Client 1, Part 3

living room

Client 1, Part 3

The next challenge took a couple of days to talk through and nail down.

The client had a great-room kind of configuration at the front of his house. Basically, the common area was one giant room with the kitchen in one corner.

He had set up a studio in another corner, a trading/computer area in front of the kitchen, and then that left the rest of the space for his living room. In that living room he had a huge TV, like 85” or so, an armoire, a couch, and then again all kinds of things cluttering up the middle of the room: a big keyboard, a professional grade vocal mic on a boom stand that would surely withstand hurricane force winds if it was outside, another professional sound gathering device on a stand, two speakers, two amps, two dog beds, and then the requisite piles of clothes, shoes, and dog hair.

Around the edges of the room, against the walls, were two more armoires, three 8’x8’ cubby-shelf systems, two bookshelves, an 8-drawer sideboard/chest, and a double-wide filing cabinet.

Nothing felt right, spacewise. No matching pieces of furniture were standing in balanced, counterpoint-type positions. The couch was off-center from the TV. The corner behind the studio was wall-to-wall with the armoires and cubbies.

Like I said, nothing felt right to the eye. There certainly was no feng shui going on—whatever that actually is.

So we did a lot of talking about what needed to happen in that room. I knew that it was a furniture-heavy space. Forget heavy. It was drowning. We had to get some of those pieces out of there.

I tackled the space in front of the TV—again, while he was practicing for a gig.

The most I could do at that point was get stuff out of the middle of the room. I moved the keyboard against a wall and moved the boom stand against another wall. Put a trombone out in the garage. Consolidated four bass guitar cases against one of the cubby units. Swept up pounds of Labrador hair and then vacuumed the floor. Moved a coffee table from the computer area over to in front of the couch. That helped the room a lot.

Then yesterday we tackled together another corner of the garage. Reclaimed it by moving shelves against the walls and then putting all of the piles of boxes onto the shelves and emptying floor space and tables that the boxes had sat on.

The empty tables and floor space are the guy’s new computer/trading office. Last night he took all of the screens from the computer area in the living room and put them on his bed. Tonight we will take them out to the garage and set them up in that corner that we have designated his new office.

Which totally opens up that corner space in the living room, allowing for the dining table to be moved there (from the middle of the kitchen) and for the couch to be slid over and centered in front of the TV.

I can’t wait to go over tonight and do this next segment of the project.

The guy is elated with our progress. He regularly expresses his appreciation. The words that make me the happiest is when he says that he is finally getting his life back.

Client 1, Part 2


Client 1, Part 2

Once we finished the bedroom , We are ready to move onto the next thing .

As it turned out I had to do the next project alone because he had an unexpected gig come up that he had to practice for. But he was okay with letting me work on my own in the garage while he practiced.

We did determine first what I would do so he was clear and comfortable with the knowledge of what I was going to be doing with his belongings.

One of the things that he has throughout the house is various valuable things that he wants to commission someone to sell for him on eBay. This stuff is scattered throughout the house, however.

We decided that a good place to start would be clearing shelf space in the garage where all of the eBay items could be consolidated.

That way whenever he came across something anywhere in the house that he knew was destined for eBay, that item could just be marched out to the garage and put on one of the eBay shelves.

So my task while he was practicing for his gig was to consolidate stuff from one wall of shelving onto shelves that lined another wall. So this is what I spent about four hours working on.

At the same time the floor in front of all of the shelves was piled high with boxes. I also went through those boxes and found a new home for them.

We had set aside a table on the other side of the garage that I decided would be the spot for all boxes of paperwork. This included boxes of divorce paperwork and the boxes of medical paperwork from the care of his parents.

There were many boxes of this kind of paperwork just scattered randomly around the floor and piled on top of other boxes.

I found lids for all of the boxes and put all of the boxes of papers over on the table. And then I consolidated the boxes from the designated eBay shelves onto the other wall of shelves.

I also found that a lot of the boxes In the garage were actually empty. So I created an area for boxes that I broke down and collapsed and stacked. Just breaking down all of the empty boxes made a big dent in the amount of stuff taking up real estate in that garage.

