Your past is right there on the shelf
But before we can move any further into the fun stuff - refinishing floors, selecting joinery, knocking out walls - we have to make the place livable enough that we don't go mad before it's all done. That means turning four small run-down rooms into space for us to sleep, eat, cook, coif, lounge, work, study... and store the wardrobes of two vain people as well. It's not as impossible a task as it seems, but it does mean questioning some of our priorities.
For a start, The Bargain Queen has inherited a lot of family memorabilia that has previously been deemed too precious to part with. What to do with it all when there's no space to store it and no free surfaces on which to display it? The Bargain Queen's mother has refused to take it back, which leaves two options: post it to her anyway, or cause great offence by getting rid of it. To be very blunt about it, none of these things are especially attractive; many of them belonged to people we never knew; and they're the least useful stuff in the place. As it nears a point where The Bargain Queen must choose whether she has room in this pokey apartment for her family's past, or for her own present and future, the decision looks clear. Goodbye charming old junk, hello space for today.
The Bargain Queen and Mr Bargain Queen also keep a helluva lot of books. Saying we have a metric tonne of them is only a small exaggeration; we have more than 20 boxes of them, weighing over 20 kilograms each and that gets us halfway there. So far, the strategy is to cull anything we're unlikely to read again (or won't admit to having ever owned). We'll then put some shelves up above the bedroom door to accomodate our paperbacks and see if our home looks less like a second-hand bookstore. We're aiming for only one freestanding bookshelf instead of three; we'll see what measures it takes to get there.
Next on the agenda is The Bargain Queen's office. She works from home when she's well enough to work, and that's been excuse enough to indulge her stationery fetish. A foot-high stack of paper for a printer that doesn't work? It's lust not logic at work there.
There's also a well-overdue wardrobe cull to do; some near-dead plants to put out of their misery; many boxes of our own memorabilia (as opposed to family stuff) that never get opened; and a CD collection long since superceded by iTunes. There's certainly a surfeit of things that could go to make more room. The question is, can The Bargain Queen put aside sentimentality for long enough to do it?