Friday, June 26, 2015

The Morgue


Morgue is a journalist’s term for files of old stories. The Thrift Store donation bag, a flat-bottomed tote that stands open, is now functioning effectively as a morgue for surplus possessions. After repeatedly retrieving and donating a roll of gilded duct tape during a recent puttering binge, I realized that a certain class of articles belongs in a functioning domestic morgue. Things for which I no longer have a use but might have to replace can loaf in a morgue bag until it fills, at which point I can decide to set up another one and donate the first or set it up behind the empty one.

It’s so easy to buy a petty artifact that it’s cheaper to discard and replace than squander attention and time managing inventory.

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More after the jump.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Plastic Chambermaid



I use legally acquired industrial dairy crates all over the house. Their principal function is to tote inventory here and there on the property. I use a crate to stage a project, sometimes stowing just a single tool and a bold sticky note to myself in the thing. It’s easier than thinking.

Since the crates are designed to stack, it’s convenient to establish a free standing pile of dedicated units for temporary purposes. I store all kinds of surplus staples in crates, some of which live on high tech wire shelving units on sturdy wheels. 

Working with crates has freed many cubic feet of interior space and slashed long daily minutes of upstairs, downstairs activity.

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More after the jump.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Second Look At Clutter


A friend recently made moralistic noises about how good it feels to dispose of excess. I’m not sure thinking about right and wrong is the most intelligent way to get a grip on inventory. My friend has been the beneficiary of two systems: the high-quality inexpensive musical instruments that have been produced in Asia since the Seventies, and a local thrift store that seems to specialize in music gear.

True, one of his rooms has silted up with layers of guitar and amp, but I see no error in the situation. A recent find produced a guitar that plays so satisfyingly it has displaced six or seven other instruments. The amps, well, they’re amps and in the way. I’m not privy to the judgement about their usefulness, and they’re edging closer to his door.

“Trying stuff” is a useful design technique. It’s a privilege that there’s so much stuff available to try. Now and then I acquire something so suited to my purposes that it displaces many other artifacts. A small stone figure of Jizo, the Japanese spiritual figure who looks after travelers, has such a beneficial presence that it displaced two pick-up truckloads of lesser things. One noteworthy skirt off a high-end sale rack, the occasional cooking pot, a chair that’s just right-all of these things perform so well that I no longer need to bother with the things I was using before.

It’s easy to acquire necessities these days. That ease produces the problems that it solves just as efficiently. Hone editing skills.

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More after the jump.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Design By Disruption


A floor-painting project displaced the contents of a small room. Time is tight, and it’s taking me longer than usual to do the actual painting. The next room over stands nearly empty with the floor punctuated by speakers, storage chests, a highboy with a small footprint, and a folding screen.

A few weeks of idly gazing at a floor-load of gear led to the realization that I had inadvertently recreated student heaven. I just might leave the freshly painted room empty but for its massive sofa and play the sound system where it lies. The chests are seating and storage in one. I can finesse guest sleeping with a luxury pad from the Great Big Hiking Co-op. Not all guests appreciate the wonders of portable memory foam, but I’m happy to move over if necessary.

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More after the jump.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bang For The Buck


A two-bit pot of Shasta daisies grew into an arresting focal point in the landscape of a small house on the east side of the Hill. Friday the daisies were in bloom, and they caught my eye on my way south.

The house is small and square, the garden dry, tidy, and nondescript. Nothing on the lot suggests any particular sense of form. The house is painted a dark, charcoal grey, and the daisies grow as if by accident at the base of the northwest corner of the building. The foreground is cement-driveway, sidewalk, and road surface.

The contrast of white blooms, dark siding, and hardscape is delightful. It will be delightful for a week, but that week is worth waiting for.

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More after the jump.