When we first moved into our house almost seven years ago, we weren’t quite prepared for the move, and as is often the case for many people, we ended up with a room that was the dumping ground for everything that either didn’t have a place or for the times we were scrambling to clean the house before company came over.
It eventually became my office, but I have basically worked in one corner of it surrounded by chaos for the past four years.
Every six months or so I would clean it out, but I was never able to really get it completely (or even mostly organized), and it would only take a month or so for it to become totally out of control again.
I’ve always had visions of making the space into a playroom for the kids, but it’s been such a disaster that trying to take on the transformation from my shit hole office to playroom for the kids was just too overwhelming to even think of. And the space was so cluttered that I couldn’t even picture how I would arrange the room to make it work for the kids.
Then I got an email from Sue Duval, a professional organizer and owner of The Organized Hive, and I felt like it was a sign. I asked her to come over, and I showed her the “office.” I explained my vision to her, and we made a date for her to come over the next week.
Before she started working with me, my “office” looked like this:
The first time she came over we worked on one side of the office for four hours.
The second time she came over we worked on the other side of the office for four hours.
And yesterday, we tackled what was left, which was really just two last cabinets that were packed full of crap.
Here’s one before:
It was full of picture frames and pictures I had never hung up which had been shoved in that cabinet for almost seven years.
Anyway, before I show you what it looked like after we went through all of it and got rid of all the stuff I didn’t want, let me show you something.
I think before we decide we are going to organize a room, we go out and we buy a whole bunch of storage containers and organizational stuff.
But I think that’s a mistake, because the first thing you should probably do is go through what you have and get rid of as much crap as you can.
I did that.
And this is just a portion of what I was left with:
I had so many storage containers left empty after I went through and got rid of crap I didn’t want or need.
Another lucky thing happened for me, too though.
My husband was recently working on a job where they were throwing away a crapload of these plastic bins.
He took them all home. He got like twenty of them. They happened to be the perfect size for the cabinets in the office. So I took advantage of them.
And that cabinet full of picture frames and a ton of other junk now looks like this:
I still have work to do. I have lots of pictures to sort through, but at least now I can find them.
So we got the whole office decluttered and organized. And once it was empty and I could look at it, I was able to really see how I thought it would work better for the kids.
And the transformation started.
It’s not done. There is still a lot more to do.
But this is where Sue was HUGE.
I couldn’t do anything before because I was stuck on needing to do it perfectly.
Sue helped me to not only get started, but to get over having to get it “right” the first time.
So everything is decluttered. And I think the office is now about 75% tranformed to the playroom I’d like it to be.
One cabinet went from total crap to seimi organized pictures and memorabilia in it.
And now it’s the Barbie and doll cabinet (and I was able to use more of those plastic containers my husband brought home).
One side of the office went from this:
And yesterday, I did this:
I mean, come on. How fucking cute is that?
The kids’ artwork from preschool and elementary school is now hanging on the ceiling. Not only did cleaning out the office allow me to find it, but it allowed me to display it!
The other side of the office went from this:
I used more of those plastic bins my husband brought home for Legos down on those bottom shelves..
The other thing I was able to do today now that the room was cleared out (and so was my brain) was this…
The front of the office looked like this before Sue came over:
A couple weeks ago, we got it to this:
And today I did this!
I cannot even tell you how psycched the kids are to have that little reading/relaxing hideout.
I am seriously in love with it.
In fact, I am in love with the whole office which is now no longer my office but a ridiculously cute and cozy play/study/art room for the kids.
But here is the kicker.
I did all of this for $1.
Yes, I lucked out with the plastic bins.
That rug I just added I pulled from downstairs.
That little reading/hideout nook?
I tacked up a string of Christmas lights I already had to the underside of the desk, and threw in some blankets/pillows/stuffed animals we already had.
Where did I spend the $1?
I bought a package of pushpins at the dollar store.
I used them to hang up the kids art work on the ceiling and to hold up those reading nook/hideout lights.
And that is the only money I spent on this room.
A complete and total transformation for $1!
Well, plus the help of the professional organizer. I know for most people that wouldn’t be free in exchange for some blog promotion.
But it is well worth the investment.
We were able to do this in only twelve hours!
I never would have been able to do it on my own. It was just too overwhelming to even think about.
But the difference is unbelievable. I was able to give my kids a calm, cozy, amazing space in just a couple days work.
I just wish it hadn’t taken seven years to figure it out!
Up next… a new office for me.
Stay tuned for the transformation!