One thing going on in the garage was that all the boxes, tubs, furniture pieces, shelves, etc., were all sitting higgledy-piggledy around the floor. Taking those items and just aligning them along a grid made a big visual difference. It just made the space look organized rather than chaotic.

I left for the day before the guy had a chance to look at the garage, but I got a text from him later that night expressing his amazement at the difference that had happened in the garage.

I did agree with him. I have been able to almost completely empty all of the shelves along one wall in that south west corner of the garage, and I had also emptied the floor of all of the stuff that was piled around. There was literally multiple square feet of floor space where you could really see the floor.

He was very encouraged by this progress as was I, and that was day two of the dig out project.

Client 1, Part 1


Client 1, Part 1

So I’m gonna tell you about a particular client that I worked with recently who had a mammoth organizing/sorting job.

This person is a bachelor. Well actually not really a bachelor, but someone who had gone through a divorce and so was living alone.

This person had had several strikes against him over the last 10 years. The marriage he was in had ended in a very emotionally traumatic divorce which left him destroyed and emotionally incapacitated.

After the divorce another situation became clear which was that his aging parents needed his full-time care. Instead of putting them into a nursing facility, he took on 100 % of their care alone. He had siblings but they did not choose to participate in the care of their parents and so the entire load fell to him.

Both of the parents were very sick and they were both in the same house. Their declined lasted for seven years, during which time the guy took care of both of them. Toward the end of their days he moved them from their house into his house so that he could be with them 24/7.

The combination of the full-time caregiving following on the heels of the devastating divorce basically did this guy in. He let the house go and just did not care about how it looked or about anything.

The first time I saw the house it was pretty overwhelming.

Oh, I should mention that the result also of his life situation was that he then succumbed to depression. I don’t know the full extent of the depression but when I saw the house, it was obvious that that had come into play.

So as I said the first time I walked in, it was pretty impressive and overwhelming.

The house was all dark. All of the windows had curtains drawn across them and there was virtually no natural light in the house and only dim electrical light.

Every surface was covered with piles of stuff. There were mounds of clothes all over everywhere and I assumed that they were mostly dirty. There was a pile of clothes on the bed and I did learn that those were clean. There were piles and piles of paperwork literally covering the floor and the countertops.

This person obviously either had money or at one point had had money because It was a nice house with granite countertops, tall wood cabinets, Crown molding, track lighting, high-quality appliances , etc. There were giant screen TVs, multiple screens and monitors, tons of hi end electronics, lots of musical instruments, etc.

There was a 1000-square-foot finished garage that was equally stuffed with boxes overflowing with paperwork, books, boxes of cables and electronics, shelves and shelves of who knew what, boxes of medical equipment, boxes of dental supplies, tools, products, pills, etc., etc.

This was the job that I faced as I stepped in to help him reclaim his house and his garage and ultimately his life.

It was hard to even know where to start because he also was not a person that wanted to throw anything away. So the challenge of the job was to clear out space when there was no other empty space to move anything into.

I picked one room to start with and that was the bedroom. I picked that room because to me, the bedroom is the sanctuary where you retreat to sleep, and if your sleeping environment is chaotic, it will impact your quality of rest.

So that’s where we started. I instructed him to get a box and put all of the paperwork that was on the floor into the box. He said that paperwork had been there on the floor for several years. I folded and hung up all of the clothes that were on the bed. Those two actions drastically transformed the room. We started there and then we picked up the other stuff that was on the floor. Some of it was dirty clothes, some of it was empty boxes.

By the end we were both amazed at how it looked. It gave us momentum for the next task.

Rabbit Trail: Pediatric Gastroenterology


The Quest for Pediatric Gastroenterology

So, this blog is mostly about my business of organizing and designing spaces In a residential or commercial context. But sometimes I use this blog for other random subjects and articles.

Today is an example of a rabbit trail article.

But I wanted to talk about this because this is something that happened to me recently and whenever I have information that I think is worth sharing with other people I like to do that and maybe save other people time and hassle of looking for the same information. No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

So this is actually about a pediatric gastroenterologist that I found and my experience with that.

