Sunday, September 30, 2012

Post Travel Cleanup.

I've been on the road for a while. I started out in June with a short trip to Oregon. After a weekend in Tacoma, I went to Texas for three weeks. Then from Texas I went straight to Colorado for six weeks. After Colorado I came back here for half a day, and went to Oregon for the weekend. Came back for another day and went on leave to the East Coast for three weeks. Never actually living in my room, I began to treat it like a staging ground, where bags are packed and unpacked and laundry is done in preparation for the next trip, and through it all I had thought I was going to be leaving for a deployment right about now, so I had a box packed and ready to go for that since June.

So I had a messy, messy room.

It isn't even a big room. About 12' X 12' with a small closet and a bathroom shared with the next room. And of my approximately 144 square feet of floor space, about 140 of it was covered with stuff. There was a walkway from the door to my computer desk, enough room (barely) for the chair to be pulled out from the desk, and a walkway to the bathroom door. Since that walkway passes right by the closet, I had access to the closet, which I thought was good planning on my part. However, since all of my clothes were in various piles on the floor, between my bed and my bookcases, and more packed in my backpack and various dufflebags, there was virtually nothing in the closet anyway, so that walkway was rather useless.

Between my bed and my bookshelf there is about three feet of space, and that space had a footlocker full of books, a stack of books against the wall, a dufflebag full of cold weather gear, several pairs of boots, my body armor, my large backpack with all my clothes in it (minus the ditry ones, those were in a very organized heap by the door.)

There was simply no walking south of the bed.

So I said to myself, "I need to clean this place up." Since this is the first weekend I've had since the latest trip, I set Saturday morning as the time for the attack.

I started out at about 9:30, with only four hours before I planned on leaving for confessions (Saturday afternoon, you know. It's a Catholic thing.) Obviously the first thing to do was create some space. So all the stuff, including mattress and box springs, went out in the hallway.

Look at all that junk! Why do I even have so much stuff? It isn't even mine, most of it. It's just miscellaneous gear the army has issued me over the years, and I am expected to maintain it. I hardly even use most of it. I think if the army wants me to maintain it they should pay for a storage unit.

I had a box of books packed to go to Afghanistan with me. It has been packed since June. Since that trip got canceled, I now have to unpack all of those books. There is a ton more books on the ground off to the left, which are my books that I intend to read but haven't yet, and books in odd stacks on the shelves which are books that I hadn't read, but then  I did read them during my recent trips, and so they are now waiting for me to put them where they belong on the shelf. All of that is in the subtext of this photo, but you can't see it in the photo itself because I am not a great photographer. What can I say? I'm a writer.

The actual cleaning process started at the bookshelf end of the room. I took all the books that I had read already, put them on the shelves in their proper places (organized by fiction vs. non-fiction, general subject matter, and alphabetically by author's last name. A little OCD? Heck no! There's like 800 books there. How else would I ever find one? OCD is when I am talking on the phone, and casually glance over at the bookcase, and notice that one of the books is upside down, and cannot continue with the conversation until I have gotten up and turned it right side up.)

Then I took my DVDs and stuck them up on the top of the far left shelf, and then line up my waiting-to-be-read books in no particular order across to the other wall. Now that looks cool!

This is the view from the clean side of the room. All the clean clothes I had just tossed into a pile in front of the closet to make room for the book organizing frenzy that was about to happen. I hadn't even touched the desk, yet. The next target is that little 9-box shelf thingy that I keep drawing and caligraphy supplies (a hobby I have no time for) my letter writing materials, my little black bag with some basic diagnostic medical equipment, and every-thing-that-I-bring-into-the-room-and-don't-know-where-it-goes. That got cleaned off and organized. I now also have room in it for Christmas presents (I stockpile them), paperwork, current college texts, and a whole shelf just for copies of my books, which I need to restock because I am almost out.

There now. Doesn't that look nice? I even have pictures on top of it. A Catechism of the Catholic Church, two Bibles (one of them is just the New Testament, but it is the Ignatius Study Bible), the Quotable Chesterton and the Quotable Lewis, a Korean-English Dictionary, and a Tagalog-English dictionary make a pretty decent handy reference section. Why a Tagalog-English dictionary, since I don't speak Tagalog? I don't know. But it's a lovely book anyway. One of these years I need to invest in a Webster's dictionary, just on the principle of the matter. You know, one of those gi-normous heavy leather ones. I might move my Grey's Anatomy text there as well, and maybe get a Thesauraus.
But I Digress!
Organize the closet. Not exactly dress-right-dress, but I know where everything is. It is not organized by sleeve length, or by color (what would be the point? There are about three colors in the whole dang closet.) It is neat, and all the clothes are clean. And, because I just have so much junk to keep, and only a tiny room to keep it in, I filled up the bottom with bags of army gear and my martial arts gear. 
Save some more space by putting stuff under the bed,
Then put the bed on top of it:
And Voila! My own sister couldn't have done better and my mother wouldn't have.
Home sweet home!
 I thought about putting these photos in in reverse order and making up a story about how I came back to find my room all neat and organized and had to return it to its natural state, but I know several people with OCD who would have been on the floor in the fetal position by the end of it. Better to leave them with a happy ending.
Totally random because that's what kind of day it is. I saw this guy on my way home from Mass this morning. I have no idea what breed of cattle it might be and thought my dad and my brother might like to see it. Unfortunately, I don't think they read my blog. So ya'll can see it instead. ;-)


  1. Works for me. The books are the important thing and as long as you can find what you want I'm good with it. Boy would I like to spend a couple of months with your bookshelves!!

  2. Thank you so much for not putting the photos in reverse order! You are so kind! And now it is all clean! =)

  3. Your room looks much nicer - especially the bookshelves! I agree about the dictionary and thesaurus. A big, deluxe dictionary should be a must for everyone. I know it is quick and easy to look up a word on the computer - especially if you are sitting right in front of it - but nothing beats flipping through the dictionary!

    I don't know much about life in the military but were you really going to bring all those books with you overseas? I am a librarian and I would think that the army would have a traveling library of some kind for deployed soldiers to use.

  4. nice hat...and typewriter !!

  5. I read your posts. but I have had trouble leaving a comment. Do you believe that? after all it is a computer thing.