Days One & Two: Sara & Joe

Sara and Joe’s Place

October 19th, 2016
Day One
Start time: 4:30 pm
End time: 9:30 pm
4.5 hours working (half hour dinner break)

So Sara is another friend of mine, and she asked for my help with organizing the basement suite she shares with her roommate Joe.

First impressions walking in: they had a lot of stuff in a small space! There were boxes and bins and bags everywhere, and there was no sense of order. Boxes and bins were not labeled and contained a total mish-mash of items. Sara’s dresser was sitting in the middle of their entry room. There was also quite a bit of garbage and recyclables lying around, especially beverage containers.

The living room set-up, I felt, was not utilizing the space efficiently so that’s something we’ll be looking at in greater detail once we have removed the excess clutter.

Sara and Joe are close friends, so each of them had been storing personal belongings in the room belonging to the other person. Joe’s room especially was pretty bad. You couldn’t even see the floor because of the clothes, books, garbage, and everything else piled in there.

And in Sara’s room, Joe had a lot of boxes and bins of computer parts, and some of the clothes that weren’t fitting in his closet. There was also a black shelving unit storing all kinds of things that are for the household, and really had no business being in her room.

There was a lot to be done!

So Sara and I put together a quick list of what we wanted to work on:

  1. Clean up garbage, recycling, and refundables.

  2. Move all of Sara’s belongings into her room.

  3. Move all of Joe’s belongings into his room.

  4. Move the black shelving unit into shared living space.

  5. Move Sara’s dresser into her room.

We decided to start with Joe’s room since we needed to find Sara’s belongings and have space to put Joe’s belongings away. Armed with boxes, garbage bags and recycle bags, we got to work. I put Sara to work collecting the dirty laundry into hampers while I started filling a box with the refundables to take out to the kitchen. Some of them still had liquid, so I had to be very careful! I did about three trips of filling that box, and we filled a blue bag to take to the bottle depot.

Once the laundry had been cleared, we had a bit more floor space to actually get in the room and start sorting through what was on the floor. Since Joe was not present, anything that was his was put into boxes, as it is my policy to not make decisions for a person who is not there.

We filled several bags with recycling, another with garbage, and moved all of Sara’s items into a pile. I don’t know how long we were in that room, but it felt like we got through it pretty fast! By the time we were done, you could see the floor. I even did a quick sweep to get the dust and small bits of things out. Joe was certainly in for a surprise when he got home from work!

Next we moved into Sara’s bedroom and began clearing items from the shelving unit so that it could be moved out to the living room. We discovered some broken glass as we worked so we had to be very careful.

With the shelf out in the living room and a floor path cleared (and swept), we were able to slide Sara’s dresser into her room!

Out in the living room, we began putting things away on the shelving unit and moved some of the boxes of Joe’s things onto the lower shelves. With a little more floor space, we went through the few boxes of Sara’s things that were out in the living room. Sara is great to work with in that she was very quick to decide what she needed and wanted to keep and what could be tossed or donated. We managed to condense her several boxes all into one bin! High five, Sara!

We also quickly sorted through the bathroom cabinet and removed a fair amount of garbage and recycling. By the end of the night, we took four blue bags and two garbage bags out to the curb. That’s what I call a productive session!

I left them a short to-do list of things to work on in their own time. I asked Sara to clean out her freezer and to organize all of her craft supplies in her room. I asked Joe to start sorting through his boxes of computer parts and to designate a place for all of the tools/home maintenance items. (Sara messaged me later that night with a picture showing the freezer clean out was done. Nice work!)

Progress Update:

  1. Clean up garbage, recycling, and refundables. – Task started!

  2. Move all of Sara’s belongings into her room. –Task started!

  3. Move all of Joe’s belongings into his room. – Task started!

  4. Move the black shelving unit into shared living space. – Task complete!

  5. Move Sara’s dresser into her room. – Task complete!

  6. Clean out freezer. – Task complete!

It was nice to hear from Sara that when Joe got home from work and saw his bedroom, apparently he just sat down on the bed and looked around for 20 minutes in total amazement!

October 24th, 2016
Day Two
Start time:1:30 pm
End time: 3:00 pm
1.5 hours working

This was a spur-of-the-moment session, and unfortunately we had to cut it shorter than originally intended as Sara had to pick up Joe from work. Still, we got a lot done in that short amount of time!

Sara had picked up some furniture that needed to be moved into the intended spaces. So first, we moved her small fish tank to its new stand. Then we moved the old stand into her room to be her night stand. We moved her small bookshelf into the space by her bedroom door. (A perfect fit, what luck!) We also moved the very large desk table in the living room. It had been sitting in the corner but we centered it along the wall so that our final move, a new bookshelf, could go in the corner. Apparently Joe is planning to paint it, so we didn’t put anything on it.

Since the bins and boxes in the entry way had been moved into Joe’s room, Sara was able to set up their shoe rack in a more desirable location, under their coat hooks. This opened up space in the “created hallway” behind their small couch where the shoe rack used to be.

Joe has some very cool decorative items that have not been put into place yet because of the clutter. One of them, an old style heater, has found a new home beside Sara’s fish tank. Some of the other items have been put on top of the shelving unit so that they don’t get damaged while waiting to be hung up.

We didn’t get into much sorting because Sara received the call from Joe saying that he was done work early that day and needed to be picked up. However, she did have a pile of donations ready to go, so I helped her load them into her van.

Progress Update:

  1. Clean up garbage, recycling, and refundables. – Task started on October 19th, and ongoing!

  2. Move all of Sara’s belongings into her room. –Task started on October 19th, and ongoing!

  3. Move all of Joe’s belongings into his room. – Task started on October 19th, and ongoing!

  4. Move the black shelving unit into shared living space.Task completed on October 19th.

  5. Move Sara’s dresser into her room.Task completed on October 19th.

  6. Clean out freezer.Task completed on October 19th.
  7. Move furniture into place. – Task complete!

Things are really starting to come along in their space!


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