My Life is a Mess!

I am no expert on getting rid of stuff! I think “getting rid of stuff” is ONE of the reasons we rent a storage unit. We move our least used items out of our homes and into a small garage type facility that we rent so that we can essentially “think” about getting rid of this stuff eventually! We are just NOT ready to get rid of it NOW! I have lived at my current address for 10 years. Even though I am that classification of home dweller that seems to irk some people – A renter – this place is really HOME to me. A few years ago, I found myself at a crossroads and had to make some enormous decisions about moving or not. Being a firm believer in listening to your inner voices, I decided to “stay put”. But, in making this well thought out decision, I knew I needed to make a few changes with the house. I had made a list of a few things I wanted to accomplish and I wasn’t sure that the house, as it was, would be able to accommodate the new plans. I decided that I would UPCYCLE the whole house! Upcycle each room! Upcycle the furniture! Upcycle my Life! The fact that a room is called a dining room or a breakfast area does not mean that’s the only function you can do there. So, I got out the notepad to layout the idea and enlisted a couple of friends with muscles!

For the last couple of years, I have been hinting to my landlord that I would really like tile or wood floors in all the rooms except the bedrooms. And, just like that, he agreed! So, for a couple of weeks, workers put in the most fabulous new floors. The bad part of the renovation process, was the fact that I still lived in the house! Therefore, I had to move everything out of one room and stuff it into another. Then the workers came in and laid the floor and then I moved all of my stuff back into the original room along with the stuff from another room and so on and so forth until all of the rooms were finished.

The first couple of days were exciting and full of decorating plans. But, then reality set in and I had to deal with the dust and dirt and the objects that hadn’t been touched in years and wondering where they came from and asking why I still even had them. And then the process became exhausting and it ended up staying in a state of chaos and a total mess for way too long! But, I suddenly had a vision and new energy as I decided to UPCYCLE! I have been going through “things” and deciding what to keep and what to throw away and what to store.  Not an easy process! I am making the living room into a library. I am making the dining room into a studio/work room. I am making the computer room into a…computer room!

So, with suggestions from friends, decorating magazines galore and I made my plans…..

I moved shelves.

I moved chairs.

I moved tables.

I bought shelves.

I bought rugs.

I bought carts.

And then I started moving and rearranging and detailing and checking and rechecking the layout.

And  I continued to consult my vast collection of decorating idea books and magazines.

The following are some of the ideas that seemed to help make decisions both big and small!

If you have a bedroom that is very tiny or even barely used, consider getting a sleeper sofa or converting the little bedroom into a closet.

More than likely you have a couple of underutilized areas and spaces in your home that you can arrange more efficiently.  Common locations are very wide hallways and spaces under the stairs, both of which make excellent spaces for custom built-in storage cabinets or desks.

Just like what I discovered while planning the house makeover, the formal dining room is useless as a dining room. I don’t have large dinner parties and as far as the Holiday dinners...I go to the kids house. These days, many people work at home, so there is need for an allocated place for work. But many families find their best case scenario is to have one room with well-arranged desks, lighting, seating, monitors and office supplies, where one or many family members can contain their work and study activities and clutter.

There’s something very sweet and romantic about the notion of a breakfast nook, one like Grandma had.  But if you’re fortunate enough to have a nook and an eat-in kitchen island or other casual dining area, you might find yourself using the nook more for organizing the family calendars and paying the bills than for eating. Consider installing a bulletin or chalkboard, a table with a drawer in which you can stash your laptop and ensure you have drawer storage for your files, checkbook, pens or other objects you need to handle the family business.

Like many newer homes these days, I have a Great Room. I consider the Great Room to be somewhat like living in a Loft. It presents the perfect opportunity to carve out and repurpose the space in a way that aligns with the activities of the family.  If you have a great room, but no casual dining space, make the area nearest to the kitchen into a breakfast nook-inspired dining area. A corner of the room can be and office or a table behind the couch can be a desk

And you can use furniture and carpets to turn your great room into more of a multipurpose room, strategically laying things out and arranging furnishings to host your family’s living, dining, study and recreation areas all within four walls.

Basements have come a long way since the dark dank days of the washing machine and an old set of bar bells inhabiting the space. Finished off with sheetrock, painted, carpeted and turned into living areas, is now the basic use of the area. An additional bedroom, a large crafts area or artist studio, a home gym and the family room or even rented out as an apartment, the basement can be the most utilized room in the house.

Thinking outside the box when rearranging the house, can easily make you feel as though you have started fresh. There is also always the possibility that when revamping and recycling, that some things will go and others will come in. Perhaps there will be enough room that the things in storage can come back out into the light!

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