For lack of a better term, I’m a slob. Certainly not the worst in the world, but I have a certain knack for leaving things messier than I found them. Cluttered. This makes me a particularly bad house guest.
This flaw transcends the home and also involves my desks, both at home and at work, and my car.
This comes up today as I spent most of my Super Bowl Sunday straightening up my bedroom and spent a few minutes today on my car.
To rip off my friend Stephanie’s blog title, (and even this post is a bit of blog topic acquisition) my bedroom is a work in progress. No matter how much effort I put into keeping it tidy I never truly succeed. It seems I always have more stuff I want handy than I have proper places for.
Clothes. Clothes hang in my closet. Clothes sleep in my dresser. Clothes crumple in a hamper. Clean clothes return to the room but often take their time to reach the closet or the dresser. I’ve just never developed a good habit of folding, straightening and returning. I want this to change.
As I worked on my room yesterday, deconstructing the cardboard boxes that had nestled on top of each other and inside each other, I had a very real epiphany of simplification. I need to simplify the room. The closet. The dresser. The desk. Me. I once again need to remove the clothes that I don’t wear and refrain from buying new clothes no matter what a bargain they appear to be.
I have a rather adolescent love of sports and sports clothing. And not just a team shirt or hat, I’m talking authentic basketball jerseys, game worn baseball, basketball and soccer jerseys, etc. A good portion of my closet is dedicated to these items. At the time they brought me a great deal of joy in acquisition but in reality they do me absolutely no good hanging in a closet and I almost never put them on. So I will start to thin the armoire. Once I do that then the trickle-down effect should take pressure off of the other areas of the room.
What I hope to realize will be that all of the clothes that I want to wear will have a proper home so there’s a reduction in the number of stray and homeless clothing. No wandering dress shirts. A place for belts and shoes, etc.
I have three CD racks taking up valuable floor space in my bedroom. I listen to maybe 20% of these discs on any sort of regular basis. But, when visiting IKEA a few weeks ago, I stumbled on some metal CD racks. They are meant to mount to a wall but I figure I can build a cool, small footprint stand and mount them that way. I got six of them. They are still in their boxes. Leaning up against the CD stands they will replace. This, sadly, is typical. I want this to change.
My desk is another story. Similar but different. When I was first moving into David’s house I got a good look at my bedroom. It’s a decent size but posed some configuration problems due to the massive windows, closet door and entry path. With the advent of flat panel monitors I determined that a standard desk was just unnecessary and also far too big for the space.
So I decided to make one.
I started with two pre-fab particle board bachelor items for a foundation. One is just a small shelf unit, a foot wide, the other is a double door cabinet about two-feet wide.
The top of the desk is a six-foot plank of poplar, stained with a honey oak and trimmed with two pieces of poplar stained in a walnut finish. The idea was that the desk surface would wrap the edges of the pre-fab units. Good idea.
Now, when I started this project I didn’t measure particularly well. I was in the midst of moving, stressed out beyond belief and I just botched it. So I ended up with a plank that sat at an angle rather than lay flat. It was this way until a month ago.
That’s when, after getting some inspiration from Stephanie’s blog, I piqued her renovator instincts and we developed a plan. Originally I expected that I would need to route some channels in the boards to allow them to sit flush. But we determined that we could make some shims for the bases, creating a new surface for the top and seat it that way. We also determined that the pre-fab bases needed to be neutralized. So they got some nice coats of dark brown paint. I put new pulls on the doors. I put six coats of gloss poly on the desktop.
It now looks like a pretty bad-ass piece of furniture. And, in keeping with my life of clutter, most of its surfaces are covered already. I want this to change.
After uncovering my floor again yesterday and my nice, if not expensive rug, I remembered how much I do enjoy the results of simplification.
Today, the car was bothering me. For my father’s party last week I had the seats all laid flat and used ALL of the square footage in the car. During everyday use I have a particularly bad habit of covering the seating surfaces with items, therefore making transport of passengers a bit clumsy. As I was putting the seat backs in place today, and setting the seatbelts just so, I decided this needs to change too. So, my dedication is that only the rear of the car will haul items. I will not put any items on the seats. At all. Ever again.
So, my room is getting where I want it, home desk needs attention, car needs a bit more straightening. My work desk is another story. Maybe when I’m at the office this Saturday I’ll make an effort.
All of this change is preliminary to a massive change in my future. A change that will require me to be a bit more nimble with my possessions and smarter about them too. I will certainly share that here when the time is right.