The guys wanted to get all that horse stuff that came with the new trailer so the shipping container it was in can become the new hay loft. The hay needs to get off the trailer it’s on so we can get new hay in case the threatened drought arrives.
Well, they didn’t quite understand the instructions to put all the horse blankets in the loft. So when I came in, the thing was full of giant boxes of blankets and the furniture buried.
So, the nephew and I moved stuff around to where the tubs of blankets and saddle pads are ready to go to the other loft. Then I got to work. It was our first really hot day of the year, so I was glad to have a fan!
I set about figuring out what was in all the buckets of horse products. There was so much green spot remover! Grass stains will be no match for me! There was an ointment, cream, or spray for every possible horse ailment. There were supplements, hoof creams, wound stuff, etc.
There was also a major load of tack repair items. Many buckles and fasteners.
The largest amount of stuff was bandages. I get the idea their horses got hurt a lot. I’m ready for all sorts of injuries now!
This all took me a couple of hours. It was very grimy cleaning the desk thing and all the dirty containers. Things aren’t in their final spots, but they are off the floor and out of buckets.
I’m sure glad we have the pool, because today I needed it. Wow, it’s deep! I really enjoyed the seat. Life’s good. And my horses will soon have their things stored near where they live.
There’s so much in life you can’t control. You can’t control whether people like you or not, whether you’re treated with respect, the actions of faceless government agencies, or groups of people who think differently from you. I can’t control those things, either, but, I made myself better by totally dominating my Hermits’ Rest house closet. It has bent to my will and now can be used with ease. It’s like a rural version of those fancy closets you see where ladies (or others) sit around and sit champagne while gazing at their shoes. Sorts.
Does that photo scare you? Well, if you know me, you’ll know the story of the immense closet in my house, but let me share with the rest of you.
The deal is that our house is based on a floorplan for a 3 bedroom 3 bathroom house I found online and ordered the blueprints for. I did ask for some modifications, because the kitchen was really small and I knew there would be lots of cooks. I added an island with a second sink and the cooktop on it. OK, so yes, that made the second floor a bit bigger, too. I also added a laundry room/mud room, so the original laundry area could be a really big pantry (and safe room, long story). That added another few feet.
Then, when the dudes started building the house, they asked if they could simplify the second floor. This turned some space that was attic storage into full height closets, and made the upstairs even bigger (also, now Lee has two large closets of his own for his stuff, do don’t jump on me for taking this whole thing).
What ended up happening was that our bedroom is ridiculously large, and has a sitting area and a coffee-drinking table and chairs. And my closet, which started out as a perfectly reasonable walk-in closet became as big or bigger than many bedrooms. It was sort of embarrassing.
On the other hand, it was great, and I could organize things and find them. Our contractor did a GREAT job making this a great closet without spending too much money on it. The storage cubbies are lined with cedar, for my hand knits, he built me a jewelry holding area with cork to hang things from AND a chest of drawers for non-hanging things, plus the mirror and the chandelier. It’s nice, but not California Closet crazy.
As years passed, my organizational scheme went awry, and I ran out of clothes hangers. I do probably buy too many clothes. But I do wear them! By a couple of weeks ago, there were piles of things that needed sorting all over that pretty quartz island, I couldn’t find any of my jewelry, and those endless shoe boxes made the room look just awful. I did NOT take “before” pictures.
So, I was sad about things going on that I can’t control, like COVID, my family issues, a person I was trying to help but wasn’t able to, things at work. But by gosh, I could make that closet do my bidding. All I had to do was order 100 coat hangers, some drawer organizers, and 16 storage bins. For less than $50 I was ready to tackle the mess.
It was a lot of fun collecting things to donate to charity, organizing other things, dusting, vacuuming and even putting in decorations, so it didn’t look quite so boring.
