I have a recurring dream that I am walking through my house and suddenly, I open up a door, and there is a room that I had forgotten was there.  Just a great big, empty room.  I am flooded with this giddy excitement, and I realize that I can make that room into anything that I want.  Immediately, I think of spreading out, making a playroom, a schoolroom, a sitting room…  It always feels so real.

As I write this, I am not home.  I am in an empty classroom at school, with an hour break in between a short afternoon of piano students.  Everything here is neat and tidy.  All the books are on shelves.  The carpets are vacuumed.  Everything is in place.

I left a house that would be the perfect side-by-side companion for this room in a book of opposites.  Stacks of books everywhere–in baskets, on counters, overflowing from the shelves, with words and rainbow-colored illustrations spilling out onto the floor.  There are piles of toys, buckets of toys, mountains of toys.  The beds are ancient mounds of laundry.  There is a small table precariously-balanced on top of the couch.  There are framed photographs covered in dust, stacked back to back in an easy chair.  You can not walk.  You can hardly imagine how this room is ever going to get put back together again.

We are rearranging.

And I love it.

When I get home, the kids will have discovered that their beds have been moved.  They will find toys from their prehistoric civilizations–toys they thought were lost forever– dug up like artifacts from underneath the dresser.  They will have scattered the piles into trails.  They will reclaim things that I had planned to throw out and/or pass on.  They will get so excited about their brother’s little bed, squeezed into the corner of their room.  They will love all of the new space created.

Rearranging is not the dream-come-true of opening a door and finding a new room.  But it is probably the next best thing.

I love seeing things from a new perspective.  Opening up spaces, sorting through junk, re-evaluating things we own and why we still have them.  I love a fresh square of carpet somewhere.  I love a corner that is just a corner and nothing more.

In my life, rearranging the house is usually symbolic of rearranging priorities in the home.  Now that the push to finish the album is over, we are rearranging to accommodate spaces that are conducive to schoolwork, to music lessons, to creative thinking, to preparing for the next big creative project in the works (more on this soon)…  Now that the baby is sleeping better, he is moving out of the living room at night, which opens up a quiet place to sit and think in the evenings.  Now that there are four children sharing one room, we are getting rid of more clutter.  And as we open up new little spaces in our home, I can feel the same thing happening in my mind and my heart.

One day, we will (hopefully!) finish off the basement of this house.  And my dream will come true–I will wake one morning to find that we have empty rooms to turn into living/working/playing spaces.  Until then, I will be thankful for my one corner, empty of everything but a great rectangle of late-afternoon slanted-sunlight.

Mackenzie and Randy Chester are musicians and songwriters.  Their most recent cd, Home, is an album of love and family songs recorded over the last 3 years in their living room.  You can hear more of their music at

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