31-Day Challenge: Day 14

Mud room organization tips.

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Oh, writing prompt app. You are so funny sometimes.

I think I’ve made this observation at least once on Twitter, but I’ll take this opportunity to elaborate.

When we were visiting my parents over Christmas, my mom handed me a ‘Parade of Homes’ brochure to flip through. They’re looking at moving sometime in the somewhat-near future, so they had toured a few of the show homes on offer this year, mostly to get some ideas of what has changed since they last house hunted back in the late 80s. As BV and I have been (very) casually looking at places for awhile now, it was quite the eye-opening experience.

To be fair, these are high-end show homes in the south-eastern Wisconsin area, and I am well aware that this brochure is not really representative of what the average person has in their homes but GOOD GOD is there a huge difference to the market here. There’s a reason that when I did House Hunters International, Courtney and I continually joked about me possibly being the only person ever to appear on that show and NOT demand granite counter tops. Or whatever it is that people seem to think they need in their houses these days.

Mud rooms were just the tip of the iceberg with these houses. Three-car garages are now “small,” and there were so many bedrooms in some of them that I wondered if the Duggar’s religion has become more popular than I thought. My personal favorite was one house that featured a “family command center” with set ups for school/sports equipment storage (thought those went in the bedrooms or garage?), an office area (in addition to the actual office), and a dog washing station. Again, isn’t a stationary tub in the basement, a bathtub in one of the six bathrooms, or the garden hose pretty much sufficient on that front? Guess not.

BV and I are looking at the “cheap as possible” price range of the German market, and it is a little bit different to say the least. I know that it is possible to get a house that is move-in ready here, but so far in our price range, there haven’t been too many of them. So what have we seen?

For starters, I have learned that the trend in German bathrooms over the years has hit every. single. possible. shade. of the rainbow. So many colors. So many bathrooms that haven’t been touched or renovated since the 70s at best. So many of these houses that have, just that one bathroom. That means if we buy it and want to redo it, that’s got to happen before we move in. A second bathroom is fairly rare, but in my opinion that is almost a non-negotiable. At some point in time, if we decide to procreate, I am not dealing with more than two people in a house with one bathroom. It’s already questionable enough when we have guests at our place now. Not into it.

It’s often been noted that rentals here don’t come with light fixtures. If you decide to move, you better take your old ones with you, or you’ll spend the first few days in the dark. Since we have been looking at fixer-uppers, we’ve also seen a fair amount of places with unfinished plumbing. That means that in addition to the wires hanging from the ceiling, there are sometimes the ends of pipes sticking out of the walls. What happens after that is up to you! The excitement!

Lots of the older places also don’t have things like heaters. Or heating systems. Or a fireplace. Sometimes there was  a fireplace, but it’s long since been removed. Sometimes there is a person (or people) living in these places, and I just have so many questions. Our current place was built in 1928, and added to over the years. Where we are in the upstairs probably dates from the 1950s or so, and it doesn’t hold heat worth a damn. How people are living in these old houses with no heating is just beyond my comprehension. We don’t have Wisconsin cold temperatures here but I don’t think anyone ever described a German winter as balmy.

I’ve occasionally flipped through the real estate listings for higher price ranges and while there are a lot less brown or orange bathrooms, there still are no dog washing stations. How the Germans survive in their cold houses with all the dirty dogs running around? Perhaps that’s a secret I will never learn.

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Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.

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