Why you Should Hire a Professional Organizer Before you Renovate

Why you Should Hire a Professional Organizer Before you Renovate
07 Jan 2016

Why you Should Hire a Professional Organizer Before you Renovate

By Kate Altieri: Professional Organizer, Organizing Boston

hire an organizer before you renovateI have a client who recently completed a substantial renovation to the main level of their home. They consulted with a well-respected Boston architect, worked with a high end builder/contractor and collaborated extensively with a talented decorator.

The main level renovation included the kitchen, family room, powder room and an addition of a mudroom entryway. The work took nearly a year with many alterations and updates to the design and finish work.

The client contacted Organizing Boston to help organize the new kitchen and mudroom space when it was about 90% completed. Excited to have everything the family had wanted for years, my client sought the help of a professional organizer to make everything perfect in the final stage of moving in. The family had dealt with piles of shoes and backpacks strewn about for four years and they were ready for some organization. The coatrack was overflowing and the closets were located on the other side of the house. They were thrilled at the prospect of finally having a place for everything in an attractive setting.

Everything was beautifully done: the cabinetry was the highest quality, the finish details were exemplary, the painting…perfection! The new mudroom entryway was particularly the focus because it was a new space entirely. There were cubbies and shelves, a bench and hooks, substantial crown molding and lovely hardware throughout. There was even artwork in the space, flanked by a chalk board and bulletin board.

Enter Organizing Boston. As my client gave me the tour of the beautiful, new space, I noticed immediately that this space was not going to fit everything they wanted to store here. Not even close. This is a family with three children under the age of 12 and a large dog. This is Boston where weather changes daily and dramatically, causing the need for all ranges of outerwear and shoes. The children are active and involved in multiple extracurricular and sports programs. In additional to their hulking backpacks, they often bring home large and three-dimensional pieces artwork from school.

Sadly, with all the planning and design, there was little thought given to how this room would realistically function. The cubbies were too shallow and not wide enough to fit the older children’s backpacks. The cubbies were also too few in number to hold any of the adult shoes. The hooks were not long enough and actually too smooth to hold tightly onto coats or jackets. They kept slipping off!

The bench was functional with some storage inside, but only enough to store the dog’s gear and not the hats and gloves that the client had anticipated. The upper level storage cubbies with baskets were nice for the adults, but out of reach for the children. The height and design of the baskets left no way to tell what was inside them from below and there was no way to effectively label the baskets. There was no consideration as to where the mail and school papers would land, no space for shopping bags or tote bags and too few hooks for handbags and umbrellas.

The client was disappointed in the fact that not everything would fit and be handy in the new space. The winter coats and boots had to go back into a closet on the other side of the house, some of the children’s fleece and sweatshirts had to be put away in their respective closets. This would require the usual seasonal swap from other areas in the house and did not allow everything to be in the same place, and accessible as they had hoped.

As Professional Organizers, we do our best to work with the space we are given. We can be very creative and often make much more of a space than seems possible! So, I went to work. I removed the large piece of artwork in exchange for additional, more substantial hooks. I replaced the decorative baskets with clear, labeled bins to identify the contents. I added shoe racks and arranged the shoes neatly so that the maximum number would fit. On the hidden side of one of the cabinets, I hung a wall organizer for hats, gloves and small items. These modifications did help greatly improve the storage space.

hire an organizer before you renovateWhile I did a lot to improve the space after the renovation, it was still not exactly what the clients had envisioned when they took on this costly renovation project. Had I been involved from the beginning, I could have helped create a design that was much more functional. I would have assessed what the family expected to store in the mudroom, how things needed to be accessed by the young children, how large the spaces needed to be in order to hold particular items and what else happens as everyone enters the home. As we all know, there are groceries, shopping bags, mail, packages, shoes to come off, carryalls to shrug off and layers to remove. All of this use needs to be taken into consideration. With a short client consultation and conversation with the architect and builder, a Professional Organizer can help with some of the most important features of a new space – the functionality!

For a renovation costing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, everyone expects (and should receive) perfection. With all of the expenses involved in such project, the cost of a professional organizing consultation would be nominal.

So, please, consider consulting with a Professional Organizer in Boston before you renovate or create a specific storage area. We often work with architects and decorators. When we are involved, organization and functionality are always addressed in addition to aesthetics. The projects not only come out looking beautiful and magazine-like, they are the most functional, with no disappointment on the client’s part!

About Kate:

client services manager
Kate Altieri has over 10 years of experience as a Professional Organizer in Boston. She has been with Organizing Boston since 2007 serving as Organizing Project Manager and Client Services Manager. Please contact Kate for a complimentary phone consultation to see how she can help you make the most of your space!


Sarah Buckwalter