Nooks & Crannies

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

Most Facebook accounts are overflowing with the joys of family, and vacations, and family vacations. Most people's very first Facebook post is a selfie of them with their partner or a picture of their dog or their beautiful children. Not me. Here's mine. My pride and joy: the junk drawer.

We could have a hey day throwing that little nugget into a deep dive of my psyche, but let's save it for another time. For now, I think I can safely admit that I love me a junk drawer!

Not only that, but I love (am fascinated-obsessed-enamored with) all the nooks and crannies of a house. Who doesn't remember hiding under a table during childhood and feeling like you've just entered your own secret world? Who doesn't remember sneaking a peek inside your mom's or aunt's or grandma's closet with heart pounding anticipation of the wonders it held? That's where the House-Magic is stored. Inside every nook and cranny.

This month's theme is Nooks & Crannies. Today, my first blog post of the month, is Cinderella's take on the theme. Which brings us back to the beauty of an organized junk drawer. Have you ever cleaned a junk drawer, and then returned to that drawer to open it up 1,000,000 times over the next couple of days just to admire it, feel your heart swell with pride and remind yourself what a CHAMP you are for cleaning and organizing that drawer?

Me too.

That messy junk drawer and coat closet and "everything-closet" (you know the one) is daunting though, isn't it? It can sometimes sit untended for years. There are just too many other more important moving parts to your days than the damn junk drawer! But then one day you 'snap'. You open the drawer, throw your head back and scream. The junk drawer is emptied and in a matter of 30 minutes, you have yourself a new, tidy little world that you created all by yourself.

As I entered this month of Nooks & Crannies, I knew I'd begin with a Cinderella project of organizing a little closet. But I procrastinated. I didn't do it. I couldn't, wouldn't do it.

What is that?

I spent more time than I intended to on that question this morning. I wanted to find an article relaying some juicy research on the reasons behind our junk drawers and 'everything-closets'. But all I found was article after article after sickening article about how-to organize your junk drawers and everything-closets with a gazillion different tips and tricks. Boring.

I believe that our junk drawers serve a purpose in our health and well being. There's something important about the messy corners of our lives. There's something necessary in giving yourself the relief of throwing all your crap into a safe, quiet place and closing the door until a rainy day. There's something beautiful in honoring them by letting them be for a while, until they're ready to be cleansed and cleared. Because there's a healing component to the clearing exercise. But it can't be forced. When your spirit is ready for a cleanse, it it often reflected in a day of organizing a nook or cranny.

And so, after two weeks of saying NO to the organizing project, it happened.

I approached the armoire.

This is an old entertainment armoire (you can tell by the silly hanging shelf up top for the VCR and the open back for all the component cords and the fixed slots down below for all the VCR tapes and the doors that slide back into the unit to allow an unblocked view of the TV) that the previous owners of our house left behind. They had been using it for storage in the mudroom. I was fine with it. It stayed. I painted it red and stuffed it with stuff. In the winter it holds baskets of hats & mittens and stacks of snowpants. In the summer it holds baskets of bug spray & sun screen and stacks of swim towels.

Four years later I painted it black, and continued to stuff it with stuff.

There was, however, a nagging - low lying frustration with the thing. No Shelves up top! You would think there would have been at least one day within the span of 7 years when I fashioned a shelf inside of it for more organized storage (especially given the days that I spent painting it red or black!), but no. I was frustrated with it but not THAT frustrated. I was grateful to have a place to shove the stack of swim towels and shut the doors.

But then Cinderella whispered in my ear. "It's time"

It was time because we were about to host extended family members for a weekend which would total 13 humans leaving their shoes strewn across the mudroom floor and I had a feeling that my pleasing personality might disappear as the pile of shoes grew. I had to take some preventative measures.

Solution: a shoe rack from Target. It wasn't really thought out. The truth is, I ran to target early that day (THE DAY that everyone was arriving - in the middle of cleaning bathrooms and washing guest bedding and blowing up air mattresses - I ran to Target. Then, when I arrived back home I threw the box on the mudroom floor and yelled to my daughter to put it together. I was sheepishly aware that my pleasing personality had already disappeared and my husband and kids were taking the brunt of it, but hoping that it would be a short-lived "storm")

Also, from Menards: two little hanging baskets installed on the side for bug sprays or sunscreens or pet supplies and a mesh see-through basket up top (helpful to see what's in there) for lint rollers, umbrellas, and what-not.

This little fix did get me happily through the weekend. Shoe problem SOLVED! AND - all the swim towels are now rolled up neatly inside a large basket on the console next to the armoire. I'm fine with this. It's cute (fun colors) and helpful for guests to easily find and grab a towel on their way out to the pool.

BUT I didn't feel thrilled. I didn't feel that spark of "design-delight" every time I opened the armoire. So I went on a little mission.

After the weekend of hosting, we all went up north to a cabin we rented for the week. PERFECT antiquing opportunity. I didn't know what I was hunting for, but I suspected I could find some magic up north to bring back to the armoire. You see, this armoire is quite possibly the heaviest used piece of furniture in the heaviest used corner of the heaviest trafficked spot in the house. After reading up on feng shui this summer, I knew I could use this corner for more than snow pant storage. I could use this corner as a touchstone. This is a corner that should subtly, quietly, gently remind us of the things that we need to be reminded of as we grab our hat and walk out into our day.

Now we are greeted by our Lucky Number 3 for a little boost every time we open the doors. We are greeted with Rosie the Riveter reminding us that if SHE can do it, WE certainly can. Grandma Moses cheers me on with her little art piece tucked into the back corner to inspire me and remind me that it's never too late, considering her wildly successful career didn't even begin until she was in her 70's. And last but not least, the sweet cross-stitched piece sends us on our way with, "Wherever you wander, wherever you roam, be happy and healthy and glad to come Home."

Nooks and Crannies. Pure Magic.

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