The big pink chair and the white hot rage

The Big Pink Chair
Here it is: The BPC
When I was pregnant, I bought this rocking armchair I'd been lusting over for years. It was my special gift to myself! The chair has modern lines and a wide base, and it was going to be my special breastfeeding island… the magical place where I rocked the baby to sleep in a happy haze.

Things never quite turned out that way.

Truth be told, the big pink chair was never quite as comfortable as it looked. It was a little too hard, and not quite the right shape for my butt. I did most of my nursing on the purple couch, where I could have books and a cup of tea next to me. You can't predict these things: the chair just wasn't my preferred space for nursing. After my son weaned, the chair became a reading destination for my husband. Sometimes we'd drag it across the living room (scratching the floor with its wooden rockers) to set a laptop on it to watch movies. The chair was barely used, but relatively inoffensive. Mostly, it just sat there, mocking me for having purchased it.

At some point, my husband got into the habit of pushing the chair flush against the wall to save precious living room floor space. Smart, but then when you sat in it, it would rock forward for a moment and then when you leaned back, it would make a deep but muffled THUMP! as its uphosterly-backed wooden frame slammed into the wall.

Then, my son discovered the the THUMP. Now he likes to stand in front of the chair and rock it into the wall: THUMP, THUMP, THUMP. On the mornings when it's my turn to sleep in, I get woken up by the deep THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of the chair slamming the wall. Please, whatever you do, don't ask our poor downstairs neighbor about the thumping. It must sound awful.

The THUMP took the chair around the bend for me — no longer was it just a purchase that didn't get used in the way I'd intended, it had become a pink upholstered liability. Every time I hear the THUMP, I feel the rage rising in me. FUCKING PINK CHAIR. I know the frustration is petty and the definition of first-world problems. I've spent a couple months trying to reason away the rage: it's just a chair! It gets sat in! The THUMPing isn't that bad! Who has energy to hate a chair? What would I put in its place? I don't have the time or budget to replace it with anything right now. I'll just deal with it. But the rage remained.

And then I realized: I can just get rid of the pink chair.

I don't have to replace it right now. There are other places to sit. No one will miss the chair, and while yes: it would be nice if I could just get over the rage, I can also just remove the trigger.

The realiziation (is this a basket moment? It might be!) was a break-through. I want less rage. I want more space. I will just get rid of the chair. Silly me: I can just get rid of the chair.

So, as we head into the last days of 2011, I ask you: what rage-triggers in your home could you just, you know, get rid of. Obviously, something like a broken fridge has to be replaced, which requires saving money to buy a new one. But that pile of crap on the table? What would happen if you took an hour out of your New Year's Day to finally go through it? That box you've had sitting behind the bedroom door for six months? What's even IN there?

What white hot rage-triggering piece of your home can YOU get rid of?

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  1. Ariel! You live in my city, and I like your pink chair. I wonder, have you sold it already?

    1 agrees
  2. My fiancé and I live in this lovely little two bedroom apartment in a four-plex, but our second bedroom, which I intended to use as my studio/craft room, became the catch-all crap room where we threw clutter whenever it was time to quickly clean the house. Now my easel and sewing machine sit burried under mounds of papers and old clothes, and every time I venture in to clean it, I feel frazzled and at a complete loss.

    5 agree
    • I have one of those rooms! Especially when people are coming over everything gets tossed in there. But I forget that smokers go out on the balcony and there is no curtain on that window… so they see my mess in all its glory anyway. *facepalm*

    • Aaah, my sewing room is the exact same way! You can't even see the floor! So I do all my sewing in the living room…which doesn't really help with the clutter level for the rest of the house.

  3. BWAH! I know that feeling but it is so hard to part with crap when we think the monetary value of the item will force us to hang onto it so that item pays for itself…or something like that. A couple of days ago I traded in my super cute new car for a used SUV. It made sense for me to do this for my business–it was actually necessary. But hard. It's just a car, but it represented a measure of success. I was able to get something I really wanted and letting it go doesn't have to mean I failed…in fact, the exact opposite. And I will get that car again. Oh. Yes. I. Will.

