Lora Abernathy: Booking the room

Like many people, there is a room in our house that has always been difficult for us to define. It’s quite small, but we believe it must have been the master bedroom because of its large closet and the bathroom to which it’s connected. We’ve never used it for that.

We’ve called it the “whatever room,” because it has served three to four purposes simultaneously during the eight years we’ve lived there.

In December, after moving a dining room table out that served as Gary’s desk — which he never used — bringing in two antique sitting chairs and my wingback chair, we could finally see past “whatever.” It was a beautiful sitting room.

However, it was missing something, and a family tragedy soon helped us see the room for what it really could be: our library.

Gary suggested adding a bookcase to one side of the room.

“We can have one shelf with Bela’s ashes, her collar, maybe her food bowl and some photos,” he helped me imagine.

“I like it,” I said through my tears.

Our near-12-year-old Great Dane, Bela, died peacefully in her sleep Feb. 1. We would, of course, have found a special place to honor her in the house but, as an avid reader, I liked the idea of a bookcase.

When we went shopping a few days later, the plan was just to buy one bookcase. We came home with four.

Once we got inside the store, we realized we would have room for two bookcases. Even better, we said to each other, our eyes lighting up as we thought about our room being even more “library-esque.”

But then we saw THE bookcase set, and we realized we had the opportunity to go really big with our dream and stay within our budget. This set had four bookcases, with the ability to “wrap” around a corner, and were close to 8 feet high. With our tall ceilings, it would be perfect.

Gary worked so hard putting everything together. These black cases were gigantic, stunning and fit perfectly in one corner. Surprisingly, our tiny room seemed bigger.

I then moved our books from several spots in the house to “the library,” as Gary and I call it sometimes using a haughty, English accent now that we’re officially fancy people, and began styling.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. We had to clear out the big, unused table in the room to get a true appreciation for its potential.

After being subject to winter’s harsh elements for so many months, and letting the sun’s warmth renew our outlook on the coming year, there’s no better time than spring to re-examine what we truly need in our home.

There’s a book I just heard about that could help awaken that purpose. It’s called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” by Marie Kondo, and it has reportedly sparked an organizing revolution.

According to an October 2014 New York Times article about her book, “Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not ‘spark joy,’ after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.”

I frequently take clothes and furniture to the consignment store, and clutter isn’t a problem. My new bookcases are more for decoration and room-definition than storage; it’s simply that storage is the bonus.

But I’d like to hear more of what she has to say, because I really dig the concept. According to a January Washington Post article, Kondo just released a second book titled, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up,” wherein she goes into more detail about how to organize.

Though, instead of reading what other people have written about her books, I suppose I should go buy them. I have just the place for them … in “the library.”

Salt Magazine