Posted in Office, Success Stories

Transforming an “In-law” Apartment

Cheryl and Tom live in an “in-law” apartment attached to their family’s house. It had become cluttered with paper, CDs, books, clothing and other items.

Cheryl and I spent a session together clearing her secretary-style desk and chair. We started on its top, clearing a small files holder. I suggested permanently removing it, since it attracted clutter. Nicely, her daughter Rachel said that she could use it. Good recycling! We all smiled.

There were various cards for holidays, get well, and other wishes. We separated them into subject piles, and gathered all of the envelopes. Rather that use (read: waste!) our time together on matching them, I put the envelopes into relative size order. Cheryl would put all, along with boxed Christmas cards, in a container, before placing it in the basement. When the time comes to send a card, it will be easy to choose the right one, and an envelope, too.

We collected bills to be paid and placed them in one of the cubbie holes, checkbooks in another. Also clearing the big chair nearby, we placed medical information in a lower drawer. We may refine that but, for the moment, it works.

We collected various cords and chargers, and placed them on the floor next to a power strip. We added some documents to the plastic portable file box on the floor next to the desk.

The home office secretary before we cleared its clutter
Before
The home office secretary cleared of its clutter, and cubbie sections made available for storage
After

What’s next? Tom’s desk? Books and/or CDs? That’s to be determined but, for the moment, Cheryl was smiling. Success!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Office, Success Stories

A Quick Office Rescue!

I taught an evening class about de-cluttering at the local high school. Renate attended it. A couple of weeks later, on a Friday night, she and I both volunteered at a concert. She emailed late that night, after returning home. I saw her note quite early the next morning. Her husband’s children would arrive the next morning (Sunday), and she hoped for last-minute help in her home office. Would I be available at all that day (Saturday)? I emailed back. Sure!

One side of the office has some shelves, cupboards and drawers. As previously described in the night class, I suggested that we work top-to-bottom. We started in the cupboard at the window end. Right away, she said that she would like to move a bowl from the top shelf, since she hardly ever sees it. In an easy fix, we moved it to the top shelf of the cupboard closest to the door. Likewise, we moved a pretty file box between the two shelves. It would hold photos. We added them as we worked.

Moving down through the shelves near the window, we consolidated information about her daughter who lives in the Midwest. We also placed in them other files that Renate uses often, ensuring that she can reach them easily from her desk chair.

Next, we focused on the shelves nearest the door. On the second shelf down, to the left, we placed books for her book groups. To the right, we put greeting cards in two low plastic tubs, then collected together holiday cards, stamps and address lists. It will soon be time for all of them!

On the third shelf down, we consolidated store coupons to the left, with diet and nutrition materials to the right.

On the bottom shelf, we collected printed information about several topics, placing them in cardboard magazine holders, though turned around, so Renate could use them easier.

Next, the counter. We placed bills in the wire bin. I put some CDs in a hallway bookcase, with some others.

One side of the office before we cleared its clutter
Before
Office clutter and visual noise gone!
After

 

Our time together was flying by. How to best use the rest of it? We quickly decided to focus on the area around the computer. We cleared the clutter on both sides of it, adding materials to already established, or newly created “homes.” We set aside other stuff for the trash, or to be recycled or shredded.

As we finished, Renate assured me that she would be able to tackle the filing that remained, which she did after I left. The “after” photo is a bit dark. Oops! You’ll be able to see her great work, though.

Office view with clutter
Before

 

A bit dark, but we cleared most of the office clutter
After

As she emailed afterwards, Renate and her husband Wayne were “awed,” thanking me profusely. Not necessary! Where will we work next? That’s to be determined but, now, her office was organized and looked “presentable” for the family visit. Success!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Office, Success Stories

The Goal – A Minimalist Office

Anja works at home, which is on a farm with a bicycle business workshop, too. She would like her office to look as minimalist as possible. To “illustrate” her point, she showed me the Airbnb space next to it. It looked welcoming, though spare. That would be our goal. It would take two three-hour sessions together. In the second one, we were joined by nine-week-old sibling kittens. As we worked, Anja named them Ping and Pong. They were lots of fun to watch!

I suggested that we start with one spot in the large room, then work our way around it. First up – the closet. Its shelves held coffee cups, vases, a small non-working appliance. On the small table sat a small, dorm-size, fridge. A vacuum was on the floor.

We removed the cups and vases for rinsing or washing, set aside the appliance. We dusted the shelves and vacuumed the floor space.

