17 Apr

One of the things I have been thinking about a lot in the last few days is furniture. Specifically, the need to BUY NEW FURNITURE TO SUIT YOUR NEW HOME rather than just moving all your old junk in willy-nilly (which is what we did).

Fraser and I are talking about ways to better accommodate our Stuff, and I do think that a furniture change is necessary. For example, we can reorganise the study and make room for 120cm of 200cm high bookshelves – which can only help – at the same time freeing up access to about 1.5 metres of existing bookshelves. OMG that’s 2.7 metres more shelving – life-changing!

That’s just reorganising, but there’s more – Fraser has a lovely old blackwood desk. It’s big and sturdy and solid, and it has drawers on either side of it. There’s a spot in the middle where a Very Important Person can sit.

Only problem is, we have 2 computers on the desk. And there’s not room for 2 people to work there because there is only room for one set of legs under the desk. What we need to do is replace the desk with a workbench to accommodate 2 or even 3 people – and a workbench that’s not ninety-something centimetres deep, because the back section is just wasted.

That’s for Fraser to think about and decide on. I doubt he’ll be able to bring himself to get rid of the desk, but it really would be the sensible option.

Another case in point is my china cabinet. It’s Victorian and mahogany and very very pretty. Inside, it has lots of very, very pretty things. Meanwhile, fifty or more of our games languish on the floor in the corridor, constantly getting in the way of everyone. 

Coincidentally, a set of shelves where the china cabinet is would hold, ooo, about eighty games.

This is where I get to be the big person and force myself to part with treasures. I rang an auction house yesterday and arranged to send them photos so they can give me a price estimate, then I will get their removal guy to come and pick it up and take it away. It’s lovely, and it’s special to me, but it’s not the right furniture for our stuff or for our home. And meanwhile, off will go the dinner set that lives in the base of it, as well as the set of cake plates. Don’t need ’em, we have another nice dinner set and really, when do we ever have time for dinner parties anyway? I’m getting rid of Stuff that doesn’t work to make room for Stuff that will.

Of course, this all ties in with my parents’ situation.

They realise that they will need to downsize, and they will need to get rid of most of their furniture. I flagged interest in a lovely cedar chest of drawers and also potentially in their blackwood dining room cabinets – Fraser and I have a super-ugly cabinet that mum got at auction years ago for $35. I want to get rid of it, he thinks it’s useful. Now we potentially have a compromise solution which happens to (a) look nicer and (b) hold more Stuff.

It’s just a shame we don’t have anywhere for their blackwood dining table. It could do with resurfacing, and it’s got that distinctive ’70s feel about it, but it has a fabulous extension leaf to seat 12 comfortably, and it’s a great size. Our dining table has been in Fraser’s family for aeons, though, so it wouldn’t be right to rid ourselves of it.

See, I do have some limits.

I think the girls’ bedroom furniture is going to be disposed of, though. Mum bought it for – well, I think she bought it when I was pregnant with the Bigster. It’s lovely, but they’ve outgrown it, and it’s not terribly practical. Also, if I get rid of it, I can get mum’s nice cedar chest of drawers. 🙂

I’m not sure that this is what my Professional Organiser wants (she threatened to sack me on Tuesday, feeling that there’s little to show that she’s been here – a fair point but, when you consider that the kids have been home for 2 weeks and our cleaner has been on holiday for that time, probably overstated) – but I do feel that it makes sense to think about whether our furniture really suits our lifestyle and, if not, to get rid of it and/or replace it with something that does.

Especially if it holds more Stuff.


Posted by on April 17, 2009 in decluttering, house


3 responses to “Furniture

  1. Friendless

    April 18, 2009 at 7:49 am

    When we moved house we found that almost everything (a) had already been taken by my ex, or (b) wasn’t very good, or (c) we really hated it anyway. So only moved a few bits of furniture and then spend $7000 at IKEA. We still have some odd bits, e.g. my gaming coffee table:

    doesn’t really fit, which is a shame because it was custom made for the other house. Anyway, despite my best efforts the new house is practically full again, and in particular Agricola, Conflict of Heroes and Guatemala Cafe don’t fit on the game shelves. I am at a loss as to what to do next.

  2. Melissa

    April 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Get a bigger house, John. It’s the only thing to do.

    Or look at places where you don’t have shelves, like OVER THE DOORS.

  3. gregor

    April 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    It’s good to make sure your stuff is supporting your actual life, rather than old ideas of what your life was going to be like. There’s some nice architectural/interior decorating pr0n series called The Not So Big House — how to create space that supports your life. Good principles and ideas.

    IKEA has some nice long desk options, that fit one person each side. I wish we had space for one– as it is, having surrendered our luxurious studies (along with all the time we used to spend in them), to the kids, we’ve created a tiny nook each for computer-doings. It’s ok– for me it seems it’s about having a refuge, even if it’s tiny.


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