what I do

what I do

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A home office remodel. Part one: de-cluttering

I know. Another post about clutter.



I worked with a client today de-cluttering her house. It was the first phase of many. She is a long-time client who happens to be a very good friend and honestly, it can't get any better than that for me. Did I tell you I love to de-clutter? So to be doing what I love and doing it along side someone I like to spend time with is great.


What I want to share with you is the process. The end result is to give her a space that is "her own". This room will be her office where she will have her computer, her personal files, stationery (etc.) and also a space to work on photo albums, sew, or curl up in a comfortable chair and read a book. It will also serve as a guest room when one of their married kids come to visit. She wants it to be pretty, organized, free of clutter, and set up in a way that makes sense to her so that it will stay (key word stay) organized. It is going to be a great room for her and I know she will love the end result but before it can get to that place there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Hard work.


They have a home office that her husband uses now primarily and many of her papers and files were in there. Some of her files and books and things were already in the new room that we are working on and then there were a large amount of papers and files that had been in the first home office she had in a small closet in her kitchen before they remodeled. They had been stored cupboards during the remodel and were still there.


What needed to happen before we could do anything was to determine how many files, papers, books, binders, etc. I would need make space for. In order to do that, we had to get everything into one place. From there we will separate things in to piles of "like things". And then I will help her set up files, binders and determine how many drawers, bookshelves, etc. we will need to order.


For a lot people, getting rid of the papers are painful. Even though they want the "end result" it is hard to let go of the memories, the feeling they might need something one day, or the fact that it is a daunting task to go through years worth of papers, receipts, notebooks, records, etc.  Sitting down with a client and walking them through the process is really important. Sometimes just sitting with a client and helping them stay focused and reminding them of what the goal is, is necessary. When there are a large amounts of papers and files to go through, I recommend doing it in stages - a little at a time - or it can be too overwhelming. When I am working along side a client, 4 hours is the maximum I recommend. When I leave a client with 'homework' (papers to go through on their own) I recommend spending no more than 2 hours a day. Doing it a little bit at a time is less disruptive and burn-out is less likely to happen.


Today we took all the papers, files, notebooks, cards, journals, books - everything she will want to have in her new space - and moved them all into that room. It is important for a client to see everything together as it has more of an impact when it is all in one place. We started making piles of things that would eventually be put into new files and binders for her (inspiration, memorabilia, gardening ideas, travel, etc.) and she will also be adding to the files that we had set up for her years ago that will be stored in the home office (medical records, automobile records, warranties & owner manuals, school records, etc.) Her homework is to continue going through each piece of paper, getting rid of what she can and making piles of like things until she is stuck. Then I will go back and help her. 

To be continued ... 


A Vintage Vine said...

Determining what she has and what she needs is great advice......thanks, good luck with her space....I'm in the middle of tweakng "my area", I'll look forward to you showing us what you do for her!

Luciane at HomeBunch.com said...

Your client is so lucky to have your help. You're a very smart and talented woman. I know it will look fantastic.

Have fun!


Luciane at HomeBunch.com

barb cabot said...

Such good tips...I never get tired of your de-cluttering posts. They are extremely helpful...don't stop... I love them.

Carol@6WilsonBlog.com said...

All I can say is, please come to my house!!! :)

Pam said...

Do you come to Canada by any chance?..lucky friend to have you help her!!! if only.....

Hello Jessica Lynn said...


I am blog hopping today and I am happy I found your blog.

Please head on over and visit my blogs as well and become a follower if you aren't already:

Jessicas Lil Corner is where I blog about family and life at http://jessicaslilcorner.blogspot.com

So Stylilized is where I am currently offering FREE Custom Blog Designs at http://sostylilized.blogspot.com

Have a blessed day!! :0)

Town and Country Gals said...

Loved all the de-cluttering tips, those photos were wonderful. Gives us all something to strive for! Now, if you could just come over and get me started.....
P.S. I have to have arms on my chairs also and nothing better then a chair with a foot stool!

Unknown said...

Well gals, I'd sure love to help you all out ... how fun would that be?! Too bad you live so far away! Thanks for all the nice comments!


I am getting ready to do an office so these pictures were some good inspiration for me!