Children’s Health: The alarming aspects of your own child being sick

I have a daughter who has been having a lot of severe stomach issues. I had realized that she needed to see a gastroenterologist, and specifically a pediatric gastroenterologist.

My daughter had had stomach pain and abdominal pain. At first I just took her to our regular family practitioner, not thinking that her issues were anything that required a specialist. After all, I knew that gastroenterologists usually deal with things like swallowing disorders, diseases related to the gallbladder, vomiting, constipation, gluten intolerance, and other things. My daughter had none of these issues.

I googled pediatric gastroenterologist near me, and one came up referred from Primary Care Pediatrics a pediatrician in metrowest.

They were close to me and so I made an appointment and took my daughter in to see them.

It turned out that her issue was a motility issue. I didn’t even realize that motility was a word, let alone an issue, until the pediatric gastroenterologist ran a bunch of tests and then sat me down to tell me what was going on.

Motility is the traveling of waste through the intestines and also the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract. So the deal was that the food and waste were not moving through her system properly.

Apparently with motility you can have opposite problems. You can have food and waste that moves through the tract too quickly and does not allow for the absorption of nutrients into the body. And then the person wastes away because they are not getting the benefit of the food they’re eating.

The opposite problem can happen when food does not move through the system quickly enough or in extreme cases at all. Then it just sits there and becomes impacted and basically like concrete. Obviously that becomes life-threatening for the person to whom this is happening.

Either case is life-threatening actually.

So the doctor explained what was going on with my daughter, and she had the situation where food was not moving through and basically getting stuck and sitting there.

We went on a month long treatment program for my daughter and were able to get the situation reversed and under control and managed.

It may be something that she has to deal with the rest of her life but through primary care pediatrics we know what to do right now for these years, and will take the next years as they come. I was super grateful to find this doctor. I would say that hands down this is the best pediatric gastroenterology Orlando practice.

I would recommend them to everyone.



Hey, what’s up?

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you stick around and find something helpful!

I’m Petra, and this is a blog mostly about organizing and designing indoor and outdoor residential spaces. I have a consulting business where I do this professionally, and this blog is a companion to my business.

You might look at this blog like it’s me giving away all my secrets, but it’s not. If you hire me to advise you on organizing and designing your spaces, you’ll get the whole enchilada of my services, and of course they will be tailored to your own personal place.

This blog contains lots of my ideas, and I’m offering them here to help you, but of course the biggest help to you will be if I come out and work with you on-site. And in that scenario, you will become my customer!

So you can see, this blog isn’t completely altruistic. I hope that you’ll read it, try out some of my ideas, and then decide you’d really like my help, and to heck with the blog, you’re just going to have me come out and do the work for you!

Ok, I’m only somewhat serious when I say that.

This blog really is intended as a general help and because I do like to write and share my ideas.

Do you wonder about my domain name that I chose for this blog site? It’s based on the fact that my business stands on four principles, and each one begins with the letters P-L-E-Y. I’m not going to tell you here what they stand for. You’ll have to get into my blogs to find that out. J Yeah, I know, I’m dangling a carrot.

But anyway, that’s where the domain name came from.

A little more about me, besides that fact that I own my own organizing/design business. . . .

In my past life I was an aeronautical engineer, and an astronaut. Yes, I’m serious. I know that what I’m doing now doesn’t seem like a logical progression career wise, but that’s a story in and of itself.

I went to a university with one of the best aeronautical engineering programs in the country, graduated at the top and was valedictorian. Got a job with NASA right out of school and moved down to Merritt Island, FL. Progressed through their training and was selected to be one of the crew members for the flight to the international space station to do various tasks.

Do you remember hearing about that space trip in the news a few years back? Yep—that was me on that trip. It was phenomenal. Obviously an unforgettable experience.

A bunch of things happened on my return to earth, and I eventually left the space program and the whole aeronautical engineering field.

I wouldn’t have chosen the way it all went down, but it’s past now, and I’m very happy with my new life. One door closed and another door opened, and I don’t waste any time looking back with regrets. I just remember the good stuff and I look forward at more good stuff!

So that’s me in a nut shell.

Thanks again for stopping by!