So this story starts over 2 years ago when I moved back in with my parents and decided that since I’d be here for a while, I’d need to get a new/bigger bookcase to fit my uni folders, academic books and other books I’d acquired.
So at first I had the relatively ‘legitimate’ excuse that I had an MA dissertation to write and didn’t have the time to make the bookcase I’d bought. Then I had to take time off from my MA due to stress/anxiety and depression. That was way pre-UFYH so I had no mechanism around to encourage me to get off my arse and do things.
Then I went back to the dissertationing and finished my MA (woot), and by the end of that my room was well and truly fucked due to neglect.
Anyway, fast forward to more recent history and I’ve been slowly unfucking my room (as well as other parts of the house) and making space by creative stacking and the like. I’ve been ramping up to doing the bookcase for a while now and when Dad said he was on holiday it seemed the perfect opportunity since I’d have help with the stairs negotiation part.
So, to below a cut.
I’m lucky to live in a way cool 122-year-old Victorian home that’s quirky as hell. But one of the things I appreciate the most about my house are the floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases — I love books and have always had trouble having enough storage for my book collection. We’ve lived in this house for seven years and the built-in shelves had become a kind of jumbled conglomeration of books, photo albums, aromatherapy items, baskets of unorganized junk, and pictures of my lovely friends in very ugly frames. I decided to Unfuck my shelves. As I started, this is what my shelves looked like:
I pulled every single item off the shelves, dusted, washed, and cleaned them as necessary. I sorted the books into piles according to — yes — COLOR! This approach isn’t for everyone, but if you’re particularly good at remembering where things are and what they look like, it’s a valid option. I went through all the baskets (not pictured), albums, baby books, notebooks, folders, clipboards, and my “I could do something with this!” pile. Three-quarters of those items went to the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) which schedules a monthly pick-up with me. If you can find a local charity organization who will do a home pick-up it helps infinitely when decluttering, because a huge problem in decluttering is lacking the motivation to take the stuff you want to give away to a charitable organization. Anyhow, here are my shelves after the cleanup, books organized by color, except for series. The shelves are clean and smooth and the books are dust free. I added an orchid to mitigate the austere appearance of so many books.
Orange, red, yellow, and white books, with a small collection of clear glass items to offset so many books. Please excuse the cleaning supplies, which are still in front of the white books.
Black, grey, brown, beige, blue, green, and purple books went on this side of the wall. All the series books — Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, etc. — are down below the bottom of this picture.
Here’s my pretty orchids to soften the effect of so many books — I didn’t want it to look like a library, as this is our front room and the first room guests see when they come into the house. I ended up getting four small orchids and arranging them along the shelves. At least the disorganization and dust didn’t reach the point where I needed a Magic Eraser (OMG, love them, yes). When I decluttered these shelves, I gave away a huge amount of knick knacks and sentimental figurines — they had mostly been given to me as gifts and I felt obligated to keep them … FOREVER. But I finally gathered the inner resolve to be brutal and pare down these kinds of items. Oh my God, I’m so glad I did. I don’t miss a single item. I can’t even remember what all I gave away. Those items had little meaning after all. It’s the people behind those gifts that were always what mattered.
I know what you’re thinking. The shelves weren’t that bad to begin with. Two things: One, yes they were and, two, wait until you see my kitchen B/A pics. Seriously.
Always start with the step that’s going to result in things being thrown away. I’d say clothes first, then room, one surface/piece of furniture at a time, and then books, in 20/10s or 45/15s.
surrealite asked you:
Hi!So I hoped this hasn’t been asked before but do you or any of your followers have any idea on how to organise the home library? I have books for all different kind of things (school, lit, old children’s books) but no idea on how to organise it so any ideas would be more than welcome :)
(Making this answerable and rebloggable.) Archivists! Librarians! Book enthusiasts! I know you guys have suggestions. What do you think is a good system?
I don’t! I keep pestering Amazon to pester the publisher about getting it for Kindle, but no luck so far. I’m trying to limit the number of physical books I bring into the house, since I have a reading problem. (As in, I do it too much.)
The Great Bathroom Unfrackination is complete, y’all, and it is glorious. I can’t even remember the last time my whole bathroom has been this clean from top to bottom. I’d even be proud to let my mom do her business in there.
I don’t have any (more) pics and I’ll spare the details, since all of the exciting stuff already got blogged. But today I took care of the floor and baseboards and Magic Erasered some stains on the vanity and put all of the dirty towels in the washer, and now all I have to do is maintain the clean.
I also unfracked the corner of the kitchen by the coffee pot where I keep all of my tea and coffee making accouterments, and I did take pictures of that. As you can see from the befores, not only did it need some serious tidying, but the countertop was all fracked up with coffee and tea stains.
I threw away the trash, moved everything else over to the sink, wiped down the counter and Magic Erasered away the coffee stains (and thank the Lord THAT worked — Magic Eraser really is magic), and then washed everything and emptied out the muslin tea bags that still had tea in them (except for the one with cacao tea — it was fresh and still had a few more steepings left in it). And then I put everything back neatly, and only put back my regular coffee mug and my regular tea mug, and put the other mugs away. It’s much better now.
And now I’m sipping some of that cacao tea (I’m addicted to the stuff; it’s like hot cocoa without the calories) and getting ready to unfrack my Monday by making my action list and then go have supper. Yes, at 9 PM. Unfracking my meal schedule is on the list.
Oh, and PS, we failed at coming home with fewer books than we took with us to the used book store. Although part of that was a whole bag full of reject books that they didn’t want. Still, my clever ploy to whittle down our book collection was a miserable failure. But on the other hand — yay new (to us) books!