Organizing a 2 bedroom home – Part 2

Misc_UnderSinkMessy1Following my last blog post we continue with organizing our client’s small 2 bedroom apartment. Our first working session began a week after the initial consultation and needs assessment.

Storage shelves start us off on the right foot

We started with bringing in three 5 shelf storage units to be used in the storage/dryer room.  We then pulled everything out of the room, uninstalled the existing shelf and rod and then erected and placed our new units along the perimeter of the room.  This was an instant facelift with 8 times more storage capability than previously available. Once the items we pulled from the room were sorted and pared down, then set up specific zones on the shelves for different categories.  As our client was a sports enthusiast, we had a category for swimming gear, camping gear & general sports, as well as zones for cleaning accessories, kitchen overstock, footwear, paper goods and laundry.  We also installed hooks on the available wall space to hang up other sports gear, chairs and sports bags.  In a tiny room such as this one, making the most of every inch of available wall space was critical.

We made sure to have a few empty shelves as well in order to accommodate other items we knew would be moving into the storage room as we processed the rest of the house over the ensuing weeks.

Lastly, we dealt with the tangled mess of brooms and other cleaning equipment by installing a compact broom holder on the open vertical space on the wall, discarding the unused items and hanging up all the cleaning equipment, off the floor and within easy reach for the client.  No more frustration with retrieving a Swiffer mop and having a bunch of other items fall down!

Kitchen ware was excessive

The kitchen was next on the agenda.  Notably, our client had not really been cooking in her kitchen due to the lack of available space and cooking area.  This was a major concern for her so our goal was to ensure that once we were done she would be in a great position to begin cooking once more.

Over the past couple of years Ms. E. has accumulated an excessive amount of dishware that was kindly handed over to her from others.  Without being able to say no, her cupboards were overrun with duplicate items not needed and never used.

As we sorted all the dishware into categories the duplication was evident and this made it much easier for Ms. E. to make decisions as to what to give away for donation.  Often times if we can’t actually see displayed in front of us how much we have of one item we don’t realize the excess. With our methodical way of processing a room our clients are able to make clearly informed decisions.  We came armed with boxes and clear bags for donation and they were quickly filled by our client as we moved through the items.

Much of the food had expired

Once the dishware had been processed we placed items back in the cupboards in a more organized and functional fashion based on how the client moved throughout the kitchen performing various tasks.

Next was the food pantry and cupboards.  As it was been quite some time since our client was able to cook in the kitchen, it was not surprising that a number of food items were well past the expiry dates.


Much to our client’s horror we also came across a good deal of mouse droppings evidencing a mouse issue.  Some holes in the cabinets were located under the sink where the mice were coming in.  Using some steel wool and some laundry dryer sheets (mice don’t like those) we temporarily plugged the hole until the landlord could deal with the issue.   Many food items were tossed out into the trash and any unopened items that had not expired but that the client no longer wanted were placed in donation boxes.  Once this step was completed we purposefully took all the trash outside together with the recycling and then placed all the donation items into our client’s vehicle so that the next time she was in her car she would be compelled to drop off the donations at her charity of choice.

Viola!  Empty shelves!

The next step in this process was to determine our method of containing some of the food items in the pantry.  Taking a cursory review of what was left I made a list of the organizing products that would be useful to maximize Ms. E’s pantry and cupboard space. We then organized the food into the cupboards and pantry and Ms. E. was quite excited to see that she actually had some empty cupboard space.  With this session nearing an end, we took our list and completed shopping of the items at our client’s request and on her behalf.

Just before I left our client’s site we discussed waste management in the kitchen.  This was important because the current method of garbage collection was taking up space on her floor and her counter top.  I suggested some cost and space efficient methods to contain compost, recycling and trash in the kitchen and included these items on our shopping list.

This way when we came for the next session we would be fully equipped with all the products needed to finalize the kitchen set up.  In the meantime, we left Ms. E. with a fully functional kitchen with plenty of space to not only store dishware and food items but also to cook.   She was so thrilled to be able to cook her first meal in a long time in her newly found kitchen space and that very night she did just that. In just one session we were able to make a huge change and began to transform her life.  Her smile said it all.  Stay tuned for what happened next.

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