A move across the country is probably the most difficult organizing challenge. There are innumerable tasks to complete, and the task can be simply overwhelming. In the first few months, we prioritize unpacking everything that is essential for day to day life. Slowly we progress to unpacking boxes that contain lesser used items. But sometimes as life gets going again in a new location, low priority boxes get pushed aside for more urgent tasks. Time passes, and the boxes are still there, waiting to be opened. We give ourselves a little more time, and eventually it becomes a point of frustration. So we decide it’s time to bring in reinforcements.
When I met this couple, it had been 3 years since their move, and they were tired of looking at those boxes. Since the boxes were in the attic, it hadn’t prevented them from having a functional and presentable home. After all, guests never go into the attic. But the attic had become an area to avoid, and it was time to solve the problem once and for all. After a quick look at this large open storage space, Laurie and I knew that we could easily improve the area with shelving, clear bins with labels, and some focused sorting and decluttering.
The clients purchased and assembled shelving and sent pictures with measurements. I purchased a large variety of clear bins that were of an ideal size for the shelves before our first organizing session. We started by sorting the boxes into broad categories. Then we picked a corner of the attic and dug into the work. Category by category, box by box, the clients and I made rapid progress. We unpacked every item, sorted, and placed everything they wanted to keep into clear bins with labels. This system made it easy to keep track of what we had done. Anything in a box still needed to be sorted; anything in a bin was complete. Donations were put aside into the boxes we had emptied. As the bins were filled and labeled, we put the bins on the shelves in groups (all of the Christmas together, photos and mementos together, etc.). We completed the work in two half day sessions (except for a few boxes of “homework” to be completed by the clients afterwards – mostly time consuming paperwork to sort). The transformation was incredibly rewarding! Now the attic isn’t a stress-inducing place to avoid, but a fantastic storage space. With more shelving and bins, the clients have plenty of space to store seldom used items in the future.