Saturday, June 30, 2007

Coming "clean"

Yuk, yuk, and yuk

After all the comments flying about the positive impression of my home, I feel I must come...ahem...clean. How awful is this? I mean, my guests and I are supposed to enjoy a meal here?

How does something like this happen? Being honest as I can, here are the problems I think that have lead to this particular mess:
  • I love books. (That's kind of obvious, I guess.) Still, does loving them mean I must keep them the rest of my life? I'm realizing, no.
  • I have a small home. I love living here -- for the last nine years -- so, duh!, time to scale myself accordingly.
  • I've been working on the "book problem" for a while, but I need a faster, eco-consistent way to clear them out. (I can't bring myself to simply throw out books, as my boyfriend has shockingly suggested.) Bookmooch is great, but it's slow going.
  • I have no idea how I would like this space to look without the books. The books keep me from implementing anything attractive. I need a creative vision.
  • And lastly, I have the weird ability to turn a blind eye to whatever I don't want to see. Taking this picture made me look at it.

That was therapeutic.

Now, it's time to stop yaking about the yuk and do something to rid this eye sore. It's time to get real, and real serious.

Dear readers, I'm making a vow to you, to the visitors to my home, and myself. I will work on this problem spot, using the little a day method, and post pictures of my progress the last day of next month. And the next month, and the next month, whatever it takes until I get this area cleared, and well on its way to its potential for a happy space to dine or to sip coffee in.

A blog experiment! That should light the fire under my behind. Any body else want to join in?


Hannah's Mom said...

Oh my gosh Debi... I LOVE BOOKS TOO!!! In fact so much so, that I went to our schools auction and they were selling over a 1,000 books, starting bid was $10 and no one bid on them... Is there any offer and I said $2 and brought home close to 1500 books.

I feel your pain sista' friend. :) I will post a picture if I can find it of the many, many storage tubs full of books.

I think you have come up with a realistic plan to handle the situation. I can see a cozy and inviting dining room, even with a small book case and wing chair. ;)

I will say a pray for you tonight!

Here's to loving books!

Frances said...

Debi - Books make a place seem comfortable and welcoming and reflect your needs and pleasures.
Your problem is not too great. I have seen much much worse. At least the books are stacked. They are not interspersed with crockery, old food, cups, newspapers, work. No - mine aren't either, but I have seen that.

From what I can see, you don't have enough space for your books. If you want to keep them, you need shelving that reaches to the ceiling to maximise use of space Reference books or those not often looked at can go on the top, but standing up so you can see them - and that has high shelves at the bottom for the big books - so they are not lying down and you can actually access them.
The curtain rail doesn't help - it is wider than the space - I'm sure you can get a nice system at IKEA - then you will find everything fits in, looks pretty and you can put ornaments or other stuff on the eye-level shelves if you want to break up the monotony of the books for anyone who doesn't love them. - Otherwise just have a carboot sale (what are they called in the States? I know a boot is a trunk.)

Audrey said...

Frances makes very good points. I've never noticed myself. Doesn't that curtain rod slide into itself to make it narrower/shorter? I'd also like t make the point that those bookshelves (and my old one in the 'office') are disastrous. I don't think they could get any higher without toppling over and/or falling to pieces. It's not your fault, it's just crappy 'assembly required' bookshelves. So I have some suggestions of my own. I know that your kitchen cabinet is seriously lacking space, so what if you instead replaced the shelves with a china cabinet for all of your pretty plates and cups? I realize that it may displace books, but I'm sure you can find another place for them, or heck, maybe you won't need too, maybe you'll clear out enough to make it work. Then the dining area would feel more like a room for dining, rather than an extension from the living room.

I promise, when I win the lottery, I'll give you enough money to either build you a new house, or do all the repairs and add ons that need to be done to your current house!

Frances, I think you what you are referring to is a garage sale or a yard sale. We also lovingly dub when you go to garage sales as 'junking.'

Hannah's mom, 1500 books?!!
Mom, I think you've met your match.

Rima said...

About the points you're making:
Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto!!! I'm too excited to read the other comments before writing this!
I, however, do not have your courage, and refuse to show the real mess that we call a house (I have to say that your standards are pretty high though, that's yuk? It's a "Sigh" at most).

There were 2 of us with a passion for books, and now there are 4 - it's genetic. We also borrow a lot of books from the library (I'm always maxed out at the 50 book-limit :-)), but that's not a good solution either. I've always dreamt of having an old-fashioned library room in my home, but with a Danish-Japanese design feel...

