On Storage, Personal History and Life As We Know It

Here’s a true confession for you: I am an organisation junkie. Yes, yes, all you who have been to my house feel free to laugh – especially everyone who’s been to my house but not in the last few months. Laugh away. Laugh at my collection of Ikea catalogues and neatly clipped pictures from Howard’s Storage World. Think of it like the really sad lonely guy with the huge collection of pictures of naked women…sometimes we crave the things we can’t have.

However you like to look at it though, I’m always up for a bit of a storage perve. I drool over Ikea catalogues (maybe it’s a good thing that the catalogue is as close as I can get to the real thing most of the time). I squizz round other people’s houses, pick their brains on where they keep those pesky things like k-mart chocolate fountains, fitted sheets, bills that need paying and stray Lego pieces. I like a new idea. I love a great storage solution as much as the next person.

Unfortunately though, the next person is probably better at implementing storage solutions than I am. Possibly because, unlike us, the “next person” probably has a linen cupboard, or even a whole range of hall cupboards, and a pantry, and maybe a garage with those smart shelving systems lining the sides and a whole load of plastic storage tubs with little white labels on them and…sorry, excuse me while I catch my breath again.

I know, it’s sad, but it’s true. But wait…there’s good news in this story: I’ve done it! Yes! It’s not Ikea. It’s not all gorgeous and coordinated, and, I’m so sorry to say, it doesn’t have ANY floating shelves with those fabulous patterned boxes you buy in OfficeWorks with all the wonderful colours. Nor does it have magazine holder boxes. I ADORE magazine holder boxes! Especially when they come with rectangle boxes in reducing sizes and coordinating clip folders and…oh, oh…matching stationary containers…(sorry, pass me a paper bag to breathe into please).

Where was I? Oh Yes. It’s none of that. But it works, it’s extremely functional (I know, isn’t that the main point?), and, best for me, it contains all the elements of my little journey, my memory-furniture, and that’s priceless.

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Isn’t it great? I can’t take all the credit, the initial stages of this work was done by my sister-in-law, but I’ve made it my own and completed the work. Yeah, so you don’t see it? That’s okay. You don’t need to. Let me walk you through it, left to right.

1. 7 foot shelf full of postcards. Don’t worry about that, it’s for my work. I get paid money for my job, and part of it is I need to store all this stuff in my house. Makes it a little more challenging when I’ve got a 2×3 metre room to achieve everything in, but it looks like it’s happening.

2. Pine cupboard with a little bench top. This was in our kitchen before we had the new one put in. When we first moved into this house there was (and, in the interest of accuracy, still is) an old brick fireplace in the kitchen. Back then it had a stove in it, and a bunch of empty space next to it. My wonderful mother-in-law kindly paid for us to have a small cupboard built to put in the gap, and now it holds all my work paraphernalia.

3. Brown cupboard. We bought this on holiday in St. Helens back when I had just one child and she still wore nappies. We found it in a second-hand shop and brought it back from our holiday in the back of our station wagon. Heck, other people come home with snow globes and cutesy tourist t-shirts. We buy furniture. Check it out, now it holds my printer, and a tray of bills to be paid and things to action, and scrap paper inside, and that box of birthday cards and wrap that never quite had a sensible place before this.

4. Small brown laminated shelf. I love these things. I adore shelves because…because shelves! And I love these because they’re cheap enough ($15 at Kmart) for me to buy a few of them and fulfil my passion for shelving. This was originally in my son’s room, then the kitchen, then…okay, it’s been everywhere because…well, because shelving. Now it’s got this (OMG!!!) 5-drawer LABELLED filing system, with a drawer for each of the kids for all that weird stuff they bring home from school, like pack-lists for camp and information about parent-teacher and Reading Eggs logins and stuff like that. And boxes of writing notes, and boxes…because…because boxes. Boxes on shelves. Because.

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Can you see my fluffy thing there? It’s my Alot.

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Crocheted for me by the amazing Kristi West (if you don’t know what alot is, google it. Many people try to use alot in common English–ie, I like your cup alot–and so the alot was born). And my mug–I used to have a set of co-ordinating ones of these, all of which chipped or lost their handles, so now, here. And my frame, just because. Because it used to hold a photo of Sonya, and even though it doesn’t now, it still reminds me of her.

