Tuesday, November 8, 2011

reset to fabulous

Yesterday I emptied my library. Well, I left the books on the shelves and a few ginormous pieces of furniture (I'm talking to you, piano, you albatross around my neck) in place, but Jan the bowling ball, piles of papers, stacks of books, chairs, even my beautiful rug got moved out.

When we built our house, the room that I call "my library" was originally a formal dining room with a doorway to the kitchen. I read and write more than I host diner parties, so we kept a solid wall of cupboards between the kitchen and this room and Mr. D's friend custom built an entire wall of bookshelves for me. It's a glorious room, really. The walls are a deep red, the carpet forest green. The three windows are super-deep, just 6 inches from the floor, and look out onto the front porch of our house.

It's sacred space. Only my things (and a few of Mr. D's) are allowed here--music boxes from my childhood, Wedgwood plates, my dainty and fragile belongings--and of course, my books.

Because it's sacred space, it's also where projects go--safe from Nerf bullets and racing boys, protected from curious fingers and crumbs. Photos that need albums, gifts that need wrapping, pictures that need framing, papers that need tending. The piles have grown, so have the stacks of books.

Nine years ago I shelved my collection on my bookshelves, but nine years of acquiring new titles meant a space crunch. Because I used to work in a library, I organized my book according to Dewey's System, business and biography don't get shelved with fiction. Duh.

And I got a piano (because I'm not terribly bright sometimes), a desk and a chair. As the stuff encroached on my space, my mind felt cluttered and the distractions mounted.

Obviously things had gotten out of hand and there's only one way to tackle that kind of a problem. I emptied the room and reset it yesterday. Mind you, I'm not finished yet, but Big Decisions were made. The rug has been rolled up and will get stored in the basement for now. The piano was granted clemency. For now. A basket of gift tags and ribbons got moved to the closet where gift wrap gets stored. The book collection got shifted to make room for new titles and to accommodate nine years of growth and acquisition. Fiction has an entire 5 shelf section to itself, unread books are not on a separate shelf and no longer teetering in piles beside the piano. The tchotckes and knick-knacks that had no sentimental value to me got boxed up for the thrift shop--as well as some books I had no stomach to keep. I divested myself of two old laptops, children's art projects and several piles of random junk, like half-empty bottles of hand lotion and dried up pens.

The top of the piano is cleared off and looks tidy. The bookshelves make sense. The corners are empty of clutter and cobwebs (and a half-sucked throat lozenge). My mind feels at peace even though I've still got a few stacks of papers to sort/toss/file/deal with. I needed the serenity and clarity that comes from space and order.

It's been annoying me that all this junk piled up in my room, but it was my own fault for letting it get out of hand. I determine what I keep and if I want less crap in my life, well, it's up to me to let it go. (Yes, piano, you should feel nervous. Relax, Jan, you get to stay.)

Spill it, reader. What space in your life have you totally cleared out and reset lately?

27 comments:

  1. Ooo! Your library sounds dreamy. All those books!

    I recently reset my deck. My roommate had a big table and chairs on it. If you were on the inside of the table, you had to crawl over everyone to get out. It made BBQ's cumbersome. I recently ditched that set and got my outdoor furniture out of storage. Now, two love seats and a chair seat 7 comfortably. And nobody has to climb over anyone. It's like I added a whole additional room to the house. Love it!

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  2. Sounds like it's more peaceful in there.

    I redid my walk-in closet that I couldn't actually walk into. Alli moved into the guest room and now I have to share my closet with Mr Sunshine.
    I reorganized my clothes and craft supplies and made two trips to Goodwill. I took before and after pictures.

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  3. Wow, great motivation!!

    We have those Kung Zhus around here too. I keep them together in a tupperware box, so they only get to get them out sometimes (mean mom).

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  4. yes! yes! yes! we DID write the same post! your room sounds beautiful, and i want to see a picture.

    the problem is that the things we collect are almost always things with meaning, or stories, or sentiment. it's hard to get rid of them because we feel like we're giving up a piece of the person they represent.

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  5. pictures? pictures? pictures? you should show some before and after shots. my imagination is working overtime.

    i need to clean up my craft room. the idea was to set it up to use as a home office and work space but it hasn't ended up that way. the shelves i bought aren't really deep enough so I think i'm going to reconfigure the whole thing. just not sure when. i need a big weekend to do it. and maybe some help. i need to put some brackets or something along the wall to help support the shelf. since it's a rental, i've been hesitant to really make many changes.

