Living in a small house I often feel that life is one of those sliding tile puzzle games I used to get in a box of Cracker Jacks. In order to move something into a space, you have to empty that space. And, whatever already occupies that space has to go somewhere else. But before you can move it, you have to empty another space, ad infinitum.

The first thing we did in the kitchen remodel was empty the cabinets that we needed to tear down. A lot of stuff went into recycling (we seem to save every can and jar) or to Goodwill. The dishes and tools I knew we didn’t need on a daily basis but wanted to keep went into the garage: the ice cream maker, the bread maker, the tortilla press, the fondue pot, all my Christmas serving dishes and fancy Japanese dishes. After we rebuilt the kitchen, we had less storage space than before because we didn’t replace the upper cabinets. I wanted to get a feel for how we used the kitchen before deciding if we needed any more cabinetry.

In the last year we discovered we needed storage for odds and ends like the broom and the vacumn cleaner, the bucket and mop, the large appliances that we don’t use daily, and the seasonal serving dishes. And light bulbs. And paper towels, toilet paper, and napkins. We needed a pantry.

new pantry

Incandragon long ago converted me to the cult of Elfa. When we received the Container Store’s annual 30% off Elfa catalog, I knew it was time to act. On New Year’s Day. I emptied the hall closet. The first week of the year I ripped out the old warped boards that I’d put up as shelves when I move in, plastered, primed, and painted it. AJM got into the act by ripping out the old carpet (which had apparently once graced the entire house but was removed out before I moved in so I could be sold a house with “hardwood” floors) and scraping the wood floors. Within a week we had bought the Elfa shelving and by Sunday, January 13th we’d installed it. From conception to completion, that is certainly a project record for us.

The closet was a glory of gleaming empty shelves. I always regret having to spoil such a pristine space. Annie at The Transplantable Rose pegged my feelings about the new pantry exactly.

Having the shelves installed must be satisfying, and then you can spend some time on organizing and arranging the stuff. That can be so much fun with a new space, while your mind is still playing with possibilities….not like normal straightening and tidying after the system has become set in concrete.

my life in boxes

This closet was, of course, not empty just waiting to be filled with the kitchen overflow. It has always contained the many boxes that comprise my office, as well as my office supplies and drawing paper. All this had to go somewhere and the somewhere it went is the front bedroom. Last fall I had cleaned out the front bedroom, which has the habit of lapsing into a storage closet, and transformed it into a proper guest bedroom. I wasn’t ashamed when AJM’s mom stayed for a visit. Now the front bedroom looks like a storage closet again.

Of all the things in the house, these boxes, which contain nothing of material value, are to me the most precious. They contain all I’ve written, drawn, and photographed. This is the sum of my life…in boxes.

2 Responses to “Elfa’d”

  1. KAT Responds:


  2. M2 Responds:

    It’s the “moving squares puzzle” effect that drives me nuts … keeps me from getting organized. I get tired just thinking about it.

    The cult of Elfa is the promise of just a little more organization and tidiness. 😀 Getting one more empty square in the puzzle. Congrats on the closet!

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