The latest Big Plan

30 Jan

One of the wonderful things about our time in Germany was that it gave me time for reflection. Instead of dreaming about being in other places, I would often think about home, and about the things I wanted to do there.

Specifically, about my frustration that we just didn’t have enough storage for our games, and that the girls were stuck sharing a room (and squabbling about it Every Night).

With that distance came some clarity, too – I could see things that I missed when I was at home and in the midst of them. And so, slowly, a Plan emerged.

In the dining room, we’d get rid of the ugly old buffet unit and replace it with shelving for our games. We wouldn’t need the huge bookshelf that blocks our French doors, although we might have a half-height sideboard there. We’d have new shelving built for our DVDs, so that they didn’t occupy “my half” of the massive bookshelf in the study – giving me room for my books and also the ability to actually SEE what DVDs we own.

The real break-through was the spare room – a big room. We don’t get a lot of guests but the ones we do we don’t want to lose – so we weren’t willing to lose the spare sofa bed. It wouldn’t fit in the study, so we needed to keep a spare room – and I’d been sticking on that thought for yeaaaars.

I woke, literally, at 2am one German night, with a New Plan in my head. I admit, it was complicated, but bear with me:

For starters, we’d move everything out of the spare room. When I say “everything”, you need to understand the scale of what I am talking about – I wish I’d taken photos of the room as it contained:

  • approx. 60 boxes of games and of books
  • 1 Queen-sized futon sofa bed
  • 2 3′ wide x 6′ high bookshelves
  • 1 4′ wide x 6′ high bookshelf
  • 1 3′ wide x 6′ high cupboard with doors
  • our wine rack
  • a poker machine
  • a picnic basket
  • spare quilts & linen for the aforementioned spare bed
  • a nest of coffee tables
  • various other things – you begin to get the picture, I think.

Next, we’d redecorate the spare room.

To understand this, you need to understand two things.

1. Otto loves pink.

1.5. So do I, so I am sympathetic to this.

2. We cannot take ALL our games out of that room, as there isn’t room in the rest of the house for them. Trust me, I calculated linear meters of storage space when I worked out what shelves to put in the dining room. Then I divided it by expected boardgame width. I am sorry to say that this is true.

My solution to #2 was to build a room divider about 1.2m inside the door – she has the rest of the room, but we have that first section (which also includes the pull-down attic ladder). There’s even one you can buy from IKEA. Yes, I worked out it will hold an expected 125 games plus whatever sits on top. Tragic, I agree.

My solution to #1 was to pay someone to paint the room pink. Also tragic.

So the next part of this was clear: Move Otto into the spare room.

But what of the spare room bed, I hear you ask (because my friends are nothing if not picky).

Well that is the beauty of this plan: the spare room bed moves into the Bigster’s room. On the (<10) nights when we have overnight guests, she has to sleep on a mattress in Otto’s room. But the rest of the time, she has a sofa for friends to visit, and a room to herself. Win-Win.

Now this would all have been OK if I could have left things there, but of course they had to get more complicated. And so I bring you to Phase 2.

This is a simpler phase. Its requirements are to move the Bigster’s bed, get her a new wardrobe, get rid of her old furniture (each piece of which weighs about 1.8 tonnes), move her little writing desk into her room, and buy her some new shelving for her Special Things. Then move the spare bed into the room. An afternoon’s work, surely….

Like all good plans (and appealing to Fraser’s love of Power Grid), there is a Phase 3 as well. That involves rotating the desk, adding another one, losing a filing cabinet, building a bookshelf corner and improving access to the shelving in the study.

Even I am not crazy enough to imagine attacking Phase 3 for a few months.

When we got home, I rang a builder (the guy we used for Fraser’s house) to see whether he could do the painting and also send round a handyman to attach bookshelves to walls and do other random jobs. He came and quoted (a good price) but said he couldn’t do it till February. That was annoying, because we’d already moved big furniture off to storage and sent off the bajillion boxes (I know I said 60 but bajillion sounds better) as well. Oh well, it left us with lots of time to move everything …

Then my work got busy and that didn’t matter so much … and then I emailed him, last Wednesday, to say Can you do the work still?

And he replied Yes I sure can, how about the middle of next week?

And I replied, Wow fabulous that will be great.

And then I thought about it.

How we had to clear the bookshelves and cupboards in the spare room, and take other stuff up to storage.

How we had to clean the girls’ room, because after 8 weeks at home their tidy room was not anymore.

How we had to empty out the massive buffet thing AND the sideboard and get them and all the shelves and cupboards out of the house.

How we had to actually BUY the stuff from IKEA so that it could be installed

How we had to build most of the furniture because it is cheaper that way and because some of it needs to be built by 2 people anyway.

How we really had to do some of it in stages so that the next step could occur.

And I realised (not for the first time) that I am an idiot.

Since then, we have

  • cleared out 3 bookshelves in the spare roomm
  • taken 18 or so more boxes to storage
  • moved a bookshelf into the study (and filled it) – after first emptying it. We think we put it in that corner when we moved here in 1996.
  • been shopping at IKEA
  • been to a friend’s wedding
  • cleaned children’s bedroom
  • moved boxes, plastic tubs and chest of drawers out of children’s bedroomm
  • deloused children (ewwww)
  • sent Fraser and Biggie to the after-party for aforementioned wedding (me, Otto and the nits stayed home)
  • built 2 wardrobes and installed drawers. Yay cordless drill!
  • cleared out the linen cupboard (threw out/op shopped about half of it. It is tragic that my kids STILL have 4 sheet sets each)
  • moved the food from the food cupboard into the linen cupboard
  • cleaned the food cupboard
  • moved all the dinnerware from the buffet to the old food cupboard
  • moved all the glassware from the buffet into my china cabinet
  • thrown out some dinnerware (well, wrapped it to go to the op shop)
  • blogged about it all instead of going to bed.

I am going to remedy that last point now. Stay tuned for more exciting updates of our not-quite-a-renovation — what do you call this stuff? A refurbishment? An IKEA habit gone made?


Posted by on January 30, 2010 in decluttering, house


2 responses to “The latest Big Plan

  1. Gerald

    January 31, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Wow! That is ambitious, to say the least.

    Best of luck with it all.

  2. yewenyi

    January 31, 2010 at 9:17 am

    for those of us who live some way around the circumference of this planet, we could use a few pics!


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