  4. I had a hated gold wingback chair. It was brought in by a previous roommate – two years ago. It matches nothing, it doesn't even go in a quirky way. The roommates cat used it as a urinal and i'd febreeze and use the enzyme stuff designed to neutralize urine odors. Finally, we got a hand-me-down couch and instead of just getting rid of the chair (we got rid of the roommate a year and a half ago), we simply moved the chair to the deck, where I enjoyed it until we got a puppy and she, in a fit of boredom, totally destroyed the cushion and arms. Still, my husband has yet to take it to the dump. I feel better with it not in the home anymore, despite the fact that it taunts me a bit when I go outside to smoke.

  5. When we got our dog, she wanted to sit on the couch. We did not want her to sit on the couch without a person, but she won't just snuggle up on the rug the way the dogs I grew up with will. She wants a soft, cozy bed. Since we didn't have space, we just turned an ugly old chair we had into her bed. This worked for a time, but gradually, the chair became what I call her "seat of power." She sat in it to see out the window and bark at passersby, she sat in it to lick people in the face when they came into the house, to growl at the mailman, etc. (We are poorly trained dog owners, something we're working on.)

    Finally, in one of our many efforts to have a positive human-dog relationship, I hauled the chair out to the curb. No one's taken it — it's hideous, and full of dog hair and torn up by the cats — and I haven't yet dragged it to the dump. But damned if having that thing out of our house hasn't already made a world of difference. The dog has a bed on the floor. She doesn't freak out quite as much. And we don't have an ugly chair in our living room! It's getting better.

    4 agree
    • We have a 'dog couch' for our two dogs. Drives me CRAZY. They aren't allowed on the people couch, nobody sits on the dog couch, it takes up space and they also use it to keep watch over the yard. I told my husband it has to go. If they need a bed so much we can keep the cushions on the floor for all I care.

    • We ended up with this exact thing quite by accident… A cute little leather bench that my much loved dog chewed to crap when I went into labour.

      It now sits by our living room window, have chewed, owned by the dog and covered in blankets. I HATE IT! And I can't even get rid of the damn thing because my mom bought it and she wants me to reupholster it. I am currently debating how I can accidentally "set it on fire on my front lawn…"

      2 agree
      • If your MOM wants it reupholstered. Let HER reupholster it or pay to have it done.
        People who tell you what to do with things they *gave* you are worse than Indian-givers and should not be humored…

  6. My shed is a source of rage for me. It's HUGE – you could fit one large four wheel drive or two small cars in there very comfortably – and it's in the front half of our backyard, so it takes up even more space by rendering the areas behind and beside it unreachable (except by the dogs, who use it as their toilet.

    It's also falling apart a bit, so it's not at all weatherproof and provides a nice home for various wildlife. Mostly spiders and the dreaded cockroaches (my most feared things evar) but once we had a family of pygmy possums there – that was nice!

    Still, we don't need such a huge shed, we just need something nice sized and well organised, plus there is so much we could do with that space if it wasn't there.

    But, of course, the damn thing is half made of asbestos, which means we need to get professionals to take it down and remove it for us, at a considerable cost given its size. Getting rid of that thing is on the top priority list for 2012. I don't care if we don't have the money to do anything else, that shed is GOING!

  7. I recently moved and was able to get rid of a lot of stuff that inspired rage in me, or at least repurpose it.

    First and foremost, although not a furniture item or housing feature, was our old printer. We bought it on the cheap because it broke one morning when I was short on cash and really needed a printer right away (I do a lot of work from home), so we went right that moment to the Ai-Mai (think like a smaller, cheaper if you'd believe it, Wal-Mart in Taiwan) and bought a new one: the second-cheapest model available. The thing just didn't work right. You'd hit print and it WOULDN'T PRINT. Or it'd print two hours later. Or it'd give some weird error message, you'd start again and it'd print a test page. It only took one piece of paper at a time (if you put more it would feed all of them at once, even if it was a lot) but if you didn't immediately add paper it would give you the "Out of Paper" message and then refuse to print the next page when you did load paper, or print another test page for no good reason…gaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh…

    We tried to give it away when we left (nobody in their right mind would buy it), and nobody even wanted it for free. So we gave it to the junk lady downstairs (in Taiwan you can make a reasonable wage collecting items for recycling) and bought the good quality printer off the old tenant of our new place. Problem solved.

