One of my basic organizing principles is “One in, One out.” I’ve written about it a few times, most recently in A Magazine A Day and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. I apply that principle to clothes, linens, periodicals, and other items. But its largest impact comes when applying it to furniture.
Within days of adopting our daughter 22 years ago, we walked over to the nearest baby furniture store and purchased an upholstered rocking chair. It has been a fixture in her room ever since. We used it when we read books to her or rocked her to sleep. No matter where we lived, and what the configuration of her room was, we always found a place for this chair. In recent years, I even replaced the cushions so that we could get more life out of it.
Early in the pandemic, when all the gyms shut down, Emily expressed interest in getting an exercise bike. She is a fitness enthusiast who works out nearly every day. She was accustomed to taking different classes all over town. Now she was doing online exercise classes, as well working out twice a week with me when my personal trainer connects with us via FaceTime.
I was not excited about adding an exercise bike to our apartment. In my clients’ homes, I have seen too many pieces of exercise equipment with clothing draped all over them. We suspended talk about a bike for a while and she continued to explore other ways of staying fit.
With everything still shut down five months later, she asked me about it again. This time, I acquiesced. We started talking about where it would go in her room. After exploring a few options, we came to the conclusion that the only way to accommodate the bike would be to get rid of the rocking chair.
While we waited for the bike to be delivered, my husband and I explored where else we could put the chair. We tried it in a few different places in our living room, but none of them really worked. We finally admitted that its time with us had come to an end. We took it down to the basement of our building where people put bulky things to be discarded. I pinned a note to it saying that it was still functional and that anyone who wanted it could have it. Within a couple of days, it was gone. We were glad that it would continue to be useful for someone else for a while, instead of going to the junkyard.
I’m happy to say that Operation Exercise Bike is a success! Emily loves her new bike and uses it frequently. Because of where we placed it, it’s the last thing you see when you walk into the room, so it hasn’t disrupted the warm, homey look of her bedroom.
Although we know intellectually that the rocking chair is gone, when my husband and I walk into Emily’s room to visit with her, we still go over to that corner to sit there. Even while I was writing this, I walked into her room with the dog in my arms and went to sit in the chair. Old habits are hard to break.