We all have them, those spaces where you end up piling up boxes and stuff to sort later or store. Ours is under the stairs, for others it might be the garage, up in the attic, in that hall cupboard or even in a spare room. You try and close the door quickly as to not notice how messy and cluttered it is looking. Our space was getting worse, not helped by the kids rummaging through it, as you can see. I got to the point where I had enough, so decided it was time to attack this.
I did find that I put the job off for a while as it just seemed so overwhelming...it was such a mess and I just didn't know what to with all the stuff. What I did know is that I wanted the clutter gone and I wanted a really nice space to look at as well as a functional storage area and most importantly it had to be a no spend project. I decided to eat this elephant one bit at a time, planning, sorting and decorating.
My starting point was planning out the space, for me this is the motivational part. I decided what I wanted it to look like, well within limits anyway. We have not renovated this part of the house as yet therefore it did not make any sense to do too much or spend any money on this space at this time. However like I say "you should always be beautiful with what you have"
The room is under the entrance landing and the stairway. I had a black netting type curtain which I used to hang in front the entrance to the space so to block the view of the clutter. However this meant that it was actually fairly dark downstairs and not very welcoming. My goal was to open it up and bring the light back in. I also wanted to highlight the cool smokey window at the back which brings in heaps of morning sun.
The space still had to be essentially a place for storage however only for things we actually use, i.e seasonal and occasional items like luggage and picnic hampers. I did not want it to be filled back up with clutter again.
The last step in the planning was to work out a timeframe. I gave myself two weekends to complete this job as I knew it would be big. Rushing a job is not a good idea for and I wanted to take my time and do it properly. So I locked in the next two Saturdays. Lucky for me the first one rained all day so it was a perfect for a big inside job.
This was really scary, I mean look at all that stuff! What will be the best way to tackle this? When I had previously sorted out clutter I also ended up with piles for rubbish and recycling. So I decided to sort into rubbish, recycling, donations and selling. There was a one last category and that was "misplace" . Basically an item that actually lives somewhere else in the house.
What I found really important was while I was doing the sorting was to apply a one touch rule. An example is an item of rubbish, touch it and put it on the rubbish bag and when the bag is full place it out for collection. The same applied with recycling. In regards to the donation I put the items straight into the back of the car so I then had to take them.
I could not believe how much I actually removed. Almost all of the clutter went, mostly going to recycle and donation. The stuff that I have collected....boy oh boy! In the end the only items that I am keeping is our luggage, sleeping bags and picnic hampers. I put all these onto the shelves which meant that the rest of the area was actually free of clutter. Boy did it feel good.
This was the fun part, well some of it. I gave the room a really good clean out and repainted the block walls. Paint left over from previous jobs came in handy here as did the left over carpet from the recent new carpet we had laid in the entertainment room. I just cut it down to fit and used double sided tape to hold it in place.
Although the shelving was really efficient for the storage of the luggage it still looked untidy. To solve this I simply put up a curtain in front of the shelves, perfect !. To limit the potential for new clutter to establish itself again, I did two things;
- set up two bins (old wash clothing bins) for storage
- placed plants in the room as decor
The use of the storage bins means that when we place something in them it has to then be sorted into rubbish, recycle, donate or sell.
There was also method in my madness as to the where I placed the bins and this is solely due to the two fluffy hunters that we have. Yes our cats! they love to bring all their live and dead offerings to us through this space, note the cat flap. Therefore this area has been a corpse collection station at times, much to our horror. Also the dirty little beggars leave dirt marks on the wall when jumping up and down through the cat flap.
Now that I have done a Tidying with Tania on this space there is no way I was letting the cats mess it up again. Therefore to stop the bringing in of offerings, the cat flap is now only one way, out only, so at least they will not wake us up in the night for a pee. To stop the jumping up marks, I purposely placed the bins in front of the walls. This forces them to jump up and over the plant, on the right of the picture, and walk along the window ledge. I actually watched them to ensure that this worked and yep it did.
The house plants are a simple decor idea to establish the space as part of the house and not a storage room to be shut off.
I am really pleased with how it turned out. It is such a nice space now and is open and connected to the rest of the house. Best of all it brings me joy!
What is your cluttered space? Need help with how to tackle the space?
Let me know, as a problem shared is a problem solved.
Have a great week