I had a terrible shortage of horizontal space in a not very large room. I resolved it by converting 5.5 banker's boxes worth of paperback books to epub files for my nook. I dunno, maybe new and different window treatments will solve her problem or a different colour paint.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:39 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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When I was a kid, my mother would rearrange the living room furniture whenever she was sick, to demonstrate that "Mom doesn't get sick days". One day, I came home from school and the living room furniture had been rearranged, and I asked her if she was sick.

She didn't get upset about it (to my surprise; maybe it was because she wasn't) and she also stopped doing that kind of thing - when she was sick, anyway.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:16 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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My back is not a wonder of nature, and I told her a long time ago, two simple rules:

Before any rearrangement of heavy furniture, you must plot it out on a graph, and

After any rearrangement, we'll wait 6 months before the next one.

We have been married since March of 1979.
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