Before & After: Home Organization Makeover

Good, green design is wonderful, but when you live in a cluttered home, it can feel like you can't see the forest for the trees. This was the case for my friend, Susan, so she asked for my advice on how to organize her living room. In her modestly sized home, the living room is the big multitasker. In it, she runs her small business of bath and body products, does billing, packages her products, does all her online work, exercises, meditates, and watches television. Whew! Read more to see how it all turned out.

I reviewed some fundamental organization guidelines with Susan. To name just a few, concepts like, every object needs a zone in your home — office supply drawer, tool cabinet, craft shelf, etc. Slow down the buying impulse. When you feel the itch to buy something, think, do I love it enough to go through the trouble of organizing it in a zone at home? And last but not least, no duplicates allowed.

Implementing eco-friendly strategies, we reused existing furniture whenever possible like her sofa, end tables, credenza and lamps. And after she diligently processed her belongings with organization guidelines in mind, she cut down and donated much of her stockpile of objects. In the end, I had to recommend only two new furniture pieces: a coffee table with a shelf for storage, and a large storage unit that uses a combination of cabinets, drawers, boxes and open shelving. Both pieces are made with eco-friendly compressed wood, using formaldehyde-free adhesives.

As you can see, Susan did great. She was open-minded, paid attention, and her living room turned out great.

Buy it! Ikea Expedit $129.00, Ikea Vejmon $179.00.

(Images: Susan Doe)

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