The Organization Challenge
Andrea is a busy book publicist with little time left over at the end of the day to get organized. Her office is a beautiful space, with great light, high ceilings, and an open floor plan. She’s been in this space for almost 10 years, and it was time for a change.
Andrea hired me to help her declutter, refresh, and introduce better flow in the room. There were some specific issues that we also needed to address.
- Because the only running water was in the bathroom, she set up her microwave and dishes inside the bathroom. Not ideal.
- With a steady stream of incoming books each month, she had extra stock piling up on the floor, and all other available surfaces.
- Her office supplies were stored in various places around the office, not in a central location.
- She had an outdoor storage unit but because the door didn’t extend to the top, it wasn’t a safe and secure place to keep anything she needed.
- She stored her books in a closed cabinet that was overcrowded and didn’t allow her to highlight the assortment of books she’s worked on over the years.
Overall, she felt like her office no longer functioned as well as it could, nor did it reflect her vision for her company.
The Less More Method Approach
I start by asking my clients to describe how they want to feel in the space. It’s important to articulate that vision in the beginning, and use that as a reminder throughout the process.
Andrea wanted her office to be her happy place, where she feels calm, productive, and inspired every day.
My goal was to maximize each zone in the office to make it highly functional with sufficient storage and systems that support her work style and aesthetic. I believe that less is more, and I wanted everything in her office to be there intentionally, because she loved it, used it, and needed it. Anything that didn’t meet that criteria, from furniture, tchotchkes, books, and supplies, would be donated, discarded, and recycled.
The Organization Solution
It started with an edit.
- We donated hundreds of old books to the local library, and I introduced a system to help her manage the flow of new books, going from the workspace to storage, to archive, to the donation bin.
- The mismatched tchotchkes were replaced with only the pieces she loved and wanted to display.
- We swapped out the old closed bookcase that housed not just books, but office supplies and random stuff with an open bookcase from IKEA that allows her books to become the centerpiece of the room. I styled the shelves to feature her books, objects, and artwork that better reflect her style.
- I organized her office supplies in the drawers, set up a kitchen station and put her dishes and mugs in matching bins to create a clean and uniform look.
- We painted the walls and I added a light fixture to create more ambiance (replacing a fluorescent light that was too harsh).
- I set up a mailing station where all the supplies and current books can be stored, with extra supplies like mailing envelopes stored underneath in bins on wheels so she can easily pull them out and replenish the supply.
- Rather than invest in a new door for the outdoor storage unit we bought a self-contained unit that fits in the space and can be taken with her if she moves.
The Results of Professional Organization
Andrea loves her new office. She keeps telling me she wants to live there. What a difference from when I first met with her and she felt uninspired and dragged down by the space. She knew she had to get rid of a lot of stuff that had accumulated over the years, but didn’t know where to start. She needed a fresh set of eyes to see the potential again.
I loved that we were able to incorporate some of her old furniture in with the new and reimagine the space to make it more functional, and beautiful.