Think about an organizing project that would challenge a veteran Professional Organizer–what would it be? A room filled with loose papers? A fashionista’s exploding closet? An overstuffed garage?
How about a renovation/addition project? Her own homes’ renovation/addition project!
For about eight years my husband and I kept going back and forth trying to decide–move or renovate/add on to our home. We kept lists on paper and eventually in Evernote as to what we wanted/needed and didn’t want/need in a future home. Our house was ‘whispering’ to us–sending us ‘SOS’ signals. Slowly, appliances began to die, cracks appeared in the walls, plumbing started to malfunction. We were busting out of our closets, kitchen, and living space. It was time to make a decision.
After much deliberation, we decided to stay at our current address and renovate/add on to our home. I knew this was not going to be a quick and easy project. I also knew this would take and enormous amount of energy, thought, coordination, and organization. This project was so all encompassing that during this time I had to take a few things ‘off my plate’ such as blogging. This is my first blog post in over a year–I’m writing it happily from my new home office!
Here are some of the organizing steps we took for this project to flow smoothly…
Purging of our entire home
Based on our contractors’ recommendation and the fact that we have a child with food allergies and need a full kitchen to cook for him, we decided to rent a house across town during the construction process. That meant we had to take everything with us. Eve-ry-thing.
After meeting with our contractor and architect, we started the purging process. Each weekend before our move-out date, my husband and I would tackle a room together and purge it of what we didn’t want to come back into our new home (we purged during the week, too). I created ‘The Two Can Rule.’ Our garbage pick up day was Tuesday so every Sunday, we had to fill a minimum of the two garbage cans from our purging session. We also created bags for donations and gave things away to family, friends, and schools.
Creating an organized packing system
The last time I had packed to move, it was the contents of my one-bedroom apartment when I got married. Now, I was packing a three-bedroom house with a filled attic and basement. This double move required a multi-tiered packing and tracking system. Half of our boxes were stored in the garage of our temporary rental home and the rest were unpacked for daily use. Then, before moving back in to our new home, we had to purge (again!) and pack up to then finally unpack (again!). More on my packing system in a future post. If you or someone you know is moving in the future–keep your eye out for it. You’re going to want to know about the system I used. It was a success!
Creating a ‘home’ for all project-related paperwork and correspondence
This renovation/addition project churned out an inordinate amount of paperwork–even for a Professional Organizer to keep on top of. Keeping track of receipts, returns, contracts, finances, bills for two homes, design choices and all other related papers was overwhelming. I created a binder for all papers and created folders in my inbox for emails from our contractor, subcontractors, designer and others. (True PO Confession: The project plus our everyday life became so overwhelming, I just started putting all papers in one box so I would know where to find them if I needed them. Last month, I created a portable hanging file box for all renovation/addition papers and they’re stored in my closet.)
Creating a ‘home’ for all design-related items
I quickly found that I needed a space for things I would need handy for the design part of this project. I stored a recycle bag in my car filled with paint and tile samples, fabric swatches, a tape measure, scissors, and a roll of blue tape. It was always there when I needed it–at a store, at the construction site, in my car. If I had a dollar for every time I used that bag, I’d be a rich lady!
And all of this doesn’t happen with out an amazing team that was organized in their own areas of expertise…
Rich Palmacchio of RTJ Construction and Joseph Donato, Architect
Deborah Glazer of DRG Design Group
Plus subcontractors, friends, relatives, salespeople, and everyone else who kept us focused, informed, and sane. A big organizing shout-out goes to my hubby who became a purging, packing (unpacking) and organizing LEGEND during this project.
They say it takes a village to raise a child? It also takes a village–an organized village–to raise a house!
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