Clutter to Cozy
Can organizer Lynda Foxman transform a clutter-filled home into a cozy and romantic resting spot?
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Jane Harris and Richard Zackon's home is covered in boxes from when they moved in — more than four-and-a-half years ago. The boxes have cluttered their home for so long that they don't even know what's in them anymore. With so many boxes Richard has even started to use some of them for furniture. Since the apartment is only 25 feet by 10 feet, it is easy to stumble over their mess. With plans to redo the kitchen and living area, the couple knows it's time to tackle the problem.
The clutter on one box includes a white box that Jane gave Richard when they first moved in. One of the piles houses file boxes filled with old catalogs, some that go back as far at least four years. Jane and Richard aren't even sure what's in boxes near the kitchen. Stacks of magazines are scattered throughout the house as well as newspapers — Richard loves to read.
Jane's teapots are located on a shelf in the hallway, where they could get tipped over. And then there's the kitchen where they plan to rip out the old cabinets. The counters are covered with papers and mail.
Expert organizer Lynda Foxman immediately offers several tips and points out easy-to-use systems that will help organize Jane and Richard's items, including the best way to sort out their belongings in the boxes. She has a plan to establish separate areas of the apartment for specific uses and help make their storage space into a more comfortable, yet stylish home.
After sorting through 4-1/2 years of stuff, Jane and Richard decide what stays and what goes. Each reluctantly agrees to purge their collections of catalogs, magazines and newspapers, and they move around items to create more space in the apartment.
A first feeble attempt at organization isn't good enough for Foxman; the boxed videotapes aren't even labeled. A new entertainment center is much better. It's got a CD storage organizer, baskets for now-labeled videotapes and a TV swivel to go on top of it.
A mural was painted on one wall to help hide the front door and add color to the stark white room. Meanwhile, a new coat of paint, creative light fixtures and this new cozy couch add a feeling of warmth to the entire apartment.
The dresser was removed from the alcove next to the front door to make room for an office nook with his-and-her sides. Her side houses color-coded files that include only the front pages of her favorite catalogs to save storage space. His side has a pull-out basket for Richard to drop in his wallet, keys and spare change as he walks in the door.
The kitchen changes are perhaps the most dramatic of all. The new dining area (at forefront) was made possible by the removal of one of the kitchen counters. It's perfect for a cup of tea or having friends over for dinner. Speaking of tea, Jane's teapot collection is safely out of harm's way on these decorative wall blocks. It's storage turned art.
The now-sleek kitchen includes a new stainless-steel refrigerator and a larger workspace, thanks to that counter removal. The new stretch-to-the-ceiling cabinets have doubled their storage space and provide a more modern look to the kitchen. The kitchen changes are perhaps the most dramatic of all.
Jane and Richard reorganized their space, have their belongings down to a manageable size, and now have romantic place to retreat. Their kitchen, office, dining room and living room areas are now clearly separated with a colorful style making their home warm and cozy. By combining smart organizational solutions with functional furniture and clever design, the entire apartment has a whole new feeling.
Benjamin Moore paint colors used: Hepplewhite Ivory, HC-36 Products from BoConcept: wall unit Products from The Container Store: natural bamboo square box Products from Lillian Vernon: wicker CD chest (double) Products from Rubbermaid: clear butcher knife block Products from Stacks and Stacks: three file boxes with lid
Green Tint, 2139-60
White White or Decorator's White, pearl finish
Van Buren Brown, HC-70
Soft Pumpkin, 2166-40
Dorset Gold, HC-8
Beaver Brown, 2104-20
Ravishing Red, 2008-10
Night Shade, 2116-10
Yellow Freeze, 2020-70
natural bamboo rectangle box
three natural Pandan single boxes
two white storage boxes
two natural canvas storage boxes
two natural Snapup check file boxes
two natural Snapup record storage boxes
two natural cassette boxes
two natural hanging file boxes
two natural magazine files
mocha Makati newspaper basket
natural Pandan square wastebasket
natural bamboo wastebasket
eight-pack small command cord clips
four-pack medium command clips
ten 12-pack blue letter interior file folders
two mesh drawer organizers
acid-free resealable bags
25-pack archival document storage box
four natural Makati video baskets
four mocha Makati video baskets
three natural Makati CD baskets
three mocha Makati CD baskets
eight blue metro acrylic CD racks
four acrylic cassette racks
set of two aqua calypso round boxes
natural Makati basket
natural Makati flared wastebasket
set of two bamboo lattice boxes
six premium shelf liners
two expand-a-drawer cutlery organizers
small mesh cutlery organizer
14-inch pullout basket base
four translucent file totes
two square storage boxes
three Bali single hooks
three accessory boxes
three Our shoeboxes
three men's shoeboxes x 3
canvas clothes closet
letter size-plus file
three storage cubes
paper towel holder
pot lid organizer
maize storage trunks S/2/
chrome dividers S/4 x 4
revolving tie rack
Smart Solutions knife block
Smart Solutions cutlery tray
five Roughneck storage boxes, 18-gallon, green
suction sink center
magic holder, three handle
10 file folders
Hepplewhite Ivory, HC-36
Products from BoConcept:
Products from The Container Store:
natural bamboo square box
Products from Lillian Vernon:
wicker CD chest (double)
Products from Rubbermaid:
clear butcher knife block
Products from Stacks and Stacks:
three file boxes with lid
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