The office closet before we cleared its clutter
Before
The office closet with empty shelves!
After

Next, we looked at a high shelf, which was mostly empty. Excellent! It practically “begged” to be used. Would it be too high for Anja to reach? No. Also excellent! We would place things there as we worked our way around the room.

A high shelf we would use!
Before

We organized the marble table surface. Anja explained that she likely will hire someone to work with her so that, when the time is right, having that space clear will be a big help. We separated papers to discard, file or recycle.

A second desk area before we cleared it
Before
A more welcoming work space with visual noise gone!
After

We next focused on Anja’s desk, which faces the marble table top. We put some things away in its drawers and in others, which were under the printer. Easy peasy!

The desk before we cleared its clutter
Before
The desk ready for work!
After

Moving our way around the room, we organized the top of the three-drawer filing cabinet. Anja uses those in the box on its top very often, so she wanted to leave it there. Okay! The top of the antique wood storage piece held some binders, which we placed on the high shelf across the room. We set aside books for recycling or to go into the house. When the top was cleared, I suggested that Anja consider placing a big, low-light-tolerant plant there – to prevent clutter’s return. (I did that on part of my kitchen counter a long time ago, to control my own behavior. It works!)

The filing cabinet and wood storage piece before we cleared their clutter
Before
The un-cluttered filing cabinet and wood storage piece
After

As we finished our work around the office, it was much neater. The high shelf was half-full. Anja was smiling, and Ping and Pong were still delightful.

The shelf put to good use, with room to spare!
After

Where will we work next? That’s to be determined. It will be in a few weeks.

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Office, Success Stories

A Vintage Desk Surface Seen Anew!

Seeming a bit surprised, Chris said, “I’m having fun!” On a rainy day, and using my professional organizer’s method of working from one side to the other, we were sitting at his office desk, clearing many receipts and other papers. Not only was he pleased by the progress, but he also was happy to see the surface of the desk itself. It’s his father’s – cherished, well-worn and vintage, from the 1950s, one of those very utilitarian metal desks that likely will outlive us all!

He had been a bit apprehensive about our session together, concerned that his home wasn’t “presentable.” Before arriving, I did my best to put him at ease. It must have worked, or he likely wouldn’t have had fun, and perhaps even more telling, wouldn’t have said so!

We also spoke about his filing cabinet. I encouraged him to alphabetize all of the files, instead of having them in categories, so that they will be easier to find.

Before
After

Success!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Kitchen, Office, Success Stories

An Office Front Desk and Kitchen Area Transformation

Kereith got in touch. Planet Fitness had recently moved its offices. He wanted help in a few areas that could use a professional organizer’s touch.

A new administrative staff member would soon join the organization. We spent some time at the front desk, making it both more welcoming and a space to accomplish good work.

Before
After

We also worked on the kitchen. The counter top on a set of shelves across from the sink had accumulated some items in the weeks since the business move. We eliminated its clutter, including some snacks that we would place above the microwave.

Before
After

We discussed the cupboards. We grouped coffee and tea together, then cups and paper plates with plastic cutlery at the top.

Before
After

We placed the snacks, not eaten very often, in the cupboard above the microwave. (Yes, there is a step stool nearby for reaching them.)

Before
After

What might be next? Perhaps hanging art work, to be determined. In the meantime, Kereith was pleased.

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Office, Success Stories

Second Step – Transforming an Office!

In our second office session, Etienne and I worked on two tall bookcases across from her desk and next to it, the shelves under a counter. Using my tried-and-true professional organizer’s method of working top-to-bottom, we began at the upper left. We moved some things around, including a charming box that her artist daughter Margaux decorated when younger, drawing the family. It and a wood bowl now held glue and other art-oriented supplies.

Before
After

Next, the middle shelves, that held individual coffee cup servings, filing and other items to be moved. Instead, they became display space for photos and an empty shelf, which will be used when the time is right.

Before
After

The floor area included a clear lucite holder for files. After discussing its use and potential for gathering clutter, we spoke about filing items in the filing cabinet. Etienne graciously donated it to the upcoming annual Tag Sale of a local women’s chorus.

Before
After

In the top right, we rearranged books.

Before
After

The middle shelves held some useful and fun objects, but they were jammed too full. Etienne stressed their importance, since she would want to reach them from her desk chair. Valuable “real estate,” we placed there items that she uses often.

Before
After

The bottom shelves held some photo albums, which were moved to an upstairs bedroom, where others were stored. More free space!

Before
After

Etienne had brought up from the basement a small bin with her collection of decorative frogs, made from a variety of materials. I suggested some fun – that we place them around. Her eyes bright, she joyfully clapped her hands. A delightful “reward” for all of her hard work!

