I really like rearranging my room. Not for any purpose, not because the old arrangement was flawed in some way, or even because the new arrangement is any better. Just because. I enjoy every aspect of it, from the actual act of rearranging the furniture to the end result, looking around my “new” room. I just love it. In fact, get this: I even enjoy rearranging everything, seeing how it looks in a different alignment, then putting everything back exactly the way it was before, or perhaps very slightly altered.
I imagine that sounds a little silly. Why go to the trouble of rearranging your room when there’s nothing wrong with the old arrangement? Especially if you’re just going to put everything back the way it was before at the end. Isn’t that a waste of effort? I mean, some of that furniture is heavy. And you know what, that very well might be the case for most people. But I find it calming, and at the same time incredibly psychologically and physically invigorating. When I’m feeling under the weather, either from bodily illness or from dwelling too much all the worst things, I find it both soothing and rejuvenating to rearrange my room. The more radical the rearrangement, the better, whether or not I return the room to its original configuration afterwards.
There are a whole variety of reasons why this works for me, I think, and it’s hard to pick out any one of them as more important than another. However, I’m certain that a significant contributing factor is the simple fact that it requires physical activity, which gets the good old endorphins flowing. and that’s always nice. Especially when I’m feeling less than my best because of what I’ve come to think of as “excessive Palantir-gazing,” or spending too much time reading about how totally screwed up the entire world is right now, just standing up and moving around can help overcome the hopeless, nihilistic lethargy that is an occupational hazard of knowing just how bad things are.
It’s not just the physical activity, however, or I’d feel just as great after doing a whole bunch of situps, which I certainly don’t. I think a big part of it is that I like seeing my actions actually have a tangible effect in the real world. It takes some intellectual effort to conceptualize the difference that, for example, signing a petition can make. Or voting. Or any number of other kinds of infinitesimal contributions to a greater good. And especially for someone with a skeptical frame of mind, constantly questioning everything you’re told even when you’re the one telling yourself something, there is always a persistent voice in the back of your head telling you that none of it means a damn thing. When you actually set yourself a physical, down-to-earth task, however, you reignite your sense of your own agency; even the most skeptical mind can’t deny that something has changed after you move your furniture around, even if it’s not something that makes any difference outside your own room. It symbolically reminds you that if you just get up and actually do something, you can change things.
There are other aspects to it, too. A major one is that I don’t like things to stay the same. If everything in my room has been in the same place for more than a couple weeks, I start to get antsy. I want to move everything around, or get rid of some things, or occasionally even add something new. I don’t like the feeling of being stuck in a rut, doing things the same way over and over again without ever changing it up. Even when I make a change and then decide I was better off with the original setup, I don’t regret making the change. If I weren’t constantly trying other arrangements, on what grounds could I honestly claim that this arrangement was actually the one I liked best? There’s a saying that you’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind, and even if I’m only changing my mind about something small, like where to put my recycling bin, I like to keep myself as young as possible.
Even when I end up with the same arrangement I started with, I find that it still has that feel of “newness” to it, as though I’ve just started out on some new adventure, going in a brand new direction, and anything is possible. It’s as though, even though everything is technically in the same place, there’s a whole new room where the old one used to be. It keeps me from taking everything for granted; it stops me from letting my living space just fade into a blurred backdrop in my mind. Even when the changes are subtle, I take immense pleasure in the fact that basically every time anyone comes into my room, they notice that something is different from how it was last time.
So that, folks, is furniture rearrangement therapy. It has never failed to make me feel at least somewhat better afterwards. I have no idea whether or not it works at all for anyone else, but hey, why not give it a shot?