I am genuinely a little embarrassed to be writing up this daft post. It's verging on the ridiculous. Mother of three lets shelving Get Messy. Then Mother of three Tidy's Up!!!! Hardly very thrilling. And yet.....and yet it somehow speaks volumes about where my life is at right now. About the way I am slowly emerging from the intensity of two years raising a baby into toddlerhood. About the way I'm enjoying a little more time and space (and energy) creeping into my life as Little B becomes more independent. About the way I am trying to find new routines which'll keep the place in a relative state of togetherness, rather than just letting it all slip slide.
Decluttering our home has become a major focus for me in recent months, along with reorganising how we store and display our stuff. Cos boy, do we have Stuff.
Jeez. So much stuff. Heaping and teetering, pile upon unsteady pile. Layers and layers of stuff that's accumulated over a lengthy period of time.
What shall I do with this random object? Ahh, just pop it on the shelf for now, put it away later. And there it stays for days/weeks/months.
Clear the table so we can eat dinner, but where to put the papers/objects that are littering the table? Ahh, just pop them on the shelf for now, deal with it later. And there they stay for days/weeks/months.
Open the post, but where to put the letters/bills/statements/catalogues/receipts? Ahh, well just pop them on the shelf for now, deal with it later. And there they stay for days/weeks/months.
Little B!!! You shouldn't be playing with that, you'll break it/spill it!! Put it up on the high shelf so he can't reach, deal with it later. And there it stays for days/weeks/months.
That's the way it goes. So easy to let it happen, in the rush of our busy days. We lived like this for so long, cos it somehow just simply seemed to be The Way It Goes.
But sometime just recently, this shelving chaos began to cause problems. Arguments were occurring. Stuff was getting lost in those there shelves. Important stuff that was needed, and tempers were getting frayed. Little B also grew tall enough to reach the lowest shelf. Stuff began to topple and fall. And it all got to be Too Much.
I was having coffee with a very good friend on Tuesday morning, and we were chatting about what our plans were for that afternoon. Out of the blue I suddenly declared my intention to Start Tidying the Shelves of Doom. I'm gong to do it, I said. I'm ready. I'm really going to do it! I'm going to start from the top and work down, just the top two shelves to start. She has heard this many, many times before, as I have often made similar declarations. This time though, I asked if she wanted to help me. She nearly choked on her cappuccino with the shock of that request, it was really funny! But I explained that I needed her help in a supervisory capacity only. I asked if she would come to number24 at precisely 2.30pm, to inspect the first two shelves for me. Keep me to my word. And so that's how it began. My lovely friend has come round to my house each afternoon to check on the day's progress, and it has motivated me to keep going and produce results. A Declaration of Intention, followed by a Scheduled Inspection is definitely the way to do it, in case you are in a similar situation with your own Doomed Space(s).
Anyhow......I've rambled enough. I need to show you some pics now. The left shelf first. Just scroll back up a bit to remind yourself of the Before picture. Got it? Right, now look below............
I look at the above image and my heart soars. Whooooooooooosh!!!! So happy! So childishly proud of my efforts!
These middle two shelves are my absolute most favourite. I have my precious books all lined up beautifully, and my delicious new cat too, made by the incredibly talented Jane Foster. And then I have my newly created "dresser" style shelf. Oh my. I am SO in love with this shelf. Take a look at this next picture.....
.....see on the other side of our archway, that odd looking too-narrow pine shelving? Well this makeshift bit of furniture came from our last house and was/is a temporary measure until we can have some proper built in shelving there (I'm thinking natural wood for these shelves, rustic oak kind of thing). Well before my shuffle around this week, all my pretty jugs, vases, pots and mugs were crammed onto one of those pine shelves, more as a safe place for storage than an effective place for display. It was actually Heather who had the idea for me, to shift it about a bit and create a little bit of a dresser look on the white shelves. What a clever thinking person Heather is, it had never crossed my mind to do this. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised what a fabulous idea it was. So I bought some white cup hooks and screwed them in to hang up my smaller jugs and cups. And I'm hugely pleased with the results. I had to move quite a few books across to the rickety pine shelf in order to make space on the white shelf, but I think it looks ok for now.
