Monday, February 2, 2015

From the Weekend: Scenes from Decluttering The Dining Room

Where we were Friday afternoon.

I wanted some room to breathe.

That's all.

Just a little space in this room where I hang out on the computer. Where I write. Plan menus. Plan my day. Pay bills. Keep the budget. Read. Sew. Work on my scrapbook projects (though they be few and far between).

I decluttered like a madwoman this weekend because I wanted this wall--without its shelves--to make sense.

Does that make sense?

This room is small. It is cramped. The furniture climbs every wall.

To the left of the desk:

To the right:

I secretly long for a real dining room. A dining room with a sideboard and flanking chairs. The top of the sideboard would be arranged in perfect symmetry with matching lamps at each end. A big painting in the middle. A table with flowers. A room only used three times a year--now that would be luxury!

But it is what it is.

And it had a whiff of "museum." You know what I mean? Way too many things that have nothing to do with my life right now. Too many homeschooling things left hanging about. A project I may or may not pursue. The scrapbook supplies. (I haven't scrapped since starting--and stopping Project life for the first 15 weeks of last year.)

Old planners, old notes and books and projects and classes I had clearly finished. The low hanging fruit. Paper. In binders.

Always start with the low hanging fruit.

Paper on the left is all that remained to keep from these binders. As soon as I'd checked I had some of these on the computer, I let them go, too.

The entire contents of the three inch binder were put into recycling. All of it--all of it had been homeschooling things. For one split second, I considered keeping the maps so I could fill them out--and then realised how crazy that was. I was able to empty the Simplify 101 class notes in the three binders on the left into it--and I was glad to. I refer to those notes--and I was always hunting the binders down.

I just kept finding more and more to let go of:

 I can't even remember what it all was!

An over full wastebasket. (This was all emptied into the recycling bag.)

Hooray for an empty shelf!

There was even more low hanging fruit on the Expedit. I washed out each cubby as I emptied it.

Here's the thing.

I left the tough stuff alone.

I thought about it.

I took some time and looked through some of my scrapbooks to ask myself whether I want to continue or not.

I thought about resuming my project.

I got advice.

And I kept asking: Do we have enough space yet?

This is 36" x 48" engineering print.

I love the drama. But, in the end, it demands a different room, I think.

And what we have is this room.

This one is 24 x 36. It is taped to an Ikea Ribba frame.

Some side by side before and afters--just 'cause they're fun.

This was a wonderful transformation.

 The change is a bit more subtle here:

Well, damn.

After all that.

Looking at this, now, side by side like that? I don't like it.

I can do better.


Marian said...

You did a tremendous amount of work this weekend, Alana!

I have a few thoughts and questions ... maybe you've already considered these things, but I'll offer them up anyway ...

Was it your plan to keep the lowest shelf above the desk and to prop the picture up on it, or is that just there as a temporary measure to help you assess the picture on the wall? I think if that shelf were to be removed, the feeling would be much different.

I totally understand the need to leave the hard decisions (I do that all the time), but I'm just wondering if those delayed decisions need to be kept in the room. Is there room in the house anywhere else for the scrap supplies that are on the bottom shelf of the Expidit? (Maybe the basement?) Would you be able to free up enough room on the Expidit in order to completely get rid of the white bookcase flanking the door that leads out to the hallway? Or possibly do a purge of the glass door cabinet to the left of the door, and then relocate some stuff to that? I can definitely see what you mean when you say the furniture is climbing every wall, and that you want and need some breathing room. Good luck with all this.

Rita Ramstad said...

I'm now understanding the previous post about the shelves much better (and I missed the first one about them until just this morning). Yes, there is a lot of stuff in that space, and I'm understanding your vision for that wall.

I don't really have anything productive to say, other than: Keep going! It's such a lot of work you are doing, and so worth it. The more I was able to strip out of our house, the better it felt to me. I still purge fairly regularly, and I bring much less in. It's a constant work in progress (because all of us who live here are, and things change), but once you get through some big (and hard) stuff it's not so hard to maintain.

