Don't all weekends have a purpose? Even if it sometimes just chilling together after a long week, or driving kids to 500 different places and making sure the pizza is in the oven before 7 on Saturday for family night. This weekend, however, was a working weekend, with a parade thrown in.
Two weeks ago, at a family meeting, the need for a space of their own was expressed by my two girls who share a room. Doesn't that sound mature and calm and well-thought-out? Actually it was more like: "I can't stand it when she is in my room. She is always: typing, singing, clicking...breathing!" and: "She is so mean to me, her stuff is always in my space. I am going to throw her stuff in the fireplace and light it!" We allowed for the expression of frustrations, lectured on getting along with one's siblings and helped them develop some sensible guidelines and rules they could both live with. We also wished we had a house with six bedrooms, but we do not.
My husband has long talked of creating a teen hangout in the basement, a cozy space that one would want to be in, that could be their own. We got to thinking that this could be a great place for one of the girls to go during the school day as well, to get away, have a table to write at, etc. I suggested that we proceed on a smaller scale than originally planned and do it during the days we had off for spring break. The idea has been greeted with enthusiasm usually reserved for the coming of Santa or the Easter Rabbit.
This weekend was the beginning...Phase: sort, break and toss. We finally dared to remove the old built-in storage units that were really just full of things we could either give or throw away; sort and break phase. Next we set the big stuff out on the curb. I love our neighborhood; you set it out, someone will most likely happen by in an hour or less and find a new use for it. A new neighbor even stopped by and introduced himself as he left with the sofa. The clothes went to Good Will, my reclycling bin is full, there are too many bags for the garbage can to hold. A great purge. Why DO we keep so many things? There is the great fear of perhaps needing it again someday, linked directly to the dread of spending money on the same thing twice. That would explain the history books, 14 years of National Geographic and moisturizer you buy and never use again, still there 10 years later, "just in case." Then there is the deeply nostalgic need to keep everything your child's hand ever drew, created or sucked on. Not too much of a problem when you have a large house and one child, but multiply those baby shoes, crayon doodles and glued-on noodles by five in a medium-sized house...overwhelming. (I am still keeping the baby shoes and a lot of doodles, So there.)
Everyone pitched in to scrub walls and shelving. We now have one clean basement, ready to be transformed.
Paint swatching came next. Unfortunately, this phase was ready for implementation early on Sunday morning. No paint stores are open just then, so I drummed my fingers, plotted and stewed, and finally went online and found a fancy ap for this very thing. After a lost hour of playing with the ap without success, I gave up on the high-tech stuff and waited for the paint store to open. I brought home sample quarts of color to slather all over the basement walls in different spots; there's nothing like swatching. No one agreed with anything but the basic neutral background color, so when I returned for paint, I bought a totally different shade for the trim; orange! A red-head's nightmare color, but the basement trim doesn't seem to mind.
We would move on to the actual painting the following weekend. Stay tuned for photos before and after. What's happening in your decluttering/decorative world?