Creating Space

I have been actively working on about a dozen projects over the past few months, and, as is to be expected, not making significant progress on many. My biggest task over the summer has been to clear out the basement. The last 18 months saw the train room transformed into a storage space while work was being done on the rest of the house. I also decided that any new layout (track plan) would have to wait until the excess furniture and junk was dealt with. I was still able to work on projects, build models, run trains, however the space was cramped, and it often became difficult to access tools and supplies, often resulting in frustration.

That time is now-ish. In mid-June I was finally able to move things back into the house, and begin going through boxes (most of which were packed years ago and never dealt with.) After a few months of steady work, the train room is almost ready. I've discovered long forgotten model kits, books, and other things I only see when we move (ie: smashed pennies). I found numerous stashes of miscellanea I had saved for future modeling projects. Some useful, some less useful, all un useable in their current state of being stashed in various small boxes stashed in various bigger boxes. I still have most of those bits, but now they are stashed together, in one accessible area.

The biggest take away, aside from creating some much-needed breathing room, is that I've had to really look at things I've gathered over the years (decades) and make some tough choices about what I was keeping because I'd actually have a use for, and what I was keeping because I've always kept it. There was much more of the latter. This provided me with a lot of opportunities to remember something I'd heard a while back, "The difference between a collection and a hoard is in how it's displayed."

It wasn't always easy, and there is still more to tackle, but the Big Purge of 2018 (TM pending) has been like removing a weight. Gone are the days of stepping over/onto/under piles of junk to hopefully find something I think I remember seeing last time I was looking for something. Things are reachable and usable. Bits of plastic and wood are slowly finding their way to their individual drawers that long ago became catchalls of their own. Books are filling book cases, tools are returning to tool boxes.

One of two new Barrister bookcases I found at an antique store, perfect for display and storage. One day I'll finish the basement stairs...

Wooden chests, slowly filling up with tiny tools.

Going through this process has opened up the space physically, and in doing so, it's given me the emotional space to think about the next steps. As I'll be starting fresh, sooner or later I'll be dismantling the current layout (touch on briefly here.) This will open the space even more, and I'm sure its absence will be the motivator I need to begin construction. I won't be jumping right in, as I've been considering minor changes to the track plan. Nothing major, but there would be enough changes made to the benchwork to prevent me from feeling 100% confident about starting.

I'll probably still start right away though.

As a result, not a whole lot of progress has been made. I've got three or four sugar beet gondolas in various stages of construction, some passenger equipment being built and updated, a second locomotive in the works, and my usual hunting on the internet for prototype pictures and resources I haven't found yet. I've also switched gears somewhat, and have been working on a 1/48 scale scratch built train station for an upcoming NMRA PSR Division Meet in September. That'll likely take all of my modeling attention in the coming weeks due to the timeline. A write up of that project will follow at a later date.

As tedious as the cleaning and purging has been, the physical and emotional weight that's been lifted as a result has provided that much more room and energy for what I enjoy doing, and have been dreaming of creating for some time.


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