Furniture Tetris

My bedroom is only 120 square feet, which is big enough for a bed and alarm clock and three large stacks of books, and that’s it. That’s fine, because I like a smallish room. I grew up sleeping in a loft and have spent most of my adult life in cities where space was at a premium. Still, it takes awhile to figure out what to do with a space that small. This time, it took eight months for me to realize that my bed was facing the wrong way.

Actually, to be honest, I didn’t figure it out. Friends came to visit me, and I insisted, since they were a couple, that they take my bed. (I’m also very used to sleeping on couches, having done that for extended periods of time at various points in my life. In fact, I still sleep on my couch when I’m having insomnia.)

The next morning, the guy got up and announced, “I have figured it out. If you switch your bed the other way around, you’ll have 30% more space in your bedroom.”

He’s been in construction for awhile now, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. Also, my bed squeaks, which is neither restful nor romantic, so I’d pretty much decided to put my mattress on the floor anyway, and this was just the inspiration I needed to make the switch.

Changing things around in a small space is a challenge. First I had to haul out approximately 30 books which had managed to fling themselves all over my bedroom floor. There were at least twice as many of them as I ever could have put there, proving once again that my books breed while I’m at work. I wouldn’t mind, but I still never have enough to read.

Then I had to take out the lamp, which has a heavy base, and the fan, which I don’t need right now, because it’s 12 degrees out, but has to be out because I have no place to store it. I stacked those up by my kitchen nook, and tackled the mattress.

The mattress threatened to squash me twice before it hit my kitchen cart and knocked over a candle, which was lit, of course, because I like to light things on fire before I clean with dangerous chemicals or move the furniture. It’s actually amazing I lived to be an adult and let’s all thank God I rarely drive a car anymore.

I blew out the candle, kicked the mattress into place, found my drill and went back into the bedroom to attack the frame. I tried the drill, found it was out of juice, went back into the kitchen to grab the power supply from under the sink, plugged it in, tried the drill again, then remembered that I like my eyes, went back into my kitchen, grabbed my safety goggles, realized that they were hopelessly scratched, and sat down and sighed. Took them off. Put them back on. How well do you need to see to do this anyway?

At this point, I realized it was definitely time for a snack, so I took off my googles, made myself a creepy diet microwave meal and ate it while the drill powered up. Creepy diet microwave meals are a staple of the Hubley diet plan since I decided not to be a great big fat person, and I probably eat about 8 of them a week.

When the drill was done juicing, I started attacking the frame. It’s really a good thing I put my goggles back on, because honestly, I feel like the screws were magnetically attracted to my eyeballs. They kept flying out all of the place, zinging off across the room and getting lost and so on.

After the frame was disassembled, I vaccuumed the place and wiped down the floor and the woodwork with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Then I hauled the mattress back in, nearly squashing myself against the door frame in the process, and put the bed in the opposite position, so that my feet were pointing at the door and the floor-to-ceiling window was at my right. I lay down on it and stared up at the ceiling for a minute, resting and trying out the new position.

“Feels better,” I informed myself. I lay there for another minute until it occurred to me that my shoulders were threatening to lock up, and then I got up to take a shower.

Later in the evening, still sore from wrestling with the furniture, I stumbled down the street to meet the Mouse and his girl Stella for a burger. I told them all about the new arrangement, and how relieved I was that I hadn’t had to call for help in order to get something out of my room, or call 911 to have the EMTs pull a screw out of my head.

Stella thought for a moment and said, “I wonder if the new bed position will have better feng shui. Maybe you’ll stop meeting all these crazy guys.”

“I don’t know about that. But I found a good book under my bed frame. I don’t remember buying it, and actually, now that I think about it, I think a boy left it there.”

Either that, or the books actually are breeding while I’m at work.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

6 thoughts on “Furniture Tetris

  1. 120 SF isn’t all that small–unless it’s 6 x 20. Or L-shaped or something. Also, if your room has fixed walls and you bed is similarly dimensionally stable, how does the magic “20% more space” appear? The world mostly being kinda finite in terms of length width and such things. Unless you are in a relativistic frame. Though if your bed spins apprach the speed of light…

    –Taupey, the Newtonian Kangaroo

  2. Good point: I should have said “usable space.” In the old configuration, I lost a couple feet to the radiator and such.

    Next in boring posts: Pictures of my vacation!

  3. I was going to ask why you would bother wearing goggles when drilling and then I remembered who I was talking to. Then I wondered why you don’t wear goggles all of the time, just in case.

  4. I’d like to “Thank you” for causing my head to be filled with the Tetris music for the past two days. And for cascading lines, blocks, squiggles and l’s to run through my sleep.

  5. Thank you for this post, but I wish I had read it yesterday. I was just doing my share of grunting and cursing today while trying to put up new blinds in my bedroom. As I dropped the screwdriver between the wall and the dresser for the third time, and then bumped my head on the window sill FOR THE THIRD TIME while bending down to get said goddamned screwdriver, I wondered why in the hell I was so clumsy today. And then I remember who I am.

    Thanks for reminding me it runs in the family. Mwah!

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