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Small Changes, Big Improvements

February 18, 2015

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Small Changes, Big Improvements

February 18, 2015

This past weekend I helped my friend Mackinnon oraganize a few problem areas in her apartment. We spent four hours working on four trouble spots and made some amazing progress. Here are the before and after shots:


Most of Mackinnon's closet was looking really nice, but this one area, where she stores her linens, was a real problem. We simply removed everything from the closet, refolded, and sorted the linens. Mackinnon was able to pick out a few items that she no longer used or wanted for donation. Then we put everything back in the closet. It turns out that for Mackinnon, sorting the linens by matching set wasn't the most effective way to organize. Instead, we put all the fitted sheets in one place, all the pillowcases in another, etc. Every person has their own preferences, and it's really important to take that into account. That's what helps organization systems last. 


Here's the after: 



Then we tackled the opposite corner of her bedroom. I forgot to take a proper before shot, so this is a progress photo: 


A lot of these items haven't been touched in years. The tall drawers were mostly clothes that hadn't been worn in a long time, much of which no longer fit. These clothes were mostly donated. There were also a few items that simply didn't belong, like ski clothing, which we simply moved into another area of the house for permanent storage. Now that these drawers were empty, we moved them into the living room, which you'll see in just a minute. 


We didn't empty the drawers in the desk, as these contained office supplies and other odds and ends that made sense together. The books and papers were sorted through; most of these were college books and assignments. We sorted out reusable office supplies, like half used notebooks and empty binders. The rest went into the recycling. 


The empty space under the desk make a great little spot for a dog bed, which had been on the floor in front of the drawers. Unfortunately, we culd not find a spot for the cable box. Possibly a keyboard shelf could be installed under the desk and that might make a great (accessible but tidy) place for it. 


Then we moved on to the living room. This first corner is what you see as soon as you enter Mackinnon's home. We started with the eye catching artwork over the mantle. We first hung that on the wall, and then moved some of the dust-able knick knacks from the bedroom to a move permanent display area on the mantle.  


Mackinnon also has a cat, and she wanted to make sure kitty could hop up to the mantle (the tallest vantage point in the room). We moved the cat tree to another location, which Mackinnon had been meaning to do for a while anyway, and then we moved the drawers from the bedroom to that empty spot. 


After that we gradually went through the items around the fireplace. A lot of it was crafting stuff- a serious organizational challenge. We sorted through each item and although we threw out lots of unusable things (dried out paint, markers that don't work, etc), most of these thing we were able to move into the drawers- a perfect home for Mackinnon's creative projects. 


Here's the after shot:



Looking great! Then we moved on to the opposite corner of the living room: 


Most of these thngs didn't move very far. The dvds made the room look very cluttered and chaotic, so we took them out of the towers. There were also some stereo components that no longer work with the newer components (technology marches on), so we donated these along with the speakers. That cleared up a ton of room and really helped the whole space feel less crowded. 



So that's it! 



Time spent: 4 hours

Bags of garbage: 2

Trips to the recycling center: 1

Money made from selling items:

Money spent on the project: $0


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