Before & After: The Clutter Cowgirl Giveaway

Before & After: The Clutter Cowgirl Giveaway

Maxwell Ryan
Jun 13, 2008



Back in March, we teamed up with Jeni Aron, aka The Clutter Cowgirl, to give away three hours of her time to one of our readers: 3 Hrs of Organizing with The Clutter Cowgirl. Out of 83 people, Kelly R. was our winner. Jeni visited her, wrangled her apartment into shape and the rest is history. This is the very happy story...

"Kelly and I had our Clutter Cowgirl appointment last Thursday night and it went really well! She and her boyfriend Brock were a total pleasure to work with. Kelly entered the contest without telling Brock so it was a pleasant surprise when she told him they'd have extra help and guidance getting their place in order. They just moved into their Williamsburg apartment in March and it already looks really homey. The studio/office was the area they chose to tackle in our three-hour session.



Kelly showed me the two side-by-side desks (from Ikea) that they constructed for their daily work space and one desk off to the side for art work/studio space. She and Brock are both artists and they have a lot of supplies, photos, art work, tools and books (Kelly is a book designer). Their future vision for the space includes wall-mounted shelving above the desks to hold art supplies in attractive, labeled boxes, their camera collection and reference books. Kelly also mentioned affixing a cork board above her desk to tack up inspiring images and "to do" notes.

We first got started going through all the boxes under the desks and immediately identified about five boxes that don't belong to either Kelly or Brock. We set those aside in the living area to be returned to their rightful owners. Brock got to work by himself in the living area sorting through memorabilia, old artwork, financial records and a variety of other materials.


Kelly and I dug through various supplies, papers, old bills, tools, etc and assigned them to their propper areas. We'd occasionally pop our heads out to Brock asking him to categorize something that we'd found. Art supplies went to the side desk and were stacked and labeled. We started a shopping list including more boxes to contain supplies, the shelves (either from The Container Store or Home Depot). Brock mentioned that he'd like a small filing cabinet for his financial records that could be kept under the desk. I suggested one of these:

Office-type materials were temporarily housed on a short bookshelf for us to store later. Kelly told me about a place in Williamsburg called Junk where she and Brock picked up the low bookshelf on the cheap and painted it with a fresh coat of white paint.

Household tools (hammer, nails, drill, etc) got their own area to the left of the desks and Kelly added "tool box" to her shopping list when she realized how many little boxes were dedicated to tools. Let me remind you that this is the first apartment that Kelly and Brock are sharing together and they've already done an excellent job merging their possessions.

Speaking of possessions, Kelly has amassed a large collection of books both for reference and pleasure reading. She is temporarily storing them on the floor in a corner of the bedroom until they decide on shelving.



I looked at my watch and couldn't believe that we went through everything in the room in just over two hours. Kelly and Brock are powerhouses! That left 45 minutes remaining for staging. Kelly and Brock are both highly visual people and they have a fun and colorful collection of art and objects to help decorate their space. We also leafed through a few catalogs and an "inspiration binder" I brought along to help generate more ideas.

Each client I visit has their own sense of style and vision. What I loved about working with Kelly and Brock were their open minds and their creative ideas for resources. Kelly found a great wrought-iron shelf-thingie on the street that might have originally held LPs. This piece is now tucked under her side of the desk and houses notebooks, paper and a box of current bills (until they buy the rolling filing cabinet).

Even though there is more to be done, we accomplished exactly what we set out to do in our three-hour appointment:

1. Sorted through all the boxes and piles in the room (decision: keep or toss)

2. Made a home (temporary or not) for each kept item. Brock's photos and artwork are labeled and housed neatly under the studio desk until proper archival storage boxes and shelves are purchased.

3. Composed a shopping list of products that will help Kelly and Brock complete their vision for the space

4. Infused personality into the new workspace with art

5. Bonus: Pulled about half of the books from the bedroom and tastefully displayed them in the office/studio

At the end of our session Kelly and Brock were really excited about their renewed space and felt proud of the work we accomplished together.



PS. I received this note from Kelly after our session:

Thank you soooooooooo much!!
Brock and I are in awe of our new, very improved studio!
I really can't believe how fast we accomplished everything—it would have taken Brock and me the whole weekend and we'd be all grumpy by the end. I'll have you know Brock and I spent the weekend in the studio. Brock worked on some videos, I did some painting. Perfect. We are so happy. Next weekend, shelving.

I don't know if there is a place for this, but Brock and I have separate blogs. It's just something we do, for fun.
Kelly: Nothing is New, which looks at historic images to enliven new ideas.
Brock: routine investigations

Best, Kelly

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