Monday, September 1, 2014

Creating Space, Part 3: Bookshelves for the Aesthetically Needy


This week, Lumberjack is on his two-week vacation before he starts a new job, so we've been doing a major overhaul of our living space and decor. We've been renting our current place for a little over a year, and since we weren't sure how long we were staying, we've been reluctant to put much effort into decorating. In the last few weeks, though, we've decided not to move in the foreseeable future - and that has kicked off an epic reevaluation of our whole house!

Through college, I moved at least once a year, if not two or three times; since then, we've moved within the Seattle metropolitan area about once a year. Our current place is the longest I've stayed at an address since I moved out of my parents' house, but up until a few weeks ago, I just assumed we were going to be moving again soon. So, now that we've decided to stay, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities - the most exciting of which is the opportunity to make our space and my intense level of aesthetic neediness coincide.

Aesthetic neediness, simply put, is the constant desire to surround oneself - both physically and conceptually - with thoughtful, functional, aesthetically interesting or appealing objects and ideas. Sparklepants came up with the term, and it perfectly sums up the weird, perfectionist scrutiny that is so often employed against the belongings of a design- or art-minded person.

Aesthetic neediness begets Pinterest boards, and breathlessly exuberant design blogs, and minimalist lifestyles. It's critical, and purposeful, and not a small amount snobby - which, honestly, is the part that made me resist it for a long, long time.

I have a lot of thoughts about stuff in general, and I also recognize that aesthetic neediness is often closely associated with positions of privilege and power. And although I deeply appreciate the things that I consciously choose for the value and beauty they bring to my life, I try to keep in mind that my concept and execution of aesthetic neediness is a personal decision that neither reflects nor dictates others' experiences of their own space and belongings.

Oof. Anyhow, the whole point of that is, after many years of dissatisfaction with my bookshelf, I finally transferred all of my knitting, fashion, and inspiration books to their own shelf. And then I organized each shelf by color, like the obnoxious hipster I am. For years, I organized my books by title or content, and I've finally realized that for these books, they are not meant to be searchable so much as they are meant to be beautiful and inspiring - and it's okay if they reflect that!

So now, all of my books are on the same bookcase; the bookcase is pretty and bright; I still have a sense of where each of them are; and they are arranged in a pretty rainbow that makes my aesthetically needy little self very, very happy.

Happy Monday.

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