The bookshelves transformed, we turned our attention to the lower shelves next to the desk which, again, we’d started calling “office supplies land.” We emptied and stored a box of copier paper, and talked through “where to put what” for peak efficiency. A bit silly, we collected post-it notes in a pretty bowl the family formerly used for baking a favorite treat.

Before
After

As we finished, I realized that this has been one of my very favorite projects in the six years of working with clients. Why? The room’s energy, which had been stale and stagnant (and Etienne acknowledged), had changed dramatically. It now was fresh, and the room felt like an office, ready to support Etienne’s work – productive and with whimsy. It now bubbled with energy!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Office, Success Stories

First Step – Transforming an Office!

Etienne and I briefly met at a morning coffee gathering for women business owners. I followed up, sending her details about my work as a professional organizer. She responded, saying that she would want me to de-clutter her whole house. Wow!

At the beginning of our first session, we toured around the house. I asked what was bugging her most. Etienne quickly said that it was her office, so we started there. The desk was cluttered, as was a surface next to it, under some bookshelves. Across from the desk were two big bookshelves, which could use some attention, too.

We started with the area next to the desk. We placed some office supplies in the lower shelves, planning to work on them at another time. We otherwise cleared the surface, and set aside a colorful framed print to hang on the opposite wall. Etienne smiled.

Before
After

Next, we would tackle the desk. I explained to Etienne that, in my work as a professional organizer, it’s worked well to move from one side to another, and also from top-to-bottom. In another session, we would use the latter method on the bookshelves across from the desk. Now, though, we moved from right to left on the desk itself. We created new files, set aside more office supplies for later organization, and consolidated papers with others of the same topic.

Before
After
Before
After

Our first session’s time almost used up, I suggested that our next session’s focus might be the shelves across from the desk and, if time allows, the lower shelves next to the desk, which we started calling “office supplies land.”

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Dining Room, Office, Success Stories

A Rescued “Office” and Dining Area

Peter has a business that is insanely busy in warm weather months. Though real spring weather is slow to arrive hereabouts this year, he is working very long days. Even so, he recently carved out time for us to work in a corner of his house that functions both as his office and, when possible, a dining area as well.

We started with the table. It functions as his office desk when he’s not in his truck. We filed some papers in the filing cabinet nearby.

Before
After

We also cleared a breakfront-type piece behind the table and the window sill above it, making the space more like a dining area, where he might relax when time allows.

Before
After

Our next project may be a desk across the room, where Peter would like to write personal letters, separating his work and home lives.

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Office, Success Stories

Holiday – in February!

Requested a year ago and for a second year, Alison’s mother gave her a holiday gift of a session with De-clutter Me! Allison and I kept looking at our schedules, and finally settled on a sunny Friday, which was relatively warm until a predicted windy cold snap approached.

What to do? She wanted to revisit the shelves in her office/guest room. She had a wish – to get rid of a shelving unit that had she didn’t want to keep.

As is my practice as a professional organizer, when working with shelves, we start at the top, and work our way down. We often reserve the “most valuable real estate” – the area at eye level and easiest to reach – for items used most. That was the plan.

We focused first on the shelves to the left. We removed shoes and sandals from the very top. I suggested hanging a shoe bag from the closet door. She could easily buy one. Next, we placed office supplies, chargers and other cords, CDs and musical instruments in baskets. With the goal of discarding the shelves on the right, we moved a piece from them, so it could hold paper, checkbooks and other items. On the bottom – music curriculum materials.

Next, we pulled out the right-hand shelving unit, and placed it on the front porch. Alison would place a “free” sign on it, so that it could find a new home.

Using thumbtacks, we hung one of Alison’s paintings. Such a smile! Below it, we placed her guitar amplifier, a small moveable file, and two stuffed animals.

 

Would we have a chance to work together again? That’s to be determined, but we certainly had fun this time around.

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Dining Room, Living Room, Office, Success Stories

It’s Kitty Land!

Cece is devoted to her cat Babe. Boxes, bags and big pieces of paper are laid out for her to jump into and otherwise enjoy.

We started by clearing a floor area, then moved on to a corner piece holding family items, then to the table.

BEFORE
AFTER
BEFORE
AFTER

Our next area of focus was her desk.

BEFORE
AFTER

With our remaining time, we cleared some of the living room floor space.

BEFORE
AFTER

With great first progress achieved, we scheduled another session in a couple of weeks. Responding to my thank-you note, Cece wrote back that Babe had lots of new space to run around. Success!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.