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.

IMG_0707

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.

IMG_0715

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

IMG_0708

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.

IMG_0710

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.