Having that ‘aha’ moment: Home renovation lessons from an expert organizer

These past two years have been a learning experience on many levels for me and my husband. It all began before we ever heard of COVID, in August 2019, when I finally had enough of the damaged countertops in our kitchen. That was my first “aha organizing moment” when I realized that it was time to remodel the kitchen.   

When it comes to the kitchen, keep the essentials and scrap everything else. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

I don’t cook; hence, the kitchen is my husband’s domain. We both work in the field of home organizing, so together we sorted through all the drawers and cabinets to determine what we were going to keep, recycle, donate or toss. I discovered that we had what I felt was a ton of unnecessary gadgets and supplies, many of which had never been used or were past their expiration dates. (Hard for me to admit this, but yes, it’s true.) “Aha!” 

Many decisions were made, including colors, materials for cabinet doors, countertops and the backsplash. We made some minor design changes to allow for us to continue to age in place. In the end we downsized our supplies, dishes, glassware and utensils to exactly what we use. The selection of random coffee mugs that were gifted to us were donated since the sizes of the mugs were not to my liking. Although each mug had a fond memory of the person or company who gifted us, we did not want our new cabinets filled with items kept for reasons of guilt. It was all about usefulness. Sound familiar?  “Aha!” 

In the bathroom, narrow down the number of cosmetic products to make best use of limited storage space. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Further into 2020, we decided to put a plan in place to remodel our primary bathroom. It’s a small space with limited storage, but it works for us. We chose to go with a pedestal sink versus a cabinet under the sink, although we knew that we were giving up valuable storage space. All items stored under the old sink were removed, sorted and decided upon. We installed a large vanity mirror that better suits our baby boomer need for bright lighting and has more storage shelves inside than your typical medicine cabinet. The new, decorative glass shelving over the toilet became the perfect place to display a few of my hair products, narrowing the selection down from four to one.   

I had a bit of remorse for money spent on products that brought little or no value to my life, but I quickly got over that once I saw the remodeled bathroom (which we now refer to as the “spa”) take shape. Just as we tell our clients when we enter their home, “we enter with no judgment,” I maintained that credo for me. I was now my own client.   

Garage organization decisions are often much easier because they’re less emotional. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

In case you think I had enough of downsizing our home contents, we decided to make 2021 the year of the garage remodel. In preparation for the demolition, one cool summer morning my husband and I moved everything out of the garage and sorted into piles. Keep: the two cars (of course), the garage vacuum cleaner, the organizing…

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