Last week my dear neighbors gave me a large, beautiful sideboard. They had it moved into my cluttered, disorganized and mostly cabinet-less kitchen, where it now sits empty, waiting for me to sort all my kitchen stuff and make sense of it all. It is perfect! It has set into play a cycle of much needed domestic reorganization and attention. Things have gotten very stale, messy, and tired in my house, and sometimes I get "stuck" and forget I can change things around here. I often live in "daily physical survival mode" and just have to leave things the way they are, as there are no physical resources available to do anything. And I HATE to ask for help.
The bird room is connected to the kitchen, so I began there. Made room for my little kitchen table, which honestly I have not seen in ages due to me piling stuff on it. Now I can enjoy sitting with the birdies, and they seem very happy with the change. Add to it a lovely recliner my neighbors also sent over, and I may never leave the room again! Since I rarely watch TV anymore, I am not in the bird room much. Now I have two new reasons to be with my feathered friends from time to time. Can sit and stitch with my feet up sometimes, instead of being hunched over a table. Improvement!
Then, it hit me. I made a spontaneous decision to do something that I thought would be an all consuming, never ending task: changing old, yucky bookshelves over to new, clean ones that are not overstuffed and sagging. It has bothered me for, well, years, yet I never had the fortitude to just plan it and do the much needed task. I walk by the bookcases multiple times a day, and seeing the mess was a visual bother, several times a day. The bookcases were purchased a lifetime ago and the white laminate was veritably curved from the weight of too many books. I had them when I was married and lived in an apartment, and they came with me to this house. They have been bumped, jostled, broke, "fixed" and even disrespected by Toby da Pug. They have been a fixed part of my surroundings -- so fixed I hardly saw them anymore.
I love my books. All of them. They deserved better, and I deserved to look at better!
So, on a whim, I actually asked my friend Tim to be a partner in crime in an IKEA marathon day, and we actually did it. Driving to IKEA, surviving the showrooms and self-service furniture hunting, packing the car, driving back, unloading, assembling, emptying old shelves, bringing them outside, going through every book and 'thing' that has been crammed on the old shelves. I saw "we" -- but really all I did was navigate a little, hold doors open, and move the books. Tim did the rest, bless him. The little I did resulted in enough visible evidence in my knees, ankles, and feet last night that I did too much. Which really is the pits, as I used to be able to do my own assembling. Sigh. I am so grateful for Tim's patient, kind nature through all of this. He did a fantastic job putting them together without a gripe or complaint.
The new IKEA bookcases are strong, clean, and beautiful. My books fit really well and even my special collection of books on Ancient Egypt are together again in one place. As I put each of the volumes back on the shelf, I really considered whether I needed it or not -- and all but four made the cut. My books are part of me, and are there to spark a thought or inspiration as needed.
It feels miraculous to see these few little changes adjust the feeling of my living space. I am a rigid creature of habit who tends to question change, and the need for it. I am like my father -- I can tune out things in my environment that need doing too easily to the point where they are no longer a problem. This has both god and bad repercussions.
It feels like a little fresh air has been pumped into the staleness, and I feel more empowered to tackle other areas in my home. My goal, as always, is to tame the domestic tiger so that I have more art time -- and these little changes seem to point in that direction. My brain wants to get every little organizing task done today, NOW, but my body fights me literally every step. Progress will be slow, and I have to accept this. But, at least, there is some visual improvement.
And my books are happy to have been held again, even if it was just to move them to a new shelf.