    I hated pretty much all the furniture in our old place, but fortunately most of it wasn't ours – so when we left, it stayed behind.

    I suspect the item that will inspire rage in me next is the grass trimmer that someone left in our new place long ago. Who needs a grass trimmer (a full on machine, mind you, not some tiny thing for a balcony garden) in an apartment with no outdoor space in downtown Taipei?! But it'd be a waste to just chuck it. Why'd they buy it in the first place? Who would possibly take it if we tried to get rid of it without throwing it out?

  8. oh god.

    the second couch in the living room, the couch in the foyer, and the couch in our bedroom…with its matching armchair of ugliness. all are AWFUL, and i hate them. and we don't need them.

    the massive pile of someone else's crap in the basement. his former roommates left things behind when they moved out, and he never got rid of any of it. it's all taking up large amounts of potentially usable space down there.

    the super 80s side tables and coffee table. they're that bronze frame/glass topped *thing* that was so popular in the mid-late 80s, and i hate them. we don't use them, really. they take up more space we don't have.

    the old dining room table, which is in pieces on the back porch. i'm sick of "well, we might NEED it someday!" no, we won't. we have a very nice pedestal table with a built-in leaf, and it sits about twice the amount of people when it's fully extended. it's also not going to fall over like the old one.

    there's a *lot* more junk in this house, but that's what immediately comes to mind.

  9. Oh my gosh, I once found this awesome cookbook at a second hand bookstore: Witch in the Kitchen.
    At least, it seemed awesome at first. It had full menu feasts for each celebration of the wheel of the year, and offered decorating ideas and meditations. I was so excited! I began having dinner parties eight times a year. Big dinner parties. The only problem was that the menus were really… complicated. Multi-course meals, with dishes I had never heard of, and the pictures accompanying the recipes had nothing to do with the food – they were photos of like, ducks marching in a line, or a cherry climbing a mountain of nuts. I had no clue what the list of ingredients would produce! I would find myself in my kitchen, sweating, making god-knows-what while my guests were all outside at the bonfire drinking wine. Well, after three years of making potato blinis wrapped in smoked salmon and tied like parcels with a scallion (I know, right?) Something amazing happened. My dog peed on the book. I was immediately relieved. I happily tossed it in the garbage, and now I have potlucks.

    6 agree
  10. the closet between the kitchen and the front door of my condo is haphazardly stuffed with things that didn't really have a set place to be when we moved in nine months ago. now that we're settled in and have a new wave of stuff from christmas/our recent engagement, the closet has gone from being the cove of misfit items to a massive waste of storage space. this ends tomorrow, i'm emptying it out and turning into a storage spot for all our new kitchen appliances and holiday decorations.

  11. My TV was a problem – there was never an ideal place for it in my last two homes, and since it wasn't a flat screen, it took up an entire surface wherever I put it. My cat spent more time climbing on it than I ever did watching it, and I got such bad reception that I watched my shows (all four of them!) online anyway.

    When the time came to replace my computer, I bought a nice Macbook with a very sharp picture (so it can double as a TV), and gave away the TV set. I have never missed it.

    I also gave away about half my possessions when I moved into an apartment half the size of my house, but the TV was one of my bigger annoyances.

  12. My half-built 'cottage' outside is my rage trigger. It's part laundry room, part dumping ground, filled with boxes, tools, fabric, abandoned chairs that can't be left in the rain but can't be inside the main house because there's no space … it's a nightmare. Last week i bought three huge boxes on wheels to start trying to make sense of the mess. It's small, but it's a start. One box a month, at the very least, and maybe by the time my folks come to visit in September, I'll have a place neat enough for them to stay. Oh yes, did I mention that this is my guest room …?

  13. After moving for school I have a lot less of the "What is this? Who bought this? WHY DOES THIS EVEN EXIST?!" stuff, which is really nice. But I moved into a 3 bedroom apartment with one housemate, and the third bedroom is supposedly an office, but it's really just a dumping ground for…crap. Not even my crap. I'm paying for half a room that I can't even use. Rargh.

