Thursday, 27 February 2014

7 Posts in 7 Days (Thursday) - Strike While the Iron's Hot

Strike while the iron's hot - I have no idea if this idiom makes sense internationally or even nationally but here in Northern Ireland it simply means - just do it. When everything's in place, when the mood takes you, when you find yourself with a pocket of time - go, get it done, get to getting.

This morning after the first night of sleeping through for my two year old, I awoke refreshed and ready for the day and Bundle and I let Daddy have a rare lie in while we headed to the other end of the apartment for morning play and breakfast. At the still early (for me) time of half nine, Hubs arose and headed out of doors to move around some of the outdoor planters so we could reposition the bins and our age old sharpening stone (still the best way to sharpen a knife that I know). Once dressed I carried Bundle out to join his Daddy and this, still fleecy-pyjama-clad, Mama started a load of laundry and then struck while the iron was hot and got stuck in to helping tidy up the yard area while Hubby hit the shower before work.

With Bundle playing happily with his toy lawnmower and carrying kindling (small sticks) around the place, I gathered up plastic buckets and plant pots and odds and sods strewn around the place with the idea that I would pile them up in my Dad's workshop that is Granda's (hoarder-tastic, layer-upon-layer, rat-frequented) workshop.

There was no floor to step onto as I slid open the door despite my having spent twenty minutes on it last week so I had to climb on top of other things as I found a place to add safely to the piles already there. This led to my rolling up my sleeves and starting at the door to clear the obvious rubbish.

I all but filled our wheelie bin with: gardening/work gloves with holes in; plastic bags that have been mouse/rat nibbled or ripped; scraps of sodden carpet; broken plant pots and containers; water bottles, milk jugs and yoghurt pots that if needed can be easily replaced; packaging that is now beyond reuse; and broken this and that and the other.

Scraps of wood that seem too small/sodden to be useful were added to the woodpile outside. Bags of newspapers and compostibles made it to the appropriate recycling bins. Whilst newspapers are usually firelighters for my parents there was a huge glut and keeping these was just hoarding especially as they had become wet and are also easily replaced (my Hubby reads our local rag each week and my Dad our regional one at the weekend).

An old (cheap and broken) telephone table was added to the firewood pile, as was an old past-repair rattan chair. A broken toolbox had a salvageable segmented tray removed from it for cleaning, whilst a gardening trug was also appropriated from the mess which with a minor repair will prove useful as I seek to make this a useable, calm space for my father, one that may actually be organised enough to allow the rest of us to find things we need too.

My father like myself suffers from depression and low concentration, poor memory and disorganised, overly cluttered spaces do nothing to help us. Unfortunately whilst I struggle with decluttering my own belongings, my Dad just can't. We have learned that the gently gently gets us (and him) nowhere and it is better to simply do what we can without him and try to engage him once some progress has been made. I know this undertaking of decluttering, tidying and organising the workshop (and then the many other outbuildings) will be a painful arduous process but the end result will allow my father greater use of the things he owns and of the tools and woodcrafts he enjoys.

I see a workshop emptied of everything, cleaned, made increasingly rodent-proof with better (and increased) lighting (cleaning the rooflight would make a huge difference alone). A sanded and repainted door and lintel, an epoxy painted floor for easy clean-up, whitewashed walls for increased light. The storage already in place, used better, smarter; afixed to the walls but up off the floor (for easier clean-up once again) with a place for everything and everything in its place. Continued use of wall-hanging as storage for frequently used tools, with the outline of the tool drawn right on the wall so that anyone could put things away. Lidded clear glass jars (of which I have many, also an easily gatherable form of storage) so smaller items (different sized nails, screws etc.) can be gathered like with like, easily seen from without and "handy."

Handy is my Dad's one requirement for everything - I want to show him that handy and tidy/organised/put away go hand-in-hand and that when things are put away in their defined space, they are handy to find each and every time you need them.

Letting go will be incrdibly difficult for my Dad but hopefully with our support he will have a workshop to be proud of but more importantly one he can work IN. Of late he goes in to find (if he can) what he needs and then works outside or in other buildings. How nice for him to be able to reclaim this space.

I envision the future of his workshop so much more easily today after only just a ittle more than ONE hour of work. I can see the expanse of floor as you enter and I can see the possibilities. I remember working alongside my father in this space and with cleared space (and therefore fewer places for rodents to congregate) I see my son and my nephews beside their Granda enjoying (supervised) play with the small hatchet, hammer and fretsaws of my childhood.

I hope this inspires you to strike whioe the iron's hot and reclaim your spaces.

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