I'm also very happy to now have all my books together on one shelf too, as my crochet/craft books were widely scattered about the house before. I gathered them all together into one place, and it makes me really happy to see them there. I don't have all that many really, and they've been gathered across many years...but I think I have enough. For now.
This is my collection of feel-good books, which are of the interiors/lifestyle sort. I adore this type of book, I can spend hours and hours browsing the picture heavy pages, dreaming up all sorts of creative schemes for my own surroundings. I just love to do that, have done since I was in my early twenties and lived for the first time in my own little flat.
The other change I made was to move my collection of enamel coffee and tea pots over from the right shelf to the left shelf. I've been collecting these since I first moved to this town four years ago. I paid very little for them (no more than £4) from our local "collectors centre", and I love that I've bought them this way over a number of years. I've recently been looking on ebay for similar items, but've been stunned by the prices they fetch.
Moving on then.
This is the other Shelf of Doom, the one on the right of the fireplace.
This shelf isn't quite so messy as J did have a stab at clearing it on my behalf some time ago when I was out for the day. So funny...his method of solving the messy problem was simply to scoop up all of my stuff and shove it in a big box, then take the box down to the cellar. Out of sight, out of mind. I was livid at the time when I discovered what he'd done, but it did force me to deal with The Box (mostly craft stuff, which is now neatly stored in the cupboard below).
So shall we have a look at the transformation?
Lets take a peek...............
So much better I think you'll agree. I still need J to go through his collection of paperbacks as I could do with a little bit of extra space on this side. I'd like some pretty files/A4 boxes to deal with paperwork issues that we still have ongoing. We desperately need some sort of a filing system in place, somewhere to organise and store the papers that we want/need to keep. This is a major problem and a big contributor to our clutter/mess issues. Already J has made a little stack on that lower shelf, ALREADY, damn him!! This morning I noticed there were two newspapers, an unopened magazine, the water bill which arrived yesterday, and a copy of a letter he sent out yesterday. Tsk tsk, bad J.
But oh we are heading in the right direction, we really are. I am SO, so SOSOSOOo happy with the work I've done this week, with the results I've achieved.
And it has been hard work. Tough graft. I started on Tuesday afternoon, then worked quite a bit on it through Wednesday afternoon too. Plus pretty much all day Thursday when I hit the bottom shelves (above picture), as these really were rammed with an incredible amount of stuff.
Mind you, the shelves may look terrific but we've still got an Incredible Amount of Stuff to deal with. I've already recycled a shed load of paper, put away a good number of objects and created a stack of fifty-one books to donate to charity. But still J and I each have a large crate of miscellaneous objects to sort/store/file/bin/recycle. Sigh. It's not over yet. But I am determined to keep going, to see it through to a satisfactory conclusion.
I've only got to look at the Before and After photos to keep me motivated.........
Left Shelf. From Doom to Bliss.
Right shelf. From Gloom to Glory.
What a satisfying, productive week it's been.
Coming downstairs first thing this morning I was so excited to open the door and feast my eyes on this room. It filled me with such warmth and happiness.
Lovely. Simply lovely.
Edit to add :: I don't know how to thank you for your sweet words of encouragement, understanding and shared joy, so precious to know that you know. Humble thanks, as ever.
Also, just wanted to share this wonderful little ditty written by Penny, it made me laugh...
ODE TO LUCY The shelves of doom have left the room and taken with them the horrid gloom. They've been replaced with a beautiful space that puts a smile upon my face. They wont be missed I can promise you this for now I have my room of BLISS!
You all make me feel a million dollars. mwah xxxxxxxxxx