color coded bookcase

As much fun as it is to feather the nest for Christmas, adding a tree and its hundreds of ornaments, candles, special mugs and plates, wreaths, knick-knacks, old photos of the boys with Santa, pillows and towels, it’s also great to turn the calendar page to January.

Which is all about de-cluttering.  Going more minimal.  Getting rid of the dust-catchers.  Pulling rooms together.

Decorating and home magazines fuel this frenzy.  While December covers feature cozy rooms, glowing candles, art-directed Santa collections and gorgeous trees, January covers are all about going spare.  Out with the clutter, in with the streamlining.  At the start of each New Year, we are treated to covers depicting beautifully simple rooms, with bursts of bright citrus colors that scream “Fresh New Year!” 

One craze that has caught on in the world of design bloggers is to organize your bookcase by color.  Seriously.  I first saw it done by a Dutch blogger a couple of years ago, and yesterday at the gym, while reading the January issue of Good Housekeeping, I saw a photo of a Canadian blogger who had jumped on the bandwagon (or maybe she did it first, I don’t know who did what when).

I can’t decide if this is horrendously twee, terribly illiterate, or kind of cool.  The designer in the magazine explained  herself by saying “I think in color, it’s how I organize my life.”  Who is going to argue with such an arty, lofty defense? 

On the other hand, it reminds me of my local Goodwill, which organizes all clothing by color.  There’s the red rack, the blue rack, the green rack, the pink rack…all containing a crazy hodge-podge of garments with only one thing in common.  Their general position on the color spectrum.

Isn’t that sort of sorting-challenged?

When organizing books, I alwasy flash back to a conversation with a fellow mom at a charity rummage sale a few years ago.  We were manning a booth together for our kids’ Relay for Life table.  My friend unpacked a box of books she had brought from home, including “Curing Your Baby’s Colic.”  We had to laugh about this, not because colic is funny (if you’ve lived through it, you know it’s a nightmare)….but because her two daughters were both in their mid-teens. 

She had held on to this book for years and years!  Even worse, she vividly remembered being on vacation at the beach with her husband and newborn during the colicky days.  Her husband went blithely off to rent a kayak and go for a lovely solo paddle for hours one afternoon, while she struggled to calm her baby and find wisdom in the book.  With such bad memories affixed to this tome, it’s doubly surprising that she had not deep-sixed it sooner.

Maybe she just didn’t know which color section of the bookcase to file it under.


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