Revamping the Dumping Grounds in Your Home & Other Lost Rooms Part 2

As soon as we finished taping the last segment, my husband turned to me and said, “Why don’t we paint the room?” This would be the best time to get that done, so what else was I to do but say yes. Most furniture would be out of the room and what wasn’t could easily be covered. This is how another item was added to the list of things to do.

First, I talked about gathering things together as I moved them out of the room. It is important in limiting the stress of re-doing a room to actually do sorting and grouping as you are moving it out. If you are moving it, why duplicate your efforts by finding out as you are moving it back into the room that various items no longer belong there?

It feels tedious to have to sort at all, and when you are excited with the new vision, it can be challenging to take the time up front. Part of emptying a room to re-do it means creating a fair amount of clutter elsewhere in the house during the process. When you do the pre-sorting you can reduce the extent of clutter in the rest of the house by being able to re-locate items as you are moving them.

In addition, having items grouped together you can logically go through the things. In a small file cabinet, I kept some college notes and articles. It has been many years since I have looked at them and since we were not planning on keeping the two drawer file cabinet, I can systematically go through all the papers. My goal is to purge as much as I can. Keeping them together allows me to know whether there are inadvertent duplicates, and I can keep topics together easily for what I decide to keep.

This is also a great time to review the contents of the large filing cabinets. For me, there are several drawers that I know are well organized and maintained. I took to using tabbed pages to separate years in the business files, so I could easily pull the old years for shredding when it was time. Nevertheless there are some drawers that could be looked at and probably stand some purging. I needed to empty several drawers so they could be moved for the painting, and before refilling the cabinets, I can go through the old files. This is especially important since I want to use a drawer to hold some of the office supplies, the supplies we use infrequently.

Having all the various items out is the perfect time to evaluate what is important to keep and what you can get rid of. It can be illuminating, for instance, I suddenly realized that I have 20 3-ring binders. I know that I will never need that many, so I can part with most of them.

Now that the room has been painted, the furniture moves in.

There are a couple of approaches to furniture arrangement. Probably the most effective way to decide on how to place furniture in a room is to make diagrams, precisely measuring and cutting out equivalent paper to represent furniture. This provides a good visual for how cluttered it might feel as you lay out the paper furniture over the room diagram. There are computer programs now that can do this for you, some even offering a “walk-through” view of the room.

With how much furniture we were eliminating, we did no measuring; we sketched out a rough drawing and talked about ideas. We’ve moved in the furniture we know we want in there and are still in the process of finding some potential furniture for the room.

Meanwhile we can start arranging the things that need to live in the room. I am keeping with the popular approach of zones within a room, where you designate spaces for specific tasks. I’ve set up the front half for the largely functional things, the computer peripherals and filing cabinets. On the other side, the chair will be the place to relax by the window and you will be secluded from the functional items in the room by the bookshelves.

The decision to create distinct zones reduces much of the decision making process. Office supplies need to find places within the front part of the room. Although the specifics are still being worked out, this was considered as the vision of the room came together, and we decided that it would be possible to achieve by using the filing cabinets and the shelving units that hold the computer peripherals to hold the office supplies.

Most important to me was that the back half of the room needs to be a truly relaxing place to sit and having office items easily visible would reduce that effect. This is part of the power of thinking of your rooms as having zones.

See the zones in person and what has been done so far.

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