Grace lives in an old, charming brick house. She works long days for a non-profit organization, and also cares for her elderly mother and her companion, who live in separate assisted living housing. Though quite busy, she’s also considering joining the Airbnb movement. Our task: clearing clutter to help her thought process about renting a room or rooms. Downstairs? Upstairs? How many?
Unhappy with her living room, we emptied boxes of papers stashed behind the couch, and moved some already-created files into her downstairs den/office for filing there.
Thinking about which room(s) to rent out, she wanted to clean up the room where her Pilates equipment sits. Its closet needed some help. We weeded it out, separating some clothes for the trash and donation.
In another room, where she may sleep, we cleaned out a closet, organizing gift wrapping and other materials, and placing her mother’s photo albums at a height where she can get to them easily when visiting.
While contemplating if/how to rent out part of her home, Grace will be able to think more clearly when looking at some spaces that are de-cluttered. After all, physical clutter = mental clutter.
Nellie and I first spoke in early November. The time didn’t feel right. We talked again several times though the winter, which presented some unanticipated challenges. In late April we scheduled a date for the second week in May. Things can take time.
The day finally arrived! Approaching her front porch, Nellie was sitting there. She smiled, welcomed me and we sat, chatting for a while before going inside to work. What to do? The apartment door leads directly into the kitchen, which seemed to be the natural gathering space, in part because the living room didn’t feel welcoming. She wanted space to work on art projects.
How to solve these challenges? A lightbulb moment! Her spare room had a bed, which virtually was never used. I suggested a few ways that she could advertise it for sale. How about converting the room for art, devoted to her varied projects? We could move a strong and substantial table, currently unused and in front of the living room bay windows, into the newly-named Art Room. With its leaf added, she could leave more than one project set up, ready for her attention when time allows. In the living room, I moved two chairs into spots where friends might sit and more easily talk with others on her couch nearby. Nellie said that the room felt so different! Next, I suggested changing the curtains in the bay windows to enhance them, while still providing privacy.
I loaded boxes into her car – books for the town library, and donations for second-hand stores. At the end of our first session, I told Nellie that she had seemed so apprehensive in late April that I almost stepped away, to respect her seeming reluctance to work together. Noting that being “politely persistent” with one person may feel overbearing and pushy to another, I added that I was relieved to have encouraged her.
Once home, I called Nellie later in the afternoon. I could sense her bright smile as she answered the phone. With perhaps the loveliest compliment received from a client thus far, Nellie said that I “completely changed the energy” in her apartment. She was excited to move forward with its transformation. Success!