My latest client reached out for help, and we set up an appointment to meet a few days later. In between that time, her scope changed, tenfold.
Her first need (which hadn’t changed) was that, because the global corporation she works for, out of her home, has just transitioned to a very heavy video-conference format, she wanted the “behind my head” view of her home office to be something that looked professional and clean. Right now, it was a shelving unit, full to the brim with totes and baskets, and not the look she wanted.
But, as her week happened to progress, she and her husband had decided that they will likely move later this summer, and as she thinks about moving into a space with a different kind of layout, she knew: “I can’t bring all of my stuff.” So, now, the project went from “let’s organize, declutter and redesign the layout for the purposes of video conferencing” to “let’s do a massive review of what I own, and make sure that, when we move, we’re moving what’s really important to me.”
My client had lived in a house, and was already living with a house-sized amount of content in a 2 bedroom apartment. And she is ORGANIZED in a lot of awesome ways. Bookshelves that actually held books, organizing furniture and shelving, clear plastic totes with her many crafting supplies (she has been into many different kinds of crafts over the years) and items already sorted by color and labeled whenever she could label them. She also had a lot of specialty containers (a la Container Store) for some of her crafting supplies, like beading and ribbons, keeping her collections neat and orderly.
So, where did we start?
Let’s talk about the zones and what she had in this space:
1. Home Office / Desk / Office Supplies / files – Generally, her work area is tidy and organized, because she spends so much time in this space and needs it to be. But she’s looking to get a new desk (a little larger in scale) that will allow her to look at how to organize her workspace differently (you can see the masking tape on the floor, marking out the footprint of the new desk!). We consolidated office supplies, and made sure her work surface was clear. (She’ll go through her files when she moves them to the new desk drawers.)
2. Shelving units – The room had about 70 linear feet of shelving, across 6 shelving structures, some taller, some shorter. Our decluttering not only let us go down by HALF of shelving she had, but she was able to keep all of her craft supplies together, on one shelving unit.
3. Crafting Supplies – Over the years, my client has been into a variety of crafts: card making/rubber stamping, jewelry making and beading, cross-stitch and knitting. Her supplies are really well-organized, and took up about a quarter of her shelving in the room.
Here’s the thing: She’s genuinely loved all of these hobbies in the past, and had great dreams of what she could make with every item in her collection. But she doesn’t have the time to visit this hobby like she used to, so not only was all of this taking up valuable space, but it kind of sits there, reminding her of how she *isn’t* spending her time any more. So, to go through and make decisions on what to keep, I asked her one important question:
“If you were told you have to spend one whole day working on crafts with the supplies you have here, what would you choose to do first?”
This question brought a lot of clarity to an answer of not what did you USED to do, but what do you WANT to do, if you had the time?
She let go of:
- Cross stitch projects. All but 1 project
- Jewelry making: Two thirds of her supplies
- Card making: half of the envelopes and paper she’s saved, and 80% of the ribbon she kept for the projects
- Rubber stamps: She let go of 80% of her supply… about 100 stamps!
- Yarn: this was the toughest for her, but she let go of about 75% of her supplies.
4. Books – Some were hers, some are her husbands. She went through some of her books (especially those that are connected to her crafts and hobbies) and let go of the books that corresponded with the crafts she let go of/thinned down.
5. Sports Equipment – not the primary spot for sports equipment that they have, but there were a few thing in here — basketball, soccer ball, hockey puck, exercise ball, free weights. They were able to let go of some, and put the rest in a space that had other equipment, so there was only one stop. The only exception? The free weights, where my client can see them… and prompt her to use them more often.
6. Memorabilia – yearbooks, photo albums, mementos, etc. For the most part, we opened boxes to make sure we knew what was in them and they were labeled correctly, identified some items which could be removed now, rather than moved.
7. Happy Chair and Lamp – My client LOVES her reclining chair, and sits in it often. This was going to stay in the space, but more importantly, it was going to be easy for her to use it, use the side table, and make the best use of being happy while also working. In a lot of ways, this was the feature piece of the new room: Not only does it provide her with a calm place to spend her time, but it makes a lovely backdrop for her video conferencing now!
The final result? Tons of floor space (the place looked huge!), an attractive backdrop to her video conferencing, and a great jump start on the pre-move decluttering they’ll need to do in a few months!
Take a look at all the before and afters of the space… you know you want to make your space look this good!
First, the back corner of the room, and the Happy Chair:
The desk area – the shelving unit from behind the desk (what the video conferencing looked at) now, removed:
The back of the room, down a ton of stuff. Oh, and the cat tower is back in the space… where the cat wanted it.
The wall of shelving… but now much more streamlined, and the black shelving now has ALL the craft items, in one place.
All in all, a great transformation, and the client (and her husband) are thrilled with the progress! So happy to help them out wit living better in their home!