So the upper floors are actually in pretty good shape, and it is time to turn to fixing up the basement. I think the handyman did quite a nice job on the railing downstairs, and we'll probably bring him back in the fall to install an upstairs railing. He also thought I was being overly cautious, but he built another layer of walls under the study to prop up the bookcases.
I did tie up a bunch of boxes so at least I can get around to the furnace and the fuse box if necessary. I don't know how long we'll hang onto the boxes, but for a while at any rate.
I've unpacked five or so boxes of books downstairs. I probably need to unload 4 more before I can clear out enough space to get to the wardrobe and make it a reasonably functional space. Of course, despite my best intentions, I don't have space on the bookcases for that many books. Still, I'll have to figure out something. In terms of the books I want to uncover, there are some key Greek texts, such as Herodotus and Thucydides; a bunch of SF, with the collected short stories of Roger Zelazny as my prime objective; several Eric Kraft novels; and a box set from Virago Press. If I can locate all that, I'll be satisfied. And perhaps I'll be able to move around a bit better down there.
It will take some time, but clearly I have to come up with a plan to declutter (probably mostly by scanning material and discarding it), and to organize what remains. I think it is more of a long-term goal, and I'll just have to accept that I won't see immediate progress in the next few months.
Update: I've spent a couple of hours trying to rearrange boxes and combine the half-full ones. I have tried to bring a few urban books upstairs, though I have probably at least a full bookcase of urban books that have now gone into deep storage. At some point I will face up to the fact I will never read them and start trying to offload them. It took quite a while, but I found the ones listed above (including the Kraft books just as I was about ready to give up). There is at least one more box of books that held my TBRD pile, including Cossery's Proud Beggars, which is coming up right away in my reading list. I think I will have to hold to my resolution to stop fussing in the basement for a while after I found those missing books, so I will have to see if Robarts has it in or if I have to request it through ILL. Kind of crazy, but these books could be mixed in with anything, including the data DVDs, and I just have to take care of other business for a while. Still, I will be able to move around a bit better down there now that I have gotten a few more boxes disposed of.