The Joy of Shelving

Although Nik and I have been living in our house for going on three years now, we’ve never really finished unpacking. There have always been boxes of unsorted stuff stashed away in corners. It’s hard to put things away when said things never had places to call their own. When I got laid off from WotC, it got even worse. See, I had a lot of stuff in my cubicle there. I had a D&D; library entirely separate from my own at home, so I wouldn’t need to shuttle books back and forth. I had lots of minis there, as I was usually given 24 of each new mini to distribute to my team, which never numbered more than half dozen anyway. I had boxes of collectible card games that other folks had left in the various “free” areas. In short, a ton of crap and I was expected to pack it all up and have it out of there the same day I was laid off. It took a station wagon and an SUV to fit the 25 or so boxes of stuff I hauled home and most of it went right into the garage. We haven’t parked the car in there since.

My dad has also slowly been sending me stuff I had stored back in MA. It took years, but I think I have it all now. Half of my comic collection arrived only a couple of months ago. It had been so long since I’d seen it I forgot what I had. Other boxes had books, more old game stuff, and school notebooks (which are pretty funny; amazing how many of them include army lists for Warhammer).

Then there’s the new crap that we acquire. When I first started going to game conventions as a professional, I used to actively seek to trade with other companies. Now, I don’t even have to try. A parade of people comes by our booth looking to trade at every con. I end up bringing home at least one box of new games and books from every show, whether I actually want them or not (I’m not mean enough to say, “No thanks, I don’t want your terrible d20 book”). We also have regular trades set up with some companies, so all their new stuff comes to my house. Yet more clutter.

Over the weekend, I was trying to come up with a new strategy. Part of the problem is that we have shelves, bookcases, and the like in all the obvious places but there’s still more stuff to put away. Saturday, I had an idea. I said to Nik, “You know the hallway to our bedroom is always half-full with cardboard boxes and other crap anyway, why don’t we get some low shelving units and put them there instead. We wouldn’t be losing any space, we’d just be recycling cardboard.” Nik not only agreed, she added, “How about looking into some corner units for the stairwell?” That’s my smart wife for you. I suggested we make a trip to Ikea on Sunday and she perked up. “Ikea? Wohoo!” Nik, she loves the Ikea.

So yesterday we headed over to Ikea. Got two bookcases for the hallway, two corner units for the stairs, and a little computer desk for Kate. Nik went to work putting together Kate’s desk as soon as we got home. Usually, I let Nik put together this kind of stuff, because she’s handy and loves a good project. This time though, I decided I was going to make those shelves my project. One Naked Raygun and one Pegboy CD later (yes, I was in a Chicago kind of mood), I had successfully put them together. Today, I scoured the house for wayward magazines, organized them by issue, arrayed them in holders, and loaded up the new shelves.

I know it’s totally mundane but it felt really good. I was able to take clutter out of nearly every room in the house and give it a proper home. And I still have some space left for incoming RPG books. Nik’ll be putting together the corner units soon and then truly a new day will dawn.

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