    I did, however, have a realization of my own about my sewing machine. Not that I can get rid of it, but that I can actually use it. Most of my life I had sewing machines that came in tables, but this one is actually portable! It took me two whole years to realize this, but I did realize it!

  14. My rage stuff was dishes. In our last apartment, there were ALWAYS dirty dishes and I had dirtied so few of them that I never felt like it was MY responsibility to wash them. Yet I afraid of mold, so I ended up doing them more than what I felt was my fair share.
    So my boyfriend suggested something that I had not considered: only HAVE enough dishes so that everyone has one of each. If they don't get washed, they don't get used. And while mixing bowls have occasionally been used by my roommate for cereal (wtf) it's been revolutionary.

    On the flip side, I have this buffet. It inspires rage in everyone ELSE. I love it. I think it's beautiful. It's a family heirloom. It also happens to be huge, heavy and sort of one-purpose. It's been passed around households and been dubbed "That Damn Buffet" by everyone who's had it, but I LOVE it. Everyone suggests I get rid of it so they don't have to move it again.

    1 agrees
    • Haha, I have a much-hated buffet too! A family friend brought it back from Thailand in the '70s and left it to my mom when she died. Mom isn't into Asian style, and really hates teak. I was in college and figured I could use it when I got my first apartment, so she held onto it for me. The buffet has been used as a landing strip, dresser, TV stand, you name it – funnily enough, I have never needed it for dishes.

      Three years ago, I painted it a bright glossy red. Now everyone loves it.

  15. The baby gate! My in-laws gave us a baby gate when we got our dog and it was wonderful for awhile. Then we got lazy and didn't put the gate up properly, then tripped over it, accidentally kicked it, trampled on it and basically pounded it into oblivion. It still worked, but became a pain in the ass to deal with and painful to trip over. We got a new baby gate for Christmas and I love it! It actually makes me want to keep the house cleaner and maybe even decorate.

    • Please donate your old baby gate to your local animal shelter (if it's still usable, anyway). I volunteer at mine & these are great to give to new pet owners or for use at the shelter for training!

      1 agrees
  16. I bought this couch in April:
    http://www.etsy.com/transaction/47789949

    It was almost AUGUST when it was delivered, and Paypal had already returned my entire payment to me for nondelivery and failure to communicate on the part of the seller. When it showed up, I was shocked, since I assumed at that point it was a scam that I'd narrowly avoided by being vigilant about reporting the nondelivery.

    But the seller sent police officers to my boyfriend's place of work and our storage unit because he claimed we stole the couch and never paid him. He also issued repeated threatening phone calls. I called my lawyer (luckily, he's my dad so the legal advice was free), and the authorities agreed I was in the right and didn't owe the guy a cent.

    To make matters worse, the couch didn't look like its picture. The paint job was bad – it was globbed on in the creases and chipped off elsewhere. The upholstery was worse – loose in places and the staples were showing! It looks great from far away, but up close it was a mess.

    The seller didn't have enough money to pay for return shipping on the couch and I wanted the nightmare over with, so I paid the guy what I thought it was actually worth (a fraction of the original price and absolutely nothing for shipping) and agreed to keep it. I patched up the paint and I'm looking into how to cover the staples, but in just a few months of having it, the fabric has become loose and messy on the seat and the white parts of the fabric are already looking worse for the wear.

    I don't know if I can clean the white sections as well as fix the upholstery mistakes myself, and reupholstering the whole thing would be WAY too expensive. And I get angry every time I see it, even though I didn't spend that much money on it and the guy got his etsy and paypal accounts shut down because of his actions.

    If I could make it beautiful, it could be a source of pride for me that I made the best of a crappy situation, but I'm starting to think it'll never look good enough to make me happy. I'll think twice before buying myself furniture for my birthday next time.

