Getting organized

Neatness is not, I’m afraid, my strong suit. Those of you who have been to my house, stop laughing. No, really, I mean it. Oh, never mind.

Anyway, I do manage from time to time to make little corners of the place liveable, and recently I’ve been tackling my art supplies and trying to coax some kind of order out of the chaos. Our house is 218 years old, a little tiny old country farmhouse. The farm itself was gone long before we bought the place 20 years ago, but we’ve got a couple of acres with a pond, a few of hives of benignly neglected honey bees, and many beautiful trees, among them towering black walnuts, an old apple tree that offers more in the way of character than actual fruit, several huge hemlocks, and splendid swamp maples that we actually tap in the late winter to make maple syrup. All very charming and picturesque and Little House on the State Highway.

Inside the house, though, we’ve suffered from too little space (my 6′ 4″ tall son and 6′ 6″ tall husband would ruefully rub the tops of their heads and add that in certain doorways we also suffer from too little overhead clearance). In 1790 they weren’t building houses with closets or walk-in basements, so we’ve had to get creative about storage. I laid claim to a short, narrow hallway next to the stairs, which is too small to be of much use for anything else, and lined one side of it with bookcases for my art supplies. Still they got out of hand, so I was delighted to snag some interesting cupboards at an antique show last weekend, and spent several days this past week putting them to good use:

Here’s a detail shot:

The top shelf is actually a heavy old wine crate, its partitioned spaces just the right size for small watercolor pads, small books I’ve made that haven’t found homes yet, stamp ink pads, and small cuts of papers for books, cards, and other projects.

The lower shelf (in the upper photo, natch) is my favorite. Its spaces are just the right size for larger sheets of paper, larger books that haven’t found homes yet, oddments of ephemera, book board, and medium sized sketch, watercolor, and colored paper pads. Off to the right, in the area that’s still under construction (pretend you don’t see those cobwebs) you can see how I store large sheets of art paper and spools of linen thread.

The thing I like best about this larger cupboard (my cheap fans are hiding the words painted on the side) is that it was originally a grocery display case (or delivery case?) for Table Talk pies. Makes me think of walking to the cool, dimly lit old corner grocery store when I was little and visited my grandmother in Tennessee, and of the Patti Griffin song:

It’s not far
I can walk
Down the block
To Table Talk
Close my eyes
Make the pies all day . . .

Oh, and the plastic stage beetle Transformer toy? He’s an old friend–don’t ask.

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6 responses to “Getting organized

  1. organization isn’t my strong suit, either. Funny … I just took pictures to start drafting a post on the same general theme from a somewhat different angle.

  2. It looks like a stylish paper shop! Love the boxes, they are very cool indeed!

  3. Of course, you may notice that you can’t see the floor in either of these photos–I’m still ankle-deep in things that need shelf space!

  4. These boxes and shelves look great! It’s such an inviting space. Makes me want to get in there and make things right along with you. But, alas, back to the keyboard instead. When will we do art together, you and I?

  5. neatness doesn’t matter, don’t worry.

  6. What, me worry?

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