As they all do at first, it seemed like a simple project. All I wanted to do was move the wardrobe in my office into the bedroom as a replacement for my dresser. (The wardrobe is antique; the dresser is merely old. Trust me, there is a difference.)
I'd been intending to get this done for weeks. Finally, Saturday was the day. We set to work.
Step One: Take all nine drawers out of the dresser and set them out across the bed in the guest room. Move the dresser into the guest room.
Step Two: Sweep up the large family of dust bunnies that had been living under the dresser.
Step Three: Take all the office supplies, art supplies, notebooks, software CDs and manuals, file folders, etc., etc., off of the wardrobe's five shelves. Stack them on my two office chairs, under my desk, behind my desk, on top of my desk, and in the middle of the floor.
Step Four: Move the wardrobe (80 inches tall by 40 inches wide by 18 inches deep) through a doorway (79½ inches tall by 28 inches wide) into a hallway (42 inches wide), turn it, and haul it down the hall to the bedroom. This, remarkably, was accomplished without scratching either the wardrobe or the woodwork, breaking the light fixture that was hanging in precisely the wrong place, smashing any fingers, yelling at one another, or resorting to profanity.
Step Five: Sweep up the small family of dust bunnies that had been living under the wardrobe.
Step Six: Start to put the shelves back in the wardrobe. Decide that, since they were originally built to hold office supplies instead of cashmere sweaters, they needed to be sanded first.
Step Seven: Make a trip to the hardware store for sandpaper and wood filler.
Step Eight: Apply wood filler to shelves. Lots of wood filler. Decide they are rougher than first thought and need to be painted.
Step Nine: While wood filler is drying, start rearranging office. Move file cabinet out of closet. Empty small bookshelf in closet, adding its contents to the piles already on the chairs, on the floor, and under, behind, and on top of the desk.
Step Ten: Sweep up community of dust bunnies in the closet.
Step Eleven: Take bookshelf downstairs to exchange it for larger bookshelf that is in the closet under the stairs. Empty big bookshelf of Christmas decorations and old geology magazines. Drag it out of closet. Vacuum up mixed community of dust bunnies, dead moths, and spiders. Move small bookshelf into closet. Replace geology magazines and Christmas ornaments.
Step Twelve: Haul large bookshelf upstairs, put it into office closet. Look at stuff piled all over office. Decide to take a break and have some chocolate in order to gain strength before starting to put it away.
Fast forward, mercifully, to Monday morning.
The office furniture is rearranged. The bookshelf in the closet is full. The computer and both chairs are uncovered, but most of the available surfaces, including my desk, are still cluttered with miscellaneous small objects waiting to be put away.
The wardrobe—empty—is in the bedroom. The shelves are downstairs in the workshop waiting to be sanded and given their first coat of paint. My clothes are still in the dresser drawers, which are still arrayed across the bed in the guest room. It's kind of handy, really, to be able to see exactly what's in each one.
But the closet under the stairs is clean, organized, and looking great. If I need any old geology magazines or have an urge to put up Christmas decorations in May, I know exactly where to find them.
When I read the heading of this latest column, I thought you were trying to kick some habit. Interesting as ever but I think Step 12 is the only one I would care to join you in and I think we would have given that step an earlier introduction into this project.