All the creativity of these last few days is getting my mind working in so many different ways. It feels like some untapped reserve of awesomeness was just released. I'm still tired and I still hurt, but I've got motivation to get things done that I haven't seen in years. On top of the crafts I've been producing, my entire house got clean this weekend - without screaming or swearing (much)! I have had a clean and shiny sink for 24 WHOLE hours. I made delicious dinner of venison stew last night using this recipe and when everyone else conked out before putting the leftovers and dishes away, I did it myself. Now, I didn't exactly ENJOY doing it, but I did it. It was worth it to wake up to a clean sink this morning.
I've been told that when you start to get grouchy and angry about housework and picking up after everyone else, you should stop and be thankful that you HAVE someone to leave a mess around for you. That might be the only thing that keeps me going. Some day, my house will be clean and it will stay that way, and I will cry my heart out because that means my kids will have all grown up and moved away. I don't think I could even contemplate how lonely I will be without my three hooflings around.
Anyway, I'm always surprised during these brief moments of cleanliness around the house that I have more time and even more motivation to do fun stuff. A clean house feels like permission to relax for a minute and treat myself. When things are all messy and cluttered, I don't feel like doing anything because it's just too much hassle to fight through the clutter to gather ingredients or find a clean workspace. It's easier to play solitaire. But, when things are clean, and tidy, and put away I am confident that I can find what I need to do what I want. That isn't always the case, however. That's just the way I feel.
The one place I have never been able to get a handle on cleaning is the office area. It is not only where DH and I have our computer desks set up, it is also where we keep the craft supplies, tools, materials, comic books, historical references, gaming manuals, and all sorts of odds and ends. I used to keep out of the office completely. I would set up my desk in another room in the house and leave the office for DH to do whatever he desired. I guess I wanted him to have his "own" space where he could be quiet and alone if he wanted to be. I generally never went in there unless I was putting something of his away. I didn't clean in there and instead of nagging DH about it, I just closed the door and walked away.
There are a few problems that have arisen with this idea. First, DH having his own space is good in concept, but he doesn't seem to really mind one way or the other. He likes that I respect his space, but it isn't a requirement for him. It is very convenient for me to be near him when he works from home so I can run interference with the kids and keep them quiet. Second, having ALL the craft stuff in the office is as much for protection of the kids from the items as it is mess control. It also meant that I had to grab the craft stuff I wanted, work on it elsewhere, and return it when I was done or risk the children getting hurt by it or destroying it. It was enough of a hassle that I just didn't care to mess with it. At first, that wasn't a big deal because crafting was DH's "thing." However, over the last few years I've realized I really enjoy making stuff and I'm pretty happy about that. Third, giving DH a room all to himself meant I didn't have a place of MY own to keep my stuff and work on my projects. Our house just isn't big enough or two offices so if I need some time to sit and relax or work on something, I've been relegated to the living room or dining room. Besides, we end up using the same materials (even if we aren't doing the exact same thing) and it isn't practical to have stuff in more than one place, especially when we both need whatever the other one has.
When we moved back to this house, we didn't exactly sit down and discuss seating arrangements. I just asked him if he minded my desk being in his office and he said he didn't. Now that we are happily sharing one room, all the computers and craft stuff are in one place and we have a work area and storage to keep kids out of it (well, in theory we do.) The last few months like this has reminded me how much I love spending time beside DH. It isn't exactly "together" time, because we aren't actually doing anything together. We just happen to be in the same room. He might be researching Comanche style beaded moccasins at his desk while I'm crocheting place mats at mine. We generally sit quietly, listening to our own, separate play lists and doing our own thing but every now and again he will ask me too look at something he found or I'll hold up my work to show him my progress. It is a cozy sort of co-existence that we have and I love that part of "us."
But, as much as I love hanging around in here, I am going to have to make a few changes. DH's method of organization is based on various paper boxes marked with sharpies and stacked on a shelf. While this has worked fine for him, IT IS DRIVING ME INSANE! I can't go on much longer this way! Thanks to Pinterest I have a huge list of crafts I want to work on (Check my pins and tell me what you think! I'm kind of in love with this place.) but I can't find what I need to complete them. My desk (and the floor around it, and shelf next to it) is crammed and piled high with bins and bags in my vain attempt to keep what I need close by and still have a place to work.
In the past, whenever I wanted to try a new hobby, I could easily talk myself out of it as soon as I found out how much money I would need to invest in it just to start. Sometimes, I've been able to get started with just what DH has laying around, but as soon as I need to purchase something to take it further, I lose interest. In my mind, if I have to spend money on it, then it isn't relaxing or pleasant and I will move on to something else. However, most of the crafts I've been doing use recycled items or materials we already have plenty of. This means no financial investment, just time and effort. Because of this, I've been able to turn inspiration into production several times over the last few weeks. My only issues are GETTING to the materials and finding somewhere to put the recycled items that I'm gathering to make something out of. For instance, I want to make a rug or two (maybe three...) out of t-shirts. It will take a LOT of t-shirts. I have several already and I will be gathering more over the next few weeks, but where do I put them in the meantime? I'm afraid leaving them in a basket will only get them recycled through the laundry again and again, and it looks messy, besides. I've got to make a place to keep this sort of stuff as well as all the other things we have. I know there is a box completely full of ribbon and trim somewhere around here but I have no idea where. I need it, but I have no idea where to start looking and as soon as I find it, I won't have anywhere in the office to keep it where I can get in and out of it easily.
Basically, some organization is going to have to happen and, if history tells me anything, I will have to do it myself. I'm going to have to balance DH's personal style of (dis)organization and my desire to put everything in matching containers with labels. Thankfully, Pinterest has answers for this, too. I've been pinning and collecting organizational ideas to make better use of our space and to use the items we already have. I will be posting my progress with this, and maybe even some "before", "progress", and "after" pictures (if DH will let me.) I'm hoping that my telling the world about my plans will help hold me a little more accountable and maybe I'll get things done more quickly than usual.
Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.
Deb "Crafty" Lollar