    • You could try taping off the fabric and doing the wood in a glossy black, maybe hot glue some braided trim around the edges (to cover the staples), though I'd consider replacing the fabric with something upholstery grade if this is just regular old cotton fabric. Upholstery grade is sturdier and generally easier to clean, or, if pets/spills aren't a big issue for you, you could consider a faux fur fabric, which covers a lot of mistakes…it would look fabulous, and you could rip it out of the staples if you wanted to change it up. It is usually a bit pricey- around $8/yd. or better, but the couch looks fairly small, and you might get out of the whole project for around $50, not including braided trim, if you buy from somewhere like Walmart…

  17. A non-complete set of painted wine glasses. My mother purchased them for me from a garage sale. I don't need more glasses (we have too many as it is) and I need more knick knacks like I need a hole in the head. They sat in this ENORMOUS box taking up precious countertop space for like three months, because I had nowhere to put them but felt bad getting rid of them because my mom bought them for me. Finally I got over it over Christmas, because I got a food processor (literally the best Christmas present of my adult life) and that bad boy needs a home. Buh-bye wine glasses with flowers on them! Maybe someone else will love you more than I.

  18. We have this hideous coffee table from the 70s in our house. We don't even know where it came from. It's too low to actually use as an effective table but too high to sit on the floor and play games on it. It has a hideous finish, hideous color, and hideous carvings. I hate it so much for something that just appeared from the ether one day. Now it just travels from room to room like a long ugly albatross. I think I'll finally dump it at Goodwill this week.

    1 agrees
  19. THIS: http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2011/04/letting-go-of-someone-elses-memories/

    No one should get any say in what you have in your home except the person/people who live there.

    And remember, all that stuff that people say you can't get rid of, isn't taking up space in their homes. It's taking up space that could be used for things that you love, or even just for empty space.

    Also, the stuff you have that you've got no use for could be perfect for someone else. Donate it and hope that someone who really needs dishes or a coffee pot but can't afford one new.

  20. This couldn't come at a better time! While several parts of our 80-year-old house cause me rage, I'm focusing on my closet right now. My dad kindly fixed the light this week, and my parents gave me a gift card to The Container Store to purchase a few organizers. It's actually not too bad (I go through old clothes all the time) and an hour or so should do it. Getting rid of the dog-licked papasan chair and unused patio furniture was similar relief.

    On the other hand, we are currently storing my brother-in-law's possessions in our garage and they are causing me huge rage and obviously, I can't just get rid of them. Why couldn't he rent a storage space? AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHH!! So glad he moves back to Nebraska today and maybe in the meantime I can work on making the rest of the garage less rage-y.

  21. clothes!!!! I have so many clothes! I have a walk-in closet FULL… and a large closet in a spare bedroom that is FULL! There is no way I am ever going to fit into and wear everything I own but I can't get rid of it as easy. I did get rid of a lot but there still seems to be an obscene amount!

  22. Our Ikea MALM platform bed and matching end tables.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S39849855/

    I went my whole 20s/ early 30s not having an issue with Ikea at all, and have had not one but two MALM beds… but then suddenly, after one too many shin bruises, under the bed storage boxes not fitting, wooden flat shifts, and "my end table drawer is a major pile of hoarded receipts" experiences, I'm ready to blow a gasket.

    I WANT A GROWN UP/ UNIQUE BEDROOM SET!!! There, I said it.

    This year, I vow that husband and I will have a new bedroom set, even if it means that our mattress and boxspring are on the floor for a few months and our end tables are cardboard boxes. Any suggestions?

    (And, now that I've just trash-talked it, if anyone is in the LA area and wants the curse of MALM, shoot me your email and I'll contact you when it's time to get rid of ours.)

    Ariel: What do you think of having an OBH Flikr pool for housewares/ furniture swap? Or is there somewhere on here where OBHers can post classifieds and I'm just not aware?

    • Thrift stores like Goodwill can be a surprisingly good place to look for real wood furniture, since they don't accept particle board. Or, since you're in LA, try cruising through some of the richer and/or trendier neighborhoods early in the morning on trash day. If I hadn't already owned a houseful of furniture when I moved to Santa Monica, I could easily have decorated my apartment with neighboring UCLA students' castoffs.

      1 agrees
      • Not sure where you live, but Goodwill definitely accepts particle board in some places.

        1 agrees
    • We've toyed with classifieds on Offbeat Mama, and they were not successful… so there are no plans to do classifieds on Offbeat Home. (Nor is the Flickr pool intended as a place to sell/swap stuff.)

