Organizing

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Other people have superstitions, but I really don’t, although maybe I would like to. Russians, apparently, sit quietly on their suitcases for a moment when they are leaving a place they want to return to. A woman whose blog I read has all kinds of preparations for the New Year, She cleans the house in the old year to ready for the new one. She pays all bills. A dark haired man crosses the threshold first (we had a dark haired woman — will that do?) and she washes nothing on New Year’s Day for fear the family will wash away if she does.

I wasn’t raised with any of that, and adopting it now feels like a description I heard of adopting Kwanzaa as a holiday — an enormous expenditure of pretense and will until it feels real.

Still, I think I do have feelings about the New Year. I want to clean things up. I want to reorganize out systems. I finally want to make the floor plan of our house work. I’m afraid this may mean the moving of the piano and the purchase of a couch. K is definitely not going to like this.

So I am running through the possibilities in my head. Piano here? Less light. Piano there? That would do, but would it be better to move the dining room table?

The trouble with the current system is that it fits about four people well, but not 6 or 8 or 10, and in keeping with my plan to make it easier to entertain effortlessly, it’s got to be fixed.

A sort of interesting part of the issue is trying to fit our modern life into a small house that was built in 1906. (This is code for: we have a tv! It’s small, but it does take up space!) The room we use most was probably the parlor — I imagine built to entertain guests. A larger room behind the parlor combined, I think, a living room and a dining room. I think we have been misled into using the lounging area as the dining area because of a built-in bench, which we have been using as a seat for the dining room table. It works well as that, but due to the configuration of doors and our placement of the piano, it makes the other half of the room sort of unusable — kind of a hallway with a piano and a few chairs — not a place for more than two people to hang out. I think the dining room table has to go back to the smaller side of the room, the piano has to move to the parlor, and we have to make a living room out of the larger half of the combo-room. With a sofa and the two chairs we have, and the window seat it will fit 6 or even 8 people, and a person who is working at the dining room table will still feel part of the action. That way, too, the living room and parlor will be next to each other, and able to flow into each other like a larger living room when we have more people around.

All right.

It will have the added benefit of the mailman not seeing you through the front door when you’re lounging in your pyjamas walking tv.

A few other thoughts — we lived in our old house for 14 years with things never quite right and then we fixed it all up before we moved and it was beautiful. I don’t want to go 14 years with things arranged poorly when it would be easy enough to fix them now. Also, it feels to me, probably because I work at a university where things really go dead between one year and the next, that we’re still in that liminal space between the two year. It feels entirely appropriate to use this time to reflect and make changes. Maybe this is my superstition for the new year.

All right. I’m sorry to have bored you with descriptions of spaces you’ve never seen. I think this may work, though.

Wish me luck.

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5 thoughts on “Organizing

  1. Ah, but I have seen pictures of said spaces! 🙂 I know what you mean about houses that are not designed for the very different ways in which we live a generation (or more) later. I pine for more outlets all too often, and my living room is just plain dark.

    OTOH my dining room works well as a book room! I say it’s your home, set it up in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

  2. Knowing how you live in your space is half the battle. We are turning the dining room in our new house into a sewing room. It will still look like a dining room what with the table and all but it’s also where we’ll sew. That’s what works for us.

  3. Our living room is tiny so not much can fit it it which means I only need a very few pieces of furniture. The larger room – where we watch tv – is large, almost too large and was set up on the fly when we moved there 10 years ago. It was always my intention to reorient the seating area and put all the hi-fi crap on shelves but….well, that still hasn’t happened. The room is sectioned off between the tv area and the kid/toy/sewing area and it’s always messy and cramped.

    It all does take thought and planning and maybe you can use this downtime to really plan it all out, take measurements, etc. And then put in a multi-step plan to move things around. You really need stamina to do it, I’ve found.

  4. We like a dining room area that flows into the living room–it gives one space for a leaf in the table, when needed, and extra chairs in the living area at other times.
    Our problem is too many desks and not enough comfortable chairs or couches. When both kids are off at college, we may move one of the two desks in our living area into a kid room, except that this will be a problem during breaks when the kid is home sleeping and I still have to work or pay bills.

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