Rearranging the Furniture

Posted in #AgeWell

Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center

Song BooksIt’s a time-honored strategy to deal with boredom or stress - rearrange the furniture! There are lots of reason this is a good thing: 1) It takes your mind off of whatever you are, or are not, doing, 2) Engages the right and left sides of your brain as you calculate spatial relationships and contemplate aesthetics, 3) Gets you some physical exercise, 4) Gives you a new perspective on familiar things.

I’ve been doing a lot of furniture rearranging lately and can attest to the benefits. My first task was to carve out a home office in my room (our dining room was not going to work as a long-term solution if I wanted to stay on good terms with my dad). Figuring out how to craft a workable office area in a tiny space proved much more productive and fulfilling than worrying about Covid-19. For practical purposes, I needed enough room for a desk and a chair, but I also wanted it to be a space I would actually want to be in for eight hours a day.

The fun (yes, fun) of planning, along with the physical exertion of moving the furniture around, led to a really pleasant workspace. An added bonus is that I see the room from a new perspective, sitting for hours a day in a part of the room where I never had a chair before. Our house was built in 1929, and I have a very pretty room with a slanted beamed ceiling and casement windows which it is a pleasure to look at.

While I have been figuring out how to work from home, there is also work being done to my home. We’re having the entire house’s 91-year old electrical system rewired. It’s a lengthy project (4-6 weeks), and everything has to be moved to make room for the electrical work. Furniture is shifted and pictures taken down off the walls. Vases, curios, and tchotchkes are moved or stuffed into drawers. Clothes taken out of closets. It’s a mess, but it is also an opportunity. When all this is over, I won’t put everything back where it came from. I won’t even keep everything. Just as museums change their gallery shows and shops change their window displays, it’s a chance to change my perspective and shake things up a bit.

Last week, it was terribly hot. The electricians were still working in the house in the afternoon, and our backyard was covered with their stuff. It was 5:00pm on Friday, and time for a cocktail! Where to sit and relax? Nowhere comfortable inside or in the backyard. The only thing to do was to move the dining room chairs out to the front lawn, and have cocktail hour there. Lovely late afternoon breeze. Waving hello to the neighbors walking their dogs. Enjoying the neighborhood from a fresh perspective. Delightful. That’s the real benefit of rearranging furniture: when you change the physical, the mental follows.