A Tale of Two Shelves (and 30 Years)

The tell-tale sign of my age this year wasn’t the number of candles on the cake (we went with a lone candle instead of using a whopping 31 candles this time around).  Nope, the true sign was in my birthday present request.  Scott loves me, so because I asked him to, he bought me metal shelves for my birthday.  I was (and am) truly thrilled. 

When we moved to our current house, we knew that our new home has tons and tons of extra space for us and our stuff.  So much space!  Despite all of that room for activities, we also soon discovered that the house is a tiny bit short on random-stuff-closet-space.  All of the normal stuff was fine, but there’s an issue of athletic equipment taking over a huge space on the floor and Christmas stuff stowed in the corner of a perfectly nice room.  There is also a bit of a book/magazine issue.  Not ideal.

To combat that sprawl, I bought a $15 plastic shelving unit right after we moved in.  The theory was that any storage would be better than no storage, and spending less money would be preferable to spending more money.  This is more or less what I bought:


photo from reviews.diy.com

Those weird green lines are there to illustrate how the product looks when actually assembled by yours truly.  I didn’t include a link to this product, because it got great reviews online.  I’m assuming it is a very different product from the one I bought and just happens to look the same.  So no, I’m not slandering this particular product–just shelves that fall apart with the touch of a finger.

While we were moving this unit from the laundry room to the garage (a whopping 20 feet or so), it fell apart twice.  Yep.  That’s how sturdy this is.  Anyway, I got to send it off to garage Siberia last night, and it was replaced by two different sizes of this:


photo from OfficeDepot.com

Do you see how nice and parallel those bookcase legs are?  Oooh, aaah.  It’s like we gained a super useful closet in exactly the right spot.  True, I can barely reach the top shelf, but that makes it the perfect spot for our Christmas stuff. 

Yes, I’m getting older, and I absolutely love my birthday shelves.

Closet Clean-out/Clean-up

I like to look at the small closets in my house as a good thing.  At the very least, they force me to keep the extra stuff to a minimum.  Right?*

The problem is that even though I love to get rid of things, I still have more stuff than closet space.  If things are perfectly organized and arranged, there is exactly the right amount of space, but how often does that happen?  About twice a year.  Do you think anybody would mind if I wear yellow sandals every day?  They’re really easy to spot in the heap of shoes on the closet floor.  Anyway, I need to get rid of more stuff.

In order to do that, I have to make deep cuts.  Do you know what I mean?  I’ve already culled through my stuff a couple of times since I added any significant number of items to the stash (read: there’s been more getting rid of things than buying going on).  So what’s left to give away?  The stuff you can never quite bring yourself to get rid of–the shirt that you love, but that doesn’t fit or the pants that don’t go with anything.  The favorite shoes with the ever-increasing hole in the sole.  The shirts that have multiple holes in them from way too much wear.

Who wants to get rid of a favorite t-shirt?  Not me, that’s for sure.  I know I still need to do it though.  And while I’m at it, I think I’ll try to gather the clothes that are missing buttons and do something about that.

photo by Zimmergimmer

I have this habit of wearing things in a way that accommodates their missing buttons.  The sweater that I’m wearing now, for example, has two missing buttons.  They’re both at the bottom of the sweater, so I just don’t button it up all the way anymore, and I pretend it’s a conscious fashion choice.  Some shirts are missing buttons near the top, in which case a good undershirt does the trick.  I have a few skirts that lost buttons at the waist, so they require belts.  Yeah, it’s getting kind of ridiculous how many items of clothing I deal with in that way.  Time for some button-sewing-on, folks.

Why the interest in cleaning out closets today?  A) Free time, and B) New roommate for the summer starting on Sunday night.  (Excited about that.)  I like to at least start out any roommate situation with my junk in order and out of the way.  It doesn’t always stay that way, but it’s a helpful beginning.

*Just to clarify, I have three closets in my house, and I choose to only use one of them for my clothes.  I used to spread out among all of the closets, but that seems unnecessary, and I couldn’t ever find anything.  It’s nice to have open closets that aren’t full of junk you never use.

Without Permission

My brother has repeatedly told me that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.  I don’t often follow that piece of advice, especially since my workplace errs towards always asking for permission from several people before taking any action.  Today, however, I had gumption.

There are three bookcases behind the reference desk.  All three of them contain binders and flyers and pamphlets  with information on just about everything imaginable.  If you want to know what to read, we can help.  If you want to know who to call, we can help (I recommend Ghostbusters).  Even if the internet is down and the world is crashing around us, we can use our binders and pamphlets to inform you as you battle the forces of darkness.

The thing is, everything was in stacks and clusters.  It was ordered chaos, but definitely chaos.  It kind of drove me nuts.  I blocked those shelves from my mind altogether, so if you told me about your long-lost nephew’s drug problem, I would sympathetically nod and find a book for you.  I didn’t know that there were 5 pamphlets about that on the bottom shelf of the third bookcase.

Now I do.  A co-worker and I totally reorganized those 3 bookcases this morning.  Instead of wading through stacks and layers to find the right information, I can now choose from several logical categories to get just what you need.  And even though the organization is nice, the best part of the morning is that we didn’t ask permission or tell anyone what we were up to.  We didn’t get opinions on the best way to arrange the information, we just did it.  The second best part is that we haven’t gotten in trouble yet.  Fingers crossed on that one.

What’s in Your Bag?

There are people on Flickr who post pictures of what’s in their bag.  It’s kind of fun to have permission to peek at what someone else carries around all day, so sometimes I indulge in minimal online snooping.

Here’s what JJ (a.k.a. random stranger) posted in her photostream:

As I wander through these pictures, I wonder if people edit the contents of their bags before photographing them for the world to see.  There’s really not a single stray receipt or anything in all of their bags?  Suspicious.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that Flickr users are lying, but I’ll show you what’s in my purse for some realistic contrast.  I’ve been busy this week.  It isn’t pretty.  It is, however, totally accurate… almost.  There were also Sun Chips crumbs in the bottom of the bag.

I didn’t put everything into one picture because, frankly, it was a scary pile.  I think the highlights are the amazing quantity of loose papers, the used dryer sheet in that pile, the painting supplies, and the guide to apartments in my area.  I’m not planning to move, it just seemed like a good thing to look through at some point.  Also, I like the fact that my wallet isn’t holding my license, debit card, or cash.  No wonder pick pockets never take advantage of me.  They can’t find anything.  There are usually a few books in my purse as well, but I think they might have jumped ship in hopes of finding a neater home.

So I ask again, how are all of these Flickr people so organized?  Are they just neater as a population than sloppy bloggers like me?