Monday, October 12, 2009

Room of Chaos Becomes a Place to Learn.

In case you missed this on Tanna Clark’s blog over at Complete Organizing Solutions, this week’s Clutter Crusader Chronicles is a recap of a confession from a professional organizer.  I am boldly going to share a BEFORE and AFTER sequence with you from the home of an actual professional organizer.  This room was once a wet bar used for entertaining.  It then became my office space when I as first starting out.  As my son’s art collection and need for a place to creatively create and learn has grown, I have been “kicked out” of my office (which I gladly relinquished!) and he has taken over.  I state all of this to let you know that you may have an under-used space in your home that would be perfect for a non-traditional use… like turning a 1980’s wet bar into a school room.


Sept 2009 041 
View of the shelf and Counter top.  

 Sept 2009 045 

Close-up of the Counter Top (aka the hidden clutter).


Sept 2009 042 
The art cabinet.                                      


 Sept 2009 044

The work/play area.


You aren’t seeing double, the walls are mirrored.  (I actually like that feature!  It helps me keep an eye on what is going on.)  This is our school room.  It needed a little attention at the end of summer, as usual.  This year that amount of attention was compounded greatly by the face that we spent much of July and August doing renovations.  Of course, everything couldn’t be done at once.  The walls were completed the same week as half the flooring.  The rest of the flooring was installed completely a month later.  Everything was in flux for that entire time; I felt like we packed up and moved twice! 

If you are saying “Where did you start?  It’s so overwhelming!”  Well, I’ll show you.  It really wasn’t all that bad.  It was just a temporary situation. 
Counter top:  Since that time I have gotten rid of toys and supplies that have been outgrown - like that whole big clear bin of play food for the play kitchen which is no longer played with.  The blue plastic handled carry-all, on the right, was how I kept track of our current projects.  Since we are doing more of a formal approach to education this year, I set up a 3-tiered desk top file system.  All three slots have a purpose - two-week lesson plan rotation and a portfolio of completed work.  The blue popcorn tin on the left?  It’s not a tin anymore; it is a drum.  It has a home with the musical instruments.  The green bin (seen in the close up) was supplies that had to be packed up for the painting, etc.  I just had to decide where to arrange things so that they could have new homes.  You’ll see those lovely glass jars atop the green hutch.  Now you can even see (and we can access) the sink.  Used for cleaning up paint, Jell-o Art, glue, etc.  Have I mentioned yet that our “school room” was actually once a “wet bar”? 
Hutch:  This hutch has been mine for as long as I can remember.  Before it was mine, it belonged to my father’s mother.  I have no memory of her.  Although it has served many different purposes and been many different colors, it seems to always have a place of usefulness and I LOVE it for that.  The games moved onto a shelf in the family room.  That leaves more room on that charming green hutch for art supplies!  My sweet label maker is out of commission and I’m not super crafty, but I did manage to label all of the clear supply bins.  The top of the hutch was once a catch all for “things we don’t want the four year old to reach”.  Now look how beautifully the craft supplies are displayed! 
Art cabinet:  The completed art work was disposed of.  (If you read my blog for long you will learn how unsentimental I am.  It isn’t heartless.  They
are only papers.)  The stack of books from the top left of the art cabinet photograph are now nicely sorted in a bin on the counter top behind my desktop file system.  I can still grab them for easy lesson planning.  They are containerized!  And the art cabinet now contains supplies for art, sorted and spread out for easy access. 
The work/play area.  The box of dress up hats has been relocated.  Foamies have been corralled.  Furniture has been replaced.  (Sigh.)  All is right with the world!


The new and improved countertop/hutch. 



Inside the art cabinet. 


 School Room After 003

Work/Play Area.

Temporary situations can lead to long-term or even permanent clutter issues when they aren’t resolved.  If you are feeling stuck, contact a professional organizer near you to help you move forward. 

If you are in the Jacksonville/St. Johns area and would like your home better organized, and would like the assistance of a professional organizer, e-mail  You can also find me on Facebook by clicking HERE or searching for Organize With Julie.  Want to follow me on twitter? Find me @juliebavi.

Not only is she graceful, thoughtful and amazing!  Tanna Clark is a Professional Organizer and self-proclaimed office supply junkie.  She’s the Owner of Complete Organizing Solutions in TN.  If you are interested Tanna’s services or have any questions, she would love to hear from you. Contact Tanna at Complete Organizing Solutions by clicking here. You can also find Tanna on Twitter: or @TannaC.

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