Thursday, November 13, 2008

IKEA Shelves & Consequences

It's been a busy couple of months indoors, and the place is still in a small degree of chaos. Over our years of renting, we'd built up a ramshackle collection of bookshelves; mostly flat-packs from Argos, with one or two more solid specimens. These moved with us, and most of them were in the sitting room - but they were beginning to bulge at the seams, sag in the shelves, and generally behave badly, as well as looking pretty awful.

So we did a trip to IKEA in Belfast, and bought a sofa, a reclining armchair, a kitchen table and four chairs, and no less than five sets of shelves; three wide and two narrow. These are IKEA's "Billy" range, and we bought height extenders for all of them, and a variety of glass doors - some full height, some half height, and small doors for all the height extensions. Having put them together over the course of two days, we now have a much better looking sitting room (or possibly library is a better term), and more storage space in there. We even managed to shelve our 1902 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  And a display cabinet that was stuck in a dark corner of the sitting room has now been moved to a much better place in the kitchen, displacing a cheap Argos drawer-and-shelf unit.

There's a slight problem, though, in that the old shelves were absolutely stuffed with goods, and having accomodated everything, there's some miscellaneous junk left over. Magazines, a few games (computer games are on CD or DVD, but usually come in a box as big as a trade paperback), and the category of stuff that can only be called oddments - ephemera from various events and museums, odd-shaped books, special edition DVD boxes, and so on. I'm responding to this by viciously culling the book collection; we have thousands, and some of them can go. The travel books got attacked last night, and anything older than about 2004 got boxed to go. That turned out to be about 70cm of shelf space in one swoop. Continuing that should clear a lot, and then the cleared books can go to a second-hand bookshop.

Then there are the shelves. The current spare room/study is about to become a pure study, as the not-quite-double bed gets chucked out. I'd love to hang on to the mattress for emergency guest accomodation, but realistically, it has to go. It hasn't gone, yet, though, so the future study is currently holding that, plus my desk, a chair, two sets of resident bookshelves, several as-yet unpacked boxes, and now three more sets of old shelves.  This weekend should hopefully see that gone. I reckon breaking up for firewood is the fate for two of those sets, and once the bed is out, one set may get a reprieve so that we can store some books in the study. That might even happen this weekend.

The main part of the study plan is to put a long desk under the window, which looks out onto the garden, and put the household's two large desktop machines there, along with space for my oversized laptop. And then the last set of 'liberated' shelves from the sitting room (currently stashed in the downstairs bathroom because there's simply nowhere else they'll fit) can go in the Lodger's room. And then the drawer and shelf unit can also be broken up, and will end up in the fire too.

So stuff has been shuffled around a lot, and we still have a degree of chaos, but we're making good progress toward being completely sorted - at least in the short term.