Creating Some Room in the Family Room

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We all have spaces in our homes intended as gathering spots for our families. Unfortunately, due to the nature of family gathering spots, these are also often the rooms that get most cluttered. Book bags, craft projects, sports equipment and the like can quickly take over these family spaces, resulting in rooms that, ironically, have no room left for the actual family.

Such was the case with one of my most recent clients, a spunky soon-to-be mom of three who is 34 weeks pregnant. As she showed me her family room, I could see her anxiety level rise.

“Tell me you’ve seen worse,” she said.

Of course I had, I assured her. (Believe me, there is always worse!)

But really, clutter doesn’t bother me like it does other people. I’m always surprised when people find out I’m an organizer and they say things like, “Oh, you’d die if you saw my house!” I don’t see a cluttered room as “bad” and it doesn’t give me anxiety. I see it as an interesting puzzle to solve. A cluttered room is exciting to me, so much so that I often forget to take before pictures in my fervor to get down to the dirty business of creating order.

In this case, though, I remembered, and took some before shots.

Brandy living room before
This was the BEFORE view from the front door. My client said she felt such stress walking in to this space that she often entered the house from the garage.
brandy living room before2
My client and her husband jokingly called this the “multi-function organizational unit” but it had become too overwhelmed with stuff to fulfill its duties.

For my client, this family room represented a nagging source of anxiety and stress. For me, it was game on.

We discussed her vision for the space–calm, orderly, a place for her family to relax, play board games and build Lego masterpieces–and then we set about clearing the space and sorting everything into trash/treasure/transfer piles. Lucky for us, it was a lovely fall day in Ohio and we sorted all our piles on her front lawn, where we enjoyed some fleeting fall sunshine and occasionally threw a ball for her lovable, patient dog.

I will say this: nobody wants to get it done like a pregnant lady. My client made quick, no-nonsense decisions about her stuff, which allowed us to complete the entire room in just over five hours. We even had time to rearrange the furniture for added feng shui. (Note: I tried very, very hard to dissuade her from helping me move the couch… but then I had a vivid flashback of a pregnant me forcing my husband to buy a $700+ chair that I was convinced held the magic to completing the triplets’ nursery… and I relented. We rearranged that couch to her pregnant heart’s content, all the while me saying, “Please, don’t lift that! Please, let me do it!” She didn’t listen. But luckily, the day did not end with me adding “home birth attendant” to my skill set, so all was well.)

Here are some before and after pics. Beautiful!

Brandy family room
This is the view from the front door. How nice for this family to now walk into a room they can use together!
Brandy family room2
The “multi-function organizational unit” is now fulfilling its duties by housing craft supplies, board games, and a Lego display space.
brandy living room after
I never played with Legos as a kid, but this welcoming space makes me want to create a Lego masterpiece!

Do you have a family gathering spot in your house that has no room for your actual family? Does this spot create stress and anxiety for you? Try to take a step back and look at it like an organizer… it is just a puzzle waiting for you to solve it. And you can, I promise.

Rose Lounsbury is the Dayton, Ohio area’s up-and-coming professional organizer. After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalist-minded professional organizing company. If you’d like Rose’s help with an organizing project at your home or office, please call her at 937-626-9030.

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