Organization Project: Cabinets

For the majority of people I work with, the biggest problem they have is figuring out where to start. This is especially true if clutter has seriously taken over the home. I like to start with something relatively small and contained so that we can finish and feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. That is often a pantry or kitchen/dining room table. However, in this home those areas in this home present a different set of challenges so that wouldn't work. Instead, we decided to start with some cabinets in the living room. With the doors shut, the cabinets seem just fine.

As everything seems fine when you can't see it.

Even though it wasn't always visible, it weighed heavily in my client's mind. She couldn't find anything in there and definitely would never send anyone in there to look for anything due to embarrassment. Here's where we started:

We started by pulling everything out and sorting like with like. ALL of the magazines and many more things went into the trash or recycle bin as we went. My client also made a decision to sell many of the books that were in here while we pulled and sorted.

Once we were done, we got some wet rags and cleaned up the shelves. My client didn't remember the last time they'd been dusted because you couldn't really get in there anyway. (As you can see.)

Next, we took each sorted pile and started weeding through the different items. My client had some trouble with things, but knew it was all for the best. Anyways, if you can't remember the last time you played dominoes in your house, then you probably don't need 4 sets, right?? Many more items found their way into the recycle bin, trash can or pile to donate.

From what was left, I created zones in the cabinets so it would be easy to find things in the future as well as give other items a home in there.

DVDs and Photos. The space at the bottom is for my client's husband's hand weights when they aren't in use or when company comes over. (Now that the cabinets are cleaned out, my client can more easily cut holes to better contain the wire issue - these are the bottom cabinets to a giant entertainment center.)

Book central:

Games and baby toy central:


Total time: 3 hours. My client was so excited to know that even though she doesn't always see it, this area is now cleaned out and organized.

(There was a fourth cabinet as well but I originally couldn't get to it for the before picture. It is just as cleaned out and holds musical instruments from around the world - SO COOL! - and a few extra home decorations.)