Making it Easier – May

One thing I’ve begun to understand about making things easier, is that it’s hard work. It’s the ‘making’ part of that intent – thinking of the change that would make something easier then doing the work and organisation to get that change to happen – that takes all the time and energy. It’s only after you do the ‘making’ that life gets easier. If all goes to plan.

If I’d decided ‘take it easier’ was the motto of the year, things would have been much more relaxed. As it turned out, May was a month in which I worked very hard to make life easier.

For ages now I’ve been looking at the rooms I use for work and play and feeling something had to change. For a start, two were dedicated to activities I wasn’t doing much any more: writing and weaving. It seemed crazy that I was making art in half a laundry while those rooms remained mostly unused. Adding to the pressure was our cat getting old and suddenly refusing to go outside to toilet. Having the litter tray in the bath isn’t fun for cat or humans. The laundry is a better location, but it was full of my art stuff.

The physical roadblocks for change were mostly physical: I couldn’t see where to relocate the Lotas loom, I worried about doing art in a carpeted area, and I didn’t want to ruin the comfortable combination of furniture I had in place for sewing. I hadn’t realised there were mental blocks, too. (Other than simply knowing it would be hard work.) It turned out that changing anything to do with my writing set up was an acknowledgement that a significant era of my life had probably drawn to a close, and I hadn’t been ready for that until now.

What removed these roadblocks was staying overnight at Dad’s place after he’d had a minor procedure with anaesthetic. It was so impractical, compared to having him here, for reasons too long to list. To make staying overnight at our place appeal to Dad, we needed a proper guest room again and a bathroom free of cat toilet smells.

That meant reducing the area I was using for work and play from 3 1/2 rooms down to 2. Or did it? I realised that a pared down set of office furniture and contents could easily exist in the guest room. Guests would only limit my access to them a couple of times a year at most.

While getting 3 1/2 rooms down to 2 1/2 sounded easier, or 2 1/2 rooms dedicated to hobbies down to 2, it was still an intimidating prospect. I reminded myself that I’d had one room for hobbies when we first moved here (ok, I’d painted in a classroom and hadn’t owned a floor loom) and when we eventually downsize I’ll probably have the same. I’d watched The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. I could do this.

The strategy was this: the office would become the Textiles Room, the craft room would become the Art Studio, the Loom Room the Guest Room. It only involved moving every piece of furniture. Since I don’t have Illustrator any more and probably wouldn’t remember how to use it, I mapped out a floor plan and made cut outs of the furniture. After working out where most things would go, I did a mock move and found that everything had to be relocated in a particular order to avoid double-handling.

The Lotas loom was never going to fit in the Textiles Room. It might go in the Art Studio, or in another part of the house. I can put that decision off for a while because moving everything else is going to take plenty of time and energy, and moving the sofa bed to where the loom is now is the last item on my list.

May’s making it easier tasks will become June’s. And this is a classic example of how ‘making it easier’ turns out to be hard work, both physically and mentally.

But in the end, easier.