Sunday, June 25, 2017

Making Sense of Space

This morning I was having a mug of tea at my desk when it occurred to me that it's almost been a year since the day I sat at my desk in a different room of the house and determined to change things for the better.  (I had to look back to find the old post:  Making Plans and Making Changes July 10, 2016.)  It's kinda amazing because those changes disrupted my entire house--the living room still hasn't recovered but I have hopes of getting it under control.  And it's amazing, too, to look back and realize the effort (a very great deal of work for one challenged person to tackle alone) and the determination that it took.  The moving process took me fully a month or more.  I was bruised, battered, sore, and lost two toenails in the process but I'm glad that I found the courage to begin.

My office is a pleasant place.  It is far from perfect and it's necessarily cluttered--right now there's an extra table in here temporarily while I'm trying to do some re-organization.  Even though it's the smallest room in the house, it has to handle a great deal of stuff but it works.  Really. 

I took a little photo tour this morning so I could see it with fresh eyes.  The pictures aren't perfect (what ever is?) because the room is East-facing and really sunny early in the day.  I wasn't exactly planning to share but why not?

The West side of the room has a hanging corner shelf stacked with pretty storage boxes (I collected them little by little on clearance sales) above the doors.  There's also an ironing board hidden behind to door to the room.  Yes, that is a hummingbird pull for the ceiling fan.....this used to be the guest room and I had it decorated with all sorts of birdy stuff; I called it my guest "bird"room.  I am a very silly person sometimes.  And the room still has lots of birds; that's a happy thing.

The temporary "table" (it's actually an antique tea cart that will be headed to an antique mall soon or maybe my yard sale; in any case, it's gotta go)--it's helpful to have some extra surface space sometimes.  The bureau holds envelopes and packing paper and other shipping necessities.  The shelf above it is actually a separate piece of furniture but they stack nicely together; it's useful to do stuff like that.  And that makes space for cameras and tape and all sorts of necessary nonsense.  I cut down an old yardstick the other day and put it across the front of one of the shelves so I could measure ribbon more easily.
It's hard to see in the corner but there's an antique English sheet music bureau (a sturdy square little thing that I love) that holds paper supplies and more.  And, yes, that is a LOT of ribbon but it's needed since I do simple gift-wrapping on nearly everything I ship out.  I made the little quilt on the wall--it's considered to be rather a difficult pattern to hand-piece but I enjoyed making it.  The basket on the corner of my desk is a very tidy way of keeping everything I need daily close at hand.  And the printer sits on an old up-turned file box so that I can keep my handy paper cutter under it--it's right where I need it but never in the way. 
And, of course, my simple homemade make-do drawer-less desk (on the North wall).  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  My comfy chair is a hand-me-over, and it was one of those heaven-sent items that have a way of turning up at just the right moment (and in a pretty color, too!).  My old desk chair, after having been repaired a zillion times, broke completely one day and I just didn't know how I could afford to replace it.  That afternoon, I happened to visit a friend at her shop and the first thing she said to me when I opened the door was, "Do you need a desk chair?  Someone just dropped one off, and I prayed for it to get to someone who needed it."  Well, I sure needed it, and it was the answer to my prayer as well.  God is good.  Really.  I believe that with all my heart.
At the side of the desk I've got an old stool that holds my notebook file (there are at least ten notebooks that I need to keep at hand to manage my little world) and that also serves as a seat when needed.  Everything in a small space needs to be able to serve many purposes.  I remember when my mother bought that stool at a Winn Dixie grocery store in Louisiana more than 40 years ago; she was proud because she'd found the courage to request a discount since the seat was cracked--old stuff is good stuff, don't you think?  That cracked seat has never been a problem.
My most recent finds live on the East wall:  the three metal cabinets that turned up in my workshop building.  They are precisely what I needed, although I'd forgotten that I even owned them.  The big cabinets are loaded with books, magazines, and bandanas for sale.  There are shipping boxes and extra baskets piled up top.  (That's the little yellow basket I painted just last week when I found that can of NOW paint--read this post:  When?)  The small cabinet is my shipping station, and it holds my scales, more mailers, and computer stuff.  The little quilt on this side of the room is my mother's work (she was a quilt designer); it says "be glad."   I smile whenever I look at it.  And there's Daisy at home in the house at last and parked on her own personal desk.  I'm grateful to say that she's almost back to her old self these days and just as obnoxious as ever.   

Finally, the South wall and, yeah, it kinda seriously looks like a mess.  It's actually well-organized chaos.  Things are labelled and put away safely.....well, except for the shelf on the left and that's what I'm working on now.  The middle area is my photo center (where I take pictures for eBay listings)--it's a baker's rack that a friend wanted to get rid of but that turned out to be just perfect for me.  And it's also a great fit in this small room which is really only 9 1/2 X 11 feet.  Those two shelves and the rack fit precisely along the entire wall with only an inch to spare--a serendipity that I still find remarkable.


When the backdrop is rolled up and stored on the top of the rack, there's a little extra space for working on.  That quilt above the rack.....well, that's something special.  I won it in a raffle when I went to a quilt show at the Mississippi Cultural Crossroads in Port Gibson; it was made by Hystercine Rankin.  She relied on prayer to smooth the rough roads of life, and she used her talents to bless others and to light the way.  I was fortunate to have been encouraged by her myself.  She told me to leave mistakes where they were and to keep moving forward; she said that this was as true in life as it was in quilting.  And she was right. 

It's kinda interesting (well, it is to me) that I painted most of the turquoise furniture with absolutely no thought of ever putting all this stuff together; sometimes I simply used whatever paint I had leftover or whatever I had been given.  There's about a 20-year range here when it comes to the various pieces.  And one piece was already turquoise when it was given to me--a perfect match.  Everything just sorta happened but it became harmonious.  I think that if you always choose things you love, they will work together somehow because our true tastes change less than we might expect.  Trends change; the stuff we keep in our hearts stays the same.

So, there you have it:  more than you ever wanted to see of the little room where I earn my crust of bread.  Mostly I just wanted to take a different view of it myself so that I could re-assess.  I guess I kinda like it.  A lot.  I bet the Marie Kondo folks would be having a major hissy fit, wouldn't they?  I don't believe in throwing stuff out; I like to make it work for me.  It gives me options.  And it really does put food on the table for me and Daisy. 

Life is good.
There is much to do.
And more to be grateful for.



  1. Awesome use of space and great organization. I especially love how you used the space under your desk and the shelf near the ceiling to create more storage. Wonderful job. Congrats!

  2. Thank you! My mother always used to say that folks forget the extra space up above doors in any house. It's a useful thing to know in a small house.