Thursday, January 12, 2012


I discovered that there's a name for the way I'm building my boys' shelves.  I think that's kind of like discovering that there's a name for the disorder I have, so perhaps it is not a good thing that this particular shelf-style has a name.

The name is Bricolage : ":construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand; also :something constructed in this way".

To recap.  The structure started with the boys' toys.  In various assortments.  Mostly in messy assortments.  Drawers were dysfunctional for reasons of physical limitations.  In Stage Two, we moved to an experiment with printer boxes, suitable for experimentations because
  1. they're large enough for toys, 
  2. we can cut holes in them, and 
  3. they're free.
The experiment proved to have limited success, meaning that -- just like Eeyore had a Useful Pot and also Something to put in it -- the boys had useful boxes and actually used them, more or less.  But the boxes themselves needed to have a place of their own.  So we moved to Stage Three, Cinder Block transportation.

We are currently in Stage 4, which is construction, via bricolage, of the shelves.  This will be an on-going process, as we try out various locations and arrangements.  It began with the the top of an old, hopelessly damaged dresser.  (I-daughter; if you're reading this, do you recognize it? It used to be in your attic room).
One layer . . . 
As I was out running with my buddy J. earlier this week, I passed by a trash pile with stacks of lovely, already-painted shelving.  Score!  (For other cool uses for scrounged wood, check out Dogs or Dollars).  I went back for that pile of wood after the run.  On the return trip (by now, the sun was up) I saw they were also throwing away perfectly lovely square rattan baskets. With lids. Needless to say, I did my part to reduce the waste going into our landfills.
Why would someone just throw these away?

These boards will form layers 2, 3, etc?  of the shelves, or maybe a second set of shelves. 
The Bricolage style of shelving, as demonstrated in N-son's bedroom.

Clearly, paint is needed.  Clearly, my sons don't care a whit about the appearance.  All they want to do is wrassle; they don't care where their stuff goes.  Their mother is ready to acquire a few more printer boxes and to remove the plastic, trash-picked drawer units that served as unsuccessful experiments in early versions of this project.  I have a feeling the towers we build are going to be so gosh-darned ugly that they might actually look cool.  Or maybe not.

Bricolage.  That's the diagnosis.

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