Somewhere over the Rainbow
By: Julie Day
I’ve been in a rather strange mood lately. Perhaps I’m a bit batty after seven months of feeling like I’m staging a magazine spread rather than living in my home (if you’ve ever sold a house, you understand what I mean!). It’s been enough to drive a perfectionist crazy – constantly rotating spice bottles so they’re label side out, wiping water droplets off surfaces that are normally allowed to get wet, hiding things I use every day only to drag them back out again . . . you get the idea.
And as each month goes by, I get a little more obsessive, a little more determined to have every atom in place, preferably with electron clouds spinning in sync.
Even though this current arrangement is getting a little insane, I do enjoy organizing things. My grocery list is categorized, my forks all point the same way, and then there are my bookshelves. I’m the daughter of a bookstore manager, so really I have little choice but to divide hardbacks from paperbacks, sort by genre, and arrange alphabetically by author’s last name (What? You mean you don’t?). It’s in my blood.
One afternoon, in yet another flurry of cleaning for a house showing, I had had enough of this stiff, nitpicky existence. Before I knew it, I had swept every single book to the floor in a heap – fiction landing on nonfiction, Hemingway tangling with Cornwell – it was scandalous!
Having recently re-watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I feel a certain kinship with Roy as he throws shrubbery through the kitchen window in a fit of creative obsession. Books flew through the air, some landed on shelves, my face grew smudged with dust, and when I finally stepped back, I surveyed my creation – a rainbow.
Now, I realize that arranging my books R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. is no less perfectionistic (nobody said I was giving that up!). But as I looked at the rainbow, I was struck by one very distinct difference – this arrangement made me feel happy. The practical arrangement made sense, yes, but why not arrange the little details of our lives in a way that makes us feel joyful?
I mean, who doesn’t love rainbows? I loved it so much I went and did the same thing to my clothes closet.
It’s kind of a silly thing, but I can’t adequately express how wonderful it is to walk into my office and be greeted with a rainbow. That bookshelf full of dry, practical stuff is now a piece of colorful art. And from a home-staging standpoint, the colors draw attention away from the personal book titles, giving the whole thing wider appeal.
Books that lend knowledge now also add beauty. And, incidentally, I’ve yet to have trouble finding a book (turns out, it’s pretty easy to remember what color they are). I love it!