Sure, no one needs a closet this big, but if you DO have one, the least you can do is make it usable! I can find all my clothing, including pants, dresses, shoes, winter things, summer things, etc. And wow is that jewelry under control (um, now I have to organize the jewelry at the Austin house, sigh…I also have way too much costume jewelry, as part of my coordination obsession). Chaos has departed this one tiny bit of my life, and when I want to breathe, I can go into my closet, spray some rose room scent, and relax. Ahh.
To all my friends with small closets (including me at my other house), I hereby promise to keep the ranch closet organized and usable, even suitable for visitors. When we are pandemic free, you can come over and see it.
What do you have under control where you live? It could be something big or small. It could even be in your mind!
There’s one final book review for this year, and it’s a book I always wanted to read: the history of alphabetical order! Be still, my heart! A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order, by Judith Flanders is a book that begged me to read it. And with its huge index (alphabetized, of course), end notes, and all the hallmarks of a modern nonfiction book, it did not fail to disappoint, at least if that’s the kind of reading material you like.
I’ll have to resort to memoirs to explain my excitement at finding this book. You see, when I was in second and third grade, I was annoying to teachers. They could not find enough work for me to do to keep me quiet, and I kept raising my hand to answer all the questions. I probably annoyed other kids, too. To remedy this, they passed me off to the patient librarian at Sidney Lanier Elementary School in Gainesville, Florida (also at the time home of education for deaf, mentally handicapped, and otherwise challenged kids, which was GREAT for teaching us that those are regular kids that are fine for playing with at recess). And yes, I know now that Sidney Lanier served in the Confederate military, but we were told he was a poet. The End.
Anyway, I proceeded to read through the contents of the library that matched my reading ability. I also needed books that matched my social development, which means not books with a lot of sex or overly “adult” themes that would confuse me. The librarian was very glad that I loved horses, because that made it simple. Just give Sue Ann books about horses, she thought. Then, she taught me how to find them myself in the magical card catalogue. OOOOOOO.
I loved the card catalogue. I’d just browse through it, amazed at its orderliness. I aged a bit and started my own collection of books, of course starting with Black Beauty. Duh. Once I had more than a few books, I was compelled to alphabetize them, by author, of course. There WERE a few I organized by size (which I learned from the book I’m supposed to be reviewing was common).
By the time I was in middle school, I had my own card catalogue (always spelled that way in my mind), made from index cards. I had a title index and an author index. Each card said when I got it and had an indication of its type (mainly F, NF, and SF for fiction, nonfiction, and science fiction (I moved on from horses)). This went with me and was updated throughout high school.
Even as I got older, I obsessively alphabetized my books. It made me happy. It also made finding books easy. I was an academic. I had a LOT of books, but added categories like Japanese, linguistics, knitting to the system.
Once I had children, I gave up and just shelved books by type. Every time I’d get them alphabetized, something would mess them up, so I gave up.
Back to the Book
Judith Flanders taught me a lot about books and their organization, or lack thereof. First off, there weren’t many books for a long time, and they were often bundled together randomly. That’s parchment books. Papyrus ones were scrolled, of course. And you generally read a book from start to finish, so there weren’t many organizational helps like subtitles, page numbers and such. All those things had to be invented!
Once libraries showed up there were lots and lots of ways to organize them. Some organized by size, some by topic, and some by the conventionally used systems of organization, which were fascinating hierarchies. God always came first, then rich people, then other subjects. That’s how lists of all sorts were organized, not just books. I have no idea how anyone found anything in the olden days. People also wrote all over books, and no two copies of any book were the same, since they were hand copied. Challenging.
Eventually, typing and carbon paper made organizing correspondence less complex, while double entry bookkeeping made financial stuff easier, but that all depended on having notebooks and files. So many things we take for granted today are NOT that old, like filing cabinets, file folders, staples, desks, and more. This book will blow your mind and really, really make you respect all those humans of the past who had to memorize everything.
