Revamping the Dumping Grounds in Your Home & Other Lost Rooms

Do you have any rooms or parts of rooms that have become dumping grounds? You know what I’m talking about – the dining room table that the kids use for backpacks and various sundries that spill out of them, or the guest bedroom that looks more like a warehouse than someplace your friends or family can use to spend the night. When I’m in someone’s home and find a dumping ground, I starting examining and questioning the function of that room. Does it have a clear purpose, or perhaps, does it have a useful purpose? If the purpose of a room is lacking, it can show with the amount of clutter filling it, though there are many possible reasons that a space is not orderly.

Trying to re-imagine what you are going to do with a space can be challenging. You need to be able to take a step or two back and get some distance. What changes do you need and want?

What needs do you have? Do you want a space for exercising? Or doing crafts? What about a place to relax? Or to curl up with a book or a movie?

If you have a space, utilize it to fulfill your needs if possible. Feel free to use the room to meet multiple purposes. We’ve all heard of people who use part of their kitchen for their mail center. Challenge yourself to be as creative as you want or need. If you enjoy crafts, give yourself a specific space that allows you the freedom to do that; I have heard of people setting aside part of their dining room for that since the table can function well for that. Whatever your needs and interests are, you can discover ways to implement spaces for those.

The biggest challenge is to wait until you have decided before taking any action. Sit in the area that you want to change, look around, think about your needs and wants, and if others share your space, talk with them. Sometimes inviting a friend over and brainstorming with them can provide a launch pad for more ideas. Don’t be so tempted by the first idea that you stop thinking and jump to altering the layout. Allow yourself the freedom for the possibilities to percolate. The best is when the concept for a space excites you and meets all the needs you have identified.

I have one such room in my home that my sister-in-law vacated over a year ago! It had been the computer and paperwork room and some of those functions still need to stay there. The computer peripherals, filing cabinets, and office supplies are best suited for this space in our home. Yet, we wanted to utilize it more than just for those things. We have been going back and forth with ideas, none of which grabbed us enough to take action while it slipped into a dumping ground, an easy place to drop things “out of the way.”

Happily, we have come up with a plan, which excites us and feels like it will accommodate some the dilemmas we’d been stuck on previously. I am taping as I go so you can see the process in stages, and eventually the final product.

Having made the decision about the space, the process can actually start moving. Yeah! Since it is large reorganization, I actually made a list, largely chronological, so that the actual doing can go smoothly and with limited chaos.

I will start with gathering the clutter together and dealing with what I can. The relatively little stuff, not furniture, needs to be contained and separated into similar categories. Some of the piles are my husband’s and he will need to go through them later, but I can get them altogether now. (A good post topic would be on sharing space and organization!) All the office supplies, from desk drawers and top of the desk, will stay together and need to be relatively accessible during the transition.

I am thrilled that we are going to be re-purposing items in our home so we will need to spend virtually no money. We have two double-sided library bookshelves up against walls, limiting their full usefulness. Both will be in this room by the end, providing considerable additional shelving as well as a way to divide the room.

Some furniture will be removed completely, freeing up considerable space to offer in the end, a secluded place to sit and relax by the window.

This is where I am starting. Stay tuned to find out what happens after this has been accomplished.

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