I have an ‘under-the-stairs’…

I have an ‘under-the-stairs’… in a house with no stairs.

Let me take you back…

“Elly!  Please bring me a fresh roll of kitchen paper!”  I called as I removed the last sheet of paper from the current one.

“Where are they?”  Came the reply from ‘the One with her face always stuck in a book as she came into the kitchen.

“Under the stairs. I said.

Giving me a rather funny look, she headed to the cupboard in the hall, and retrieved a new roll for me.

Exchanging the paper roll for a warm freshly baked peanut biscuit, I said “Thank You.”

Sending Elly to the cupboard under the stairs was a regular occurrence.  It was the storage space for all the spares – Boxes of tissues, kitchen rolls and loo rolls, soap powder, bottles of vinegar, conditioners, disinfectants and the box of shoe polishes.  It also had space for the brooms, vacuum cleaner, ironing board, iron and my sewing machine.

I suppose in a way, I was following on my mother’s tradition, since that was where she hoarded the many extra bits and pieces.  Back then we had to keep the entrance way clear as the gas meter was housed in there on the back wall.  The gas man needed to be able to bend down and shine his torch on the meter in order to read it.

Now we had no gas meter, so that was a problem less.

My PROBLEM was we had no stairs either!  We lived in a bungalow, so the cupboard ‘under the stairs’ was not!  It was a full height cupboard in the hall. Just like Granny and mammy before me, I brought the name with me from some place in the past.

Is it any wonder Elly grew up like she did!!!!! 😆  😆

Now I need to know if you have a place that has a name that visitors or strangers to your house would not understand?

22 thoughts on “I have an ‘under-the-stairs’…

  1. rummuser

    As you have probably seen in some photographs and on the skype, we have a staircase going up to the upper floor of our home. There is space below that and it is used now to store the inverter and some miscellaneous items, not regularly needed as to access it is quite difficult with my computer table sitting next to it. I can not ask Ranjan to fetch me anything from there!

    Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      Yes, I have seen your set-up on Skype and in photos. ‘Under the stairs’ at home in Dublin was mid way down the stairs so we agile little people had no bother retrieving items stored in there.

      Reply
  2. Mike

    When we lived in Idaho, we had a small room off the dining room that was used for little other than disordered storage. We called it the “extra” room. Soon after we moved to this house in Arkansas, we enclosed a carport, but never really finished it. For one semester, it served as a bedroom for my youngest brother-in-law when he started at the local university. After that, it was used for little other than disordered storage and, of course, came to be called the “extra” room. I tore it completely down a few years back and built a much smaller and nicer finished room. We call it our “dining” room.

    Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      Our extra room when growing up was the garage. It was small and narrow only fit to store a small Ford and no more. I do remember Daddy driving the car in to get the straight line, then reversing back out before rolling it in for the night. As cars grew in size the garage became a place to store stuff.

      Reply
  3. katechiconi

    I have an ‘airing cupboard’, but unlike any previous home in the UK, it doesn’t house the hot water tank. In Australia, the tank lives outside, incredibly well insulated, but also not adding extra heat to already hot interiors. My ‘airing cupboard’ contains all my household linen and towels, and it serves the same purpose as the traditional one because it’s on a west-facing outside wall and gets really, really warm inside. I occasionally set my bread dough in there to rise!

    Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      Kate, our ‘airing cupboard’ was small, but well used, I often remember mammy telling the tale of drying out her home made meringues in the airing cupboard – it was during the war when the gas pressure was reduced or cut off. The extra eggs would have come from my paternal granny who lived in the country.

      Reply
  4. Lori

    We have a small urban backyard where we have two small vegetable garden plots. When one of us is heading out there, we say “we’re going to the back 40”. As if….

    Reply
  5. Tom Sightings

    Nothing in our house like that — my parents weren’t very creative — but we did have a ghost in the attic when I lived in a rowhouse in college. I’ll tell that story next Halloween.

    Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      Tom, the space under the stairs was usually walled in, most had doors to use the space for a) the gas meter and b) storage. At the full height the cupboard opened into the kitchen and was well used in our house for dry food goods and storage of dishes. The middle section, opening onto the hall was our ‘under the stairs’ the storage for the vacuum cleaner and all so many other items it would take a day to list them!

      I look forward to your ‘ghost in the attic’ at Halloween.

      Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      Nowadays, I have to smile, Maxi, when I hear her telling George to put items ‘under the stairs’ – In my house!

      Reply
  6. mybeautfulthings

    Hello!

    That made me laugh! The last house we lived in had a cellar and there were narrow shelves down the side where we kept all those things you mention. Now we have an under-the-stairs cupboard but when I ask someone toget me a tin or other supplies I suggest they get them from the cellar! Old habits die hard and everyone knows where I mean!

    Sorry I haven’t been in for a bit – things have been hectic here. You made a comment on my blog that is in my head for replying to and I will get around to it!
    All the best to you 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      Great, Sally, I am not alone in my weirdness! I keep waiting for the days to settle down a little. it seems so long since my regular round of visiting. Enjoy the ‘busy’!

      Reply
  7. wisewebwoman

    I love your stories of the special places in your houses. We had a “spare shed” at the back of our house, Daddy had it built alongside the “coal shed”. It was nearly always empty but I do remember turkeys from Granny’s farm being hung in it. Under the stairs held everything, LOL.

    XO
    WWW

    Reply
    1. Grannymar Post author

      We had a large brick built shed along the boundary wall at the end of the garden. Overtime the corrugated roof became the worse for wear, and began to disintegrate. Mammy often used the shed as a threat if we were naughty… “Keep that up and you will sleep in the shed tonight”! The thought of spiders, stray cats and the darkness were enough to make us behave! Our coal shed was small and closer to the back door.

      Reply
  8. nick

    We don’t have any odd names like that. But we do have a genuine cupboard under the stairs. It contains glass for the bottle bank, shoes, jackets, scarves, a tool box and a tyre pump.

    Reply
  9. cedar51

    when other flatmates lived here the space for their refrigerator was too narrow in kitchen and it was kept in a small ante space off to the side – [now I have fridge that fits said space]. Anyway when people wanted to use the WC, we would say “turn left at the fridge…” people would do that and find themselves in a very small space only big enough for WC. They would come out, look confused and say bathroom/hands and I would point them down the hall where that is.

    Now in actual bathroom, there is more than enough room for a toilet – but if know anything about outdoor WCs of the 1960s then having to find a spare space when they became indoors was often a mission…

    (i could write a whole story on outdoor plumbing where I lived in those days…and I would imagine it was a similar story in this rental house)

    The space here is a kind of linen cupboard but it isn’t ventilated well and things always smell musty – so I keep the day2day things elsewhere or turn them around faster…it’s not well internally structured so it’s kinda twee!

    I do have a small under-stair space but it is fill of other tenants junk, which means I keep the little door closed but then again with the extra open space is the tiniest closet for clothing that could even be thought to be useless…hard to explain! The rooms that someone has created downstairs [possibly for small children] is that I can change lightbulbs without standing on anything!!! I now use them for storage, but previous flatmates have liked being in them – cave like and very private…

    Reply
  10. Grannymar Post author

    The house I grew up in had a separate WC and bathroom. Neither were very big, but did what these rooms were supposed to do.

    Reply

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