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  6. It's so liberating to get rid of stuff! (but why then do we wait soooo long to tackle those problem niches?) Recently, we've reset our eating..continually...but boy, I've been eyeing this corner in my bedroom for months!!!

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  7. *Whew*! For a moment there, I thought Jan was in trouble!

    I DEEP CLEANED the bathroom today, ceiling to floor. You could have eaten off the floor in there, for about two minutes.

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  8. Don't you feel lighter? It sounds like a nice place to be now.

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  9. I sort of had a reset 3 years ago when we moved older son into the man cave over the garage and younger son into a bigger bedroom. So most of the things in the two bigger rooms went into two smaller rooms instead. But I never really could give up much.

    I am really glad Jan is safe!

    (My word verification is "undepp." To divest oneself from Johnny?)

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  10. What a great project. I love it when I deep clean and purge like that. I'm constantly working on our home office, although there, it's the piles of papers that are the problem.

    I also recently went through our guest room/dumping grounds and it felt so good to box up stuff to donate.

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  11. Your library sounds like a lovely room. Wouldn't it be nice if other family members stuff didn't encroach on our spaces? I dream of that day.

    I haven't reset anything recently, but our guest room certainly needs it. And the kitchen island.

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  12. I just went through all my clothes and donated a few big bags worth of clothes. It's a nice feeling when everything is put away without feeling stuffed away.

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  13. And I'd love to see your library too, it sounds wonderful!

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  14. Thank you for the cyber hugs on my blog. In my head I keep the image of you doing the karate kick in the air, and feel better able to face things just from that image.

    I like your bowling ball's name. I am fixated on the fact that your bowling ball has a name.

    I recently cleaned out half a drawer of file cabinet space. I'm not sure it counts as a reset though. No one can tell I did it, because I filled the space right back up with files on my aunt's finances.

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  15. Ahhhh. Doesn't that feel good? I love all that purging. I love that fresh, clean feeling. Love. I COMPLETELY cleaned out the back part of the basement a couple of months ago and I finally felt like we were all moved into our house. It looks AWESOME now. LOVE. :)

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  16. Oh golly, that sounds exhausting. But I wanna room like that!! LOL

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  17. I haven't cleaned up any area yet, but I'm thinking about it. I was just thinking I need to clean up the boys' play area downstairs before Christmas and get rid of some things and find room for the new gifts they'll be getting.

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  18. I haven't cleaned up any area yet, but I'm thinking about it. I was just thinking I need to clean up the boys' play area downstairs before Christmas and get rid of some things and find room for the new gifts they'll be getting.

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  19. I put away every single piece of laundry yesterday. We'd been living out of baskets for a few days...does that count? I feel really good not digging thru a basket looking for clean unmentionalbles in the morning. :)

    I'm tackling my craft room on Thursday. I may require you to physically check on me so I actually DO IT.

    I'm glad Jan made the cut. It wouldn't be the library without her. :)

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  20. I'd love to see photos of your library!

    I'll be purging my closet. In the old place, our garage was less garage-y, and my husband used half of it as a man-cave and closet. Now we're sharing a closet and both have to get rid of some clothes. The bulk of mine will be stuff I've kept to use for fabric, and stuff I've bought at the thrift store to use for fabric. I have so many ideas but rarely end up doing anything. So, to the thrift store it goes, and I'll just have to use the BINS AND BINS of fabric I'm keeping.

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  21. I need to do that to my study soooooo badly! We'll have to do it by next summer when it will become one of the kid's rooms. But it still is driving me nuts!

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  22. Doesn't it just amaze you that no matter how much you know you'll feel better once you do it you still put off doing it? That's how I feel about my tupperware cupboard!

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  23. This is awesome--both that you have such a space in your life AND that you took charge of it. Calling it a "reset" is perfect.

    It's killing me that I'm in active pursuit of a piano right now and finding nothing...doesn't yours want to waddle on over on its spindly legs?

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  24. OMG - I really need to tackle my basement...but it's like one of those scenes out of a horror movie...I am the clutter queen - at least down there. :(

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  25. Ack, blogger keeps telling me I can't comment. Trying again...it sounds like a fabulously satisfying clear-out. It's so psychologically restful to be in a clean, orderly space. Enjoy.

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  26. I am swooning over the idea of a library, my mom and I both are avid readers and we turned a spare bedroom into a library of sorts, but it also houses a spare TV, a couch, chair, and coffee table for when I move out, as well as our printer and about 50 million boxes of assorted jumble. I guess that should be our next space to re-set!

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  27. I joined Paperbackswap.com to clear my shelves. It worked! I've even traded swap credits for gift books and all kinds of fun.

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Spill it, reader.