Dirty Carpet, Dusty Bookshelves and Change
by Charlotte Siems
Things don’t stay the same. Even comfortable, convenient things. What once worked nicely suddenly doesn’t work at all. What used to be just right, is now annoying. Seasons change, children grow up, grandchildren enter the picture, and our task is to go with the flow. No use fighting change or denying the need for it.
A few months ago I waxed eloquent about my corner office in the den. I explained how I wanted my desk to be in the middle of the goings-on at home. Before that was a post about the long countertop desk where the children do schoolwork in the living room.
A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that the office space was no longer working as well. I mentioned to my husband that I now needed my desk to be located in a quieter spot where I could focus more easily. In our small house that still meant a “public” area, but a more out-of-the-way area. In analyzing the situation we also came to the conclusion that the long countertop in the living room was not being used as much as it used to be. Bingo.
So began a quick, one-day project. First order of business was to take the long countertop piece outside, where a 12” piece was sawed off on one end so that it would fit comfortably in the den. While the corner was empty, someone vacuumed and shampooed the carpet. When it was dry, the rest of the furniture rearrangement commenced.
My husband (who was the designer and activator of the project) had the idea to back up two bookshelves to each other as a sort of mini-divider in the room. This necessitated the removal and rearrangement of hundreds of books, which was no small feat. Good thing we had several children available for cheap labor.
Let me interject that during said project, I was fairly unenthusiastic. I wasn’t sure this was going to work and, having just returned from more than a week of travel and a family wedding, I wasn’t thrilled about creating chaos in the house. But I wasn’t about to argue when the whole family pitched in to clean carpets and dust off bookshelves.
By mid-afternoon everything was moved and in its new place. Books were rearranged and I actually gained shelf space. There are empty spaces on the shelves that are begging to be filled. So sad.
Now the amazing thing. My new office corner is much more spacious and has a window next to the desk. The newly-relocated countertop desk is enjoying constant use because it is located in the hub of family life. The floor is littered with paper cuttings and the countertop is covered with colored pencils. The computer is being used constantly for writing, and we can keep an eye on the younger girls when they play their allotted game time. The children discovered many lost treasures during the rearrangement of the bookshelves, and the new little reading area near my office space is constantly occupied.
Isn’t that how it always is with change? We drag our feet and aren’t sure this is going to work. We whine and feel sorry for ourselves, and trudge through the process, not sure if it’s the right thing to do. Then when the pieces are back in place, we realize that the change had unforeseen benefits.
If we had held on to the way things were, we wouldn’t have known the better way things could be.
Not every change is wonderful and yes, sometimes things are worse. But for the most part, with the right thoughts and attitude, shaking things up can be refreshing and give us new perspective.
Change can be messy and chaotic. You discover hidden secrets when you move furniture. You might discover hidden strengths or weaknesses in yourself when you move around your life.
The office move would have remained an idea if we had merely planned and talked about it. Taking action got the job done, and we plowed through to the other side. The change was less painful because we accomplished it quickly without dwelling on the problems. Countertop too long? Cut it off. Next.
Maybe you need to make a change in an area of your home or life. Acknowledge that it can be uncomfortable, but don’t let the feelings take over. Clean the carpet, dust the shelves and push through to change!