5. Computer desk. Or second-hand grey laminated table that I bought at the op shop up the road.

6. Pictures. Tons of them. Every one tells a story, and I love those stories.

7. Small brown table. This was my dad’s back in my early childhood when everyone was happy and life was good and I was still scared of the daleks on Dr. Who and had never even heard of Countdown. Good for sorting washing (this is still a multi-purpose room) and building Lego and generally holding things so they don’t have to live on my computer table. One day I’d like to get a bigger table for this space, but I’ll always keep Small Brown.

8. Kitchen Dresser. That’s what you can see just in the corner on the far right.

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Because. Because I bought it for an absolute steal a few years ago, because I’ve always wanted one, because it doesn’t fit in the kitchen any more, or the lounge room. but makes a great bookshelf/craft cupboard/laundry sorting bench (because it’s still a multi-purpose room and we’re working it’s little 2×3 metre butt off). Because.

And that’s it. Because. Because the person who uses this room isn’t someone who’s going to judge me on my lack-of-Pinterest-worthy furniture or failure to coordinate, it’s me. One day I’d like to paint all this beautiful wooden furniture in coordinating distressed country-chic paint and matching blinds on the window, but not for now. For now I love the fact that it tells a story – MY story, every bit of it.

When I sit here in my study and write I don’t see an office space where nothing matches, I see a life, and I become, in this space, a woman who’s proud, finally, of where she’s come from.

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13 thoughts on “On Storage, Personal History and Life As We Know It

  1. It looks great. I just have a card table for doing laptop and tv watching and it looks horrible. I clean it about once a month. lol

    • Thank you! Card tables work well. Cleaning it is awesome 🙂 I had, in my younger years (I’m happy to say I’m reformed now) a habit of accumulating projects, not ever quite finishing them, and keeping them all around me so I could “see” them. Oh boy.

  2. That looks AWESOME Meegs! I’m a little jealous that you are now one of those super organised Mums! I love the fact it doesn’t match. Things that don’t match and show a story (a scratch here, a little graffiti there) are much more interesting for the eye and mind to wonder through. I LOVE IT! xxx

    • Thanks Son! You’ll have to come see it in person some time soon. I tell you though, my whole mind feels less cluttered now that my room is less cluttered. Amazing how that works. Mind you, it took me a lot of years. xx

  3. And you can be proud of where you are now! I read this with a huge smile because I LOVE a Solutions catalog I get in the mail and have to stop myself from buying all kinds of office organizers (in beautiful matching patterns) when I go into an office supply store – because I no longer have an office. I especially want one of those wooden organizers with cubby holes for letter sized sheets of paper. Oops this isn’t my blog or post. Sorry but I got carried away with my love of organizing. (All of the work spaces (offices) have ever had looked very similar to yours. You have great taste and organizational skills.)

    • Hehe, thanks Pat! It’s great talking with other people who share my mad passion for organisers. Tell you the truth I always eye off those beautiful wooden letter-organisers too. I LOVE them, especially the antique ones. I bought a terrible old one at a garage sale for $2 once, brought it home with wild ideas of doing it up, and finally realised it was bulky, ugly beyond redemption, and I had no earthly use for it. Sigh. Sometimes our dreams must die… 🙂

      • You made my morning! One of the pieces of furniture I love the most is a map chest – a small piece that has a lot of very shallow drawers (for maps). It was a new piece that was inexpensive and I keep my counted cross stitch materials in it (that I no longer do because my eyes aren’t are sharp). I have a daughter (who is more of a organizer freak than me) covets it. 🙂

  4. I LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEE organization. I used to live in a farm house with it’s very own walk in pantry with built in cupboards and a tiny built in desk with a tiny built in shelf for cookbooks and it was decorated all in old coca cola things and it was so so so so wonderful (breath breath breath) now my kitchen is so small I can’t even fit the table in there (insert tears here.)

    • Oh…walk-in pantry…oh…built in shelves…OH! Oh MY!! Maybe in Heaven…surely.
      Our house, when we first saw it, had a little room off the kitchen set up as a walk-in pantry, with rows of shelves, appliances, all that kind of stuff. I LOVED it. However, it was so big we decided to use it as a study, and we set it up with our computers and paperwork and everything. Great…but sometimes I still dream of kicking my husband out and using it as a pantry 🙂

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