We moved late last summer, and I was really excited because in the new house, I could move my office and my craft room all to one large room in the (finished) basement instead of having them in two different rooms on different floors. In the old house, I found myself going back and forth between the rooms all the time, like when I wanted to ship a package, I had to print the label downstairs in my office, but then all the boxes and packing tape and stuff were upstairs in my craft room. In the new house, I have a big room for both spaces, but it doesn’t have a closet like my old craft room, so I needed more shelves for storing things, and things are harder to hide out of view.
On moving day, when everyone finished carrying stuff into my new office/craft room, between the additional furniture we moved in, and all the boxes, it was so stuffed full, we could barely open the door. I had no idea I had that much stuff! I tried a few times to get the room under control, but it was never 100% and there were several things that just weren’t working at all in the space. We had our old kitchen table in the corner, because I originally thought it would be a good place for my daughter to work on art and craft projects that needed supervision from me, but we found that we would pretty much always work in her playroom where most of her paper and art supplies are. I also had a hanging rack in there because I sell at a couple of seasonal children’s consignment sales, and I thought it would be a good place for me to hang and price clothes to sell. But I realized I prefer to sort, tag, and price items in the bedroom, because I can spread the stuff all over the bed. And the biggest thing that wasn’t working is that I didn’t have enough big shelving to put away all the stuff that I was used to hiding in the closet I had in my old craft room. What ended up happening is that more and more STUFF kept coming into my room and there was no where to put it, so it just kept getting piled up all over the the place, until there was almost no floor space left – which is saying a lot considering the size of the room.
I finally had enough recently and I decided it was time to start getting my room under control. First step was to get the kitchen table out of there, so I converted it to a kid’s craft table. (More on that project here.) And we bought more wire shelving to put in the room. It was getting better, but priorities shifted and I had to stop working on it for a while. Then when we had my daughter’s birthday, a lot more stuff got dragged into my room to get it out of the playroom where the party was held. So last week, I realized I had enough of squeezing between bins and piles of STUFF to get to my desk, and I tackled the mess. Here’s a before picture. (I can’t believe I’m sharing this. I’m so embarrassed that it got this bad!!!)
I dove right in, grabbed a bin, and did a quick sort, putting stuff away, moving stuff out of the room that didn’t belong, stacking up paper that needed to be sorted through more closely. Then I moved the hanging rack out of the room, since I wasn’t using it. Once there was a little more space, I moved my craft table back in (it was used during the birthday party, but it was too messy in here to get it back in), and I got my husband’s help to hang shelves up on the wall above my table to create more storage. Then I kept going with my quick sort, going through each bin, box, and stack of stuff I came across, until the floor was clear. I ended up with a mountain of paper to process, and a couple of bins of small stuff that needs to be sorted through more carefully, and a lot of bins on shelves that need to be purged, but the floor is clear, I know where to find things, and most importantly, I am not overwhelmed at the sight of the room anymore so I can actually move forward and get things done.
Big difference, huh? Here’s another view, where you can see the shelves we installed above my table. The stacks on the table are all the paperwork I need to sort through, and the laundry basket and box on the floor next to the table are small, random bits of stuff that needs to be sorted through. This first step was just the first step – getting rid of the big stuff to conquer the chaos in the room and get things where I could at least think straight to deal with the rest of the stuff.
I’ll be posting more as I work though the stacks of paper, and better organize the stuff on the shelves, but I thought this was pretty good inspiration for anyone who might look at a room that’s a disaster and feel like it’s hopeless. It didn’t even take me very long to make this huge transformation in my space – less than a week, only working a couple hours a day. Just grab a bin and start sorting!
Next up: Dealing with the mountains of paperwork… Wish me luck!
I’m linking this up to the weekly One Project at a Time link party hosted by A Bowl Full of Lemons!