Concerning Stuff

Pardon me while I whine for a minute. I’m having a luxury problem here, and it’s driving me bats.

I live in a four-bedroom house. Just me, no inconvenient family underfoot. But yet, I don’t have enough room for my stuff. This has nothing to do with absolute cubic footage. I don’t have that much stuff. It’s a question of utility. How do I arrange my stuff in such a way that it makes sense?

I have, to begin with, a fairly large collection of books. Most of them I will never read again — but I went through them about five years ago and got rid of quite a lot. I don’t feel good about getting rid of any more. But they’re of no value if they’re boxed up and relegated to the garage. They need to be on bookshelves, with the spines displayed in the usual way, in case I have a random impulse to read one.

CDs and LPs, ditto.

Then there are the paintings. I have too many of my father’s paintings, which are inconveniently large and take up a lot of wall space. Fifteen of them are hanging on the walls, along with four of my mother’s (blessedly smaller) pastels. I don’t actually need to be staring at the paintings, but if I put them in storage, nobody will ever see them again, and that’s a very sad thing. The linen closets in the hall are packed with smaller art work that I don’t have space to hang.

I have both a living room and a family room — but strangely enough, I have neither a living room nor a family room. I have, in other words, no “social space” where people could sit around and talk if I invited a few friends over, or maybe watch a movie together. The living room is my cello teaching studio, and also houses my six-foot grand piano. (A grand piano? See, I told you it was a luxury problem.) Add a couple of bookshelves for sheet music and the couch for parents and family to sit on during the lesson, and the room is full.

The family room is larger, but it’s my electronic music studio. Here are set up my computer, a synthesizer keyboard, speakers, shelves for the aforementioned LPs, and so on. Plus, one wall is dominated by the fireplace and another by the sliding door to the back yard. The family room does have a couch and an easy chair, but the couch is in an awkward place. If I had a TV (there’s a natural place for it in the corner beside the sliding door), the couch would not be facing it. Very bad.

I could move the computer studio into the back bedroom, but it would be too cramped for me to also set up my electric cello in order to record music into the computer and play along with it. There isn’t even room for the electric cello setup in the family room unless I get rid of the awkwardly positioned couch. But where else can I put the couch? In a back bedroom, where nobody will ever sit on it? What kind of sense would that make? In the dining room???

I would like to buy a large-format printer, so that I can print orchestra cello parts that are large enough for me to read easily at rehearsals and concerts with my not-so-great eyesight. I can’t even figure out how to come up with one extra square foot for that. I would need a larger table … and where would I put it? In front of the fireplace?

I can’t get at half of the LPs, because they’re on shelves that are tucked away behind other furniture. Not that I listen to a lot of LPs, but once in a while, you know? Maybe I have this Jefferson Airplane-shaped impulse, but it’s way too much trouble to drag the easy chair out into the middle of the room to get at that particular LP shelf.

This is not a post with a snappy ending sentence. There’s no snappy ending in sight.

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