Cheering you on--

Alana in Canada said...

Marian--Yes. In the back of my mind was the thought I might get rid of the tall white bookshelf if I could, so I started on the Expedit. Crazily enough, I am worried that without something on that wall the china cabinet will look unbalanced. But, of course, half a bookcase and a tall picture might do. Or one or the other.

2. Removing this last shelf would help: my husband is not keen on the idea. We would have to relocte the phone and oddly enough that's a tough one. As for the "hard" decisions, I may be getting closer to making them. The basement really is the last stop before leaving entirely.

Rita--thank you! As I was composing the post last night, I went searching for past posts on the dining room to link to and realised that the whole room, as such, has not been on the bog all that often. Thanks for the encouragement.

Marian said...

IMO I don't think the wall would look unbalanced if the white shelf were to be gone. I think if you're craving open space you'll probably feel relieved to have more wall showing, and you also might find the path from the hallway door to the kitchen door (through the dining room), to be "easier" to navigate because you're not having to subconsciously veer around the shelf, even if it's only a little bit. (Feng shui ... having to contort a body around furniture in a pathway is considered something to avoid because it's draining to have to do it time and time again). Personally, I would leave the wall blank!

This is probably a stupid question, but can the phone not simply be put onto the desk? (I know you probably don't want a cluttered desk, but maybe that's better than having that one shelf hovering above?)

And if you can manage to make those hard decisions, good for you...I completely suck at the hard decisions and have a lot of admiration for those who don't :)

Alana in Canada said...

OK, Marian, the phone is now on the desk. We will see if there is a family mutiny, lol.

I really like the cookbooks here--so handy to where I plan (the desk) and where I use them (the kitchen.)

I need to go find some examples of study/dining rooms I like before I can move too much further forward in this room, I think.

There's lots to do in the basement!
Thanks so much for your thoughtful input.

Paula said...

Hi Alana!

I am busy this week, so just a short note: maybe it takes just a nicer shelf and everything works out?
You can tell that this shelf is not meant to be a single-shelf.
Maybe a smaller shelf, one without the metal verticals makes sense?

You make me want to take more photos at my home and show them to you!

about the motif: maybe something like this would work better?

I love grass in all variations.

best wishes!

Alana in Canada said...

Thanks for stopping by, Paula. I'd LOVE to see your rooms. That is a lovely picture.

My husband and son helped me pick out a landscape picture to put up: but I really think the next step is to paint the walls.

Anonymous said...

I'd take down the shelf and the brackets and just hang the picture on the wall. That would free up wall clutter. Decluttering is hard in a small house. I too debate about whether or not to keep my scrapbook supplies. I no longer do it since I now make photo books using My Publisher. But I have the room to store it so out of sight, out of mind.

Anastasia Inspiderwiht said...

Hey! This is as close as I could find to the shelf I was telling you about at work.

I thought I remembered a smaller, wall-mounted version of it, but I may have been hallucinating. :)

Paula said...

Same over here: I going to paint! :-)
The stains on the walls are more visible than ever.
Let's do it! :-)

I wait for a better light (it is quite overcast and dark in Vienna most of the days) and then I will take photos!

Paula said...

Same over here: I going to paint! :-)
The stains on the walls are more visible than ever.
Let's do it! :-)

I wait for a better light (it is quite overcast and dark in Vienna most of the days) and then I will take photos!

Alana in Canada said...

Anastasia--ah, yes. I remember now. We were thinking of having something go up either side of the artwork. Not a bad idea.

Paula--yes, let's see those pictures! It will be a while before I can do anything more in this room as I am working quite a bit from here on.

Anonymous said...

beautifully organized.
can plz help me decorating my house?

Anonymous said...

Dear Alana
you have organized your home so well.
really liked it.
Can you please help me cleaning clutter and decorating my house.

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