Shelves are good for the soul …

Shelves again are the heroes of my life. I wrote about the same subject in 2015 when some well-placed shelving helped pull my youngest out of a disorder funk. I have been in complete chaos in my new house since we got the keys in October. But I am a master at organizing spaces. I have helped many a person settle problem areas in their homes. I can do it for myself.

Though my new kitchen isn’t really small, it is boxed in, which limits its physical reach. However, I’m able to think outside the box. I realized that the pantry I so admired when looking at the house can be whatever I want it to be. In fact its definition is: a small room or closet in which food, dishes and utensils are kept. I also decided I wanted all the cookware in the kitchen so I didn’t have to remember where I put the odd, seldom used pieces. I found gliding pot racks and installed them in the ceiling of the pantry which was too tall and deep to be useful anyway. Then I moved the plastic storage, mixing bowls and all those types of dishes in the bottom half. In the little cupboards whose doors butt up against the dishwasher when trying to put dishes away, I stored cans, containers full of grains, food I use for recipes ingredients. It’s perfect. My husband hung a basket for fruit, I found a hanging basket for onions and potatoes, moved the silverware to a different drawer and I’m set in the kitchen.

I’ve been cooking in the kitchen for a couple weeks now, all the while avoiding the rest of the boxes. Many of which were still in the RV, which my husband used for packing to get them out of the old house while we were in transition. I knew I needed shelves, and I had a lot of modular shelves from IKEA that for years I’ve used in every which way as our needs changed. We set them up in the living room, but I wasn’t ready to load them up yet. Something was missing. I still needed shelves in the office area.

I’ve decided to rethink my idea of an office. This new house has a long, built-in desk off the family room. I don’t need to be shut away when I’m working, and I usually write on my laptop wherever the weather or my mood leads me; outside on the patio, in my bedroom with my feet up. So the family room is now into an office/den area. This way my husband can easily watch TV and surf the Internet at night. My craft things will be in the humongous laundry area/guest room that also has a built-in desk.

But I couldn’t settle the office/den or any item that needed shelves until I had all the shelves I’d need, which by the way there were already grooves for the tracks on the wood wall of the office. We just needed the pieces. One day last week my husband came home from his never ending job of moving his shop and wasn’t exhausted. I jumped on the opportunity and we went out and bought the rest of the shelving for the office.

He took the following day off, and installed them. Finally, I could really dig in and finish the rest of the house. My daughters helped me unload the remaining boxes from the RV, mostly photo albums from their lives. I spent the rest of the evening settling it all until I wore myself out. I’m that much closer to being settled, physically and mentally. Shelves are good for the soul.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom living nearby in unincorporated King County. You can read more of her writing on her website, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Life section.

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