My hubby will be retiring in about two years’ time, and in advance of that, I have decided to start downsizing everything, as we will have to live in a smaller place. If I leave it all till the move happens, I know it will be quite impossible, and doing it in advance takes off a lot of the pressure. I’ve been having a great big clear out in my ARTHaven, which used to be my office and which still doubles as an office in a smaller capacity. I have a 3-drawer MFI filing cabinet that you can just see under the red anglepoise lamp in the first photo, and also a smaller unit, just peeping out beyond the big pile of books in the foreground that has two ordinary drawers at the top, and a single filing drawer beneath.
This filing drawer, and the top drawer of the main filing cabinet, were full of files, and I have managed to reduce this down to 1 1/2 drawers. This will be reduced further as time goes on, and of course, when we leave, a lot of the work stuff will disappear. The middle drawer of the main filing cabinet was full of old cassette tapes which I am in the process of converting to mp3 – no storage problems, and no risk of deterioration, and also much easier to listen to on my iPod. At present, this drawer contains the tapes that I have copied, which are waiting to be wiped off and sent to the recycling centre.
The bottom drawer contained spare stationery and about 30 years’ worth of old appointment diaries, which have now gone to the great shredder in the sky (my office shredder, actually!) and hopefully eventually to be used by a friend for horse bedding. I have also shredded masses of old papers. Quite a few of the files contain things I want to keep, but these can be scanned and stored digitally, saving a lot of space. You can see a heap of stuff on the left side of the brown wooden table to the left of the laptop – these are awaiting scanning.
The filing drawer of the small unit was broken – the ball bearings had come out of the runners and the drawer was very difficult to use. I originally thought I would ultimately get rid of the main filing cabinet, so I removed the runners from its bottom drawer and transferred them to the small unit, which now works perfectly, leaving the bottom drawer of the main unit redundant. Then I discovered that you can get replacement runners (better ones!) from Amazon, so I have just got a pair, but have yet to fit them – I have decided on balance to keep that filing cabinet because I like it, and it will be useful for storage of other things apart from files and office stuff.
The brown trolley affair is something I bought a while back from Ebay – it houses most of my office stuff – account books and office equipment. A lot of this used to reside in the drawers in the small MFI unit but these are now used to contain my rubber stamps etc. Eventually, after we move, this unit will revert to being the office cabinet with files at the bottom, and office equipment in the drawers. The trolley has ended up as a general dumping ground (see the empty pizza boxes, for example!) and it was always in the way, right in the middle of the room.
In front of it you can see a heap of stuff bursting out of a cardboard box. This is all going to the next village fete, or the charity shop.
In the left foreground of the picture you can see all the books I’ve weeded out – these will also be going to the village fete at the end of this month. Some are simply redundant, and others I now have on Kindle so they can go. I will probably shed a few more books as time goes on.
The next picture shows the fruits of a massive clear-out of my 3-section shelving unit. This large unit came from a shop that was changing hands where we used to live, and it has served me extremely well over the years, being very strong and very capacious! However, it will have to go because there won’t be room for it when we move. I am planning a purpose-built ARTHaven to my own specifications, with storage incorporated, and a much more efficient use of space than I have at present, so this large unit will not be needed.
My clearings have reduced the stuff to a level that will fill only 2 of the 3 sections – admittedly the stuff is really, really crammed in! However, there is still some weeding out to be done, which will be easier to do once the room is less cluttered. The shelves in the left-hand section in this picture are now empty – the boxes are either empty, or contain tapes being worked on – some copied, some to be wiped off.
I knew I would have to get rid of this section fairly quickly, or knowing me, I’d soon have it filled up again! So yesterday afternoon I tackled this job. It wasn’t easy as it was all pretty securely attached together. Here is a picture with most of the shelves removed.
The next picture shows that whole section removed, with the back of the bookcase on the left, and a nice space left!
The next job was to take all the books off the bookcase (I put them on the landing) and move the bookcase back against the newly-foreshortened shelving unit. The next picture was taken from the door, showing the bookcase in its new position, and a nice big space as you come into the room. Notice the marks on the carpet where it was before, and the shelves stacked up on the left. I’m getting rid of the big left-hand upright, but the smaller shelves will probably come in useful.
Here is the space seen from the other side of the room, with the old shelves stacked up (large upright piece behind), the side of the bookcase against the shelving unit, my stepladder, and a small box of dead technology for recycling.
Here is the new setup complete, with the brown wooden trolley moved into the corner. Most of the books in the bottom of the bookcase are art books, and if I want to get at them, it will be a simple matter to pull the trolley out. In front of it, on the floor, you can see the black bag I use to carry things up and down stairs, my new glue gun (rubbish!) waiting to be sent back, and a bag of wiped-off tapes ready to go for recycling.
Here is the rest of the room without the trolley. I can’t believe how much more space I’ve got! It’s brilliant.
Finally, a view of the room as it now is, as you come in the door. I really like it now. On the floor beside the small MFI filing unit (with Sheba, my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine on top) is a pile of old accounts stuff awaiting recycling – the final batch of office stuff to go, I think. (At least, till I find a whole lot more!!)
I’ve still got a great deal to do. The stuff on the big shelves needs further weeding out, and I’ve still got tons of tapes to copy, and a lot of scanning to do, but each thing I do now will create more space and less clutter. Once we know where we will be moving, I will be able to make further plans to streamline my ARTHaven, and start buying in the units that will find their way to the new house. I have also got a huge amount of downsizing to do in the rest of the house, but don’t let’s go there just yet…
We are looking for a suitable house that my very elderly parents will move into initially, nearer to us than they are at present, less cut off, and more practical for them. When we retire, we plan to move in with them so that we can care for them in their final years. When the time comes, we will then occupy the whole house.
We did find a house that seemed perfect, but yesterday we heard that the owners have accepted an offer from someone else. Our problem is that we cannot yet find a buyer for my parents’ house, which has been on the market all year. Last night I found another place that would be eminently suitable as it is already divided into two distinct units and has a kitchen upstairs as well as down, and we are arranging a viewing soon; however, the problem remains, that we cannot get going until we get a buyer for my parents’ house. It really is the worst time to be trying to sell houses!!
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