So, as you can see, Everything in Its Place shares the history of a lot more than ordering systems! There’s writing systems, ways to permanently or impermanently record things in writing, storage methods, and of course, organizing systems.
That brings me to my favorite discovery in the book, which is about Dewey of the Dewey Decimal System. I was always very annoyed by this whole thing. Topics just didn’t make sense to me, especially the order in which they were arranged (all that Christian stuff in the beginning with lots of numbers, but then just one number for each other religion, for example, and science was weirdly arranged). I never arranged my books by that system, nope.
Was I ever thrilled to discover that Melvil Dewey was an asshole! A sexist! An anti-Semite! A homophobe! A creep! I just knew it. And these biases of his made finding certain topics really hard (there were changes made…but now I see why they use other systems now).
In the end, while Flanders didn’t make the book overly exciting, she did add some fun footnotes that I enjoyed, and she was certainly thorough in her research, which was complicated by the fact that there actually hasn’t been all that much research on organizational systems and alphabets. People just take them for granted. I was glad she addressed how to organize information in non-roman alphabets, like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. I really feel bad that typewriters are still based on Western principles, which can make typing and printing take a while.
I spent much of (but not all of) today getting my closet re-organized. Thank goodness, there was a nice interruption when a baby magically appeared. (Figuratively —he came with parents, too).
It was my great-nephew (by marriage—my siblings were not breeders). Actually he’s a step-nephew but what the heck, little Ryker is as close to a grandchild as I’ll get, I’ll wager.
I hadn’t met him yet, thanks to the good ole pandemic, but no one was in quarantine at the moment and his parents needed to stop by briefly. I enjoyed every moment of holding him and being goofy.
However, that was a brief highlight. Mostly I organized my closet, a thing I tend to do about twice a year. Now, I always thought I had a messy closet because my closets were too small. Nope. My closet is this big, thanks to how we enlarged the first floor of the house.
Our contractor, Ruben, did this for me, and I’m forever grateful. That island holds 8 drawers Bd is covered with beautiful natural quartz. Too bad it was totally covered with clothing, suitcases, and Christmas gifts this morning.
As I finished my three hours of hanging, sorting, and selecting things to donate, I realized that the size of the closet doesn’t matter. Unless you’re a really organized person (like my dad was) your closet will slowly become a mess until you make yourself fix it.
I can’t blame my narrow and annoying closet at the Austin house for my poor closet management, since I can’t keep this huge room looking neat. It’s me. I’m not a whiz with the closets.
Let’s see how long this lasts. I plan to iron some things, and maybe get some cute organizing stuff. And tomorrow the jewelry area will also be fixed. Maybe if I spiff it up a bit, I’ll do better.
Am I alone, or are closets hard for most people? Does your closet look like a California Closets ad?
Just a quick hello between emails. Today is really a Monday, with issues piling in from every which way at work. I’ve only been at my desk an hour and I’m ready to go back to the ranch.
Speaking of which, while we were all taking a day off yesterday and I was making things out of dewberries, we also did a bunch of organizing.
Our neighbors at Wild Type Ranch just delivered a quarter of a cow’s worth of meat (and it was one of the fancy neighbor cows, mmm). That meant it was time to re-arrange the freezers. We dug into that with gusto.
Now there are separate areas for beef, pork, chicken, veal, and venison (all from around here except chicken). We should be able to find things!
Since she was already in organizational mode, Kathleen then turned to the spice rack, which now can be used much better. She put all the big things of spices, especially the “Aw Shit” series that the guys love to smother every piece of meat we eat with, in a different cabinet. All can be seen now.
And THEN she went ahead and rearranged all the pantry items as well. We didn’t lose as much stuff to bugs as I thought. I hate pantry moths with a passion. They are one of the few things I can honestly say I cannot stand.
But, now we can see everything, some old stuff is gone, and we founds some things that we think my sister will be able to enjoy, so we can share some of our freezer bounty.
Mostly there were a lot of dewberries. More of that is to come!