I was called in to help a certain unnamed relative to organize her house. Although these particular family members mock my desire to someday be a certified professional organizer on the side, I said yes. Not for any money or praise but to get old bed sheets to upcycle.
The first problem in this four tier hallway closet was TOO MUCH STUFF. I found over 58 rolls of toilet paper. My "relative" claims that she had coupons. However, I believe that the old toilet paper just got buried and they thought they were out. Then, bought more and more.
When I saw this I didn't know how I could make sense out of the chaos.
Another issue was an overabundance of mismatched sheets, blankets, and random things like old pillows. I told this relative about how I put my top sheet, fitted sheet, and pillowcase into the other pillowcase to make a package. She liked that idea but there were so many sheets that were mismatched that it was hard to find sheets. We decided that we would do that another day (read: probably never)!
I cleared each shelf. I should have worn my gas mask. (Remember that next time.) This was gunk from cleaning supplies, I believe. No amount of spraying with cleaning supplies and a rag soaked in warm water help.
All I could do is keep cleaning it. Then, I got a bit "creative" and just flipped the board over.
The backside was a bit cleaner but still discolored. If this was my house, I probably would have removed all the shelves and spray painted them with chalkboard paint. Or maybe white paint. However, in this house, there was no where to store all the stuff. This closet hadn't been cleaned out since the last time I did probably 20 or so years ago.
After removing all the sheets from the bottom, I had to vacuum. It seems like a hamster or something had lived in this closet a long time ago. I ended up taking half of the old sheets home to make aprons, bibs, and baby wipes out of.
Once I start cleaning, I can't stop. It's like an addiction. I vacuumed the whole upstairs. Feel free to quote me, "I will NEVER get a cute, furry dog!" The fur flies around in the air.
With the homeowner sitting there (unpictured) we threw away a lot. They had six spray bottles of mildew cleaner, multiple creams that no one ever uses, medicines from the 80's, and a lot of hair rollers. We had two big garbage bags. I had my label maker but there were so many random items, I felt overwhelmed. There is a huge kitchen area cabinet that also has extension cords, batteries, light bulbs, medicines, and a vast array of cleaning supplies. I realized that I needed to do the whole house.
I tried to put cleaning items on top, frequently used items below, then sheets, bed covers, and blankets in the last two. There is still too much stuff but hopefully before buying more they will be able to find and locate what they already have. The next step was to organize the "big" bathroom. No one will guess what I found under the sink. MORE TOLIET PAPER!!!
I learned that I still have a lot to learn in organizing. What do you do when your client has way too much stuff? How do you create a system for other people? How much should you spend on organizing tools? I still have a lot to do. I don't know if I have the energy and time to complete the job. I want to create a central place for batteries, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, paper products, and mail.