05 August 2013

My Clean Home: Part 2

If there's anyone out there who still peeks in on me from time to time, I apologize for my absence. It's been a complex year. Both I and my darling husband have spent some time being sick and in recovery--amounting to the bulk of this calendar year, surprisingly enough. We're still working on home remodeling projects, and between those things and the full-time job stuff, time seems to get away. Forgive me? Love me anyway?

Does this cute picture of a sloth help?

Recently, my "spare" time has been occupied by a lot of organizing/reorganizing projects. I'm down to one big one, and a couple closets. I got to thinking about it, over the last couple of months, and decided that I needed to make some headway. This is partially due to the fact that I'm feeling better than I had been. It's also partially due to the fact that while taking sick time (much more than I had envisioned), lots of things went undone in my home. That's depressing. It's hard, when you feel unwell, to even know where to start, after things have gone downhill.

Additionally, I've noticed a trend in my family. In a recent conversation with my Mumsy, we were talking about how we always do things to stage a house when we're getting ready to sell it, or the way we try to get things all organized to pack up when we move. In a family of semi-nomads who move every couple of years whether we need/want to or not, the next move is something that starts coming up (at least in our minds, if not in conversation) after we've lived somewhere longer than a year. Anyhoo, the tendency I noticed is that we tend to get things done so that it's the way we want them to be, right before we move. Then everything's a disaster at the new place, or situated to "make do" until we get to those projects-- usually right before we move out. Why do we do this?

My brother's family is the black-sheep of the nomads in two respects. 1) They don't move every couple of years. They only move if it's necessary. 2) When they move in, they move everything directly into its forever home in the new house, eliminating anything that doesn't have a home, and never "making do" (I think this is because they don't know if/when they will ever move again, and they don't save stuff they can't use in this house, just in case it might work in the next one). If they decide to do a project, they just do it. Weird. I know. :)

So, based on the above, I thought that maybe I should do some of the pre-move work so that we can live in this house the way we would like to... Visionary! Here's the thing. We've always known that we're not going to live in Greenville forever. We have said, all along, since beginning our relationship, that we'd probably spend a few years in this house, then move closer to the Midwest and our extended families. We're coming up on our two year anniversary, so in theory, that move is creeping our direction. Sometimes it feels like it's rapidly approaching. Sometimes not. Either way, shouldn't our house function the way we live? Shouldn't we enjoy our home? Even if it's only for another year or so?

I got to thinking about all this and started looking around with different eyes. If I were staging this place to show prospective buyers, what would I change? How would I incorporate the elements that don't appear to fit so that we could actually live here while being prepared for short-notice showing? What's different about the way we live and the way our home functions?

I have to learn to take pictures as I'm working through these processes. Sorry, but I don't have many pictures for this.

I started with the living room, because it's an easy one. We actually spend quite a bit of time in there, and aside from life stuff, it doesn't get particularly messy. Some big thoughts for the living room:

  • We don't own a television, so that (and its accompanying paraphernalia) is not the focal point, and is rather conspicuously absent to those who expect to see a huge screen gaping at them.
  • We have a fireplace that opens on two sides. Not back and front. Front and side. It's incredibly awkward to decorate around. It's also flush with the floor and doesn't have a mantle. 
  • Our furniture is a conglomeration of stuff we've collected over the years, and most of it has at least one story. 
  • The room is an L shape, with a long, thin main portion and a weird little skinny, short lip (with the 2-sided fireplace on the corner). 

Please forgive the grainy phone picture. Nearly finished re-org of shelves.
I have two IKEA Expedit bookshelves, 5x5 and 4x4 (also a matching 2x4 that currently lives in the kitchen), side by side on the main wall. I suppose they could move, but it'd be a pain, so I decided to plan around them. I started with the bookshelves and pulled everything that wasn't a book off them, just as a starting point. Then I went through the house collecting books that didn't have a home (and some that did).

Since I'm a reader and I acquire books like a freshly washed windshield collects splatters during lovebug season in Florida, there tend to be books in every room of my home, stashed in boxes/on furniture/in closets, and randomly dropped here and there near every comfortable surface I might use for reading. I tend to be in the middle of multiple books at once, so many of them have bookmarks, (gasp!) folded page corners, or an ink pen keeping my spot. Unfortunately, I'll get sucked into another one, and I don't always finish all I've started-- especially if I misplace them or start researching a new topic.

All that to say, I found a ton of books that didn't live on the living room shelves. This caused a spontaneous reorganization of the living room shelves. I have two methods to my madness when it comes to shelves. 1) I want books organized in some way so that I can find them when I want them. My memory is not eidetic, but pretty sharp, so I do tend to want to look things up later for exact reference. 2) I want the shelves to be visually pleasing. With the square boxes, I have 41 individual spaces to organize, with the overall larger squares of 25 and 16 spaces, respectively. That gives me lots of options. Yay, for my inner nerd. :)

All the books that hadn't previously lived on the shelves got shuffled into what was there, things got reorganized to accommodate the influx, and we wound up with books filling every cube but three. When I lived in Florida, I had the 5x5 in the living room, and had books in every other cube (13 cubes) in a checkerboard pattern. I had attempted the same thing, here, but wound up filling more cubes initially. When I pulled pretty much everything into the living room, this time, I started to realize the volume of our collection. Considering the office and the master bedroom have their own bookshelves and collections, the quantity in the living room becomes fairly impressive, even to me. I'll do another post with more detail on the bookshelves another day. 

Since the shelves are now mostly filled with books, the ephemera (candles, decorative items, etc) ended up in the guest room, temporarily, until I can decide how to redistribute or store. I like what The Nester says about "shopping" your house, occasionally. I just don't tend to do it. Cutting down on clutter is giving me a better idea of what I really want the decor to be, though, so I'm not really sure how much of what has been removed will return, or at what point. We'll see.

More pictures, and the continuation of the living room on another day. Since this post has been sitting here waiting for me to finish it for more than a week, I'm going to stop here. :)

Much love,

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