Note: This is a draft, the post was never finished and yet SOMEHOW I scheduled it to post. I’ll get the progress photo up shortly. ARGH.
One great thing about getting everything out of a space so you can paint the floor is that when you go to put things back in, you can get rid of a lot of stuff. It’s one part Marie Kondo’s “What gives me joy?” and one part Julie Morgenstern’s “What do I need?”
So part of the process is deciding the Needs, such as I don’t need every research book I own, just the ones that I need for the WiPs. The rest can go in labeled boxes in the garage until I’m ready to pull the out (or clean the garage, which is slated for warm weather in the spring). But it’s also about determining what “need” that I reallyl don’t.
For example, I’ve been keeping my office supplies in an old circular wine rack that I love a lot. But it’s big and it’s not particularly handy. What would be handy would be putting a narrow ledge along the window behind my computer table for all the pencils/pens/markers/scissors/knives/etc that I really do reach for daily. That’s not going to be as much fun as the wine rack, but it’ll be infinitely handier. They don’t make those so I’ll have to build one. Then there are the two storage units that used to sit on the table top; they’re utilitarian, but they hold a lot, so I can put them on the bookcase in front of the windows and use them to store the bulky stuff–tape, glue, stapler, post-its, envelopes, etc.–and free up more table space. I can sort and pack the various electronics cords and cables into boxes/pouches/whatever so that I know what I’ve got and where they are. I keep buying things I already have because I can’t find them (I must have three dozen erasers, no exaggeration). That’s dumb. So building the pencil/whatever rack and filling up the bookcase units went on my list.
But as Kondo says, you also need Joy. I love Mexican folk art and I want to see it every day, so that’s going in here, just up on higher shelves where it won’t get in the way. I love my two colorful catchphrases, so one goes up above a shelf where I can see it from the kitchen and the other goes on the back door where I can see it as I look down the hallway or come into the office. I love brightly colored post-it notes, so they’re everywhere. I love the cat dispenser for pop-up Post-Its, so that’s going on my desk. I love my now ancient Medea poster; that goes on the wall behind the TV that’s too inaccessible to use for a storage unit. These things are as necessary to me as pens and paper, and I love the way they look in my work space. Add in a lot of white with splashes of chartreuse, teal, blue, and yellow, and there’s a lot of fun in looking around in there.
But like the wine rack, some stuff I really love has to go, like the artwork that goes with the stories. I have my mechanical fish from the Fairy Tale Lies book that will probably never get written now. I have Jane from the Zo White stories, and really no place to put her. And the collages . . . oy. The real drawback in this office is that it’s all windows–across the back and on one side and then windows into the pantry and the kitchen on the third, with bookcases and an opening into the bedroom on the fourth. I have almost no wall space, which is hell for somebody who loves art as much as I do. I did back the bookcase interiors with cork, and I’m leaving a big space in the middle of each one for tacking up pictures, but it’s the only real drawback to this space. (Well, that, and that it’s only 7.5 feet wide; that’s a drag.)
So at this point, it’s down to the stuff like finishing the bookcases that divide the room from the bedroom, and putting up shelves over the windows, and hooking up printers, and figuring out why the whole keychain thing is turning my desktop into a nightmare, and touching up the floor where I did patchwork after I painted. But overall, I’m very happy with everything. And I love working in this space again. I really think it’ll be finished by this time next week. Except for the ceiling. Argh.
Oh, and pictures. Here’s how it looked when I bought the house:
Then Krissie’s husband Richie drove down from Vermont and covered over the stairs for me making the center of the space usable. I blocked off the last ten feet of the porch for my bedroom so the layout looked like this:
Unfortunately, three years later I realized that I’d put the desk and the bookcase on the wrong side, so I had to switch them, but otherwise the layout is about the same. Here’s how it looked before I started cleaning a couple of weeks ago:
And here’s how it looks now:
Still much, much work to do but definite progress. I got the desk and the bookcase switched around, the miscellaneous furniture out, a new drawing board in, all my supplies sorted into various wall things that still have to go up, the kids’ drawings framed and up, and above all, the floor painted. It needs another coat because I had to go back through and patch, but it’s already a huge improvements. So if I clear out the rest of that end and repaint the floor . . . I’ll be half done. You haven’t seen the other half of the office yet.
It’s gonna take months.