Monday, June 27, 2005

Project Organization

I am not an organized person. The old president of my office would sometimes close my office door so he didn't have to look at my desk and the piles of paper and binders and envelopes (oh my!).

I am also a bit of a pack rat. It's in my genes. My grandmother was an incurable pack rat -- she would return from trips to Hong Kong with loads and loads of cheesy "Oriental" furniture (black laquer with mother-of-pearl inlaid tigers) and plaster casts of elephants. Not that this state is something I want to emulate, but I'm just getting it out there to let you know that I have a certain genetic predisposition for collecting stuff.

Past collections include amber jewelry, Barbies (mostly vintage), ceramic masks (it was the 80s, people), among others. For a while, I'll go hog-wild about a certain subject, buying more things than I have any need for, and then it will die down. I still enjoy my amber necklaces and earrings. I still cherish my mint condition brunette Bubblecut Barbie with pristine box. (Ok, the masks, I'm over) But the passion eventually passes onto a new collection (or two or three).

Current collections include early copies of the Anne of Green Gables books, yarn, fabric and vintage knitting/crochet/sewing magazines. Let me state now that I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my husband, 2 cats and a turtle. So where do these collections reside? Well, mostly scattered about in bags & boxes strewn casually about the living room (although Barbies & Anne books have a comfortable and safe environment in display cases). My husband is thoroughly patient with all of my crap, but even I felt it was getting a bit out of hand, especially since the famous Fern Smith estate sale where Faith & I bought hundreds of vintage knitting magazines for pennies.

So this weekend, while Richard was in Columbus to meet his internet friends (Nintendo RBI Baseball fans -- he's just as weird as I am!), I knew it was time to organize.

Faith and Laurie and I spent a fabulous Saturday shopping downtown at the Michael Levine Loft (fabric Mecca where you buy fabric by the pound -- $2 a pound, to be exact, unless your good friend remembers to bring coupons for 1/2 off, so $1 a pound!). After two hours of digging in refrigerator boxes full of polyester (this whole place is a powder keg!), I emerged with 9 lbs of faux fur (electric blue), black flocked cotton, and lots of stretch jersey. I felt a little guilty because where was I going to put all this fabric? My fabric cabinet was already overflowing.

We decided to head to Ikea for their summer sale. After a much needed wash down in the ladies restroom (my arms and face were covered in little flecks of black flocking, sweat and dirt), we sauntered through the store. I managed to find cheap magazine holders (5-pack for $2.50), two bed trays (since we only eat on the ground in front of the TV because the kitchen table has my knitting machine set up on it), and a lamp shade. I said a fond farewell to the ladies and headed upstairs to begin the organizing.

I was amazed by the transformation. The magazines are now grouped by decade (50s, 60s, 70s, modern), although a couple of titles deserved their own holders (Mon Tricot, Interweave Knits). I was so inspired (and I had holders left over), I also organized my kitchen bookcase, which I always wanted to be exclusively cookbooks, but which had become a receptacle for old mail, fliers, bills, etc. I couldn't stop there.

Sunday, I headed over to Organized Living, which is having a going out of business sale. It's going out of business because most things are ridiculously overpriced, and even at the sale, things are only 20% off, so most things would still have been cheaper at Target, but I was on a roll and could not be stopped. I left with a 10-pair over the door shoe hanger (to supplement the 24-pair hanger that is already full), an over the door iron hanger ( to match the over the door fold-out ironing board), a medium Sterilite plastic box to hold oversize magazines that don't fit in the magazine holders (1950s-1970s McCall's Needlework & Crafts) and assorted vintage craft books, and a large Sterilite platic box on wheels to house the additional fabric that doesn't fit in the fabric cabinet.

My apartment, while not actually clean by any act of imagination, is at least clear of lingering cardboard boxes and plastic bags. I feel like I accomplished something important. I should also mention that while filing all my magazines, I also set about repairing the ones which had ripped covers and pages falling out (using linen acid-free tape that I originally bought for mounting the embroidery project for my friend's wedding present). When I finished, it felt like a big weight had been lifted. It's stupid, but it's true.


laurie said...

Yay! Organizing feels so good, like you have applied order and sanity to chaos. If only I could follow your lead and attack my office this coming weekend....

I had the best time with ya'll on Saturday!!

L.A. Ell said...

From one pack-rat to another (you saw my stash!), CONGRATULATIONS, GIRLFRIEND!!! Organizing all of your "collectibles" is a major accomplishment. I salute you, Miss Sara.

laurie, again said...

Oh! And Sara. I also love "Like Water For Chocolate" ... just saw that on your profile. I love that movie!!

Mel said...

Hooray Sara! I'll have to come by one of these days and check it all out. I did the same thing back in May when my crafty stuff got the best of me too. Now if I could just get Grant to clear out some of those old electronics cluttering up the office.

Hilari said...

fabric by the pound?!!!! I HAVE to know where this place is!! Sounds like a road trip is in order!