      I'm not really in the business of competing with Craigslist. 🙂

  23. So we moved into an amazing apartment built in the 1850s. It's huge and full of character.. and huge cast iron radiators. Why oh why did they put them in all the corners and all prime furniture spots? Still I have to take a deep breath when I see our one sunny window blocked by hot metal coils.. argh!

    • They were likely put around the windows for drafts. Sorry, function over form stuff. 🙁 I feel your pain. Maybe consider painting them? Sometimes, just painting a monstrosity in bright gold makes it suddenly worth looking at…or you consider white and some appropriate shelving over the top…could be a fabulous spot for an herb garden or a cat bed…? If you can't escape it, and it's going to be a focus regardless, might as well try to incorporate it into your design…

  24. Our study was perpetually cluttered. There was nowhere to keep books. There was nowhere to keep papers. The only furniture was an old green chair that matched my husband's bachelor sofa and a particle board computer table from the mid 1990s. The white walls and bland mass-produced furniture meant that the room had exactly zero personality. How I hated that room. Loathed it. And the worst part was, that was where my computer was, so I was condemned to spend time there *every day.*

    Then one day, I was typing away when an epiphany struck me. My hands froze a few inches above the keyboard. My lips parted in wonder as my brain gently cuddled this glorious newborn idea: "I am an ADULT. I have MONEY. There are stores who will SELL ME FURNITURE. I can BUY NEW FURNITURE."

    A few hours of furious online shopping, two excursions, and a gallon of paint later, the study is one of my favorite rooms in the house. My anxiety levels have improved noticeably.

    1 agrees
  25. I love this!! Recently, I was getting stressed out about the vast amount of (mostly plastic)toys my 2 toddlers had. They never seemed to stay confined to the toy box in the living room or just somewhere in their bedroom. So….I got a big black trash bag, and just filled it up with all the old plastic toys they played with as babies, along with anything that was broken or missing pieces. And I just threw it away. I didn't sort it, I didn't try to recycle or donate it, I just straight up threw it out. And you know what? Neither of them ever asked for any of the tossed toys, they still have plenty to play with, and it's much easier to keep my living room clean. Win.

    2 agree
  26. Dishes! My husbands ginormous dishes from when he was a bachelor. They are so heavy and awkward. I always put them in the very back of the cabinet and they whole family knows they are in trouble for not keeping up with the dish washing duties if I have to use one of them for a meal.

  27. In October i started hosting a weekly potluck for around 20 people…At the time I only owned about 6 mugs so I asked my MIL to keep an eye out at rummage sales for 10cent mugs and she brought me this HIDEOUS Norman Rockwell china mug and suggested that I hide it when people were over so it wouldn't break.
    I have no clue why it enraged me but it drove me crazy having that mug in my cupboard. I seriously offered to pay people to break it for a few months and then just brought it to the white Elephant exchange 🙂

  28. My entire apartment was a source of rage for me over the Christmas holidays (while we were with family) so my partner and I did a massive purge when we got back. Including a rage chair! I read this and laughed. I had been lugging this hand-me-down giant brown pleather monstrosity around with me for 4 years from apartment to apartment. It looks like crap, its a strange size/shape and it took up too much space in our living room. Then we just got rid of it. I came home one day, and it was gone. Such a relief. Along with an entire closet of hand me down sheets (that don't fit our bed) pillowcases that we don't need, video games we don't play and books we don't read. We are still on the purge cycle as we get ready to bring a baby into our one bedroom apartment. The transformation has been AWESOME.

  29. We've got a garage full of shit at both our house and my parents' house that is mine. It's stuff that my parents packed up and removed from my bedroom when I went off to uni 7 years ago and stuff we packed up when we moved into our current house 3 years ago but have never unpacked. I get stressed just thinking about all that crap. I'm honestly tempted to not bother going through it and just sling it- how important can any of it really be if I've not needed it for so many years?

    1 agrees
  30. "Mostly, it just sat there, mocking me for having purchased it."

    My favorite line in the whole article! My comment is rather late, but I wanted you to know that this coming weekend I'm going to an annual Spring Swap party, where we bring our own Big Pink Chairs (or things we're just tired of looking at) to exchange for OTHER people's stuff. Their White Hot Rage just might be my treasure.

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