Extra Umbrellas and Hidden House Keys: The beauty of redundancy

by cv harquail on April 30, 2009

In my household, there are 7 sets of house keys. My husband knows about 4 sets, my au pair knows about 6 sets, and only I know about the 7th set.

200904291950.jpg Similarly, we have:

  • at least one umbrella in each of 3 cars,
  • two or three umbrellas in the hall closet,
  • one umbrella in my ‘mom drawer’, and
  • another umbrella in the wine cupboard.

(The compact umbrella fits nicely on the side of the wine bottles).

In a home with 3 adults and 2 children, why do we need 7 sets of house keys and 8 umbrellas? 200904291947.jpg 200904291950.jpg _g_images_spaceball.gif



There is safety in redundancy, security in redundancy, confidence that even if *everyone else* has failed to put it back where it belongs, I can always lock the house or stay dry in the rain.

There are lots of ways that you can use redundancy to add an extra level of security, whether that means stockpiling Thin Mints, hiding a pair of scissors in your sock drawer, or stashing a copy of the phone list in your glove box.

Just get an extra one of whatever it is that you can’t bear to do without, or whatever it is that no one can ever seems to put away properly, and put it somewhere only you know.

That way, it’s there when you need it.

What systems do you have for making sure that you have safety, a sense of security, and confidence that things will be there when *you* need them?

Is there an “extra” anything hidden away at your house?



Calif Mom April 30, 2009 at 6:55 am

Have you got a nanny cam in my house?! ;-) How else would you know about my umbrellas and keys?

I have about the same number of umbrellas, but none, I confess, in my wine shelf! The children have stolen the hot pink ones that I like b/c they are visible when crossing the street. So we have multiple styles and colors, since Dad will only use black. You nailed me on the multiple keys, too. One day we really will have to re-key the locks, since there are so many sets out there in the world.

You missed our flashlight obsession, though. Too many years in careers in disaster relief have littered our home with flashlights of every possible size and shape, in every possible location. And the kids manage to lose several a year anyway. (Maybe they’re looking for the missing socks.)

And lunchboxes. Actually, we don’t use lunchboxes that can’t be laundered anymore, because I got tired of spending 20 bucks on those popular insulated things at the drugstore or big box retailer (you know, the ones that come with a liner that you think will be The Answer and they look really cute or rugged but they never really work, and within a week they start to stink like rotten milk and have to be thrown out. blech.) We now LOVE the lunch bags that are neoprene, zip closed, hang easily on a stroller handle, are found at sporting goods and hardware stores, and come in fun patterns. They launder beautifully, and the styles work for kids of all ages. Kids don’t lose them because they think they are so cool, too! We don’t have a black one for Dad yet, though. No one gets their own designated bag anymore, either. We have an extra so someone can spill and still have a clean one the next morning, or a parent or AP can take one. Well worth the money. (Use a small blue ice and put your last name on the inside.) They fold flat for the return trip home in a grungy backpack.

Tear-free shampoo bottles multiply like bunnies so no matter whose tub the little one decides to use, there’s hygiene in a bottle waiting for them. And another lives in the pool bag, and an extra on the shelf, just in case they go crazy making bubble mountains.

Snack “bars”. Clif bars (our faves) can be found in every car console, every backpack and pool bag, every handbag, stroller and disaster supply kit. At least the ones that the dog hasn’t discovered yet!

sunnyvah April 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm

How about chapsticks?! I have one in every purse, room, jacket…. you name it….
Because always if I need them- they´re gone and I need to buy a new one…. ;) But I could use another spare set of keys….

Dawn April 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Our big redundancy is sunscreen! A bottle in the linen closet, one in the AP’s bathroom, one in the hall closet, one on top of the fridge, one in the pool bag, one in the diaper bag… (I think that’s it, but there may be more!)

Rayann April 30, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Batteries. Especially now with the addition of a Wii console to our home, it seems we are forever running out of batteries. HD and I now have a secret stash hidden in our nightstand.

Franzi May 1, 2009 at 12:58 am

i’m with the batteries! and umbrellas. and extension cords. i have no idea why i have so many but i could plug in about 3 times the amount of electrical equipment that i own. go figure

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