Day 24 499: Rearranging To Suit The Times
Empty houses have rooms labeled by function – kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom, bath. The rooms don’t belong to anyone, waiting quietly for someone to give them personality. Then, as a house becomes a home, bedrooms get assigned – John’s room, Janey’s room, the Baby’s nursery. Most things assigned to a person are in that person’s room. Shared stuff goes to the family room.
Now, as I continue to clean out the house in my perpetual quest for order – rooms are again being reassigned. Bedrooms once belonging to specific people are being converted to new functions. The reassignment campaign started with the guest room, where guests but also returning children would sleep. The returning children now come with partners so the larger space of the guest room was desired over the room previously assigned to them.
The guest room is also the warm room, where I retreat when no one else is in the house on a cold, winter day. It is more insulated, higher in the house, and more removed from the sounds of swirling winter winds. I’ve added a swivel chair to the guest room ostensibly for guests’ comfort, but also to have the room do triple duty as a reading room when I want to retreat from everyone else in the house.
Rooms in my house now have to do more than one thing. The dining room, for instance, is now serves double duty as our home office where a daughter works at one end of the dining room table and I work at the other. My bedroom serves a second purpose as the resident cat’s sanctuary, a place where my daughter’s cat in quarantine residence with us is not allowed during any hours my own cat cares to nap in peace.
Room reassignments are not easily achieved. Things hidden in plain sight have to be confronted, considered, put somewhere else, or discarded.
One child’s former bedroom is now the second guest room. The other child’s bedroom is now the craft storage room. All crafts (previously scattered among many rooms) now are in the bureau in that room. All children’s clothes left in the bureau from year’s past have been donated or relegated to a corner in a closet. The children may come to visit or live at any time, but they now sleep in a guest room and their former rooms are now functional rooms of my own.
This might be common to empty-nesters, but it has taken me quite a few years to come to this moment. I credit COVID-quarantine. When you spend more time in a home than ever before, you tend to look at the four walls differently. Personal space takes on greater meaning when you’re back to sharing space with more people and pets. Space becomes more precious as you are increasingly confined.
In these times of pandemic, it’s an exercise in excising old things that no longer serve us. As inflicted patients struggle to breathe in hospitals, we are thankfully healthy at home trying to create just a bit more breathing room. It’s not heroic, just practical and more productive than weekend TV binge-watching. I have no doubt the pandemic will be over long before I complete the great COVID clean-out, but progress is being made one corner and room at a time. It’s far better and more rewarding than watching the news.
P.S. The attic photo is not our attic. The napping cap is our cat.