Monday, February 4, 2008

Disorder In The House

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.

An example:

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.

Another example:

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.



E. Alley said...

A couple of months ago I got a corner wardrobe from IKEA (the Hopen corner wardrobe). It's been pretty amazing. For one thing, it's footprint is relatively small (by virtue of sitting in the corner) compared to the amount of space for clothes (two shelves and two bars for hangers). Don't get me wrong, it's large, but deceptively so. It's allowed me to get most of my clothes organized. And even if they aren't organized, they are at least off of the floor and easily hidden. It's also allowed me to separate the clothes I actually wear (those go in the 'drobe) and those I don't and use my closet for storage of unused clothes that I just can't bear to get rid of and random stuff etc. and has helped the overall tidiness of the rest of my room. For as much space as it does occupy, it's opened up just as much if not more in my room. I'm mighty pleased with it.

Zachary said...

Bruce, what kind of sports items/clothing are you looking to rid yourself of? I tend to hoard up plenty of it myself, but would love to know what you have. Btw, love reading your blog. Zack

Bruce said...

Zack -

I've got some game used blazers stuff (Kevin Duckworth's 1992-93 warmups, Petur Gudmundsson's jersey) game used Timbers jersey (Griffin) and lots of jailblazers (wallace, anderson, wells, stoudamire, patterson) authentics. I've also got about 15 or 16 authentic blazers jerseys waiting to have names and numbers sewn on. Instant custom. Then there are various soccer jerseys and football jerseys, baseball, etc.

Thanks for reading. Glad you enjoy the blog.

Anonymous said...

I love Bruce's collection of sports shirts.. too bad the bastards at work won't let you wear them!! Bruce Rocks!

Shan Mack

Alice P said...

Hi Bruce - As you know, clutter-clearing is a new priority for me. New only in that I'm actually doing something about it every day, and it's even beginning to show a little bit (although probably not to anyone who hasn't seen a before picture). Thought you might appreciate the acronym I made up for STUFF, whether it's a noun as in too much stuff or a verb as in to stuff one's self with food: Senseless Tons of Unneeded Frantic Filler. How's it going for you on the food side? --AuntAlice

Bruce said...

Aunt Alice is here!

Just think. If you make a little progress each day the clutter will disappear over time. Same with losing weight. It's going well. I'm stuck at a certain weight right now but am kicking in the exercise and rededicating the diet. I had a pair of shorts fall right off my waist last night. No lie. S'funny.