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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Your past is right there on the shelf

The Bargain Queen and Mr Bargain Queen desperately have to cull some of their possessions. They recently moved into a smaller, unrenovated place and have room for about half the stuff they actually have. The apartment has one bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and a living room for a total of around 40 square metres (400 square feet). It's not exactly where we expected to be living at this point in our life, but we're making the renovation as much fun as we can.

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?

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  • At 2:08 pm, Blogger SlaveToShopping said…

    It's're posting about so much that I'm going through: moving, paring down around the house, shopping (real and imagined), fantastic bargains and sources. Your posts are helping me get my Sydney bearings. Thanks!

  • At 2:30 pm, Anonymous Josh Parris said…

    If it's a temporary move, rent a storage space.

    I've lived in a home while renovating, and I can assure you it's zero fun.

  • At 5:15 pm, Blogger La Rêveuse said…

    May I suggest the book "Apartment Therapy"? A friend (Putyourflareon) is using it and loves it. Very helpful for organizing your space and choosing what goes and stays--and it's 30%+ off if you get "used and new" at amazon. Or if there's an IKEA nearby, they have shelving solutions to fit in the tiniest of places--line an entire room's walls with narrow bookshelves and hang pictures from them and you'll have that arty euro old world library look.

    I know your pain--we put 13 years worth of collective stuff in storage to move to France (I couldn't believe how little I cared about the stuff when there was no more room in the storage space), and now have accumulated stuff here. Happily, the company that hired him back home will pay for what we want to bring back! I'm heading to the brocantes this weekend...

  • At 7:49 am, Blogger Yabby said…

    Wow, I did this exact same thing last week, in between a move from Singapore to melbourne. I came back to Melb to clean out the storace facility I've had there for the past 3 years. The appaling thing ... I've kept about 2.5 boxes of stuff not including a blanket box and set of drawers, and have been paying for the silly thing all that time. Some stuff I gave to good homes, some I gave to teh Salvation army (especially blankets and anything warm as we go into winter, and the rest I sold to second hand dealers. Sum posisiton: got nearly $200 for some of the stuff, people get to use the good stuff I had, Mum's been good enough to keep some things for me at her place, and I didn't have to pay for sumping stuff that could be used or 'repurposed'.

  • At 4:42 pm, Blogger The Bargain Queen said…

    SlaveToShopping: So glad I could help! :)

    Josh: This is my third reno and I'm counting on it being more fun than the last two... but only because my mother won't be involved this time so I only have Mr Bargain Queen to fight with. So really I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best ;)

    Mrs. B: I'll definitely take a look at that book. If they don't have it in Sydney it's good to know it's on Amazon next time I place an order. And great idea re the IKEA shelving, I've just bought some to put up above the doors to get some paperbacks out of the way.

    Yabby: Congrats on the move! Have you lived in Melbourne before? It's a pretty great place, hope you like it!


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