All snarly comments aside, I do believe in all of the tips and solutions you've been talking about - especially the one room at a time tip. It does work for me, somewhat. The trick is to not let the clutter back in. I also try to do one corner at a time, or even one shelf if I only have a few minutes. Oh, well, I think we need a whole new blog just for this topic.

Rima said...

Comments about the comments:
Hannah's Mom: Hats way off to you! How did you ever get them home?
Audrey: I agree that those ubiquitous shelves (Ikea or K-mart or Home Depot) are quite flimsy. On the other hand, the ones from Ikea can last for years if you distribute the weight properly, and the Billy series has some really pretty doors - That's going to be my solution. Soon. After I buy the new couch. After the cats die. When I move to the new house.

Debi Cates said...

THANK YOU everyone for the comments...I'm completely re-inspired.

Windy: 1500 books for two bucks? OMG. You win the title Best Book Bargain Ever. And thank you for the prayers. It's obvious I needed them, isn't it?

Frances: I must confess more. I have more books in other rooms! Arg. Sadly, I tried a yard sale (I think that's what you mean) once. I sold two books, out of two hundred or more. Sigh. Your idea of breaking up the books with pretties at eye level is an excellent one.

Audrey: You are so right about another more kitchen-y storage system working better for this room. And you are a sweetheart to say you'd finance my remodeling. When is it you'll be winning the lottery, just so I can plan properly. ha

Rima: you made an excellent point about once you de-clutter a room. It takes resolve to keep it that way. You've got to be firm (speaking to myself) not to fill all that nice space with junk again.

Rima 2: I love the Billy series at Ikea, especially the ones with the pretty floral etched glass doors, to die for! I also love how IKEA can put so much cuteness and livability in such small spaces. I could study their floor displays for hours to learn how to translate that into my place.

Thanks to all the inspirations here! These comments will keep me going as the struggle to clean and make all those decisions overwhelm me. I've got my resolve and the beginnings of a vision now. Yay!

Hannah's Mom said...

Debi... I found one of the photos of the tubs of books and our mess. :)

Rima said...

We've got to talk about this magnetic paint thing! You are an incredible source of ideas, you genius! My first reaction was: is that safe? then I googled and found out that it's made by many manufacturers with assurances of safety, etc...
What a brilliant idea - I had been looking for a sheet of metal that wouldn't cause major harm when handled (sharp edges and all), so this paint is a huge solution. BRILLIANT

Back to the books: the hardest part is parting with loved books. The others are easy to donate, gift or sell (ABE books anyone?) It's those treasured ones that keep multiplying. When we got evacuated last summer from Lebanon, I wasn't allowed to pack more than a small bag, but I couldn't bear to leave the books that the girls and I loved so much. So I evacuated them with us on the bus, boat, bus, taxi, bus, plane, car back home. Also the pair of snazzy brown shoes with beads on them.

I promise to think about letting go of books with you though. Between all of us, we're bound to come up with something interesting. And implementable. For ideas, check out this fave store in Toronto but don't look at the prices:

Bobbie said...

Oh gosh, we do love books, don't we? But if I can dispose of my 1500+ book collection then anyone can do it. I'm down to 1.5 bookshelves plus 17 on bookmooch. Debi, you could always set a few free via bookcrossing. They always disappear...I used to be a fanatical housekeeper as my daughter and mother dubbed me. But not any more, I am cured and am now up with the best of the messies.

Frances said...

don't forget that piles of books can be used for pressing clothes.

Frances said...

I realised from Audrey's remark that these were not your only books.
I may take some pics of our books solutions.... just so you don't feel so bad.
We put up shelves in one of the toilets.... we have shelves floor to ceiling in the tiny front door hallway, shelves in the front room, in my mother's room, in the kitchen, in the breakfast room, in our bathroom, on the landing and we still have boxes of books my dear hubby is not taking to the charity shop. I still have some in London, sadly all my old books are in the house in Lebanon, getting very mouldy I should expect. It is a book-lined world.

Audrey said...

I'm pretty happy that I haven't inherited the book clutter (yet), but we have plenty of Movie/Music clutter. David and I have been inspired to get rid of all of the old movies we NEVER watch. Basically, if it's not in the rotation, no matter how much we loved it... it goes on eBay. Last week David sold 12, this week he's listed 17 more, and he has another pile he'll do next week. Our Movie shelf is looking refreshingly empty. We've also slowed down our movie buying since Netflix.