I recently finished one of my most fun projects to date. I transformed my client's basement from a storage room of unpacked boxes to a place where my client could "shop her stash." So YES! I basically created a store. So. much. fun.
"Where do I start with a project this size?" you might ask. Well, GREAT question!! And the answer is really pretty simple. Pick a corner and go from there. I was very fortunate that my client had set up some empty shelves, so I had a place to start "MACRO" organizing. "MACRO" organizing is the first system I always use in each project. By putting like items with like items in basic categories I get a better idea of what needs to be done a little later in the project when I start "MICRO" organizing. "MICRO" organizing is the last system I use in which I am more specific in what items go together. I will do another blog post on the specifics of "MACRO" vs "MICRO" organizing soon. In the photos below I show where I grouped like with like into bins. I had a bin for broken down boxes the client wanted to keep, a bin for brooms, mops, and cleaning supplies, a section for camping items that were in bins, and even an empty bin zone. Zones are extremely useful for "MACRO" organizing.
My other key to a project as big as this one is to do it in small bite-sized pieces. I mean, you wouldn't shove a whole pizza in your mouth and try to choke it down. Or you might. No judgement here. And trust me when I say, it will get worse before it gets better. A project like this should be approached in a way that will:
not overwhelm you
give you some sense of enjoyment i.e. thumbing through an old photo album,or in my case, finding an important item my client had "looked everywhere for!" (another highlight of this project)
be something you ACTUALLY FINISH!
By following the first two steps, either by yourself, in conjunction with a professional organizer as myself, or hiring a professional organizer do it independently, you are sure to be successful in this step. I generally suggest to work no more than 3 hours at a time for a project such as this. This kind of project is not only physically fatiguing, but mentally fatiguing as well. And if the later overtakes the former, you are less likely to finish the project.
The next thing I want to say before I show you all the final project is this. Your home, your life, is NOT a Pinterest board. You don't have to have all the fancy, expensive bins and boxes, labels, everything all white or even matching for that matter. What you are looking for in any home organizing project is FUNCTION. Does this system function well for you? Can you find what you are looking for? Do you feel a sense of peace when you look at your space or a sense of chaos? If after you've lived with an organizing system and it still does not function well for you... change it! This is real life, folks! It has to work for you, not against you.
Now on to the Grand Finale of this blog post. The piece de resistance. The "store" I created for my client so she could "shop her stash". There is home decor, lamps, camping equipment, gardening, tailgating, linens (which I forgot to photograph), office supplies, electronics, cleaning supplies, furniture, artwork, glassware, etc. etc. I even used some of the drawers in the dressers to store things like important paperwork that needs to be kept, but not necessarily upstairs in their office. We used what she had on hand for this project. There were no bins purchased and no fancy labels made. I actually used post it notes so that she could change up things if they weren't working for her. My client was thrilled with the final project and I have to say, so am I! Thank you to my client for not only giving me such a fun opportunity, but also allowing me share her project with all of you!