Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about moving and settling in. Just in case you haven’t been following me, here’s a brief recap. I sold my house in May 2021 and rented a furnished apartment month to month until my townhouse was finished. In late January I moved into my new forever home and am loving it. The unpacking, arranging furniture, and putting away belongings is overwhelming for everyone, even for professional organizers. However, I learned that when I released some of my preconceived notions of where things should live or how things should be used, I had magical results. Everything just fell into place.
Everyone has preconceived notions. It’s only natural. We think to ourselves this bookshelf or chest of drawers is used for clothes and belongs in a bedroom. When we release our preconceived notions of the way something is supposed to be used, we open up a whole realm of possibilities.
I moved a large chest of drawers into the bonus room at my new house. The bottom two drawers in this chest are extra-long. Perfect for holding wrapping paper. I decided to use this piece of furniture as my new wrapping station. Birthday wrapping paper went in one of the extra-long drawers and Christmas/holiday wrapping paper in the other. Tissue paper went in one of the smaller drawers as did ribbon.
Using this chest of drawers as storage for wrapping paper and supplies let me put away these things which had been stored in a closet on shelves in my other house. Releasing this preconceived notion and opening my mind to other possible uses for this piece of furniture gave me a magical result.
I am so happy to have good storage for my wrapping supplies and to use this lovely, old chest of drawers in a way that makes sense in this new home.
We often get so stuck in our ways of doing things that we don’t look outside the box and imagine the possibilities. My good friend, Linda Samuels, talks often about imagining the possibilities when you embrace change.
Changing the way you do or use something so that it makes sense to you by releasing an old notion can open the door to even more magical results.
Release Repurpose Reorganize
I am thinking about the name of the business I co-created with Jonda Beattie in a whole new way.
Originally, when we talked about releasing things we were talking about letting go of things that you no longer use. We wanted to guide our clients to release things they no longer needed, used, or loved so that they would spend less time taking care of these things and have more time for the things they want to do.
Now, I’m also thinking about releasing ideas and preconceived notions. If we can teach our clients to let go of stagnant thoughts, to release them to the past, that can open up a new way of thinking. Then our clients can have their own light bulb moments leading them to magical results.
I already mentioned one way I have repurposed furniture in this new home. Here is another way. A huge chair and ottoman that was in a sitting room at my old house is now in my bedroom. It is near a window and will be the perfect place to relax and read once I get my house more organized.
What can you repurpose in your home?
Do you have a chair you can move to a different place? Maybe you can repurpose a chest of drawers to be a craft center?
Just because in the past a piece of furniture was always in a particular place does not mean it has to stay there in perpetuity.
Think outside the box and give yourself unimagined magical results.
When I was placing the furniture in my office, I tried several different schemes before I settled on the one I absolutely love.
Several factors were important to me as I organized my office. I did not want to have my back to the door. I like to see whoever or whatever is coming my way. It is also important to me to have adequate writing space on top of my desk. I moved a table and placed it at a right angle to my desk so that somethings I want to access frequently are there, not on top of my desk.
This gives me the magical result that I want. I am so happy in my new office. Coming into work at my desk is such a pleasure because it is set up in a way that makes my work easy.
Create that feeling for yourself as you reorganize any space in your home. Think about what is important for you to have in that space so you can be happy.
If you are looking to create magical results for yourself when organizing (or reorganizing) your home think about releasing old thoughts. Embrace change, think outside the box, and repurpose old things with new uses.
Jonda Beattie and I run a clear support group called Clear Space for You. Join us if you would like some guidance and accountability as you bring magical results to the organization within your home.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia
What a great article! It is so easy to arrange things in your home and then never move them again. They just grow roots and can become stagnate. Moving is a perfect time to rethink uses of furniture. I had an entertainment center in my living room at my last home that became a storage unit in my office in my new home.
I have had clients that were so good at this. It seemed like every time I went into their home, they had rearranged things. It certainly kept things interesting.
I’ve started following some Facebook groups about repurposing and upcycling. It’s a lot of fun to think about what can be done. Some people are so talented, and it gives me some good ideas.
I love seeing people’s ideas for new uses for old things. They are so creative! Thank you for commenting, Seana.
So many wonderful things to respond to here, Diane. First of all, I LOVE the magic lamp. I keep a miniature one on my desk and another one in my travel toiletries case. It’s my regular reminder that magic is all around if you stop to notice it. But I think what struck me most were the discoveries you’re making as you settle into your new, beautiful home. I love the openness that you are approaching everything. This is so significant because you had a lot of time before you moved in to imagine and plan how you wanted things to be, WHERE they would be placed, and how they’d function. So it’s lovely to see how you’re embracing flexibility and allowing this major change to keep you open to the possibilities. And in the process, you are finding wonderful solutions and surprises..and some magic too.
Thank you also for the lovely shout-out.
Thank you so much, Linda. This is a fabulous journey which keeps on getting better.
I love how you’re setting free that genie in the lamp! We think about repurposing our things, but going along with everything you mentioned, I think we can also explore repurposing other aspects of our lives. In retirement, people often feel stuck and stagnant because they’re no longer using the skills they developed over years; people between jobs or careers feel the same. But a huge catalyst for me becoming a professional organizer and productivity expert came from the skills I used as a television program director. The system we used for keeping track of satellite feeds and re-feeds because the basis of my own tickler file platform! (Meaning, I repurposed a tangible thing, a temporal thing, and a cognitive approach!) And though I hadn’t even thought of them in that way, the writing skills I used in my academic background and TV career formed the basic of my blogging and marketing skills. We release the old, staid perceptions and repurpose not just the tangible stuff we have, but anything/everything about ourselves, and we can recombine and reorganize our lives to so much better suit us! Thank you for the mental refresh!
I was just talking to someone this morning about reimagining their new space when they move. They have a lot of furniture and will need to decide what to keep, but they will also need to reimagine what they use it for. I always say “moving keeps you honest”, meaning that you have to rethink a lot of things to fit into your new life in your new home.
I love this concept. Just the other day I read something about someone using a shoe rack to hold plants, and I was so surprised and pleased! It’s really freeing to let go of preconceived notions and find a cool new use for something.