On the Shelf

Floors are wonderful spaces.  You can put things on floors.  You can stand, sit, lie, exercise, eat, read, sleep and work on floors.

Here’s a mildly amusing anecdote I heard many years ago – so many years in fact, that one might have whimsically referred to a radio as a ‘wireless’, and not caused too much confusion among younger people around you.

A man was stuck in a traffic jam and noticed a small shop that always appeared to be open, yet didn’t appear to sell anything.  The lights were on, the door was open, customers occasionally went in and out, but their window display showed only empty shelves – it didn’t appear to sell anything.

The tailback was very long and it enabled the man to take a good look at the shop, finally to realise that it sold shelving systems.

Which brings me conveniently to the subject of this week’s epic blogular post.  It may provide a solution, if you feel your situation would benefit from it.

If you can’t see your floor, or can’t see much of it, this is because you have put too many things on it.  You will be unable to achieve many of the wonderful activities listed above, and that would be a shame. 

Fig 1: A floor, seen from above (actual shape and colour may vary).

Try doing those things on a wall.  Tricky, isn’t it.  No matter how hard we try, we can’t do anything on walls without having to ‘hang on’ in some way, and that prevents us from doing anything else.  So what’s the point of walls, and how can they help you sort out your stuff?  I will tell you.

Walls are great places to put shelves.  Shelves are great places to put stuff.  In fact, that’s the only purpose of shelves!  It is their one real purpose in life, and, unlike many of us, they achieve it well.  Brilliantly, in fact.

Take a look at your floors.  How much of them can you see?

OK, now take a look at your walls.  I expect you can see a lot more of them, yes?  If you’re the sort of person who likes pictures, perhaps you won’t see much wall, but for many of us, if we were to work out the area of wall we could see, and compare that figure with our floor space, we’d find a lot more wall.

Fig2: A Wall, Two or three Shelves could be built-in to each alcove, or free-standing shelves could be placed here, to take items off the floor. I’ve removed some pictures to demonstrate just how much space is available.

So here’s a notion: how great would it be if we could turn all that useless wall space into useful floor space?  It would be very great, I think.  But how do we turn vertical spaces into horizontal spaces?  The answer lies in Shelves.

There are two principal types of shelving system: wall-mounted, and floor mounted.  Shelves mounted anywhere else will not work properly.  I would not recommend mounting shelves to a ceiling; that’s just asking for trouble.

The wonderful thing about shelves is they come in many forms so you should be able to find a form that suits you.  If you feel unsure about fitting them yourself, there are many people out there who may be able to help, even me.  Yes, I will fit shelves if you think they will help you sort out your stuff (and you would be right about that).  My only stipulation is – you buy the shelves.  It’s simpler this way.

Shelves are wonderful things.  They turn lots of ‘dead’ vertical space into functional, useful horizontal space.  They get stuff off your floors.  They place useful stuff at eye-level (a wonderful place), or very nearly so.  So all your important stuff is easy to find.

At a pinch, with judicious use of hooks, you can even hang stuff underneath shelves!  This is useful in places like kitchens, where utensils and cups can be stored for easy access, or where storage may be limited.  Just don’t put too much load on them.

Best of all, shelves enable you to appreciate your floor again for the fabulous space it is.  A great floor is one you can stretch out on and not be able to touch anything, preferably in all directions.  This enables you to reclaim a fabulous space to yourself, one that is all yours to enjoy.

Re-connect with your floors in your life – install shelves.

Getting Inspired

Inspiration is a wonderful thing and sometimes all it takes is reading some one else’s words or hearing some one speak. This year’s APDO-UK http://www.apdo-uk.co.uk/ conference held in London last week was truly inspirational. For those not in the know APDO stands for the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers. Yes, there is actually an association and it is full of talented and compassionate people who it is a privilege to know.

We networked, we listened, we learned and we grew in knowledge and understanding. Organising is not every one’s forte which is why we exist to bring order and calm into people’s lives and to teach skills to enable people to be able to maintain that order.

One of my clients once told me that no one had ever taken the time to show her how to organise her things. They told her to tidy up but gave no clues as to how to do it. When we began working together she was able to acquire those skills and succeed in the task. Now she enjoys sorting and organising her flat so that it is a more comfortable place to live.

As Sarah Cottman, http://www.horder.com.au/ our keynote speaker from Australia said: ‘You (professional organisers and declutterers) are uniquely situated to facilitate change, to encourage, equip and empower others with your gift.’ She encouraged us to transfer our organising skills to our clients so that they will be empowered to live clutter free lives.

Getting rid of the physical clutter helps to clear mental space. It allows you to function easily in your home. Being able to find what you need when you need it helps you to keep focused on the task in hand and get the job done more quickly. When everything has a place then it is easy to put it back. The problems arise when things do not have a home to go to. Then they start to pile up on surfaces and one thing gets buried by another.

If you feel inspired with the coming of spring to have a good clear out of physical space why not call me, Christine, on 07794 978095 and see how I can help?

If you don’t live in the South West of England, then take a look at http://www.apdo-uk.co.uk to find a declutterer near you.