Hard up? Start up.

One thing I love about change is the opportunity to start fresh. I like building new systems and adopting new work methods. I especially love the makeover portion of the exercise.

This time around, the apartment gets a slight review. See, when the boyfriend unit moved in, I gave him the office. After all, I was at work all day, I hardly used that space any more, and as a programmer, he really needs it.

But then fell the axe.

And then came the contracts. Last year, post-Cossette, I practically lived in my beautiful, tailor-made office, typing away and creating some of my favourite taglines. This time around, I have the same amount of work to do, but no space to do it in. The solution isn’t kicking the boyfriend out of the office. We both need an office space as much as the other, so the only way is to create another space.

At first, I couldn’t see it. I’m a bit of a clutterbug. Every inch of my apartment is inhabited by…something (I’m no good with those clean zen lines). When the boyfriend moved in, I got rid of a lot of stuff. Even so, our place is still bursting with yet more stuff.

So I invited my buddy–who, by all accounts, should be a stylist–to take a look and see what I couldn’t. Firstly, he said, if you run out of surfaces, build up. Clear up some of the surfaces by building shelves and putting that stuff there. Secondly, he pointed out, I’m not using my kitchen table. It’s just a flat spot to put things on, but I don’t use it to consume, convene, confer, concur: anything! Put it in the basement (since I’m lucky enough to have one), and put the new desk here.

“You want your office in the kitchen?” asked the boyfriend unit. “No,” I replied, “but I need a desk, and that space is the best place for it.”

So yesterday was spent getting the things I needed to make these changes. A birch shelf from Ikea. Check. A rotating shoe rack (it doesn’t seem like it should be part of the plan,but it is). Check. Frames for some new art (damn you, Ikea, for your pre-warehouse bits-and-bobs section). Check. Oh yeah, and some seeds to finally grow that herb garden (okay, this isn’t part of the apartment makeover, but it is part of the personal revamp). Yesterday evening, after a fine chick pea salad, I started clearing out the kitchen. It was way overdue. I enjoyed it, too. My spices used to be crammed, rather uncomfortably, into one of my teeny kitchen cupboards. Now they’re all laid out nicely, out in the open, on one of the shelves. They look much better, much homier. While I was at it, I also cleaned out the cupboards, cleared the top of the fridge, and just plain liberated the spaces that have been oppressed by my pack-rat gene.

Today, we go into phase 2: moving the desk into the kitchen, and moving the kitchen table into the basement, punctuated by hanging new art. This is the exciting part, really, because I’ll be that much closer to working in a new environment, and that’s the real aim. Virginia Woolf was right about the importance of having a room of one’s own: the fruits of your creativity won’t exist without it.

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