Let's just face it. I should just pour gasoline on it, throw a match on it, and be done with it. That is just how bad this room really is. I've tried and tried and tried in this room, and I continuously seem to get nowhere fast. I started getting traction last spring, but lost steam and the clutter crept back in. I then got a roommate, and items that were stored in the guest room closet found their way into this room, causing an even bigger mess. This room just makes me want to give up. Literally.
So, what do you do? Where do you begin? To be honest. I really don't know. This room has continued to be a cause of headaches to me over the past five years, even longer in previous iterations in former dwellings. But this is my home now, and I need this space to be useful and accessible. And I really need it to be that way sooner than later. Much sooner. Like yesterday.
So, one of the things I started doing was taking stock of things that I have on hand that could come in handy. When I worked in my closet this last weekend, these white storage units were leftover and could be used to help organize and store items that need to be stored away.
I also have a green foot locker from my college days that would be great to store the bedding that has made its way into the room. However, that will not find its final resting spot in the room. I have a chair in a corner of my master bedroom, and I am planning on storing it behind the chair, out of site.
I also have four plastic shelving units (some can be seen in the main photo) that I've started using, but just need to be utilized better.
As for Christmas, it has already moved to the garage. The rest should go there with it. No need for what little is in this space to take up what little room is in there.
The next thing is to determine what the purpose of this space will be. For me, it is to serve a dual purpose: both office and craft space. I don't need to purchase anything to makeover this space, so this will be a straightforward process. The only obstacle will be the actual "doing" of it.
As I began the process, I did start off by packing up the bedding. Unfortunately, there was more than what would fit the footlocker, but that did not stop me. I have a quilt and a comforter for both beds in the house, and only one comforter fit into the footlocker. I do have a down comforter currently on my bed that uses a duvet, so that is why the other comforter is not on it. My roommate uses her own bedding, so the bedding that I have for that room is going unused and needs to be stored.
Next I pulled out the Christmas boxes and made sure everything was in them and that they were sealed and ready to go out into the garage. Luckily, there was more than enough room for everything in them, so that was an easy task.
The next item caught me off guard. I was shocked when I uncovered a large box of clothing that had been buried in the room. I had just dropped off four bags of clothes, bags, and shoes at the thrift store this afternoon, so this dampened my spirits by quite a bit. This meant more time spent sorting and trying to figure out what to do with what is there, as I know there are quite a few seasonal and work wear items that I'll be needing in that box. The good news is that I did discover more blue, wicker baskets like I had used in my closet redo in the garage, so that should not be too much of a hassle in the process of needing to store. But I really don't want to go back to the thrift store today. Groan.
But the process must go on. I began to sift through what was lying in the middle of the floor. As you can see in the main photo there were a lot of file folders strewn about from an attempt to reorganize my filing system. While the attempt itself was a success reduce the amount of unnecessary paper files in my possession, I didn't completely finish the job, nor did I stay on top of it (as noticed by the state of my desk and chair).
I was actually quite impressed once I was able to do just these few things, as it opened up quite a bit of space to allow me to do more work and planning. The box of clothing is still in there, but it is contained at the moment and ready to be addressed. The wicker basket at the center is confounding me at the moment, as I really don't know what to do with it. It would make a wonderful storage piece, as that is what I originally planned for it; however, it only has plastic hangers in it at the moment, making it wasted space.
The white, plastic shelving units are in a state of chaos, as they were originally slated to help me organize my jewelry business. But, with the chaos that the room stayed in, those shelves never reached their ultimate potential, thus leaving them in the state they are in now.
My next step is to tacking the paper clutter, which means the desk. The key to tackling paper clutter is to not overthink. But it is also important not to throw away important documentation. I had already started off last spring by reorganizing my filing system to allow me to properly file important documents away in a safe place without taking up too much space. I used to have a metal filing cabinet, but now use a wire, mesh filing basket that easily slides onto the shelves in the closet for when I need to retrieve it. I also have folios for previous year information, so that I don't have to dig for that information, either.
I didn't rush the task, but didn't go real slow either. I just took a quick look over each piece of paper that was lying on the desk and chair. It took approximately thirty minutes maximum to go through everything on the desk, but once I was done, I was pretty impressed. I no long was buried under the pile that was giving me fits. And to be honest, this pile was not that old, as the desk was just brought into the space at the end of November. The photo of the left is the after of the sorting process, including items from the chair which the photo was taken.
As you can see, it doesn't take a lot of time to make a huge amount of time to make a dent in a huge mess, and to be honest, I'm not exerting a whole lot of energy into doing it either. I'm doing this slowly and methodically. I'm trying not to stress over it. I want it done, but I know that if I start to overthink or stress, it won't get done and it will become a problem once again.
After I was done going through the paperwork, I just set the put away tote for later, as that will take a little more time than I had tonight. I want to take my time to reorganize it so that I can pull out everything I need to complete my taxes over the next couple of weeks. This will also allow me to pull out of the filing box and stored into a folio from last year, in order to start fresh for this year.
The next part of the process was just going through things and just trying to figure out if it was a keep or not keep. I started a neat stack of items to either be sorted or taken to various organizations or thrift stores at a later time. This helps me get them out of the way, but in a central location so I don't forget they are there. I found that there were books, nick-nacks, and other items that I've accumulated over the years that were just taking up space and cluttering up the space in ways that were unnecessary. It seemed like every time I left a job, I'd pack up my sentimental items off of my desk, thinking they'd be used elsewhere, but find out that I'd be collecting boxes of these items from various consulting gigs I've had over the years. They sure do add up when you are a consultant.
I also found that there were things that didn't necessarily belong in the office that were in there. Like toothbrushes and hair care items. I have no idea why they were there, but they are no longer there now. They have now been moved to their new and proper homes.
I also found that there were items that fit better in other parts of the house, like the hurricane lamps that were on the desk. They had been on my fireplace mantel at one point and time, but had been moved into the guest room. When my roommate moved in, they migrated into the office. After some thought, I have plenty of space for these beautiful, antique lamps (one that belonged to my great-grandmother and another that belonged to a long time neighbor) on my dresser. So, they now have a new home in my bedroom, where they will be more readily admired.
The bottom shelf of the bookshelf may still look discombobulated, but it actually is not. It contains photo albums and a cloth bag containing rare photographs. Things that I want to keep accessible, and that shelf seemed perfect for it. There still is work to be done, but I feel better about the aesthetics of how it looks now than it did before.
Being able to clean up the desk was a huge blessing to me, as it will allow me to utilize the space more readily. I found a small lamp that had been tucked away in the space, as well as a small "inbox" shelf unit. A small cup with writing utensils add the finishing touch. My desk isn't 100% put together just yet, but now that the room is more accessible and easier to move around in, I can now bring the rest of the pieces in and put complete putting it together.
There was a small amount of space to the right of the desk where I placed my printer cart. This also allowed a small amount of room to keep both my rolling laptop case and messenger bag. The stand also acts as a mail center to hold various types of envelops readily at hand. The drawer below is also a nice additional touch for hanging files, too.
I've actually had fun working on this organizational project, but it also isn't quite finished just, yet. As you can see by the photos there is still quite a bit more to go. I still need to reorganize the white shelves and then sift through what is in the closet. That will take some time, too. Then, it will be time to bring in the items from the dining room and garage (craft table, sewing machines, and notions). But for now, I'm quite happy with what I've done so far.