Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Junk Room

My apartment in San Francisco had a small back room, which I imagine had a washer and dryer at some point because there was a hook up. There was a small window and built in shelves. I put all my cook books and magazines back there. I put two file cabinets with a board on top for a desk and there was a time when it was a fun little office. I sat there reading recipes and smoking cigarettes. I paid my bills and wrote in my journal. 
The first computer I got didn't fit on the desk so I ended up with a desk in the living room and the back room became a never ending battle zone in which random trash built up. Mostly cardboard boxes waiting to be hauled downstairs and lots of silly little decorative (sort of) things. A few of those things are hanging in my living room now. 
I really did work to keep it from being a junk room but it was hard. It was a room that was out of sight so as I cleaned the rest of the apartment stuff got dropped in the back room. I'm pretty sure I wrote about it from time to time. 
When the idea of moving to Hood River sparked I began working on the back room. Even before I was absolutely sure that I was going to move I started sorting and discarding. In the end I hauled the filing cabinets here filed with papers that I knew I probably didn't need, or want. And lots of other stuff.
The nest was sold as a two bedroom. I think it had been rented as a two bedroom. But it is also a "loft" and neither of the two "bedrooms" has full walls. Both are smallish. One has a shelf that opens above the kitchen sink so if someone is washing dishes when another person is trying to sleep ... well. I don't think roommates could be comfortable here but these places are rented out during the summer to people who come for the river sports. Most of them are out the door early in the morning. I've seen a few families. That probably works for short visits. 
The room behind the sink is my library. It's a room that will be years in the making. I've already had a wall filled with built in shelves and replaced the carpet. I might have a new chair for the living room soon so I'll put my old chair in the library. I already love being in there but it will be nice to be able to sit comfortably.
Because it wasn't a clearly defined room it has been the place where the junk gravitates. As I unpacked last year it was where boxes waited. And more than a year later there are things waiting. 
Since the new carpet was put in I am driven to keep it from being the junk room. I am going through those piles of papers. I can only do it for an hour or so at a time. I get completely overwhelmed. I have a copy of My Emily Dickenson, which one of my teachers spent hours xeroxing, breaking all kind of copy right laws. I also have the book. But how can I just toss the copy? Doesn't someone want to read it? Someone? Some where? I have a folder of old scripts from the classes I took in my attempt to become a voice over artist. No problem tossing them into the recycling bag. I have copies of my own writing and the writing of many of my former class mates. Those are miserable choices. Photos. Promo posters, my own and other people's. Menus from places I worked. I decided to keep them yesterday but I may be changing my mind today. In fact I should plan on doing this again in six months. I should just keep letting go. It's really not that much but it feels endless. 
And then there is the crazy amount of silly little things. Plastic animals from drinks in New York and San Francisco. Ash trays about which I am sentimental. Troll dolls from my teens that Mom saved and sent to me. A small plastic doll that a minister gave me when I was a child. Mardi Gras beads. I've never been to Mardi Gras. Match books. Rocks and shells. A stick that a small boy gave me in a park. Candles and incense. It's just crazy.  
I have a full box of cassette labels from the wanna be voice over time. People don't use cassettes anymore. Do they? I have note books and note books and note books. I really have to think about these. Will I use that much paper in my life time? I barely go through the stacks of scratch paper.  I filled the recycling bins in San Francisco several times before I left and I already have a grocery bag full here. 
The library is looking better every day. I moved all the books off of my old shelf and put them on the new wall shelf. I sit and stare at them. I move books around. I find an author on two different shelves and adjust everything to put them together. Auster needs to be next to Hustvedt. Someday they will all be filled and I'll be in my recliner reading. 
Years ago I read that Findhorn had lots of beautiful gardens but they always allowed a certain amount of space to grow wild. Something about leaving a place for spirits to express themselves. I've used that as a rational for my junk drawer. Every kitchen needs one. But I don't want a whole junk room. 
We'll see how it goes. 

1 comment:

Karen Diamond said...

I'm going through the same process! It's hard to let go, but it feels great too!